Samsung Galaxy Camera in-depth review
The Samsung Galaxy Camera is capable of recording 1080p full HD video at 30 frames per second. You can also opt to capture 720p footage, 120 fps slow motion video (at a resolution of 768x512 pixels) or 320x240 video which is optimized for sharing.
In Auto or any of the PASM modes video recording is started by tapping the video button at the bottom right of the screen. In Auto mode you have no control over video parameters, other than selection of one of the video resolutions and frame rates mentioned above. In the PASM shooting modes, any exposure compensation and white balance you set are applied to both video and stills images.
Shooting in the dedicated video mode, which can be selected on the virtual 'Expert mode' dial, gives you most control and also a 16:9 live preview. In all other modes the live view image offers a 4:3 stills aspect ratio and only switches to 16:9 once you hit the video button.
In any shooting mode you can apply the same image effects as in stills mode, just keep in mind that some of those, for example Comic, Pastel Sketch or Gothic Noir, are recorded at a lower frame rate, and playback is therefore not as smooth as the standard video. Still images can be captured during video recording by tapping the shutter button that appears on the screen once you've started recording.
Voice control also works in video mode. You can operate the zoom and start recording video using voice commands. It's a bit of a gimmick but works well and could be useful in some shooting situations with the camera on a tripod.
Video sample 1 - tele zoom
Exposure and focus are controlled automatically which means you only have to frame your scene and hit the video button to start recording. In decent light video quality is very good, with vibrant color, few artifacts and smooth motion. Sound quality is comparable to other digital compact cameras and slightly above what you'd expect from a smartphone. However, wind noise can still be audible in breezy conditions.
The optical image stabilization is impressive. It allows you to capture distant scenes at the long end of the zoom hand-held. The sample below was captured close to the long end of the zoom in a sports arena. For optimal results you'd always put the camera on a tripod, but the image stabilization keeps things suprisingly still and makes the results usable at least for Facebook and other web use cases.
Video sample 2 - low light
In low light some grain becomes visible but the quality is still impressive, even at full-size viewing. The sample below also demonstrates the sound quality you can expect form the Galaxy Camera. I stood only a couple of meters away from the band when capturing the video below and while most smartphones would struggle with this kind of sound pressure, the Samsung does a good job at recording the music.
Video sample 3 - image filters
As mentioned above you can apply the same filter effects to video as you can to stills. However, these videos are captured at a lower frame rate which results in slightly shaky playback.
Video sample 4 - slow motion
The Galaxy Camera features a 120fps slow-motion mode. When played back at 30fps this equates to a 4x slow-motion effect. We've seen 120fps slow-motion modes on compact cameras before but the Samsung's video resolution of 768x512 pixels in this mode is unusually high. Combining slow-motion with the long lens allows for the capture of some interesting footage. With the slightly lower resolution the output is of course not quite on HD level quality but still produces decent quality. In slow-motion mode no sound is recorded.
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