Samsung WB2000

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      A slim, lightweight digicam with a 5x zoom lens, advanced controls, raw file support and Full HD video recording.Unveiled at the PMA International show in February, Samsung’s WB2000 is targeted at photographers who want a slimline digicam with a full suite of controls, a high-quality monitor and Full HD video capability. Boasting a 10.2-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS image sensor and 5x optical zoom lens it is one of the few models of its type with raw file capture and provides a wider range of advanced functions than most competing models. . . [more]

      Full review


      Unveiled at the PMA International show in February, Samsung’s WB2000 is targeted at photographers who want a slimline digicam with a full suite of controls, a high-quality monitor and Full HD video capability. Boasting a 10.2-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS image sensor and 5x optical zoom lens it is one of the few models of its type with raw file capture and provides a wider range of advanced functions than most competing models.

      At the time of this review, the WB2000’s closest competitors were Canon’s PowerShot S90 and the just-announced Panasonic DMC-LX5, all of which support raw and are similar in size and weight. All three cameras deliver still images with the same 3648 x 2736 pixel resolution – but that’s only part of the story. The table below compares the differences between the three cameras.


      Samsung WB2000

      Canon PowerShot S90 IS

      Panasonic DMC-LX5

      Sensor type/resolution

      BSI CMOS/10.2MP



      Sensor size

      5.92 x 4.57 mm

      7.6 x 5.7mm

      ~ 8 x 6 mm

      Lens: Max. aperture
      Focal length (35mm equiv.)




      24 ~ 120mm



      Optical zoom range




      Monitor type/size


      TFT LCD/3-inch

      TFT LCD/3-inch

      Monitor resolution

      641,000 dots

      461,000 dots

      460,000 dots

      Max. video resolution

      1920 x 1080 pixels

      640 x 480 pixels

      1280 x 720 pixels

      Max. video frame rate

      1000 fps at 138 x 78 pixels

      30 fps

      25 fps

      Dimensions (wxhxd)

      99.5 x 59.0 x 21.7 mm

      100 x 58.4 x 30.9 mm

      109.7 x 65.5 x 43.0 mm

      Approx. weight (w/o battery & card)

      153.3 grams

      175 grams

      233 grams

      A review of the Canon PowerShot S90 IS has been published on the Photo Review website. We plan to review the Panasonic LX5 when it becomes available next month. Another possible rival is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V, which may have the same sensor (on the basis of published specifications) but boasts a 10x optical zoom lens.

      Its monitor resolution is lower (only 230,000 dots) and it doesn’t support raw file capture. It’s also a little heavier than the WB2000, thanks to the inclusion of a GPS receiver (which the WB2000 lacks), and its RRP is significantly higher at $629.

      Smaller, slimmer and lighter than the EX1, which was released by Samsung at the same time, like its rivals the WB2000 is genuinely pocketable. Its main advantages over most competitors are its longer zoom range, higher-resolution monitor and support for Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) video recording. It’s also the only one with high-speed video recording for slow-motion playback – albeit at very low resolution.

      Build and Ergonomics
      The WB2000 comes with a black, metal-clad body that is only 21.7 mm thick and less than 100 mm long. With battery and SD card on board the shooting weight is just 175 grams.

      The front panel is dominated by the mounting for the Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan 4.3~21.5mm lens, which retracts into the camera body when power is off and extends approximately 20 mm when it’s switched on. It’s a double-barrelled lens that is not particularly fast. Maximum apertures range from f/2.4 at the 4.3mm position to f/5.8 at 21.5mm. (The 35mm equivalent range for this lens is 24~120mm.)

      Between the lens mounting and the near side of the camera body is an LED lamp that doubles as AF-Assist and self-timer indicator. A tiny flash tube is located on the opposite side of the lens. The edge of the front panel on this side is raised slightly to provide a finger grip and a dimpled rubber pad has been attached for comfort and security.


      Front view of the WB2000. (Source: Samsung.)
      Typically for a slimline camera, the monitor covers two thirds of the rear panel. It’s a similar 3-inch AMOLED display with 641,000 dot resolution to the monitor on the EX1 but, unlike the latter, it is fixed in place on the rear panel. Right of the monitor is an arrow pad that is similar in form and function to the controller on the EX1. No viewfinder is provided.


      Two views of the rear panel on the WB2000. (Source: Samsung.)

      Surrounding the arrow pad are four buttons. The upper pair are the Menu and Movie recorder buttons, while the lower pair access the Playback and Function (Fn) sub-menus. Above the upper buttons is a novel drive mode dial, which is rotated with the tip of the thumb to select the continuous shooting modes and self-timer settings.

      Rotating the dial displays a ‘ribbon’ containing 13 settings. Drive mode settings include single, interval, 10-second and 2-second self-timer settings and a bracketing setting that lets you take a shot and create eight copies of it using the camera’s Picture Styles (outlined in the review of the EX1) or take three shots bracketing exposure or white balance.

      The continuous (‘burst’) settings include 10, 5 and 3 frames/second modes, a ‘precapture’ mode that records eight frames when you half-press the shutter button and stores the last one when the shutter is pressed all the way down. The final settings apply to video capture and include frame rates of 1000 fps, 480 fps, 240 fps and the normal-speed 30 fps.


      Two views of the top panel of the WB2000, showing the mode dial and mini dashboard. (Source: Samsung.)
      The top panel has a mode dial that is similar to the one on the EX1 plus a similar (though smaller) shutter button with surrounding zoom lever. At the opposite end of this panel is a ‘mini dashboard’ with two dials that separately indicate the remaining capacity of the battery and memory card. These dials are too small to be really useful but add a hint of novelty to the camera’s design. Also on the top panel is a power button, a pair of microphone holes and a three-hole speaker grille.

      The battery and memory card share a compartment in the base of the camera next to a tripod socket that appears to be plastic-lined. It’s located close to the optical axis of the lens. The USB/AV and HDMI ports are located on the right hand side panel under a lift-up plastic hatch.

      We’ve covered most of the controls in the WB2000 in our review of the EX1 so we’ll focus on those that are unique to the smaller camera. Chief among them is the new Advanced Panorama Shot function, which is located among the Scene pre-sets.

      This mode provides two options. The normal setting is similar to Sony’s Sweep Panorama, although you can’t move the camera quite as quickly. Frames are captured while the shutter button is held down and combined in the camera after it is released. The resolution of the final image is fixed at 1M (1024 x 768 pixels).

      Pressing the Menu button in Panorama mode takes you to the shooting menu where you can switch on the Panorama Action mode. In this mode, the AF system engages Object Tracking and the camera will record a sequence of frames that document a moving subject. The resolution of the final image is fixed at 640 x 480 pixels so this mode is only usable for shots that are designed for viewing online.

      You can’t use the zoom function when the camera is in Panorama mode, which seems counter-intuitive. Nor can you adjust aperture and shutter speed settings. In addition, the ‘stitching’ of the images will fail if the camera verges noticeably off the horizontal while the shots are being recorded.

      Capture rates are fairly slow – unlike the Sony system. However, with care (and practice) you can fit almost a complete 360 degree panorama into the available recording space. The length of the swing dictates the height of the final image (shorter swings provide taller pictures).

      Video and Continuous Shooting Modes
      Whereas the EX1 has very basic capabilities, Samsung has really gone to town with the video function on the WB2000. Like the EX1, the WB2000 has a dedicated movie button that initiates and ends video capture.

      However, unlike the EX1, users of the WB2000 can simultaneously record HD video clips and high resolution still pictures. It also offers a much wider range of video resolutions and frame rates than other manufacturers’ HD cameras. The table below shows the options available and typical recording times on a 1GB memory card.

      Aspect ratio


      Frame rate

      Recording time

      16:9 (Wide)

      1920 x 1080 HQ

      30 fps

      6 minute 28 seconds

      1920 x 1080

      7 minutes 11 seconds

      1280 x 720

      12 minutes 3 seconds

      192 x 64

      1000 fps

      8 minutes 20 seconds

      4:3 (Standard)

      432 x 320

      240 fps

      8 minutes 20 seconds

      224 x 160

      480 fps

      6 minutes 3 seconds

      640 x 480

      30 fps

      26 minutes 15 seconds

      320 x 240

      69 minutes 57 seconds

      Continuous shooting options are also much wider in the WB2000 than the EX1, although they’re only available in the P, A, S, M and Dual IS modes. The camera offers three frame rates – 10 fps, 5 fps and 3 fps – all with 10-megapixel resolution.

      There’s also a ‘Precapture’ mode that starts to record images when you half-press the shutter button. Pressing the button all the way down saves the last image captured. This setting delivers sharp pictures provided the subject doesn’t shift its position significantly between the first shot (when the lens is focused) and the last shot. (The wider depth-of-field provided by the small sensor gives scope for ‘acceptably sharp’ images with minor positional changes.)

      An Interval mode setting is also available for taking time-lapse pictures. You can set the recording intervals from one minute to 48 hours and also determine the number of shots the camera will record in the sequence. The camera turns itself off automatically after each shot is taken. (We couldn’t test this setting due to problems with the supplied camera’s power management.)

      Sensor and Image Processing
      Although it has the same effective resolution as the sensor in the EX1, the WB2000’s sensor is quite a different beast. It’s a smaller 1/2.4-inch type (5.92 x 4.57 mm) chip that is described in the manual specifications as a High Speed BSI CMOS chip.

      The ‘BSI’ tag stands for Back Side Illuminated, which suggests it may have been made by Sony (a pioneer in this technology). BSI claims to provide double the sensitivity of standard, front-illuminated CMOS sensors.

      The total resolution of this sensor is listed as 10.6 megapixels, while the effective resolution is 10.2 megapixels, which is marginally higher than the quoted resolution of the EX1. Nevertheless, the WB2000’s effective resolution showed up as 9.98 megapixels in our Imatest tests, which is the same as the EX1’s.

      Like the EX1, the WB2000 supports both JPEG and raw file capture and SRW.RAW files can be recorded with JPEGs at the camera’s three JPEG compression ratios: Super Fine, Fine and Normal. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.










      3648 x 2736



      Super Fine










      3648 x 2432



      Super Fine










      3264 x 2448



      Super Fine










      3648 x 2052



      Super Fine










      2736 x 2736



      Super Fine










      2592 x 1944



      Super Fine










      2048 x 1536



      Super Fine










      1920 x 1080



      Super Fine










      1024 x 768



      Super Fine



















      Playback and Software
      The playback settings in the WB2000 are much the same as those we’ve already covered in our review of the EX1. The exception is for video playback, where the camera displays a line of thumbnail images that identify ‘bookmarked’ clips. (Bookmarking is achieved by shooting still images with video clips, one of the capabilities of this camera.)

      All clips recorded in one of the high-speed modes are played back at 30 frames/second to give a slow-motion picture. The original capture speed dictates how slow the playback appears. You can trim video clips in playback mode and record selected frames as still pictures (the captured image has the same resolution as the original video frame.)

      The WB2000 comes with pre-loaded Intelli-studio software for playing and editing video clips and uploading still images and videos to image-sharing websites. It must be transferred to your computer before use. Intelli-studio supports the following video formats: MP4 (H.264/AAC), WMV (7/8/9), AVI/MJPEG. It can also read JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG and TIFF files.

      We didn’t receive any software with the WB2000 but it’s supposed to be bundled with the same Samsung RAW Converter 3 as the EX1. Unfortunately, the software we acquired for the EX1 would not open the SRW.RAW files from the WB2000 – even though it is supposed to be the same application for both cameras. As a consequence, we have been unable to evaluate raw files from this camera and all assessments are based entirely on JPEG files.

      Like the Samsung EX1, the WB2000 we reviewed turned out to be a mixed bag in the performance stakes. The autofocusing system was equally patchy and metering was frequently off-the-mark in test shots. Blown-our highlights were as frequent as we found with the EX1. The built-in flash was pretty weak and only able to illuminate an average-sized room at ISO settings of 400 and above.

      Imatest showed the resolution of the JPEG files we were able to measure was slightly below expectations for a 10-megapixel camera. It also revealed some edge softening with wider aperture settings – and shows how quickly the maximum aperture of the lens is reduced as focal length increases. The graph below shows the results of our resolution tests.


      Resolution held up well across the camera’s sensitivity range, albeit with a steady slow decline as sensitivity was increased. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.


      Imatest showed colour saturation to be a little high, as is typical of many small-sensor digicams, particularly for reds and purples. It also revealed some colour shifts in the yellow band of the spectrum and skin hues were skewed towards a warmer hue.

      Lateral chromatic aberration depended on the focal length setting. In our tests we found it to be highest with the 7.8mm focal length, although it only strayed into the ‘moderate’ band at the smallest aperture settings. The graph below shows the results of our tests.


      We found very little evidence of coloured fringing in outdoor shots in bright, contrasty lighting. However, the lens on the review camera was just as flare-prone as the lens on the EX1 camera we reviewed.

      Little noise was visible in flash shots and long exposures taken at ISO settings up ISO 800, but from that point images became progressively softer and colour shifts were increasingly evident. Flash shots were similarly affected by colour shifts at high ISO settings but showed marginally less softening than long exposures.

      Auto white balance performance was similar to the EX1, with only slight warming visible in shots taken under incandescent lighting. Shots taken under fluorescent lighting were very close to colour-neutral. The pre-sets tended towards slight-to-moderate over-correction. Manual measurement removed all colour casts.

      Close-up shots were sharp but the small size of the camera’s sensor made it difficult to obtain clutter-free backgrounds. Digital zoom shots were a little soft and slightly artefact-affected.

      Video clips appeared sharp, particularly with the three HD settings. The high-speed video modes were limited by their low resolution and are more of a novelty than a genuinely useful feature (although they may be usable for basic motion analysis on small-screen devices).

      Unfortunately, colour drifts were noticeable in all the clips we shot, regardless of their resolution. Although the audio quality was reasonably good, the built-in microphones were quite susceptible to wind noise and it was easy to cover one inadvertently, which reduced the clarity of soundtracks. (There’s no provision for an external microphone.)

      The review camera took just over a second to power-up and we measured an average shot-to-shot time of 1.4 seconds without flash and 4.4 seconds with. Capture lag averaged 0.6 seconds, reducing to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. It took 1.3 seconds, on average, to process each high-resolution JPEG file and 6.1 seconds for each SRW.RAW file, during which time no further shots can be taken.

      Raw files can’t be captured in any of the burst modes but for JPEG capture the three High-speed settings performed to specifications. Interestingly it took just over 13 seconds to process each burst, regardless of the selected frame rate.

      Buy this camera if:
      – You’re looking for a pocketable digicam with PASM shooting modes plus raw file capture.
      – You want excellent auto white balance performance.
      – You want a keenly-priced camera that can record Full HD video clips.
      – You’d like to be able to record still pictures while shooting video clips.
      – You want fast burst rates at high resolution.
      Don’t buy this camera if:
      – You require reliable autofocusing and exposure metering.
      – You want to take backlit snapshots without veiling flare.
      – You want to shoot raw files but would prefer a camera that supports the non-proprietary DNG.RAW format.

      Based on JPEG image files.




      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      4.3mm focal length; ISO 80, 1/250 second at f/5.6.


      21.5mm focal length; ISO 80, 1/90 second at f/5.8.


      Digital zoom; 21.5mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/5.8.


      Close-up; 4.3mm focal length; ISO 80, 1/350 second at f/2.8.


      7.1mm focal length; ISO 100, 16 seconds at f/2.8.


      7.1mm focal length; ISO 800, 8 seconds at f/3.6.


      7.1mm focal length; ISO 3200, 6 seconds at f/6.1.


      Flash exposure; 21.5mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/30 second at f/5.8.


      Flash exposure; 21.5mm focal length; ISO 800, 1/30 second at f/5.8.


      Flash exposure; 21.5mm focal length; ISO 3200, 1/30 second at f/5.8.


      16.6mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/350 second at f/5.7.


      Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%.


      Lens flare with contre-jour lighting; 4.3mm focal length; ISO 80, 1/180 second at f/7.6.


      Backlighting; 20.8mm focal length; ISO 80, 1/180 second at f/5.8.


      20.8mm focal length; ISO 80, 1/250 second at f/5.8.


      Panorama mode with short sweep distance; 4.3mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/180 second at f/2.8.


      Panorama mode with short sweep distance; 4.3mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/90 second at f/2.8.


      Still frame from 1920 x 1080 HD video clip.


      Still frame from 1280 x 720 HD video clip.


      Still frame from VGA video clip.


      Example of colour shifts that occurred while a video clip was recorded.




      Image sensor: 5.92 x 4.57 mm High Speed BSI CMOS sensor with approx. 10.6 million photosites (10.2 megapixels effective)
      Lens: Schneider-Kreuznach 4.3~21.5mm f/2.4-5.8 zoom (24~120mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 5x optical; up to 4x digital
      Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif 2.21), SRW.RAW; Movies – MP4 (H.264)/AAC
      Image Sizes: Stills – 3648 x 2736, 3648 x 2432, 3648 x 2048, 3264 x 2448, 2736 x 2736, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1920 x 1080, 1024 x 768; Movies – 1920 x 1080 High / Standard Quality, 1280 x 720 SQ, 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 432 x 320, 224 x 160, 192 x 64 at 1000 fps. 480 fps, 240 fps or 30 fps
      Shutter speed range: 1/2000 seconds to 1/8 second in Auto mode; up to 16 seconds in Manual mode
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
      Image Stabilisation: Dual IS (OIS + DIS)
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps
      Focus system/range: TTL Auto Focus (Centre AF, Multi AF, Selection AF, Manual Focus, Face Detection AF, Object Tracking AF), Movie AF (CAF); range – 50 cm to infinity, macro 5-40 cm (wide), 50-80 cm (tele)
      Exposure metering/control: Multi-pattern, Spot, Centre-weighted metering
      Shooting modes: Smart Auto, P, A, S, and M plus Scene with 13 pre-sets( Panorama, Beauty Shot, Night, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Close-up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow)
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (x2), Tungsten, Custom Set, Colour Temperature adjustment
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash Off, Red-eye fix; range – 0.2-4.4 metres (wide); 0.8-1.8 metres (tele)
      Sequence shooting: 10 fps, 5 fps, 3 fps
      Storage Media: 22MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
      Viewfinder: No
      LCD monitor: 3-inch AMOLED display with VGA (641,000 dot) resolution
      Power supply: SLB-11A rechargeable lithium-ion battery
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 99.5 x 59.0 x 21.7 mm
      Weight: 153.3 grams (without battery and card)





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      RRP: $449

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Ease of use: 8.5
      • Autofocusing: 8.0
      • Image quality: Stills – 8.3; Video – 8.0
      • OVERALL: 8.5