Samsung WB750 12.5 Megapixel BSI CMOS Sensor Wide-Angle Digital Camera Review @ ModSynergy.com
By: Michael Phrakaysone
Astonishingly it’s been two full years since a Samsung digital camera had made its way into my hands for review. A number of Samsung imaging products have been reviewed on ModSynergy, from small digital cameras to DSLR-hybrids, and each time I could not help but observe the continued incremental growth from Samsung in regard to their picture and video quality.
The last time we looked at a digital camera, it was the Samsung WB550 that was tested on this website. It was touted as a good mega-zoom offering in the high-end segment, but I felt the image quality was lacking, and that in general Samsung had lots of room for improvements on future iterations.
Today marks the day that I can witness what two years of continued incremental growth can bring as I review the most recent member and bigger brother of the WB550 that was reviewed previously.
Today I share my opinion on the newest Samsung WB750 super-zoom digital camera. The WB750 contains 12.5-megapixels, 24mm ultra-wide Schneider-KREUZNACH lens, 18x optical zoom, 1080p full HD video, and operates on a BSI CMOS sensor. You always hear me speaking about sensors in my DSLR reviews, because they are an essential part of the overall camera, and this one sports a BSI variant (stands for back-illuminated sensor). I will compare and present to you the similarities, differences and possible improvements that the WB750 offers against the outgoing WB550 model and see if this one is worth your hard earned money.
Samsung WB750 Product Overview
The Samsung WB750 boasts an incredible 24 mm ultra wide lens, 18x optical zoom, and delivers you consistent professional images with a wide range of unique features. It boasts a 12.5 M BSI CMOS sensor created by Samsung, which allows even the smallest details to be reproduced with professional quality, even in low-light situations. The WB750 gives you the best of both worlds with high-quality digital photos and Full HD video in incredible depth of color and detail. Furthermore, Samsung’s sophisticated Dual Capture function unites the two, allowing you to take 10 Megapixel photos whilst simultaneously recording video in full 1080p HD quality. With added features like Creative Movie maker, Live Panorama, and 3D photo, the WB750 delivers you a powerful optical performance so you never miss a special moment.
Samsung WB750 Product Features
24 mm Wide, 18x Schneider-KREUZNACH Lens: The WB750 features a 24mm wide angle setting allowing you to get deeper shots at close range with incredible detail. It also boasts an incredible 18x Optical Zoom Schneider-KREUZNACH Lens making capturing distant subjects in perfect detail easier than ever.
12.5 MP BSI CMOS Sensor: The WB750 features a 12.5 MP BSI (Back Side Illuminated) CMOS sensor for impressive low-light performance. BSI CMOS sensors are twice as sensitive as conventional CMOS sensors, which means less light is needed for properly exposed photos delivering you sharper pictures, with minimal noise and distortion.
Photo or Video? Dual Capture lets You Have Both: The Dual Capture feature of the WB750 lets you snap 10 megapixel still pictures even while recording full HD video, so you don't have to sacrifice your scrapbook memories when you're shooting live action. Get every lap of a long distance relay and, as the victor crosses the finish line, simply press the shutter button. You'll capture all the excitement of the race on video, and you'll have a beautiful still of the winner's smile - both with incredible, detailed quality.
Live Panorama: With Live Panorama, you can practically capture the whole wide world without having to step back! Live Panorama lets you see the final image in advance, so you know you’re getting the picture you want. It’s as simple as holding down the shutter button and sweeping the camera across the scene.
Full HD Recording 1080p: In addition to taking professional-quality photographs, the WB750 shoots 1.920 x 1.080p Full HD video at 30 frames per second, with lifelike color and extraordinarily sharp details. Plus, its H.264 format allows longer recording than a camera with MJPEG video does, so you can capture more of the fun. Then hook up your WB750 to your HDTV, and watch your brilliant HD footage from the comfort of your living room.
Smart Filter 3.0: Boost creative fun with Smart Filter 3.0 - right on the display! Cartoon filter makes any photo look like an animated film scene while Cross Filter makes light sources appear to have several points of light, like stars. And Zooming Shot adds motion lines to make it look like you're speeding towards your subject. There's also Water Paint, Oil Painting, Half Tone Dot and many more ways for you to express your creative side.
Full Manual Control: For the knowledgeable photographer, some moments - like a bride and a groom's first kiss - are too special to leave to auto mode. Choose your settings with Full Manual Control always on to choose the perfect setting for that perfect moment. Aperture Priority lets you see the aperture up to 8 steps while the camera selects a shutter speed; or set Shutter Priority and the WB750 will find the right aperture. Want to set both? Opt for Manual Mode.
Samsung WB750 Product Specifications
Such as it was with the WB550, the new Samsung WB750 comes also in a compact corrugated box with a fancy multiple colored tile-like design. It’s also environmentally friendly and that’s always great to see.
The Samsung WB750 is one of the top models rounding out Samsung’s Performance hierarchy and goes for around $300CAD, and can be found for much less on sale. If you ask me, I think that’s a pretty good value in terms of what you get as a total package. The WB750 is a product that offers an impressive 18x optical Schneider-KREUZNACH lens, ability to record video at full 1080p, a 460,000 pixel 3.0-inch LCD display, and 12.5-megapixels in a stylish form factor. This is an upgrade in every way over the older WB550. It to my surprise even looks the same, with minor cosmetic/control differences.
Remember that if like high-zoom, a digital camera is without a doubt an easier way to achieve this, for much less financially. Compare the same zooming features when searching for a digital-SLR, and you’ll soon realize you’re going to end up a thousand less in the wallet, instead of the $300CAD the WB750 sells for.
Purchasing the Samsung WB750, you will be presented with the following items…
- Samsung WB750 digital camera
- SLB-10A rechargeable Li-ion battery (3.7v, 1030mAh)
- Wrist Strap
- Proprietary USB charge cable
- 20-pin proprietary A/V cable
- Worldwide single USB travel wall charger (5.0v --- 550mA)
- Manual and Warranty Card
- Software CD-ROM with e-manual
Editors Note: The battery that is given with the WB750 is exactly the same model to the one the WB550 uses, however, the one with the WB750 has a little less overall capacity (1030mAh vs. 1050mAh).
I don’t like proprietary cables and Samsung includes two of them. If you lose these cables, it’s not as simple as going out to the mall and picking up any standard USB cable. You’re going to need to do a special order and pay more.
Unfortunately, Samsung has decided not to include a carrying case with the bundle. This is a disappointment because I know that simple pouches are inexpensive to produce.
The WB750 utilizes the SD, SDHC, SDXC standards, meaning you’ll be able to utilize a 64GB memory card if you ever need to.
Coming to the front of the camera, we see the stylish look that is the WB750. I thought the WB550 looked great when I reviewed it, but the WB750 just takes it a step further with that style and elegance. The WB750 looks absolutely fantastic. Whereas the WB550 went with a smooth outer shell, the WB750 maintains a darker finish and has a beautiful crosshatch pattern amidst a brushed aluminum looking Samsung logo. Construction is mostly plastic but it feels tough.
The Samsung WB750 measures 105.3 x 59.4 x 24.9mm in size compared to the WB550’s 105 x 61.4 x 36.5mm in size, meaning the 750 got slimmer as the years and technology progressed.
Looking at the front of the camera, from right to left, is the 18x Schneider KREUZNACH lens, automatic opening lens cover, AF assist/self-timer lamp, integrated flash unit and the textured cross hatch pattern grip while the Samsung logo sits in the middle and rounds off the front.
A possible issue you might encounter during use is when you grip the camera, make sure the top of your fingers does not cover the camera flash. I have to keep this in mind as I grip the camera or else the flash would not spread properly because my finger was in the way. Maybe a pop-up flash would be a great solution for this camera, but that would require a design change.
Looking at the right side of the camera, we have a fold out cover that keeps the USB+AV connector and HDMI connector housed. The fold out cover snaps open and shut and doesn’t just dangle. Unfortunately Samsung does not include an HDMI cable with the bundle which would allow you to connect the camera to any HDTV to watch the 1080p videos you have recorded. The good thing is that this cable is not proprietary, the end that attaches to the camera is micro-HDMI and the other connects to your HDTV. Lastly we have the wrist strap eyelet at the bottom.
On the left side of the camera is where the cool HDMI connectional terminal is. Instead of using the supplied A/V cable, you can purchase a proprietary Samsung HDMI cable for a better picture with today’s HDTV.
Looking at the bottom of the WB750 is where the metal tripod mount lays at dead center, and the battery chamber cover that houses the battery and memory card slot. Remove the battery cover by flicking the lock to open and close. As stated the battery is the exact same model SLB-10A that is used on the WB550, however, this one is rated 20 less mAh capacity for some unknown reason.
We come to the top of the camera where we find from left to right the internal speaker, stereo microphone, power button, 9-mode dial, shutter button and zoom dial. The additional of two separate microphones that enables stereo sound is a welcome addition as some cameras only offer monaural sound recordings.
Looking at the rear of the camera we find a big 3.0” hVGA TFT LCD. This screen is an upgrade over the one on the WB550 because it offers 460,000 pixel resolution in comparison to the WB550’s 230,000 pixel resolution. Seems like everything in this WB750 is an upgrade, remember I was talking about incremental improvements?
Aside from the LCD on the rear, we also find the green LED status lamp, red video record button at the top right corner, MENU button, burst option button, 5-function multi-directional rotating dial pad (DISP, Macro, Flash, and Timer options), playback mode, and Fn button which acts as the shooting mode and delete button.
The TFT LCD display that is on the WB750 acts the same in performance as the one on the older WB550 digital camera. Although I did find the WB550’s display to offer a bit more saturation for its color rendition, these units are virtually the same, the only difference is that the WB750 has a bit more pixel resolution it can play around with to show finer details once in playback mode. In live mode you can see grain and noise and the resolution isn’t the highest. Not the best display on a camera, but it’s good. It’s a shame that Samsung has AMOLED technology but refused to use it on their products. If this had an AMOLED display, it would have been fantastic.
Once the ambient light is really poor, the display will start to lag a bit but it’s always manageable. If lighting conditions are great, the display renders steady and smooth. You’ll always see through the LCD display the white balance being changed constantly depending on the lighting conditions, even if it's set on manual. In bright sunny outdoor conditions, the LCD display will get the work done, although it does end up looking a little dark even if the brightness is set to high. Sometimes you’ll find yourself covering the display from the sun, or finding a less bright area to shoot the subject.
Performance and Results - Is it any better? How does it perform?
I’ve had the chance of using the Samsung WB750 for about 1.5 months now and I can say that picture quality has improved over the WB550. The picture quality having the most improvement is a surprise. The picture quality is now for the most part sharper than before, while there is some softness around the edges of the frame. Chromatic aberrations or purple fringing when zoomed in all the way using the 18x optical zoom is well controlled and shouldn’t cause concerns.
The internal and digital image stabilization system within the WB750 works excellent as you’ll see in my highway shots later on. I was able to take pictures that turned out sharp and in focus when I was a passenger in a highway ride going 110KM/H and my arms shaking constantly. If photos are seen at 100%, the photos offer sharp details and overall shouldn’t disappoint most people considering the price. I’m actually happy with the picture quality.
Barrel distortion at the wide end is noticeable but once you zoom in a bit, it becomes better and natural.
Noise is well controlled in the photos up to ISO 800 where you start to notice them. ISO 1600 and above are usable, but I wouldn’t use them if I had the choice, there’s too much noise and grain in them.
The macro function on this camera is also very impressive because you can go literally next to an object and be able to take a photo. From the widest angle you are able to capture macros as close as 5cm away from the object.
A neat mode on the WB750 allows you to take a panorama and has a 3D mode. It works well and is easy to use. All you do is hold the shutter button while slowly turning the camera to make a panorama.
The Samsung WB750 comes with a bunch of Smart Filter effects that help snazzy up your photos. Filters include miniature, vignetting, soft focus, old film, half tone dot, sketch, fish-eye, classic, retro, oil painting, cartoon, ink painting, cross filter.
In comparison to the WB550, I notice that it does a better job at exposure with the internal flash. The WB550 would overexpose but the WB750 seems to have fixed that issue.
Video quality on the WB750 is capable of producing full HD 1080p/30fps video and outputs the video in MP4 format. The sad thing is that while you can record as many videos that you want, each recording is restricted to 20 minutes only. The WB550 does the same thing, but I recall, it restricts videos to 30 minutes. I’m not sure why they do this but I suppose it’s done to prevent customers from using this as a camcorder.
A new feature which I found brilliant, and was not previously found on the WB550, is that while recording video, you can simultaneously capture still photos at the same time without ever stopping the video. You can take up to six photos and it turned out great. Also you can pause recording and resume recording at any time, which I found useful in making a collage. A negative is that you can hear the motor whine a little during zoom operation. Also sometimes when you zoom the camera will misfocus and you'll have to try again.
Video quality is somewhat of a disappointment, although it's not entirely as bad. There is still good amount of details available and watching through an HDTV looks better than watching through a computer screen because there is more saturation. I just feel that the videos were far too compressed with the video looking soft and washed out.
The only odd and weird incident I came across with the Samsung WB750’s video recording is when I was testing the video (in the washroom of all places!) and the battery indicator turned red indicating low battery, the video then unexpectedly starting jittering and shaking for no reason, the video basically was not smooth anymore. It had seemed like the image stabilization stopped working. I stopped recording, started another recording and the issue could not be reproduced. Another negative is during video recording, when you zoom in, the brightness of the video will get darker as you get closer, and start to slowly brighten.
Operations such as powering on/off, zooming in and out are much snappier and quicker than they were on the WB550, which is always a welcome improvement.
The Samsung WB750 is very easy to use and navigate around menus using the rotating dial directional pad. A complaint I had with the WB550 was that it was too beginner friendly for a high-end model and the WB750 has no such issues as it offers full manual capabilities, aperture priority, shutter priority, program mode, scene modes, just to name a few. The WB750 offers a plethora of modes and flexibility.
Test Images and Videos
The Samsung WB750 is an upgrade in every way over the WB550 so there’s not much to get upset about. It’s taken a good camera and made it incrementally better by offering a better screen, 1080p HD video recording, much improved picture quality, manual capabilities, panorama, excellent image stabilization and much more. So if you’re in the market for a small and sleek high-zoom digital camera, please have a look at the Samsung WB750 and see if it's the one for you.