Friday, January 23, 2015

Best wifi camera - Samsung WB350F

At a regular price of AUD$199, the Samsung WB350F is one of the best value-for-money pocketable point-and-shoot wifi camera one can get today. If you are a photographer and you yearn to have a high end smartphone simply because of its better image quality, this camera might make you think twice. The host of connectivity options is plentiful:

1. Built-in wifi hotspot. Some cameras use Eye-Fi for their wifi solution. (The Eye-Fi is a 3rd party flash memory card, and the wifi built into it does not work on all cameras.) With its built-in wifi hotspot. I can transfer an image to a smartphone or a tablet before or after taking the shot (prior download of app is required). I can also do batch transfer. I can preview the images either on the camera or on the smartphone. If enabled, I can transfer every shot as soon as it is taken (this happens in real time, but with a few seconds delay in between shots)

2. Built-in NFC. With one tap, I can transfer an image I am viewing, on to a NFC-enabled smartphone. Or, if in shooting mode, the WB350F will automatically turn the smartphone into a remote viewfinder for the camera. I can trigger the shot using the smartphone.

3. Built-in wifi recognition. The WB350F can detect and connect to any wifi hotspot out there. Note that not every wifi camera can do this. With this, I can email a photo straight from the camera to anyone; I can upload to cloud storage;  and I can upload to social media like Facebook, Picasa, and Youtube.

With the above connectivity options, the WB350F is a perfect solution for anyone who has been exclusively shooting with a smartphone. This camera comes with a 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS sensor, which can be found in high-end smartphone cameras. Needless to say, the image quality is as just as good as or better than what you see in a top end Samsung Galaxy phone. The built-in effects and filters are available on both stills (16MP) as well as on video (1920x1080, 30fps).


Here are some of the other features I find to be either interesting or useful on the WB350F:

a. Touch screen display. Navigating on the menu is so much easier with a touch screen display, especially if you are trying to type out an email address.

b. Charging via USB port. I find this very, very handy indeed. No more one-of-a-kind charger to lug around.

c. Frame grab. While reviewing a video clip on the camera, I can simply extract a frame as a jpeg image. Alternatively, I can shoot a still image while recording a video.

d. Effects and filters. A full range of effects and filters, commonly found in a smartphone, is available on the WB350F. The effects and filters can be applied either before or after taking the shot.

e. Powerful white balance control. White balance can be set using AWB, one of the presets, setting colour temperature manually, or custom shooting into a white background. Each of the presets (e.g. Daylight) can also be fine-tuned to your liking.

 Next time, I shall post some images taken with the WB350F. So far, I have found this to be a very delightful camera, having far more camera features and software features than any non-Samsung cameras, at any price. Yes, that says a lot!

Prior to this, I had planned to eventually upgrade to a high end smartphone simply for its better image quality. With the WB350F, I now have a real and dedicated camera with all the connectivity options and the fun-filled features of a smartphone, and an unrestrained battery life. As you can guess, I have struck the high end smartphone off my shopping list.

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