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.
|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.