Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review of the 'mystery' Samsung WB380F smart camera

MY NEW CAMERA

I just bought a new Samsung WB380F smart camera through Best Buy's online store.  It's a mid-level compact point-and-shoot that has wifi and online connectors for several online photo-sharing services.  I specifically wanted something that could link to my cell phone (when switched to hotspot mode) and directly backup photos and videos to Flickr.


That didn't work out so well.

ACCIDENTAL BETA TESTER

Apparently Best Buy listed the camera for-sale before it was supposed to be released?  That's the only explanation I can think of for the strange experience I've had with the camera.  In general, I like the camera and it definitely takes better photos than my Nexus 5 smartphone!  But there's no longer a Flickr app.  That was an included feature on the predecessor model, the Samsung WB350F, but apparently its been dropped.  I tried to find a list of supported services but the 350 is still the model listed on the Samsung U.S. web-site. In fact there's no mention of the 380, at all.  When I tried to google "samsung wb380f" all I found were references to camera stores in Germany where it had gone on-sale in January (two months ago).  I couldn't find any reviews or anything in English.

So I submitted a tech-support request through Samsung's web-site.  Their response was, "This is not a U.S. model."  Um, then why is it for-sale at Best Buy?  Why are all the buttons and manual in English?  I tried googling it again and now, just 2 days later, I see it listed on the Samsung Australia and Samsung UK web-sites.  What's more, the older 350 model is now sold-out on the U.S. web-site.  So clearly they're getting ready to switch models and I simply got ahold of one early.

ONLINE BACKUPS

Meanwhile, I had started experimenting with the remaining online services -- Picasa, Facebook, YouTube, and Dropbox.  Picasa is really Google Plus: Photos.  Dropbox won't let me login and I think the issue is that it doesn't recognize the 380 as a supported model.  (I didn't try Facebook or YouTube because I don't plan on sharing anything online; I just want a mobile backup in case I run out of storage or lose the phone.)  I called Samsung's phone support and they agreed that my issue needed to be escalated.

I tried using the built-in Picasa backup but I don't like the Google Photos web-site, e.g. I couldn't see any way to organize my unsorted photos.  You can either view the (already sorted) Albums, or you can View All which is a big mess.  (My phone has a built-in Google Photos backup but that was the same result as the camera's app.)

I tried using my phone's built-in Google Drive backup but then there's no 'photo awareness' of the files.

I also tried using the official Flickr app but it only backs-up photos you take with the phone, i.e., it ignores photos you copy from elsewhere.
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MY CURRENT BACKUP TECHNIQUE


  1. I installed Flickr Upload on my Nexus smartphone
  2. I installed Samsung Smart Camera app on my Nexus
  3. I take pictures/videos on the Wb380F
  4. Put the camera in 'wifi' mode, then select Mobile Link > Select Files From Phone
  5. Open the Samsung Smart Camera app on my phone
  6. tap the back of the phone to the 'NFC' label on the left-side of the camera
  7. on the phone, click Select All checkbox, then COPY
  8. The wireless copy is fast, e.g. 2-3 MB/second
  9. Flickr Upload sees the new files and immediately re-copies them 'up' to the cloud
Even though this is a two-step transfer I only need to select the photos/videos once (in the Samsung app).  Everything else is automatic.  And I like the Flickr site because it has multiple views you can select, e.g. the new Camera Roll sorts by date and makes it easy to Select All > Add To Album.

WIDE-ANGLE = FISH-EYE!


One thing I noticed is that the camera has a wide-angle lenses so everything looks far away.  If you try to fill the image by walking close to your subject, there's a 'fish-eye' effect.  Instead you need to use the 21x optical zoom.
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8 comments:

Steven Tristan said...

I just bought this camera at pretty much a steal for $130 at bestbuy with memory card and carrying bag included. Do you know what the differences are from the 350f model aside from the upload features. I would like to know if it really is better or if it's just the same camera with a software update?

Technical Tony said...

Wow, that's half what I paid?!

I have no experience with the 350 so I can't compare. The specs are identical, though, so I suspect it's basically the same camera.

Also, after using it on vacation I would only say it's a Good or maybe a Very Good camera. But certainly not a Great camera.

KIM said...

I just got this camera from Best Buy today. It was a surprise from my husband. I was looking at the $400 ones! It was an open box price of $143.99 (regular $299.99). I just started messing around with it and looking for tips online and came across your blog. I searched YouTube videos to get tips on the features but not seeing much. I wanted a camera I could use to take photos, better zoom, light weight and not much larger than my Note 3.

Technical Tony said...

Kim, thanks for the comment. Glad to know that people are finding my review helpful.

After living with the camera for a half-year I'm less enamored with it. It's still a solid useful camera but I've also had several situations where the auto focus/exposure didn't do any better job than my wife's Samsung Galaxy Note. I've also experienced shutter-lag. So I now consider it little more than a smart-phone camera and wish I'd only paid $130-150 like most people.

I was actually hoping to get something with performance in the '$400' range and thought this $300 camera would be close, but it really isn't.

Unknown said...

Hello,

I have had the SAMSUNG WB350F camera for awhile now. And when I first bought it, I was able to effortlessly transfer the photos from the camera to my SAMSUNG NOTE 4 using the app - SAMSUNG SMART CAMERA APP. But from November 2015 onwards, I am unable to do so and there is a message saying models before 2013 is not longer supported.

Now, I have to use a cable connection to transfer the photos to my mac and then email the photos to myself. After which I would download the photos on my phone before I can post on instagram.

This take too long. So can someone help me on solving this issue.

I would greatly appreciate the help.

Thank you.

Unknown said...

Hello,

I have had the SAMSUNG WB350F camera for awhile now. And when I first bought it, I was able to effortlessly transfer the photos from the camera to my SAMSUNG NOTE 4 using the app - SAMSUNG SMART CAMERA APP. But from November 2015 onwards, I am unable to do so and there is a message saying models before 2013 is not longer supported.

Now, I have to use a cable connection to transfer the photos to my mac and then email the photos to myself. After which I would download the photos on my phone before I can post on instagram.

This takes too long. So can someone help me on solving this issue.

I would greatly appreciate the help.

Thank you.

Regards,
TRACIE

Digital Zapals said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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