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Samsung Galaxy Camera First-Look Review

Samsung Galaxy Camera First-Look Review - We go hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy Camera - the ultimate Android camera with a 4.8inch screen and 21x optical zoom lens.

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Samsung Galaxy Camera in Compact Cameras

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On Black (1)
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands-On Black 

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a new Android camera that has been introduced with a premium level specification, as both a high end Android device, as well as a high specification digital camera - it has the largest screen available in a digital camera, at 4.8 inches and also features a high speed quad-core processor. The camera will be available mid-October priced at £399.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Features

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On Black (2)
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On Black - Rear

Key Features

  • 16.3 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 21x optical zoom lens, f/2.8-5.9, 23mm wide angle
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 4.8inch 16:9 touch screen 1280x720 HD resolution
  • 1.4GHz quad-core processor
  • P/A/S/M Manual controls
  • ISO100-3200
  • 8GB memory built in
  • Photo wizard, Best Group Pose
  • Smart Content Manager
  • Google Play Store - download apps etc
  • 3G / 4G / Wi-Fi / GPS / Cloud backup
  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • MicroSD/SDHC memory card slot

Samsung Galaxy Camera Handling

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White - Flash

Handling and Design - The camera has few buttons, with a minimalistic design, on top is just the pop-up flash, on/off button, zoom control and shutter release. The grip features a stylish design with a strip of colour coming from the back of the camera around the front grip, and on the side if a headphone socket, USB connection, and wrist strap loop. The bottom of the camera features a metal tripod socket and the battery compartment, where you'll also find an HDMI connection, Micro SD/SDHC slot, and Micro SIM slot. The camera is quite large, and Samsung say it's not a pocket camera, but a travel camera, so you would need to keep it in a large pocket or in a bag.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On Black (3)
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On Black - Top

Menus - The main shooting mode has an overlay of options and controls, with the main shooting mode chosen using the round button on the right of the screen - this lets you choose between four main modes: Auto, Casual, Smart Pro and Expert (where you'll find P/A/S/M) shooting. The controls feel a lot like using an Android smart phone with a thumbnail in the bottom left corner showing the last photo you took. Pressing the bottom middle button lets you apply a number of effects while shooting, and there are further shooting effects and options available in the playback gallery.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On Black (4)
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On Black - Photo mode.

The screen is stunning, it is a large 4.8 inch touch-screen with 1280x720 resolution, and extremely impressive viewing angles. It really is one of the best screens ever seen on a digital camera, by far. The camera is also the first digital camera with voice control, featuring 12 voice actived features in the photo shooting mode, and another 7 voice actived features in the gallery playback mode. 

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White - Start up help
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White - Start up help

Samsung are working with camera app developers such as Instagram, to enable zoom control while in the application. In addition they are going to release the SDK (Software Developers Kit) in mid-October so that others can develop applications for the camera. 

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White (4)
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White 

Photo Wizard - This lets you adjust brightness / contrast / colour, as well as apply effects, and select specific areas of the image by drawing on the screen with your finger. The best group pose works in continuous shooting mode by letting you choose the favourite face for each person in the photo so you can make sure you get their best smile or expression.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White (5)
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White - Battery

Battery - With a 1650mAh battery it is said to offer 6-7 hours life when used as an Android device, or alternatively 290 shots according to CIPA standards. If however, you switch the device off as you would a normal digital camera, then battery life could be longer. 

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On White (14)
Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands On - Select Pro Mode(s) from the home-screen widget.

Size Comparison - Compared to the Samsung EX2F, just to show how large the Samsung Galaxy Camera is, we've shown it next to the Samsung EX2F, a medium sized serious compact camera, with flash hot shoe, and 3 inch vari-angle screen.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Samsung Ex2f Size (3)
Samsung Galaxy Camera vs Samsung EX2F Size Comparison

Samsung Galaxy Camera Samsung Ex2f Size (4)
Samsung Galaxy Camera vs Samsung EX2F Size Comparison - the rear of the Samsung Galaxy Camera is dominated by the 4.8inch screen.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Hands-On Photos of Equipment

Samsung Galaxy Camera Performance

With a 16.3 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, with the same size sensor as a normal compact digital camera at 1/2.33inch we expect image quality to be very similar to what you would get with a pocket zoom camera, such as the Samsung WB850F, which features the same 21x optical zoom lens.

Value For Money - The Samsung Galaxy S III with 4.8inch screen and mobile phone features will cost you around £350 or more, and has an 8mp fixed focal length lens, therefore considering the specification and dramatically improved camera features of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, we would consider it reasonably good value for money. The only other alternative is the lower specification Nikon Coolpix S800c, at £379, with 10x optical zoom and an older version of Android, although the Nikon is smaller.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Verdict

If you want the ultimate combination of digital camera and Android this is it... however, if you simply want to share your photos straight away, choosing a Wi-Fi enabled camera (or which there are a number) should allow you to send to your Android / iphone mobile for a similar level of sharing capability. However, this camera may appeal for the simple fact that it has one of the largest and clearest screens ever seen on a digital camera - it really is a stunning display with excellent colour and viewing angles.

Samsung say that the smart phone market is an extremely important market for them with 660 million units sold each year, compared to 120 million digital cameras sold each year, so they believe that the best way to grow the camera market is to bring the two together. In a lot of ways this makes sense, particularly if you are used to Android smartphones and want the same kind of applications and creative options on your camera. However, for some this may be a step too far, and may add an additional layer of complexity to the camera, especially if you just want to point at shoot. We feel that this is an exciting development, and is certainly something people have been asking for over the last couple of years, as the use of camera apps has grown significantly on mobile phones. One thing that may put people off, is that the Samsung Galaxy Camera isn't able to make mobile phone calls, even though it has a Micro SIM slot, this is simply designed for use with a 3G/4G data SIM.

As the camera phone market grows, and as more people get interested in taking and sharing photos, the Samsung Galaxy Camera is an excellent option for those that want to have a big increase in image quality and optical zoom while retaining their favourite applications and sharing options. If demand is high, then this is likely to be the first of many Android based digital cameras, with a Samsung NX Android mirrorless camera a possibility. We will post our full review when we have access to a full production model. 

Samsung Galaxy Camera Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent23mm - 483mm
Optical Zoom21x
Image Sensor
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
Min Focus10cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest16sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • 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
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30fps, 120fps at 720x480 slow-motion
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type1650mAh Lithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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Photographs taken using the Samsung Galaxy Camera

Information Overload!Just at the "Flower Centre", filling up on pollen before I buzz off!...... Me next....?Dancing 'til we drop!Autumn at Stourhead - The Pantheon"Fall" at Caerlaverock Castle


mikesavage 16 299 2 England
3 Sep 2012 8:55PM
An impressive piece of kit, but will the size put some people off?

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ade33 12 32
5 Sep 2012 3:36PM
Looks very handy but the usp would have been phone integration. Trick. Missed. Shame.

With lots of us already carrying large-ish smartphones I don't think the size would have been that much of an issue - I can't get my phone in my pocket anymore anyway!
5 Sep 2012 5:37PM
3g and 4g is ok too.
there are a lot of app using data only to use this as a phone, skype or google voice is one and that is for US, dellvoice.ca is for canada. And there are a lot more to come.
Right now I am using a ipad2 with 3g and using a waze GPS program, take the photo and get geodata, check email, make few photo calls, send or upload a photo to my coworkers, all in one device. But the ipad2 camera is only good for get the image only, I want something really good for taking better photos, this might be the first step.
suger 5 Iran, Islamic Republic Of
8 Sep 2012 9:08PM
annettep38 Plus
7 218 40 Costa Rica
4 Oct 2012 10:49AM
Do I miss something or?
the article tells us a lot about software, but a camera article should not say you 'expect' picture quality and take pictures off the screen, but we'd like to see the pictures you took!!
For instance, what does the 'macro ' mode do in reality?

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