Most helpful critical review
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Awesome camera with the best wifi and Android apps available on any camera.
on January 31, 2014
This is a really nice camera that takes very sharp photos using a 16.3 backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. What that means is that it can take photos in very low light without a flash. I took a picture in low light and the camera in Smart Auto mode choose an ISO of 1280. There wasn't any discernible noise even when viewed on my 22" Samsung monitor.
The 21x zoom offers an extremely wide range of viewing angles. From 23mm wide to 483mm telephoto.
One of the features that makes a touchscreen very desirable is the ability to use your finger to choose the area where you want the camera to focus. Other cameras (even my DSLR) require you to focus on your subject using a half press of the shutter and then move the camera to compose the shot while still holding down the shutter. With the touchscreen you just compose the shot and then select the area you want in focus and then press the shutter.
The Wifi works really well. I can easily share my photos with anyone who has an NFC equipped phone, email recipients or a host of other social networking sites. The Auto backup works very well but you must first install the Auto backup software onto you computer.
The Samsung Smart camera app works very well and has the highest rating of any such app. The Sony, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon apps aren't nearly as robust or as compatible and have lower ratings. Of course this camera does have a small sensor so don't expect the same picture quality you will get with a much larger camera. But that's the thing. I wanted a pocket sized camera with a long zoom, that would be easy to upload my photos to my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. Cameras with larger sensors have much larger lenses and won't fit in your pocket.
This camera does what it's supposed to. Clear bright photos that are easy to compose and control with the hybrid touchscreen interface. Unlike cameras that only offer touchscreen, this hybrid camera lets you use either the touchscreen or tactile buttons.
Currently this camera is only available at Costco where they bundle it with a Case Logic Case and a 16gb micro SD card. It uses the Samsung SLB-10A battery which is widely available. It charges in the camera but for less than $10 you can buy an external charger and a spare battery.
The camera body has a nice leather-like covering that is easy to grip and there is a thumb rest on the back. There is a one button video recording feature and you can even take stills while shooting video. I've shopped around and no other small, pocket sized camera offers the same features and ease of sharing that this camera offers at anything close to this price. Sure the Samsung NX300 offers better photo quality but it's hardly pocketable and even with two lenses you won't have the same range. Plus it's price sets it in the DSLR range.
The WB350F is small and unobtrusive so you won't be a target for camera thieves. I hesitate to take my DSLR to places where there is a lot of dust or sand but a low cost, sealed lens camera is much less of a gamble.
Look at the user reviews of Samsung cameras such as the WB800F which is very similar to this camera. 4 and a half stars overall. The WB250F also scores very well.
The in camera effects filters are fun and easy to use. When this camera hits the stores it will be very popular for it's features, performance, wifi sharing and it's cool retro look.
Long term review update. (April 14, 2015)
When I purchased this camera I weighed multiple factors including unfortunately the Samsung announcement at CES that the picture quality would be substantially improved from the previous model. That didn’t happen. Samsung did increase the RAM, available memory and the processor much like they do with new cell phones. The camera however remained pretty much unchanged with a lot more scene modes. The image processor, the lens and the image sensor are all still in line with a lower end point and shoot camera like the WB150f.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t get some good pictures using this device. I took a picture of a distant mountain with the lens fully extended to 483mm and it looks pretty sharp. Not DSLR sharp but pretty good. If I had used a cell phone the mountain would have a been a dot in the background.
In addition to the limitations of the camera there are two things that could be improved. First off is the time it takes to capture a picture starting with the camera off. It is way too slow. There should be a camera priority setting that just gets the camera working like any point and shoot camera. Instead the Android OS starts at the same time taxing the processor and memory. Conversely you should be able to set it to operate in tablet priority mode so that the lens doesn’t come popping out as it’s booting up which causes it to topple over from the weight of the lens.
Second it is still plagued with software bugs. For a very long time (at least six months) Samsung ignored the bug where it would lose the Google credentials on nearly every boot up and you had to re-enter them. This was a major headache that was eventually solved with a firmware update. At the same time Samsung was doing this however they should have updated the device from Jelly Bean 4.3 to the newer KitKat 4.4.2 OS. My Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has been updated to KitKat and it’s scheduled to be updated to 5.0 Lollipop this year.
Another bug that still exists is that frequently on boot up it asks if you want to use the external memory card for image storage (if you have one inserted.) It just seems to forget this important setting way too frequently.
Don’t get me wrong however. For a long time this was my favorite gadget because I didn’t own a smart phone. I had a feature phone for calls and this device for everything else. Now I own an LG smart phone that’s great and I found myself hardly ever using the Galaxy Camera. The 4.8” screen is very clear but washes out completely in bright sunlight making it useless. You have to just take aim and hope for the best.
So I decided to get a new camera. One that was much better than the average point and shoot. I bought a new Nikon 1 J4 and I’m thrilled with it. Even though the screen is just 3” it is very bright and substantially clearer the Galaxy camera and I can use it outdoors in bright light. So now that I own a smart phone and a great go everywhere camera (the Nikon), I decided to sell the Galaxy Camera. If the Android features and the nice large screen are as important to you as the camera and you only want to carry one device in addition to a phone than this device is for you. The price has dropped to around $240 for a refurbished model or a nice used one so that makes a cool new toy for not much money. Also if social networking is your thing than this camera is really cool because you can take a photo, jazz it up with an Android app adding lots of stickers, frames etc and then send it along directly from the camera so long as you have wifi or a phone with NFC so that you can transfer the pictures. The sharing capabilities would definitely make this camera a hit at a daytime party. At night the poor ISO performance could pose a problem. I don’t do social networking photo sharing so it isn’t a useful device for me. If you are still using a feature phone but would like to explore Android apps, but want a decent camera to boot than that’s another reason to buy this camera. One feature I will miss is the automatic upload of photos to Dropbox. That’s a feature that every camera should have.