'Compact Super Zoom' Camera Group Test (Q2 2009)
Samsung HZ10W (WB500)
10.2MP | 24-240mm (10X) ZOOM | $240/£210
One look at the Samsung HZ10W (WB500 in Europe) and it's clear that the Samsung designers studied Panasonic's TZ series pretty closely before sitting down at their drawing boards. The HZ10W is Samsung's first venture into the compact super zoom bracket and comes with a 10.1 megapixel sensor, a 10x zoom and HD video recording capability. While these specs are pretty much in line with the competition in this comparison with 24mm at wide angle the Samsung offers the widest lens of the cameras in this test.
- 10.2 effective Megapixels
- 24-240mm equiv lens with 10x optical zoom and up to 5x Digital Zoom
- 1280 x 720p HD video recording with H.264 compression
- 2.7-inch LCD with 230,000 dots resolution
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- ISO sensitivity up to 1600 (3200 up to 3MP)
- Face Detection, Beauty Shot and Dynamic Range enhancer (Auto contrast balance)
- 14 scene modes
- Program and Manual Exposure Modes
It's probably fair to say the Samsung HZ10W is one of the more attractive cameras here, although obviously this will to a degree depend on your personal taste. The all-metal body and different shades of gray give you the impression to hold a premium product in your hands. From a dimension and weight point of view the Samsung is pretty much in line with the rest of the field (apart from the Olympus Stylus which is quite a bit smaller) and handles very well in your hands. This is helped by the rubberized application on the curved grip and the overall good ergonomics.
All the controls are in the right places and the usual four-way controller gives you direct access to flash, macro, self-timer and display settings. Pressing the Fn button takes you to Samsung's variant of the now ubiquitous quick menu. You could probably argue that the 'E' (effect) button could have a more useful function but the HZ10W's exposure compensation lever makes more than up for this. Pressing the lever immediately applies exposure compensation, no multiple pressing of buttons, no turning of dials, so simple. The only question that remains is why can't all compact cameras have this feature? Better still, it can be customized to offer direct access to white balance or ISO, if you'd prefer.
Overall the HZ10W's feature set is in line with the target competition (read Panasonic's TZ/ZS series). Its 10x lens offers the widest wide angle in this test but therefore understandably is a little shorter at the long end (we'd trade some reach at the long end for more wide-angle any time though). The camera also features 720p HD video, the usual electronic gimmicks such as Face Detection and Dynamic Range enhancer, and offers a maximum sensitivity of ISO 3200 (albeit at reduced resolution).
Image quality and performance
The Samsung is probably the best all-round performer in terms of speed and responsiveness in our tests. It takes a fairly average 1.6 seconds to get started but its zoom speed is in the top half of the group at around 2.3 seconds to go from the wide end to the telephoto. Focus times are also some of the best in this test, averaging under 0.5 seconds for really snappy snapping (though we found it struggled more than some in low light, more on this below).
In review mode the speed of image browsing and magnification is fairly average. At first there is a very slight delay between images but once the thumbnails have been buffered the transition becomes more or less instantaneous.
When you have a closer look at the Samsung HZ10W's images you'll find both light and shade. Exposure is consistently good and requires little to no manual intervention. Highlight clipping does occur on the HZ10W but not to a larger extent than most other cameras. White balance does a reasonable job but is, at standard settings, slightly on the cool side of things (you can change color characteristics in the Photo Style Selector though).
While the focus works reliably and quick in good light we had a larger-than-average proportion of slightly out-of-focus images when shooting indoors and/or in low light. Unfortunately this occurs even when the camera confirms focus lock, so you'll often only realize what happened when you check your images later on the computer screen.
While general image sharpness is good, like previous Samsung compact cameras that we have tested the HZ10W applies pretty strong noise reduction even at base ISO, leading to a smearing of fine textures and loss of detail. This is something that all compact cameras do but the Samsung does it to a larger extent than some others. You won't spot this at a small output size but the larger you print the more likely it becomes that you will. Its much more of a problem at higher sensitivities though, where at ISO 400 already a large proportion of fine detail is destroyed. Higher up the ISO scale some chroma noise blobs are added to the smearing.
Flash exposures are generally good and don't push the ISO too far up. Skin tones tend to come out a little warm but in most situations that is preferable to a pale fluorescent light look.
The HZ10W is Samsung's first stab at the compact superzoom segment, and while the Korean manufacturer got many things right there is also some room for improvement. The optical and electronic components are housed in an attractive full-metal body that features a rubberized hand grip and handles nicely. The HZ10W's 24mm equivalent lens is the widest in this comparison and the user interface is is intuitive, we especially liked the camera's exposure compensation lever that makes manual intervention so much easier.
Image quality is the area where the Samsung engineers still have some work to do. The Samsung's output shows decent sharpness andreliable exposure but struggles with fine detail - even at base ISO - due to extensive application of noise reduction. The high ISO performance is relatively poor as well, with noise reduction smearing and chroma noise blobs creeping in at higher sensitivities. Having said that, you'll have to inspect images at a fairly large magnification to spot the difference to the better cameras in this test and if you're not a 'pixel-peeper' the HZ10W offers a good feature set including HD video at a very attractive price point. Maybe not the best choice for low light (thanks to the image quality issues and focus problems), but certainly a contender for use in more forgiving conditions.
- We like: 24mm wide-angle, good build quality, ergonomic user interface (especially the exposure compensation lever), good operational speed, reliable exposure and flash
- We don't like: Slow lens at the long end of the zoom (F5.8), unreliable focus in low light, heavy noise reduction through the ISO range, poor high ISO performance
Feb 18, 2009
Feb 17, 2009
Dec 20, 2011
Dec 15, 2011
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.