I had to rewrite this article a few times. My final and most significant rewrite occurred after I took a close look at the photos of the Samsung WB850F camera and found it to be wonderfully handsome. There was a time when “handsome” and Samsung did not often occur in the same sentence. Not if we were talking about cameras, anyway. That was a few years ago though, and the new Samsung WB850F with its 21x Schneider Kreuznach lens, mode dial and AMOLED display is very much a looker. Hopefully, it’s also a performer. With that, I return you to my original article…
Wireless connectivity was one of the main themes at the 2012 CES tradeshow this year and Samsung contributed by introducing three new WiFi compact superzoom “Smart Cameras” at the show. The 12-megapixel 10x zoom Samsung ST200F, 16-megapixel 21x Samsung WB850F and 14-megapixel 18x Samsung WB150F are all compact “travel zoom” cameras with built-in WiFi connectivity. The new WiFi-enabled Smart Cameras fit right into Samsung’s larger “all-share-play” cloud-based content sharing system, intended to make sharing between devices in and outside the home easier. The WB850F is the most exciting of the three new cameras. It has a 16.2-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, a 21x zoom lens with optical image stabilization, full HD video, a 3-inch AMOLED display, GPS, and of course – built-in WiFi connectivity so you can upload directly to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
The Samsung WB850F packs a lot of performance in a very small package. The 21x zoom lens is the longest they’ve ever put in a truly compact camera. Specs for the WB850F haven’t been published yet so I’m not sure what the exact focal length of the 21x zoom lens is, but based on 2010’s WB700 camera and the WB850F (sexy) product photos, it’s going to be about 25-515mm (35mm equivalent).While looking at the photos I also noticed the mode dial has an “A-S-M” option for photographers who like manual exposure control. I don’t have camera dimensions, either but hopefully the WB850F is small enough to fit in a pants pocket. I’m a big fan of what I call “pocket superzooms” (my pocket superzoom camera guide) – pocket-sized cameras with 10x or longer zoom lenses. If the WB850F lives up to the promise of the features in the press release, it could end up on my recommended pocket superzoom camera list. I’ll update this page with more details as soon as I can get my hands on a spec-sheet.
In the meantime, here are a couple of official Samsung videos – the first is a marketing video about the WiFi connectivity features in the new WB850F, ST200F and ST200F cameras. I couldn’t tell for sure, but I think the camera in the video may be the WB850F. The second video is the “Smart Camera” intro portion of Samsung’s 2012 CES tradeshow presentation.
Specs, availability and prices for the Samsung WB850F, ST200F and ST200F cameras haven’t been announced yet. I’ll update this page when I get more information. And I’m going to do my damndest to get a WB850F for review!
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