After spending the last three years taking photos with whatever smartphone I had at the time, I finally decided to get a dedicated camera. I not only wanted the ability to use optical zoom, but also to have more mega pixels than smartphones can offer. Except the Nokia 1020 of course. My budget was not too large, so I knew I’d have to settle on a simple point and shoot. I looked at various brands such as Sony, Nikon and Canon but the only one that cought my attention was the Samsung WBF30 Smart Camera. It had a WiFi sticker right on the front and a price tag of under $150.00 Canadian. Sold!
The demo model was the only one left in the store, so with 10% off I was walking out the door with a full battery and an 8GB micro SD card already in the camera. I was expecting this camera to take better shots than my htc One X and my htc One, but I have honestly been blown away at the quality of the photos I’ve taken. This camera is a 16.2 MP shooter and the pictures are very sharp and detailed. Colours are true and not over saturated or washed out at all. This could probably be a true statment for very many similar classed point and shoot cameras so here’s where I’ll talk about what really makes this one shine.
Samsung SMART CAMERA App
The Samsung Smart Camera App is available from both the Playstore and the Apple App Store. You can use the application on Android phones with resolutions of WVGA or higher running Android OS 2.3.3 or higher. Apple version requires iOS 6.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch but is optimized for iPhone 5.
After taking some pictures I want to upload them to G+ or cloud storage. I have a few ways to do this whether I’m at home or on the go. Obviously I can plug into my computer and side load them But I prefer to send them straight to the cloud. Here’s how I do that. I click the home button on the back of the camera and then scroll to SNS & Cloud. (All of the options from home are like apps and have Adroid or iOS like icons) You’ll have the option of FaceBook, Picasa, YouTube and SkyDrive. Clicking any of these will prompt you to connect to a WiFi hotspot. Once connected you’ll get a login screen to enter you user name and password. Select the pictures and videos you want and then upload. I have found this to work very well, and it has proved to be very convenient when I’m away from the house. I have already uploaded many photos directly from my camera while connected to my smartphone’s WiFi hotspot.
Another way to transfer files is directly to your smartphone via WiFi Direct. In this case you go to the MobileLink app icon on the camera and it will turn on its own hotspot. It will direct you to select the network from your phone and enter the password on the camera screen. Then you open the Smart Camera app on your phone and you can send any and all pictures and video straight to your mobile device. Once again this works flawlessly and quickly for sure.
You also have the options of auto backup to your computer wirelessly, sending directly via email, and if you own a Samsung Smart TV or Samsung Smart BluRay player, direct streaming via Allshare but my favorite feature of this camera and the app is Remote Viewfinder. You can basically use you smartphone as a remote for your Smart Camera that lets you zoom in and out, set a timer shot, and of course take pictures. It works through WiFi direct, not your home network, so it is great for tripod shots.
Getting back to the camera itself, I would like to talk about the battery life. Plain and simple….. it’s fantastic!
There’s no other way to put it. I’ve taken dozens of full resolution photos and the battery indicator hasn’t moved. To be honest, I’ll need to use this for a couple more weeks heavily to give a realistic review of how long it can go. As for body design, it’s small, light and sleek as well as easy to hold. It has not once felt like it might slip out of my hand/s. The LCD is a full 3 inch display that’s easy to see both indoors and out. The bottons are well placed and simple to navigate by feel once you get to know where each is. The power button is on the top and is flush with the body to give it contrast with the shutter button which projects up slightly and sits in the usual spot at top right.
The one caviate I have is having to go into the home menu and scroll to get to the setting that allows you to manually adjust settings. In my opinion it’s just too many steps. However it is a low end smart camera so I can’t complain too much here. If you want more or easier options your best bet would be to move up to the WB250 or WB800.
The zoom on the WB30F is 10X which is actually very nice for my needs considering I’m upgrading from phone cameras. It’s not extremely quick but it is smooth and the pictuers are very nice. What surprised me most was that even at full digital zoom I found the pictures to be quite sharp. I have never before recomended using digital zoom but in this case I would. Especially if using a tripod. The camera also has optical image stabalization and it’s obvious that Samsung went out of their way to make it extremely good. I have had no problems at all focusing on distant objects. Speaking of focus, the auto focus is fairly fast and usually accurate. I say usually because I have noticed that on cloudy days it does sometimes not zero in on the right section if more than 50% zoom is used. This has not been an issue for me so far in brighter conditions.
All in all I would say this camera is well worth the money, not just because it takes great photos but also because of the excellent app that Samsung delivered.
You should know that I am not a Samsung fanboy in any way. I call it as I see it and Sammy has impressed me with this one.