Camera Reviews
by Brad Soo on August 3 2011

I’ve just posted my review of the Samsung WB610, a compact super-zoom digital camera with a 15X optical zoom lens, an AMOLED display and 12 megapixels. Check out the Samsung WB610 photo gallery to view full-sized photos taken using the camera.

DPInterface Samsung WB610 Review

Rowen Hen – August 3rd, 2011

The Samsung WB610 is a compact super-zoom camera of 2010 that packs 12 megapixels of resolution, manual exposure controls, 3 inch AMOLED screen and a 15X optical zoom lens. The camera has lots of optical zoom, as you can see, and as a not-so-recent model, it’s affordable too. Is the Samsung WB610 a good deal? Find out now.

Size and Weight

The Samsung WB610 is a fairly small camera, especially so when you consider it has a big 15X optical zoom lens. At 106.6 x 60.5 x 28.0 mm, it’s slightly larger than your typical compact camera but still small enough to fit into larger pockets and bag compartments. The camera also weighs a noticeable but not troublesome 215 grams.

Box contents

The Samsung WB610 comes with an average bundle:

  • SLB-11A rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • AC adapter
  • Wrist strap
  • A/V and USB cables (separate)

The Samsung WB610 uses SD and SDHC memory cards, but doesn’t come with one. Instead you’ll have to pony up for your own and I would recommend having at least an 8 GB high-speed memory card (Class 6 or 15 MB/s or faster) for this 12 megapixel camera.

The camera charges via USB, which seems to be becoming the new norm with cameras nowadays. That means you plug your camera into the wall charger just like you would with your phone. However, such a change also makes it impossible to charge a second battery at home while using the camera outside, without the purchase of an optional standalone battery charger.

 


 

Camera Tour

The Samsung WB610 is a fairly small camera with plenty of optical zoom. The camera has a fairly ergonomic, slightly raised front grip and all the buttons are well placed. The only thing is those buttons feel ‘plasticky’ and the door over the battery/memory card compartment feels kinda flimsy.

The Samsung WB610 has a 15X optical zoom lens that’s equivalent to 24 – 360 mm. That’s very wide-angle and it has a decent aperture range of f3.2 – f5.8 along with optical image stabilization to reduce blur from camera shake.

To the upper left side of the camera’s lens is the autofocus assist lamp and built-in flash. The focus assist light also doubles as a self-timer lamp. The flash is pretty powerful with a range of 30 cm to 5.0 meters at wide-angle (1 to 14 feet) and 50 cm to 3 meters (2 to 10 feet) at telephoto. Towards the lower left of the lens, below the Samsung logo is the camera’s speaker.

The Samsung WB610 has a 3 inch AMOLED display on the back which is nice and sharp. The screen had good legibility in both good and low light. To the upper right corner of the camera’s back is the dedicated movie button used to start/stop movie recording in any mode.

There are three buttons around the navigation pad which are the MENU, playback and Function buttons. The function button brings up the function menu in the camera which we’ll get to later. We’ll take a look first at the navigation pad:

  • Up – DISPlay (toggles on-screen information)
  • Down – Focus mode (Normal, macro, automacro)
  • Left – Flash setting (Auto, redeye reduction, on, slow sync, off)
  • Right – Self-timer (Off, 2 seconds, 10 seconds)
  • Center – OK


Function menu on the Samsung WB610

The Samsung WB610 has a function menu which contains a bunch of functions you can adjust:

  • Image resolution (12, 8, 5, 3, 1 and 0.3 megapixels; along with 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratio options
  • Image compression (Superfine, fine, normal)
  • Exposure compensation (+/-2 EV in 1/3 increments)
  • ISO sensitivity (Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200)
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, fluorescent H, fluorescent L, tungsten, custom white balance)
  • Face detection
  • Metering mode (Evaluative, center-weighted, spot)
  • Color tone and Smart Filter effects
  • Burst mode
  • Optical image stabilization

On the top of the Samsung WB610, you’ll find a couple of things: a pair of microphones for recording stereo sound with movies, the power on/off button, mode dial and the shutter button with a zoom controller wrapped around it. Looking closely at that mode dial, we have several modes:

  • Program mode
  • Aperture and shutter priority and manual modes (yes all crammed into one spot on the mode dial)
  • Dual image stabilization (digital paired with optical image stabilization)
  • Map view
  • Scene modes
  • Movie mode
  • Smart Auto mode
  • Auto mode

Nothing to see on this side of the camera.

On the other side of the camera, you’ll find the wrist strap loop (not shown) along with two ports: One for HDMI and the other is a combo port for USB and A/V out (plus charging the camera).

You’ll find the battery and memory card compartment at the bottom, covered by a rather flimsy door, along with the metal tripod mount.

Taking pictures (Shooting mode)

The Samsung WB610 shows plenty of information on its display, including a live histogram, optional framing gridlines and battery indicator. A zoom indicator also appears when you use the zoom controller.

The Samsung WB610 has a pretty intuitive menu system that shows sections on the left and individual options on the right.

Macro and scene modes
The Samsung WB610 has a macro mode that allows you to go as close as 3 cm (1.2 inches) to your subject at wide-angle, and 100 cm (3 feet) at maximum zoom, which is pretty good. The camera has an automacro mode which lets the camera automatically switch and go into macro mode (though focusing might be slightly slower).

Video Recording

The Samsung WB610 has a 720p Standard HD movie mode that records 1280 x 720 video at 30 frames per second with stereo sound. The camera records movies in H.264 format, which keeps file sizes small while retaining video quality. Movie quality was overall acceptable for the typical user.

Performance

All performance testing of the Samsung WB610 was performed using a 16 GB SanDisk Extreme SDHC memory card.

The Samsung WB610 booted up in a rather decent 2 seconds, including the time needed to extend its lens. Focusing performance was generally good, with times ranging from 0.2 to 0.6 seconds at wide-angle and up to a full second at full zoom. The camera performed well in low-light focusing thanks to its autofocus assist lamp.

  • Shot-to-shot speed – 1 shot every 1.9 seconds, good
  • Flash recharge time using a fully charged battery – 4 seconds, decent
  • Optical zoom speed (from wide-angle to telephoto) – 2.2 seconds

The Samsung WB610 had a pretty unremarkable 1.0 FPS continuous shooting mode, which is in fact not very surprising since it lacks a fancy CCD or CMOS sensor compared to more expensive and recent camera models.

Overall performance of the Samsung WB610 was decent. It will suit most users just fine but will not blow your mind with breakneck speeds either.

Image Quality


ISO 80 (f3.2, 1/8 sec)


ISO 100 (f3.2, 1/8 sec)


ISO 200 (f3.2, 1/15 sec)


ISO 400 (f3.2, 1/30 sec)


ISO 800 (f3.2, 1/60 sec)


ISO 1600 (f3.2, 1/125 sec)


ISO 3200 (f4.6, 1/180 sec)

The Samsung WB610 starts out with good detail but slightly visible grain at ISO 80, which is acceptable considering the preservation of detail and lack of noise reduction. Results seem consistent at ISO 100 and remain quite similar to ISO 200.

At ISO 400, there’s a noticeable increase in the amount of grain, with a sign of noise reduction here. Things become even more obvious and muddier at ISO 800 and this is about as high as you should go. At ISO 1600, saturation takes even worse of a hit and drops; along with detail levels. And there’s lots of noise and muddiness at ISO 3200.

In terms of lens characteristics, there was a noticeable amount of lens distortion and chromatic aberration (color fringing) in photos, but corner sharpness was good. Redeye was a non-issue for the camera since it processes and removes any in photos.

Photo quality was all-in-all pretty average in terms of quality. The camera is on par with other cameras with traditional CCD sensors, but not exactly as good as pricier, CMOS-using cameras.

Photo gallery

Visit the Samsung WB610 photo gallery to view more photos in full resolution!

 


 

Playback

The Samsung WB610 has a good playback mode. There are the usual playback features along with a bunch of editing features including resizing, rotation, cropping, face retouch, adjustment of brightness, contrast and saturation. There are also various effects that you can apply onto photos that you’ve taken.

The Samsung WB610 shows you just about everything you’d like to see about your photos, from shooting to exposure information to a brightness histogram.

Conclusion

The Samsung WB610 is a not-so-recent compact super-zoom camera model that is a decent performer. The camera has pretty standard sounding features: 12 megapixels of resolution, a 15X optical zoom lens, 3 inch screen and decent battery life.

The camera has a suite of manual controls along with automatic shooting and scene modes, making the camera a good choice for both enthusiasts and beginners. The camera has a fancy AMOLED display to frame your photos on. What’s slightly clunky, however, is the fact that there’s no jog dial or command wheel of any sort, making adjustment of manual controls a bit tedious with plenty of button mashing.

The camera had decent performance and image quality, nothing to write home about but not exactly stuff to frown upon either. There were both pros and cons, such as good focusing performance versus poor continuous shooting, and good detail levels in photos versus mushy quality at high ISOs.

The Samsung WB610 is overall a fairly average camera which covers almost all shooting aspects well. It doesn’t excel at any particular area more than other cameras of its class, but if you have a camera that’s affordable and decent as a whole, then considering the 2010 model year Samsung WB610 is something you should do.

What’s hot:

  • Compact and affordable
  • Brilliant 3 inch AMOLED display
  • Full manual controls and scene modes
  • Plenty of optical zoom (15X) with optical image stabilization
  • 720p movie mode
  • Great feature-complete playback mode
  • Decent image quality

What’s not:

  • Plenty of button pressing to adjust manual settings (no jog dial or wheel)
  • Lens distortion, color fringing and mushy photo quality at high ISO
  • Slow continuous shooting mode
  • Flimsy bottom compartment door

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