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Samsung WB850F review

Smarter than the average camera

Samsung WB850F review
The Samsung WB850F has 16MP and Wi-Fi for uploading images to social networks and emailing them to friends


  • Good low ISO image quality
  • Excellent zoom range
  • Full manual control
  • Wi-Fi enabled


  • Reds oversaturated
  • Battery life reduced with GPS
  • GPS slow to lock on
  • No raw shooting

The 16.2MP Samsung WB850F is part of Samsung's Smart Camera range of compact cameras that have built-in Wi-Fi to enable images to be shared direct from the camera.

With a 21x zoom Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan lens offering a focal length range equivalent to 23-483mm, the Samsung WB850F is aimed at travellers and those who need a versatile camera that can be slipped into a pocket.

Wandering photographers may also appreciate the Samsung WB850F's built-in GPS technology with Live Landmark tech that enables you to access information about points of interest in front of you.

Samsung WB850F review

It's also possible to download maps (via a computer connection and copied to the SD card in the camera) and use the camera's on-screen MapView to navigate. There's even a digital compass so you can be sure you're facing in the right direction.

Although it's not entirely new to cameras, the feature that Samsung is most excited about in the WB850F is its Wi-Fi capability. This enables the camera to connect to Wi-Fi networks, even those that are password-protected, and to share images by uploading them to Facebook, Picasa and Photobucket or by emailing them straight from the camera.

Videos can also be uploaded directly to YouTube and files can be wirelessly backed up to the Cloud or your PC.

Samsung WB850F review

Since it combines automatic, semi-automatic and manual shooting modes the Samsung WB850F has options to suit most levels of photographic experience and a range of situations.

Given the amount of technology squeezed into the small body, it's perhaps a surprise that the screen isn't touch-sensitive and that all adjustments and password entries have to be made using physical buttons and dials.

In fairness, however, the screen is a 3-inch 614,000-dot AMOLED display, which should ensure a decent view in bright light.

Samsung WB850F review

The Samsung WB850F is priced at £329.99 in the UK and $379.99 in the US, putting it in the same price range as the Canon PowerShot D20, Sony HX20V and Olympus TG-1.

Build and handling

It may not be the smallest compact camera available, but the Samsung WB850F is small enough to slip into a jacket pocket or small handbag without any difficulty. It also feels fairly durable and nicely put together.

A pronounced ridge on the front of the camera serves as an effective, while stylish looking grip that provides just enough purchase. However, the smooth surface of much of the Samsung WB850F means it is advisable to attach the supplied wrist strap.

Samsung WB850F review

All the basic functions of the Samsung WB850F are easy to get to grips with. The shooting mode, for example, is selected via the mode dial on the top of the camera in conjunction with the navigation controls and on-screen display.

Like many compact cameras, the navigation buttons on the back of the Samsung WB850F also provide shortcuts to a few features. However, Samsung has chosen to assign two of them to the non-photographic features - Live Landmark and the compass.

This means that aspects such as the focus and flash modes must be accessed and adjusted via the function menu, which is accessed by pressing the Fn button. This takes a little more time than using a direct button.

We also found the video activation button a little fiddly to use and it seems to require a press with the thumbnail to get things going.

Samsung WB850F review

Although the GPS system works straight from the box (once the battery is charged) the map data needs to be uploaded from a computer before it can be used. This requires installing the Samsung software on a computer from the supplied CD and is straightforward enough using a step-by-step wizard.

Like most compact cameras, the Samsung WB850F doesn't have a viewfinder and images are composed on the 3-inch 614,000-dot AMOLED screen. We found that this provides a clear, contrasty view in most lighting conditions, and even in direct sunlight it remains usable. Reflections are an issue, but it is still possible to see an image.