Samsung Galaxy Camera review
The best parts of a camera and tablet combined – a compelling choice for connected travellers and social network addicts
Most cameras use proprietary firmware, but Samsung’s latest snapper bucks the trend and runs Android 4.1 instead. This means that, not only can it take pictures to shame your average smartphone, but it can also run any Jelly Bean-compatible app downloaded from Google Play or Samsung’s own store.
Under the hood there’s a 16-megapixel, 1/2.3in backside-illuminated sensor served by a 21x zoom, equivalent to 23-483mm on a 35mm camera. The maximum aperture ranges from f/2.8 at wide angle to f/5.9 at full telephoto, and around the back there’s a huge 4.8in, 1,280 x 800 display – the same size and resolution as the Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III’s screen.
There’s 3.87GB of integrated memory for apps, data, or storing photos, and if that’s too restrictive you can expand it using the microSD slot in the battery compartment. This sits alongside a near-identical slot for a micro-SIM and it’s easy to get them mixed up. Fortunately, extracting the microSD card when you’ve done just that isn’t too tricky, as long as you have a fine penknife.
Samsung is bundling the Galaxy Camera with a SIM tied to the Three network. It has a month of credit when first installed; it’s up to you whether you want to renew it once your time is up or switch it out for an alternative network.
That’s important, as it’s the built-in 3G and Wi-Fi that makes this camera really interesting. You can't make phone calls with the Galaxy Camera, but you can use it to check your email and browse the web on the move. Of greater interest to the travelling photographer, though, is the option to upload your photos before you get home, share them directly on social networks and, crucially, back them up remotely.
It’s bundled with a two-year, 50GB Dropbox account. Pair the two and your camera will automatically upload every shot and video as it’s captured so when you get back to your PC they’ll already be waiting in the synchronised folder. Transfer speeds will depend on your connection quality, but in an area with poor 3G coverage full-resolution images appear in a Dropbox folder 41 seconds after being shot. That’s slow, but as it happens in the background, not unusably so.
It can’t quite hold its own when compared directly with a traditional camera of similar price, such as the Canon PowerShot S110, which sacrifices resolution and zoom in favour of a larger sensor, brighter lens and greater shooting flexibility. However, the results are unlikely to disappoint in day-to-day use.
Colours are accurate, and although there is some softness in the corners of the frame, images are generally sharp. Macro mode only gets you to within 10cm of your subject, but the depth of field is impressively narrow, and the creamy blur surrounding the subject is even and attractive. There’s evidence of chromatic aberration, though.
|Camera megapixel rating||16.0mp|
|Camera screen size||4.8in|
|Camera optical zoom range||21x|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||129 x 19 x 71mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||Lithium-ion|
|Aperture range||fUnknown - fUnknown|
|Camera minimum focus distance||0.10m|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/2,000|
|Maximum (slowest) shutter speed||8s|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Data connector type||micro-USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||yes|