Samsung Galaxy Review - Digital Photography School

Samsung Galaxy Review

GALAXY Camera_6.jpg

As a fan of the Mac I find it hard to avoid news of the constant sniping, litigation and general blazing that is going on between Apple and Samsung over alleged patent infringements, new developments, new products and amazing improvements to existing iDevices.

However, in a way, I see the Apple vs Samsung barney as a good thing, with the eventual outcomes arriving as radical new devices and/or useful advances in many products.

So, it is in this environment that I am reviewing a newcomer from the Dark Side! Move over Microsoft, there’s a new boy in town.

GALAXY Camera_4.jpg

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As Samsung says: This is the first Galaxy Camera, featuring Wi-Fi connectivity and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) software. It combines high performance photography with mobile technology ….

Straight out of the box, the camera is simply gorgeous in its all-white livery, with dramatic relief as you turn it around to show the enormous 12.2cm rear screen in black (with power off!). Very Apple!

Whilst it’s pocketable, it is much larger than many compact digicams.

GALAXY Camera_2.jpg

If you’re not a patient screen tapper you may find the comprehensive touch screen interface a bit of a challenge at first: you go nowhere unless you tap! External controls are minimal: tiny power button on top, nearby is the shutter button and zoom lever; left edge is where you tap a button to raise the onboard flash cell.

Flash.jpg

The camera’s right edge houses a mini HDMI port; beneath the camera is a latch which, when raised gives access to the battery, memory card and SIM card.

Re the touch screen: once familiar with it I found life to be trés trés easy and much better than many cameras’ convoluted menus.

To begin with, you must encounter the main screen which has icons for virtually all your needs: apps such as Paper Artist, Instagram and Photo Wizard can be triggered here.

I immediately went to Camera which took me to the exposure options I needed to run the camera.

Three on screen options: Auto, Mode and Video.

Mode was my next stop; in this department I could select Auto (again), Smart and Expert. Smart gave me on screen visual examples of image treatments that could impart such effects as Beauty Face, Continuous (a burst of shots), Macro, Rich tone, Light Trace, Panorama etc.
Expert 1.jpg

Expert 2.jpg

The Expert option was obviously my next stop if I was to raise my skills above auto shooting: here I could choose Program AE, shutter or aperture priority, manual exposure and video (again). An interesting display: a lens barrel showing choices of ISO setting, exposure compensation and aperture selection.
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Samsung Galaxy Features

The maximum lens aperture is f2.8, which shrinks to f5.9 when the 21x zoom is extended to its ultimate 35 SLR equivalent of 481mm.

Maximum image size is 4068×3456 pixels, leading to a print size of 34x29cm
Shop manikin head 1.JPG

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Video can be shot in MPEG4 at 1920×1080 or 720×480 res. I found the Galaxy camera to be excellent as a video camera: it smoothly helped auto focus to sharpen up on subjects as I moved around; the large screen, even held at waist height, made it an excellent viewfinder when on the move.

There’s a whole heap of fun awaiting for you when you get into the software side of the camera: users can browse the Web and download applications from Google Play or the Samsung Apps stores.

Voice commands.jpg

Built in voice control allows you to tell the camera what to do! What a party starter! Simply call out Smile! Shoot! Zoom in! and other commands to get the camera to perform under your control. And it works!

I did discover that settings such as voice operation on/off, lens aperture setting and ISO and are cancelled after a restart.

Startup Time

About 23 seconds before I could fire off the first shot. This possibly because it’s booting the Android operating system.

Distortion

No problems at the wide and the tele end of the zoom.
Dust on sensor.JPG

Dust Spots

Hopefully, it was only this camera, but I did find that dust spots appeared when the lens was set at full tele.

ISO Speeds

Samsung Galaxy ISO 100.JPG

Samsung Galaxy ISO 400.JPG

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At ISO 400 a drop in sharpness and a lift in noise is apparent; by ISO 800 these are even worse; by ISO 3200 these problems make the image unusable.

Samsung Galaxy Review Verdict

Quality: about average; no more.
Why you would buy the Samsung Galaxy: it’s the latest iDevice.
Why you wouldn’t: expensive for a camera; despite its glamorous Android and Wi-Fi trappings it’s no more than a point-and-shoot digicam; you hate touch screens.

My experience with the Galaxy camera was a positive one. Thrown upon the seeming ‘rocks’ of a totally touch screen menu with no external controls left me with no scars … in fact, it gave me a glimpse of a possible future for digicams totally equipped this way: large screens, no external controls, touch screen operation.

A few hangups:

Startup 1.jpg

Startup 2.jpg

From a cold start, the camera seemed to take an eternity to get to operational readiness: as I’ve already mentioned, it took about 23 seconds to get going, after a series of glam startup screens.

The leaflet tucked into the camera box is totally inadequate; go to www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/EK-GC100ZWAATT to download a useful 134 page PDF manual.

Be careful you don’t load a memory card into the SIM slot by accident; it can be difficult to remove.

If you have difficulty saving images to the memory card, try re-formatting the card. It saved my day!

Let the fun continue!

Also in black.

Samsung Galaxy Specifications

Image Sensor: 16.3 million effective pixels.
Sensor Size: 11mm CMOS.
Lens: f2.8-5.9/4.1-86.1mm (23-481mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Image Stabiliser: Optical.
Metering: Multi, centre-weighted, face detection.
Shutter Speed: (Auto) 1/8 to 1/2000; (Manual) 16 to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 20 shots at 3.8 fps.
Memory: micro SD, micro SDHC, micro SDXC cards plus 8GB internal memory.
GPS Location Tagging: Yes.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4068×3456 to 1024×768.
Movies: 1920×1080 and 1280×720 (both 30fps); 640×480 (30 and 60fps) and 320×240 (30fps) and 768×512 (slo mo 120fps).
Viewfinder: 12.2cm LCD.
File Formats: JPEG, MPEG4, AAC, WAV etc.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, Wi-Fi, GPS equipped, DC.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion.
Dimensions:129x71x19 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 305 g (inc battery).
Price: Get a price on the Samsung Galaxy Camera on Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Samsung Galaxy
Author Rating
3

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category.

Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Daniel

    I strongly object calling it “iDevice”.

    “iDevice” are associated with Apple products. And this lacks in quality of product, manufacturing and engineering to be any close to “iDevice”.

  • http://com Brandon Wheetly

    Have you used one Daniel, or are you just AndroidAphobic?

  • Kari

    You feel the samsung vs apple fight is a GOOD thing?! Are you MENTAL?! By that definition stealing someones photographs and publishing them as your own is fine then! As apple is using samsung technology like LTE without a legal deal nor permit, you sir should NOT be allowed to review anymore, you are NOT qualified!

  • Matt

    Definitely an interesting convergence of camera and smartphone. I can imagine that this is only the beginning and am interested in seeing where it goes. If you give me the quality of a sensor like in the FujiFilm x100 (and predecessors), all the normal smartphone stuff included, and in something that will easily fit in my pocket, I’d definitely be interested – especially as a carry around camera.

  • Salman

    Daniel, for a number of years now Samsung has been producing better designed and more innovative products than Apple. I own an iPhone but my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S3 is vastly superior. The iPhone’s tiny pokey screen and boring, very old looking interface are just no match for the S3.

    So therefore I too object to the Galaxy camera being called an iDevice. It is an insult to Samsung.

  • Daniel

    Salman: so, Apple’s innovation, Google’s OS, and Samsung are the good guys here?

  • Salman

    Daniel,nobody is a ‘good guy’ here, they all just want your money. It’s just that Samsung has been making better products than Apple. Perhaps if Apple used Google’s OS they too would make better phones.

  • http://www.tyleringram.com Tyler Ingram

    Uhoh.. this turning into an Apple vs Samsung debate?

    Anyway.. the part of the view that says “Very Apple” in regards to the look of the back of the camera. Reminds me of my Galaxy SIII, not an iPhone. Oh well.

    21x optical zoom at ~481mm seems like overkill (or at least I always thought so). Though, I’ve never liked that focal length on compact digicams. They quality just never looks good at that length.

    With the print size being 34x29cm what dpi is that at? Just under 300dpi?

    23 second start time thats huge. Though, you’d probably just leave it on while you carried it, or at least I would if it was that slow to start.

  • ArturoMM

    So, does this camera have phone capabilities?

  • Barrie Smith

    To Kari:

    do you think Apple has never ‘borrowed’ technology from another company? Really/

  • Carl

    Doesn’t seem to me that this can be used for calling although there is an app for messaging.

    I was wondering about:

    1. The price of course
    2. Battery life and the charging system
    3. Are there options for dimming the screen or for putting the camera to sleep. And if the camera will ‘sleep’ to conserve battery, what is the recovery time. It surely would have to be less than the start time. 23 seconds until the first picture for a carry around camera is close to ridiculous.

    I’m really not too sure that this hybrid is really all that desirable as the SIII is quite adept at most of these functions and quite a few more. And now that the SIV is about to arrive, this may not really get a foothold in the market. But it is a starting point and who really can tell what will come out of this.

  • Mark andersen

    I spent about half an hour checking out this camera, I was pretty impressed with many of its features, the menu logic was excellent and easy to understand, clear descriptions and user tips were useful.

    I’m not an android user but I found the environment comfortable and easy to recognise. I kept asking myself is this thing a phone too? How cool would that be… A camera that is also a phone…. Not the other way around, and then I also asked myself, does this mean you can download new lenses, and filters etc to install them in your camera app? Imagine if you could get for example stackable cokin filters app running inside the camera app, or a variable kaleidoscope, or if lensbaby made and simulation app of their cool toys.

    When I started it up I thought the camera I was playing with was broken as it took soooooooooooo long to get going. I actually asked the demonstrator if something was wrong with it and by the time she looked it had started up. I can only think of how many opportunities I have missed with the 8 second start up time on my little fuji P&S and this enormous time lag was a big negative for me.

    The screen on the Galaxy cam is stunning, reviewing your shots was a delight, and the zoom was impressive. I took sme portraits from about 1.5m from the subject and when zoomed in for the review the clarity of the fine details such as reflections on the eyes and eyebrows was exceptional.

    It is a BIG pocketable camera, not for slim fit jeans.

    I did notice a problem with blurry patches on all three of the galaxies I tried, I put this down to them being handled by non photographers putting their fingers in the lenses, but I was still a bit suspicious as it seemed to be something more technical than that…the blurring was strange.

    I was impressed, but I think I’ll wait for the next generation to come out before I consider it seriously.

  • rose

    PlaYed with this at CES. Spot on review and I love apple too but I venture to the dark side every now and then

  • Dennis

    I have to admit that Samsung has better technology than apple. I had iphone before but when i tried the SIII I shifted and i wasn’t wrong with decision. To haters of samsung, try it first. Obviously you haven’t tried it yet and you’re just a fan trying to defend the brand you have. Be open minded, you don’t own the company

  • Ed Walker

    another sloppy, poorly written article from DPS, if you want to read a proper review go to:

    http://www.wired.co.uk/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/2013-03/samsung-galaxy-camera

  • Jurek Jerry

    Idevice? This is not an Idevice. It is better. Is is (An) Droid. Did you do a review of the Samsung EX2F?

  • Barrie Smith

    Wise comment. No I have not reviewed the EX2F.

Some older comments

  • Barrie Smith

    April 13, 2013 09:48 am

    Wise comment. No I have not reviewed the EX2F.

  • Jurek Jerry

    April 12, 2013 10:01 pm

    Idevice? This is not an Idevice. It is better. Is is (An) Droid. Did you do a review of the Samsung EX2F?

  • Ed Walker

    April 4, 2013 10:53 pm

    another sloppy, poorly written article from DPS, if you want to read a proper review go to:

    http://www.wired.co.uk/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/2013-03/samsung-galaxy-camera

  • Dennis

    March 29, 2013 08:38 pm

    I have to admit that Samsung has better technology than apple. I had iphone before but when i tried the SIII I shifted and i wasn't wrong with decision. To haters of samsung, try it first. Obviously you haven't tried it yet and you're just a fan trying to defend the brand you have. Be open minded, you don't own the company

  • rose

    March 23, 2013 09:39 am

    PlaYed with this at CES. Spot on review and I love apple too but I venture to the dark side every now and then

  • Mark andersen

    March 22, 2013 10:35 am

    I spent about half an hour checking out this camera, I was pretty impressed with many of its features, the menu logic was excellent and easy to understand, clear descriptions and user tips were useful.

    I'm not an android user but I found the environment comfortable and easy to recognise. I kept asking myself is this thing a phone too? How cool would that be... A camera that is also a phone.... Not the other way around, and then I also asked myself, does this mean you can download new lenses, and filters etc to install them in your camera app? Imagine if you could get for example stackable cokin filters app running inside the camera app, or a variable kaleidoscope, or if lensbaby made and simulation app of their cool toys.

    When I started it up I thought the camera I was playing with was broken as it took soooooooooooo long to get going. I actually asked the demonstrator if something was wrong with it and by the time she looked it had started up. I can only think of how many opportunities I have missed with the 8 second start up time on my little fuji P&S and this enormous time lag was a big negative for me.

    The screen on the Galaxy cam is stunning, reviewing your shots was a delight, and the zoom was impressive. I took sme portraits from about 1.5m from the subject and when zoomed in for the review the clarity of the fine details such as reflections on the eyes and eyebrows was exceptional.

    It is a BIG pocketable camera, not for slim fit jeans.

    I did notice a problem with blurry patches on all three of the galaxies I tried, I put this down to them being handled by non photographers putting their fingers in the lenses, but I was still a bit suspicious as it seemed to be something more technical than that...the blurring was strange.

    I was impressed, but I think I'll wait for the next generation to come out before I consider it seriously.

  • Carl

    March 22, 2013 09:29 am

    Doesn't seem to me that this can be used for calling although there is an app for messaging.

    I was wondering about:

    1. The price of course
    2. Battery life and the charging system
    3. Are there options for dimming the screen or for putting the camera to sleep. And if the camera will 'sleep' to conserve battery, what is the recovery time. It surely would have to be less than the start time. 23 seconds until the first picture for a carry around camera is close to ridiculous.

    I'm really not too sure that this hybrid is really all that desirable as the SIII is quite adept at most of these functions and quite a few more. And now that the SIV is about to arrive, this may not really get a foothold in the market. But it is a starting point and who really can tell what will come out of this.

  • Barrie Smith

    March 22, 2013 08:20 am

    To Kari:

    do you think Apple has never 'borrowed' technology from another company? Really/

  • ArturoMM

    March 22, 2013 05:17 am

    So, does this camera have phone capabilities?

  • Tyler Ingram

    March 22, 2013 01:54 am

    Uhoh.. this turning into an Apple vs Samsung debate?

    Anyway.. the part of the view that says "Very Apple" in regards to the look of the back of the camera. Reminds me of my Galaxy SIII, not an iPhone. Oh well.

    21x optical zoom at ~481mm seems like overkill (or at least I always thought so). Though, I've never liked that focal length on compact digicams. They quality just never looks good at that length.

    With the print size being 34x29cm what dpi is that at? Just under 300dpi?

    23 second start time thats huge. Though, you'd probably just leave it on while you carried it, or at least I would if it was that slow to start.

  • Salman

    March 22, 2013 01:46 am

    Daniel,nobody is a 'good guy' here, they all just want your money. It's just that Samsung has been making better products than Apple. Perhaps if Apple used Google's OS they too would make better phones.

  • Daniel

    March 22, 2013 01:01 am

    Salman: so, Apple's innovation, Google's OS, and Samsung are the good guys here?

  • Salman

    March 21, 2013 09:51 pm

    Daniel, for a number of years now Samsung has been producing better designed and more innovative products than Apple. I own an iPhone but my wife's Samsung Galaxy S3 is vastly superior. The iPhone's tiny pokey screen and boring, very old looking interface are just no match for the S3.

    So therefore I too object to the Galaxy camera being called an iDevice. It is an insult to Samsung.

  • Matt

    March 21, 2013 08:14 pm

    Definitely an interesting convergence of camera and smartphone. I can imagine that this is only the beginning and am interested in seeing where it goes. If you give me the quality of a sensor like in the FujiFilm x100 (and predecessors), all the normal smartphone stuff included, and in something that will easily fit in my pocket, I'd definitely be interested - especially as a carry around camera.

  • Kari

    March 21, 2013 12:23 pm

    You feel the samsung vs apple fight is a GOOD thing?! Are you MENTAL?! By that definition stealing someones photographs and publishing them as your own is fine then! As apple is using samsung technology like LTE without a legal deal nor permit, you sir should NOT be allowed to review anymore, you are NOT qualified!

  • Brandon Wheetly

    March 21, 2013 10:30 am

    Have you used one Daniel, or are you just AndroidAphobic?

  • Daniel

    March 21, 2013 09:26 am

    I strongly object calling it "iDevice".

    "iDevice" are associated with Apple products. And this lacks in quality of product, manufacturing and engineering to be any close to "iDevice".

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