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Samsung Galaxy Camera Review

Samsung Galaxy Camera Review - Daniel Bell reviews the Samsung Galaxy Camera, it runs Android and has 21x optical zoom.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Samsung Galaxy Camera
Price : £399
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Samsung Galaxy Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Camera was announced in August 2012 and has a massive 4.8 inch screen, 1.4Ghz Quad-Core processor, voice control, runs Android 4.1 and has Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity. It's an extremely unique camera and is available for around £400, although you'll have to sign up to a mobile phone company for a sim card to use 3G/4G.

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera Features

The Samsung Galaxy Camera has a 16.3 megapixel BSI sensor and 21x optical zoom, which is a 35mm equivalent of 23-483mm. It also has optical image stabilisation to keep your images as sharp as possible.

There are a whole host of features which set the camera apart from the competition. Firstly, it runs the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, meaning you can download apps, check your email, browse the web and much more. There are plenty of apps for editing pictures, such as Snapseed, and plenty for sharing as well, such as Facebook.

This can all be done via a Wi-Fi connection, or you can get yourself a 3G/4G sim card and be connected everywhere you go. You can use Dropbox to automatically upload your pictures to the cloud, they will then automatically download to your computer. Pictures can also be automatically uploaded to Facebook, they'll be added to a private album for you to move later, just in case it uploads a picture you don't want others to see.

When shooting, you can use Auto mode, which changes the camera settings automatically, or you can use Smart Mode which gives you a number of modes to choose from such as landscape, macro, panorama and much, much more. If you want even more control over your pictures, there are full manual controls, allowing you to set the shutter speed and aperture.

There are a number of filters available to add a touch of creativity to your pictures, but you'll find many more editing options via the apps you can download. You can also takes pictures when using apps such as Instagram, then instantly edit and share.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 30fps, you can also record Slow Motion Videos which are recorded at 120fps and played back slowly.

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Key Features

  • 16.3 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 21x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 23-483 mm)
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 4.8 inch HD super clear touch display
  • Runs Android 4.1
  • Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 10cm minimum focusing distance
  • Smart mode
  • Voice control
  • Panorama mode
Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera Handling

The Samsung Galaxy Camera has a very cool looking white body, with a decent rubber hand grip. There are two things that are very noticeable when you first get your hands on the camera. Firstly, it is quite heavy, but that's no surprise given that it packs a 21x optical zoom lens into a body you can easily fit in your pocket. The second is the absolutely stunning 4.8 inch screen which fills the entire back of the camera. It looks amazing and makes the camera an absolute pleasure to use.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Screenshot 3   Samsung Galaxy Camera Screenshot 4

Apart from switching the camera on and operating the zoom, you use the screen to access the settings, menus and everything else you'll find on the camera. It is responsive and the menu systems is easy to navigate. When using the full manual controls, the settings fill the screen, giving access to ISO, exposure compensation, aperture and shutter speed. You just hit the setting cog to access the other options, which are split into three headers; camera, share and general. Once you're used to the camera, you'll soon find it a simple task to set the camera up.

The camera can also be voice activated, switch it on and you can adjust the zoom, take pictures, record videos, zoom in / out and more by using your voice. It's impressive, if not always 100% responsive.

When viewing your pictures in the photos album on Android, not only does it include the pictures taken on the camera, it also includes those from other services you've connected to, such as Facebook and Dropbox. They can also be edited on the apps.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Screenshot 2   Samsung Galaxy Camera Screenshot 5

There's no CIPA rating provided for battery life, but with use of the camera, Wi-Fi, 3G/4G and apps, you'll soon find the battery is ready for charging, in all likeliness you'll want to charge it every day. This isn't unusual for smartphones, so it's nothing to be concerned about.

We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.7 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.4secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   3.6 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.9 secs
Continuous Shooting   3.7 fps

Continuous shooting records up to 20 pictures at full resolution. It's worth noting that the startup time is from standby. This is the ideal state to keep your camera in between shots. You can turn it completely off, but this takes a while to startup, but saves your battery when it's not in use.

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The Samsung Galaxy Camera takes portraits which are free of red-eye and have good skin tones. Other images are well exposed, with really good colours. You can obtain a fast shutter speed in order to capture fast moving subjects.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Lens test images


Lens Performance - Detail is good throughout the images at both ends of the lens, with a decent control over purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 10cm, this makes it a little difficult to take well detailed macro shots.

Samsung Galaxy Camera ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Images are noise free at ISO 100, there is a little appearing at ISO 200 with images becoming softer at ISO 400. Images are even softer at ISO 800 with a little detail lost in places. Noise becomes a significant issue at ISO 1600 with quite a lot of detail lost, and more so at ISO 3200. As the Samsung Galaxy Camera is geared towards sharing images on the web, it's unlikely you'll find noise too much of a problem, particularly as colour reproduction is good throughout the ISO range.

Samsung Galaxy Camera White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, the AWB and incandescent presets perform well, both taking a similar image. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB again performs well, with both of the fluorescent presets producing a colour cast.

Panorama
Panorama

Panorama mode - Panorama images look OK when saved at a size suitable for saving on the web, but if you view them full size, you can see that detail isn't great and there are clearly some stitching issues.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are a number of filter effects available to make your pictures unique. As well as these you'll also be able to edit your pictures using Android apps.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. You can use optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be found on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page. We have also recorded a video using the high-speed video mode.



Value For Money

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is available for around £400. There aren't many cameras that run Android, the alternative is the Nikon Coolpix S800c, available for around £300. There are a number of cameras that have Wi-Fi to make it easier to share your pictures, such as the Canon IXUS 510 HS for £220, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 for £145 and Fujifilm FinePix F800 EXR for £180.

For more cameras with a similar amount of zoom, read our Top 10 Best Pocket Zoom Digital Cameras article.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Camera has some standout features to justify its price. It is an extremely ideal travel camera, when in use the zoom allows you to take wide landscape shots, or zoom in for close-ups. When you're not shooting you can use Android apps to edit and share your photos, play games, check your email, browse the web and much more. The HD screen makes the camera look extremely cool and will be a wow with your friends.

Generally, image quality is good, but we found the panorama shots weren't stitched together well and with a minimum focusing distance of 10cm it's difficult to shoot close-up macros. There are full manual controls so you can set your own aperture and shutter speed, with auto mode if you'd like the camera to adjust the settings automatically, making picture shooting easy. Although a little expensive if you're looking for a travel zoom, there is plenty to love about the Samsung Galaxy Camera and is therefore recommended.

 
  The Samsung Galaxy Camera boasts a massive screen, Android operating system and good image quality.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Pros

Android operating system makes it much more than just a camera
Wi-Fi, 3G / 4G and apps make picture sharing easy
Massive 4.8 inch HD screen
Manual controls
Plenty of optical zoom and optical image stabilisation
Rubberised hand grip
Good image quality

Samsung Galaxy Camera Cons

10cm minimum focusing distance makes detailed macros difficult
Needs regular recharging
Panorama shots aren't great
There are cameras with similar zoom available for less

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Samsung Galaxy Camera Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
Lens
Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent23mm - 483mm
Optical Zoom21x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor4.8in
Screen resolution308 ppi, HD Super Clear Touch Display
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Min Focus10cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest16sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS30fps, 120fps at 720x480 slow-motion
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type1650mAh Lithium Ion
CIPA RatingNo Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight305g
Width128.7mm
Height70.8mm
Depth19.1mm

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Comments


18 Dec 2012 8:42AM
Samsung Galaxy Camera: What's the point? [One more angle]
I was looking for a cheap MID, like a 7" tablet, on a cell phone-company plan—the likes of S3 or Note or OneX were better factor for pocketability, but out of price range. Then I realized the G-cam hit the stores, and went for some hands-on experience: the 4.8" screen is pretty much enough for my browsing [AND email] needs, and—guess what—costs the same as a 7" tablet in the plans! > So, ta da!, I get the P&S camera for free—no extra cost! I'd rather see it slimmer, but it's more pocketable than a tablet [in terms of (gorilla) glass breaking], and besides, I still have in the closet all those leather belt-bags from when cell phones were a different form-factor [I kinda miss that going-for-the-gun movement].
Also, no one of you guyz thought of using this camera for video streaming? Like, on Ustream, Livecast, etc. Somebody is probably already working on a G-cam optimized video-streaming uploader.
On the other hand, the thing that does bother me at this point is the constant getting-out-of-focus while zooming, as well as the JITTERS that are obvious when the zoom extensions move (forward or backward) and hit the mechanical limits--it all STAYS on-the-record. Tell me what to do about THAT? Just don't say I should first zoom, and then shoot. [As the jitters are more pronounced at wider angles, it could also be that the image processor is not on par for smoothly recalculating 30fps of the greater number of objects in the wider picture. – A possible improvement is, obviously, to use the zoom from 4 to 21x, instead of 1-21x.] The other pain-in-the-ass defect has not been solved in HDV video either—and probably won't be by any upcoming G-cam upgrades: the video pan movements are more than noticeably rickety! I gave up on that one, but still have to ask: does anyone have any tips?
Zick

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26 Jan 2013 12:44PM
I've also tested the Galaxy Camera... even performed a scratch test Smile Check out how it performed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gSf6G-PAt0

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