Check out our review of the Samsung WB350F digital camera.
We thought going into 2014 there would be fewer point-and-shoot models, but we were wrong. In general camera makers unveiled fewer products at CES than in prior years, but the compact camera is far from dead – they’re just a little better. Samsung, which got a head start on CES announcements with the NX30 and Galaxy Camera 2 ((which is also a compact point-and-shoot, running Android)), announced a few new point-and-shoot cameras during the show (interesting considering makes an arsenal of smartphones that are killing off these compact cams), although the spotlight was more on the NX30 and Galaxy cameras than on these models. (We were given a very half-hearted overview of these lesser cameras at Samsung’s booth, which goes to show where the company’s priorities are when it comes to cameras; in fact, most of the cameras weren’t available for attendees to demo, stored behind glass instead).
In the point-and-shoot category, some of the trends this year include compacts with long optical zooms. The 16-megapixel WB350F is a compact camera with a 21x optical zoom and 23mm wide-angle lens. It uses a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, captures Full HD video at 30 frames per second, and offers an ISO range of 80-3,200. It’s equipped with Wi-Fi and NFC for image transfers, remote viewing and control on a smartphone, and direct upload to social media sites from the camera (Smart Camera 3.0). Another interesting and potentially handy feature is a Baby Monitor mode that puts the camera into a surveillance camera that you can access remotely (you can also talk through the camera in this mode). The camera is simple yet elegant with the textured leatherette surface (in white, black, brown, red, and, blue), and Samsung’s Wi-Fi implantation is top-notch. But the camera lacks the terrific looks, features, and performance of Panasonic’s new Lumix ZS40 when you compare the two long-zoom compacts.
Moving down the compact lineup is the WB35F. Also designated a “Smart” camera, the WB35F has the same wireless functions as the WB350F. But this 16-megapixel camera uses a CCD sensor instead, which isn’t as strong as a BSI CMOS sensor and can only capture video as high as 720p. The WB35F has a 12x optical zoom with optical image stabilization There are plenty of automatic shooting modes, so consider this the budget compact but with improved wireless connectivity. Another model, the WB50F, is similar in specs but offers a soft flash for more natural-looking photos.
Camera companies will also place more emphasis on the ultra-zoom bridge camera. Samsung’s WB2200F has a 60x optical zoom and a dual-grip design that gives the user two ways to better hold the camera, in landscape or portrait. The bottom grip makes it appear as if the camera has an extra battery pack, but it isn’t. The WB2200F has an electronic viewfinder in addition to the 3-inch LCD. It uses a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, and has Wi-Fi/NFC and all the aforementioned wireless features.
For a more traditional-looking bridge camera, there’s the WB1100F. It has 35x zoom, 25mm wide-angle lens, with a Speed Control Key for moving “through the various levels of zoom with speed and ease,” Samsung says. The sensor has been dumbed down to a 16.2-megapixel CCD, so 720p video is the highest you’ll get.
Prices and availability have not been determined.