Samsung compact camera brings bounce flash to the masses

The Samsung WB50F, a new consumer-friendly pocket camera, has a tilting "soft flash" built in.

Samsung WB50F (red)

Among the slew of gadgets announced at CES this month is one point-and-shoot camera easily overlooked.

The Samsung WB50F is a WiFi-enabled compact camera with a 12x zoom. It has a 16MP CCD sensor and the lens is a long-but-dark 4.3–51.6mm (24–288mm equiv.) f/3.6–6.3 affair. With a 5.6x crop factor you won’t be getting wafer-thin depth of field with this thing. Nor does it boast the most advanced manual controls. So why are we interested?

Samsung WB50F

Most cameras, if they offer a built-in flash at all, have one that points directly forwards, with the lens, to throw the maximum amount of illumination on your subject. This is fine if quantity of light is all you want, but what about quality? This is where the Samsung WB50F comes into its own.

The built-in “soft flash” on the WB50F is set on a hinge, so you can tilt it upwards towards the ceiling. By bouncing its light from the ceiling you will effectively get a much larger, more diffuse light source, generating portraits with a more natural, flattering look.

“The WB50F is sleek and stylish, boasting a clear long zoom, and bouncing soft flash that allows photographers to create images that are soft and naturally lit as well as those that are bright, light and crisp,” said Samsung.

Samsung WB50F (red)

How many other bounce-flash-equipped point-and-shoot cameras can you name? Even for the most premium of compacts, to get the same soft lighting effect you have to choose between either the awkward bounce card method or adding the bulk of an external flash.

Additionally, a cameraphone this is not, but with WiFi and NFC on board, you get a decent amount of connectivity for your buck. You can pair the camera quickly with your smartphone, then transfer photos across or use the phone as a wireless remote control. So while this might not be Samsung’s most serious camera, it could nonetheless be a nice gadget to have in your pocket.

Samsung WB50F (white)

The Samsung WB50F will come in four different colours, all with a faux leather finish. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

Lighting enthusiasts: is this your next small camera? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

David Selby
David is a keen photographer and has been editor of Lighting Rumours since 2010. When not writing about lighting, he works as a data scientist at the University of Manchester, UK.