Another of Samsung’s pioneering products, the Galaxy Camera, is an enticing mash-up of high-quality 16MP camera and Android Jelly Bean 4.1 OS, making this a highly capable snapper that can also run the full selection of Android apps for editing your pics, sharing your favourite shots with the world, or even streaming a bit of Netflix in your down-time.
We wouldn’t describe the Galaxy Camera as a compact - it’s a chunky, hefty beast. You’d struggle to fit it into a pocket but it should slip into a handbag just fine and we love the crisp, clean design. Physical controls are as simple as they come, with flash, power and shutter buttons all well spaced apart and an optical dial for zooming in and out.
An example of the colour-rich photos the Samsung Galaxy Camera produces
There’s no viewfinder, as the beautifully crisp 4.8-inch screen stretches the length and breadth of the camera’s back. With its dense 1280x720 HD resolution, you’ll see a sharp and vibrant reproduction of the shot you’re taking – and of course, since this is an Android device, you can also use it to watch movies or play games if so inclined.
The 21x optical zoom is one of the most powerful we’ve seen on a device this size, and makes the Galaxy Camera a formidable way of capturing distant landmarks in impressive detail. We took some crisp shots of signposts in Leicester Square all the way from Piccadilly Circus, a distance of roughly 250m. Thanks to the fantastically fast shutter speed, you can get blur-free snaps without the need for a tripod either.
The top shot is a 1x shot taken from Piccadilly Circus. Beneath it is a full 21x zoom shot showing the area ringed in red. Seriously, James Bond would drool over this camera.
We were also more than happy with the way our standard shots came out. Colours are given an extra kick to make them really stand out on-screen, and the automatic mode did a great job with brightness levels and contrast. Professionals can tweak the ISO, aperture and shutter speeds to get the exact shot they want.
A macro shot taken with the Galaxy Camera. Close-up details are captured in precise detail, while the background is nicely faded.
There’s also a great range of ‘Smart’ shoot modes if you’re not quite so confident, including settings for particular situations (including night, sunset, landscape and waterfall) as well as macro mode, continuous shot (takes four photos a second) and ‘best face’, which merges the least-freakish expressions from each individual taken over a series of five shots into one perfect image.
The continuous shot mode in all its glory. At four shots a second, it's perfect for capturing those tricky action shots.
Running Android gives the Galaxy Camera a massive advantage over other digital cameras, as you can download a huge range of photo editing and social media apps to tweak and share your snaps. The built-in SIM card slot even allows you to get online when you’re out of Wi-Fi range. GPS support means you can location tag your photos, and of course you can populate your three Android desktops with all kinds of widgets and other fun stuff. The quad-core processor means you can even run the latest action-packed games.
Another colourful shot
You only get 4GB of storage space, but the Galaxy Camera’s memory card slot allows you to expand, and you’ll definitely need to stock up on a 32GB card if you’re planning on taking high-res images or video. Easily-accessible HDMI and earphone ports are also present.
If your smartphone’s snapper isn’t strong enough for your needs but you don’t want to upgrade to a full DSLR, Samsung’s Galaxy Camera is a fantastic compromise. It’s not quite pocket-sized, but is fully featured and takes some truly remarkable shots.