Samsung Galaxy Camera in-depth review
1 Introduction + Design
The Samsung Galaxy Camera might not be the first Android-powered camera on the market -- Polaroid showed a prototype camera running on the Android operating system at CES 2012 and Nikon launched the Coolpix S800c, a compact camera running Android 2.3, in August this year. However, in contrast to Polaroid and Nikon, Samsung is not only a manufacturer of digital compact cameras but also currently the most succesful player in the Android smartphone market, which is part of the reason why the Galaxy Camera is arguably the most interesting Android-powered camera we have seen so far.
The device takes components from Samsung's WB850F compact superzoom camera and the Korean manufacturer's flasgship smartphone, the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy Camera's lens and sensor come from the WB850F while most of the device's other key specifications are in line with the Galaxy S3. A 1.4GHz quad-core processor powers the Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' operating system.
The end result of this fusion of technologies is a compact superzoom camera with a 23mm wideangle, 21x zoom lens and pop-up flash that offers the ability to edit images on the go, share them wirelessly via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G data connectivity and install a plethora of apps from the Google Play Store.
You can play Angry Birds or get public transport directions with Google Maps on the Galaxy Camera, but of course the photograpy-related apps prove most interesting. You can finally use a true zoom lens to compose your images and use apps such as Snapseed, Photoshop Express or Perfectly Clear to edit directly on the device and then share via Instagram or EyeEm, without the need to transfer to a computer first.
When used as a mobile device, the Galaxy Camera essentially offers the performance and features of the S3, lacking a front-facing camera and the ability to place voice calls. It is, however, possible to voice-chat via Skype or similar apps.
The Galaxy Camera comes with Samsung-specific sharing and backup options pre-installed, but third-party solutions such as Dropbox or Amazon Cloud Photos also allow you to share your images and upload to the cloud right after they've been captured. We've put the Samsung Galaxy Camera through our real-life and lab testing, keep reading to find out how we got on.
We recommend you read this entire review to get the full picture but you can use the links below to navigate directly to a specific section:
- Introduction and Design
- Operation and apps
- Image quality
- Video mode
- Studio comparison
- 16.3MP backlight-illuminated CMOS sensor
- 21x zoom with 23-481mm equivalent focal length
- F2.8-5.9 maximum aperture
- ISO 100-3200
- Continuous shooting and bracketing
- 1080p 30 fps video capture, 120 fps slow-motion mode
- 4.8", 308ppi HD Super Clear LCD, 1280x720 pixels
- Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' operating system
- 1.4 GHz Quad-core processor
- Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G connectivity
- PASM modes
- 15 'Smart' shooting modes including continuous, HDR and panorama modes
- Optical Image Stabilization
Design and Controls
The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a true hybrid -- not only under the hood but also from a design point of view. From the front the Galaxy looks pretty much like a typical long-zoom compact camera, albeit one that's slightly on the bulky side. The reason for the larger-than-average footprint quickly becomes obvious when you turn the camera around.
The entire back of the device is a 4.8" touch screen -- identical to the one you would find on Samsung's current flasgship smartphone, the Galaxy S3. While this screen is a pleasure to frame your shots and view your images on, it's also quite a bit larger than the 3" screens that are standard on most current digital cameras. This explains the Galaxy Camera's larger dimensions compared to other long-zoom compacts.
Despite its size, the camera handles well. The rubberized material of the grip feels comfortable in the hand and, with its metal front, the entire camera feels very well made. The grip is fairly generously dimensioned and also helps to navigate the Android OS on the touch screen when holding the camera. Hence, an almost total absence of external controls on the Galaxy Camera. Since all camera settings are accessed via the camera app, in terms of photographic controls the device only requires a shutter-button/zoom rocker combination on the top-plate. The only other physical controls are the power button and a small button on the camera's left side which pops up the built-in flash.
When flipped on its back the Galaxy Camera looks and operates exactly like a state-of-the-art Android smartphone, with slightly larger dimensions. You have the familiar Android user interface with Samsung's TouchWiz launcher, and navigating Google Maps, looking up a restaurant on Yelp, creating a shopping list in Evernote or playing a round of Angry Birds works just like on any other current Android phone. The only difference is the lack of a front-facing camera for video chats and the ability to make phone calls.
The Galaxy Camera runs Android 4.1 which, while not the very latest version of the operating system, is the one that is in use in most current high-end Android smartphones (currently only Google's Nexus phones run the newer version, Android 4.2). Android 4.1's most notable differences from previous versions are the smoother interface animation (‘Project Butter’) and Google Now -- an 'intelligent' personal assistant that can update you on your favorite sports team and check traffic and transit information, amongst other things. The system looks at the usage-patterns of your device and attempts to anticipate what you are planning to do. You can read more about the Android Operating System in our guide.
|Mayfield Preserve Peacock by davidjcook|
|Look Ma, no cashiers by CalBoy87|
from The retail store of tomorrow
Facebook has disclosed a major photo API bug that left the private images of millions of users exposed to third-party apps from September 13, 2018 to September 25, 2018.
Loupedeck has added support for Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 to Loupedeck+, its newest keyboard-style editing module.
YouTuber Casey Cavanaugh has produced a handy video guide for those looking for buy their first film camera.
If you're looking for a photography gift that's a bit more substantial than a stocking stuffer, we've got some suggestions that should fit the bill.
Chinese optical manufacturer Kipon has added the Nikon Z and Canon R mounts to its range of adapters made to attach medium format lenses from Hasselblad, Mamiya, Pentax and others to full frame cameras.
Palette Gear has announced an update to its modular, physical editing interface that lets MacOS users now use their palette with Capture One 11 and 12.
German company OPC Optics announced that it has acquired the trademark rights to Meyer Optik Görlitz at the insolvency procedure of NetSE in Koblenz.
Shopping for a photographer? We've got some gift ideas for all budget sizes, but here you'll find our budget-friendliest suggestions – just right for stockings.
It's not always easy to find marble, wood or concrete surfaces on demand. Enter Replica Surfaces, small tiles designed to replicate popular photo surfaces and backdrops.
Lensrentals Founder Roger Cicala set aside some time to take apart Canon's new 50mm F1.2L RF lens and in doing so revealed a number of interesting discoveries.
Google is cracking down on unsupported video files being uploaded to its Photos platform and taking up free storage space.
With a nickname like 'bokeh master,' we had to see what the Sigma 105mm F1.4 was all about. Take a look at our gallery of samples shot with the Sony a7R III.
The Nikon Museum in Shinagawa, Tokyo has an exhibition showing off some of the most rare and unique prototype lenses Nikon ever developed.
VSCO has announced it will stop selling its film emulation presets for desktop programs March 1st, 2019.
On their latest models the two smartphone manufacturers have replaced the dreaded display notch by a design that features a circular hole for the front camera in the display.
With the latest version, Adobe Camera now lets you import Raw files from the newest iPhones, Pixel devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Nikon Z6 among others.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its 24MP resolution is more than enough for most people, and the money saved can buy a lot of glass. Find out what's new and notable about the Z6 in our First Impressions Review.
Sigma says its 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens is set to hit shelves by the end of December 2018 at a retail price of $1,499.
DxO PhotoLab 2.1 brings a collection of new features to MacOS and Windows users alike.
The new 'Elegant' lens series includes entirely manual F2.4 lenses in 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm focal lengths.
A feature alerts pilots visually and/or verbally when their drone is approaching airspace that is unsafe or areas where drone flying is not permitted.
GoPro announced Monday morning that it plans to move production of United States-bound cameras out of China, citing tariffs concerns.
The Sigma 56mm F1.4 combines a sensible sub-$500 price tag and excellent performance, providing a portrait-friendly 85mm equiv. view on Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras.
Azriel Knight of the YouTube channel This Old Camera explains the history of DX encoding.
The 250mm F4 is Fujifilm's longest lens for its medium-format system. It's equivalent to about 200mm on a GFX camera, and we put it to work on some portraits as well as some scenes around Seattle's waterfront – take a look.
Sony has removed the ability to download firmware version 2.0 for its a7 III and a7R III mirrorless cameras from its website.
Handing out awards for the best gear of the year is a big job, so we called in some reinforcements from Calgary to help us.
A new patent from Canon lays out the schematics for a speedbooster-style adapter for mounting Canon EF lenses onto EOS M cameras, but with a variable baffle to reduce the risk of flare.
The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has started a campaign asking visitors to stop geotagging their specific locations when visiting Wyoming's national parks.
Film simulation app Filmborn has been updated with new presets, features, and overall improved support on Apple's latest mobile operating system and devices.