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The Samsung WB600 doesn’t spell much of a difference with the previously released WB550. Sporting almost the same look and features, the WB600s major difference lies in its enhanced zoom capabilities. In contrast to the WB550 the former touts a whopping 15x of optical zoom; that’s 5x more than what the older model showcased. However the features just don’t end here, it goes a little beyond their previous model.
When it comes to looks and overall build there is no denying the fact that the WB600 comes out as a sheer winner. Encased in a rugged plastic body the camera feels sturdy enough to survive a fall. Moreover the matte finish ensures that the camera doesn’t get smudged with fingerprints. Now taking into account that the Samsung WB600 is a compact megazoom it comes in as being quite a bulky and heavy one. Nevertheless sporting 15x of zoom does have its drawback but that is something that can be easily overlooked. Size wise, the Samsung comes in at 107 x 61 x 28 mm and weighs 245 g, which makes it tad heavy to be carried around in your pant pocket. Irrespective of its weight and dimensions the camera fits in quite well when held. However since it lacks any sort of grip (other than its protruding right side) there are chances of it slipping. Capturing wide angle shots shouldn’t be a problem since this little baby comes with a sweet 24mm wide angle lens.
Switch to a top down view and you will notice a neatly placed mode selection dial along with the power and shutter release button placed on opposite sides. The zoom rocker as of now has more or less become a standard in most mid range digital cameras and is very neatly implemented in the WB600. Tilt the camera forward and you will be greeted to a nice big chunky screen that measures to a decent 3-inch display. The controls placed beside the display are quite responsive. Having said that, users with slightly bulky fingers would find it a little uneasy to navigate via the menus as they are a little small but not impossible to operate. A dedicated video record button is also placed towards the top right which allows you to record at any given mode or setting. The shutter release button can also be used to record video – provided the mode is switched to video.
Speaking about modes, the WB600 comes with a dedicated Aperture (A), Shutter speed (S) and Manual mode (M). What I mean to say is, the selection dial has a function called A-S-M which allows the user to select the desired mode thereby eliminating the need to hunt for it. Here you will also find a ‘Dual-IS’ mode – which offers better Image Stabilization, Program mode, Scene mode – allows you select from a variety of 12 different preset modes, Beauty shot mode – automatically retouches spots and blemishes (to a certain extent) and you have the usual Auto and Smart Auto mode that decides on the most appropriate mode depending on the scene.
Overall interface is clean and slick which makes navigating between modes a breeze. The image review interface could have been made slicker as having the dates displayed below the image makes no sense – you cannot jump from one date to another. Pictures can also be viewed by type (JPEG / Video) or color or week. Nevertheless you are still confined to scrolling image wise.
A feature that the camera doesn’t mention clearly is the added functionality of it being able to capture video in HD. However the maximum resolution that the WB600 can record in is - 1280 x 720 (720p) at 30 fps. There is nothing to complain about here as the camera handles the overall color and contrast quite well. The WB600 performs equally well even in areas that are dimly lit. The biggest selling point of the camera is its ability to make use of its massive 15x zoom to its fullest. IS holds good at full zoom giving you a very steady video. In addition, clips can be captured by pressing down the macro button when the video is paused. Moreover the user also has the freedom to pause while shooting; this basically allows you to randomly change your shooting mode within the same frame.
The WB600 does well in balancing out the overall color and contrast. Pictures come out sharp and decently detailed with no apparent fringing and color bleeding.
Going by the image the Samsung WB600 is definitely not the sharpest camera around. The main concern is the noise that it brings into its picture. While this might not be apparent at a scaled down view, zoom in and it’s quite apparent even at the lowest ISO range. However resizing the image gives a much better output.
The cameras night mode performs well but might not be the best when compared. For instance when compared to the previously reviewed ST5500 the WB600 feels much underrated. However comparing the two in terms of performance wouldn’t be justifiable as the ST5500 comes at much higher price bracket - so performance and price go hand in hand here. Nevertheless the WB600 handles low light shots well but falls short when it comes to overall sharpness.
Macro shots are considerably good with a good set of details and come in pretty sharp. The WB600s macro range falls in at 3 cm.
The Samsung WB600 can be well considered an above average camera that comes packed with a mighty zoom lens packed in a rather small body. So if I am not wrong this currently makes it the most compact 15x camera currently in the market. Moreover the IS goes unrivalled to many in this category making it quite a competitor. You will also find nifty little additions such as aperture, shutter speed and manual modes thereby allowing you to make finer changes before shooting. There are issues with noise at the lowest ISO but it doesn’t go to the extent of making the image unusable. All in all the Samsung WB600 is a decent camera with a good set of features. At Rs. 15,990 it currently is quite affordable for a compact megazoom camera.