Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy Camera: the most connected camera?
Samsung today launched the first true compact camera/smart device hybrid - the Galaxy Camera, with 3G/4G connectivity as well as Wi-Fi (which sets it apart from Wi-Fi-only competitors like the recently-announced Nikon Coolpix S800c).
Camera manufacturers have been seeing sales of their compact cameras fall for a long time now, challenged by a new generation of camera-equipped smartphones. As the photographic specification of phones get better, there's less need for most casual photographers to carry a dedicated camera, and if you're in the business of selling compact cameras, this is a serious problem. But Samsung believes it has a solution. Take a WB850F camera, and a Galaxy SIII smartphone, and... blend them.
We've been talking to Samsung representatives for months about the concept of a camera running the Android OS, and the Korean manufacturer's early plans were the subject of more than one confidential briefing during a trip to Seoul earlier this year. Now that the wraps are off, the final specification is more or less in line with what we expected - a versatile, consumer-level camera running 'full strength' Android and equipped with both 3G/4G connectivity in addition to the now-standard (for Samsung) Wi-Fi. A 1.4GHz quad-core processor completes the picture and should provide enough 'grunt' to make everything run nice and smoothly.
The Galaxy Camera is a 16.3MP compact camera with a 4.8in LCD touchscreen running the Android operating system. It runs the latest iteration of Android (4.1 - known as 'Jelly Bean'), and will be available in two versions - a 3G + Wi-Fi model and a 4G + Wi-Fi variant (carrier and regional information TBC). This makes it the first 'connected camera' to offer more than just Wi-Fi connectivity.
Although we understand that the camera does not have cellular voice capabilities, it will be compatible with various VoiP apps, such as Skype, which will enable it to be used for making voice and video calls over 3G/4G or WiFi. Photographic features include a 21X zoom lens, spanning 23-481mm (equivalent) and a built-in 'Photo Wizard' for editing photographs in-camera.
Months ago, in Seoul, we asked Samsung representatives how they envisaged smartphone/camera convergence: specifically, whether in the long-term the Korean manufacturer intended to expand the photographic capabilities of phones, or build smartphone features into cameras. At the time we received no clear answer. The fact that Samsung is calling this a 'Galaxy' product is interesting, but there's no mistaking that this is an enhanced camera, not the other way round.
Semantics aside, the Galaxy Camera is highly significant. It is the nearest thing we've seen to a true camera/phone hybrid, and as well as solid photographic specifications it contains a serious amount of DNA from Samsung's well-established line of smartphones. The key is the addition of a powerful processor, and 3G/4G connectivity. This means that just like a smartphone, the Galaxy Camera can connect to the web anywhere that there's mobile coverage, and should have enough power to run apps and browse the web without feeling sluggish. An 'Auto Cloud Backup' feature automatically saves images to Samsung's AllShare cloud storage service the moment they're taken - another benefit of 'always on' connectivity.
Likewise, the potential to send images captured with the Galaxy by email, or upload them directly to social network sites from pretty much anywhere is very appealing, and as Samsung knows very well, for a huge number of photographers working with mobile devices, this is already second nature. What these photographers aren't used to of course, is the sort of advanced photographic feature set that the Galaxy camera offers. In theory, this makes the Galaxy Camera an ideal first point-and-shoot for someone who's used to taking pictures on their phone, and wants to go further with photography.
Of course, because the camera runs the open-source Android operating system this means that the camera's feature set can be expanded in the same way as any modern Android-based smartphone, via a huge number of third-party applications. We have some worries about battery life though - the Galaxy Camera's battery has roughly 50% greater capacity as the battery used in the WB850F, but around 25% less than the battery used in the Galaxy SIII, which isn't known for its stamina. Another big question mark - for now - is price. A significant amount of processing power is required to run a full smartphone OS - much more than would be necessary for a conventional compact camera - and it doesn't come cheap. At the time of writing, Samsung's pricing model, which may include carrier subsidies, is unknown.
When we spoke to Sunhong Lim - VP Sales & Marketing in Samsung's Digital Imaging division back in March, he predicted that 'once the cloud computing era truly dawns, a non-connected device will be meaningless'. The Galaxy Camera is Samsung's surest step yet in this direction.
- Samsung looking forward to carrier-subsidized 'connected cameras' (published March 2012)
- Why 'droid is the OS Samsung is looking for (published March 2012)
- Nikon Coolpix S800C Android camera first look
Feb 19, 2013
Aug 27, 2015
Aug 25, 2015
Aug 27, 2015
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
The new store will be located at the Fotografiska center for contemporary photography in Stockhom, Sweden and carry the full range of Hasselblad products.
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.