Monday, December 31, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Camera

If you are reading this now and you don't know what Android is, where the heck have you been? Anyway Android is a very well known Operating System that is capable of powering phones and tablet to even larger skill like watch and TV, and now Android has made its way into the point-and-shoot camera. I strongly believe that Android can be port into even more hardware but that would require some time before every manufacture adapt to it.
Samsung has recently introduces the Samsung Galaxy Camera with the tagline of "Shoot WOW, Share NOW" promising not just great photo quality but also instant sharing of photo / video to your friends and family. The question remain, does the Galaxy Camera live up with its catchy tagline?
Let's take around the outer appearance of the Galaxy Camera first.
The size of Galaxy Camera is indeed bulky compared to other point-and-shoot / digital camera, and is obviously 2-3 times minimum smaller sized than a DSLR. Unlike the NX1000 or any other semi DSLR camera, the Galaxy Camera doesn't allow interchangeable lens and you're pretty much stuck with the one and only built in lens, that's why it still falls under the point-and-shoot category. One thing I like best on the outer shell is its DSLR like grip as shown above. The grip is made of rubber thus giving a firm and comfort grab while shooting.
On the left side of the camera, there's a audio jack port, followed by a covered mini usb charging / transfer port, and lastly the strip insertion hold.
The right side of Galaxy Camera is where the speaker located along side with the flash button. Upon pressing it, the built in flash will pop up on top of the camera. Like every point-and-shoot camera, there will be no add on flash capability.
On the bottom of the camera, there's a tripod hold where it allow you to attach to a tripod for certain mode / scene which I will go into later. This is where you insert the battery, micro SD card, SIM card. There's also a HDMI port for larger display purpose.
The shutter button is located on top of the camera, along side with power on/off button, and zoom in and out ring, not forgetting the flash as well.
The back panel features a 4.8-inch HD Super Clear LCD touch screen and in case you're wondering, no it is not the super AMOLED like the one in Galaxy S series and Galaxy Note series. It seems that Bill Gates was right when he quoted that we will not be using keyboard and mouse in future and every device / gadget with touch screen capability is deemed to be a high end device whereby nowadays even the entry level phone like Samsung Champ Neo too comes with a touch screen. Back to the Galaxy Camera, the touch screen is responsive and accurate.
Last but not least is the key attraction of  the Galaxy Camera. The zoom lens with 16 megapixel that is capable of zooming in 21x which gave a rather good distance shall you need a focus on press conference, stage performance, to even approaching dangerous situation (like up close with dangerous animal, crime scene, etc). Whichever it is, just make sure such great feature is not being abuse for illegal / inappropriate activities. You could even check out my brief post on the Galaxy Camera here to get an idea on how far is 21x zoom actually.
The Galaxy Camera is powered by one of the lastest version of Android .41.1 with code name Jelly Bean thus giving the buttery smooth navigation. Together it is also powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and an internal storage of 8GB, it is powerful enough to run not just shooting capability but also other functionality and feature that your phone is capable of. In other word, the Galaxy Camera is just like your Galaxy S3 without phone call and SMS capability and comes with a higher end photo taking feature with 16MP BSI CMOS sensor with 21x optical zoom
The quad-core processor seems to be doing a good job and together with its great rendering capability, you can now enjoy awesome / graphically appealing 3D game on your camera. Unlike older version of Android, Jelly Bean play an important part in giving a lag free environment together with non stop improvement in every aspect like user friendliness on the Operating System.
Ever since the introduction of video pop up and multitasking in Samsung Galaxy SIII, it seems that these feature is here to say With that being said, the Galaxy Camera too support the video pop up feature and for testing purpose, I tested it while playing a game and man, it doesn't slow down / lag at all.
I also found out that browsing the web through Galaxy Camera had been a great experience. The Google Chrome that come with the camera out from the box totally amaze me with its intelligently yet user friendly navigation. Whenever there's more than one tab opened, I can simply change from tab to tab without additional click, but rather a swipe from left to right or vice versa, it will bring out the next / previous tab like charm.
While the OS tried it best to show as much content as possible to the user, there will be time where our fat thumb will accidentally press on 2 or more link simultaneously. This is yet another genius feature from Google Chrome where it would magnify the area so that you could navigate accurately.
It seems that after several scroll down the page and I'm still not into the camera itself, but that's just so much to talk about in every aspect. Before I cut short and jump into the camera, here's one last thing I would like to highlight. Although Android user might be familiar with this environment already, I notice that there's a small different in this. The app drawer have only a camera shortcut key on the left, and the apps / menu key on the right, in between it, it is empty, and by empty I do mean you can't customize / add other shortcut in it. I find it quite of space, but since it is an Android, I'm sure there's way to tweak it.
Moving on to the main attraction of the Galaxy Camera will be none other than the photo quality. In camera mode, there are 3 main category namely Auto, Smart, and Expert. It doesn't matter if you're an amateur photographer or an avid photographer, the auto mode is a mode where the camera would use its intelligent to define the best possible setting / scene.  Thus I wouldn't be going into details on that. The smart mode is also a preset mode where there were 15 preset mode you can choose from. Do note that in every mode, setting might different from each other and there's pros and cons in smart mode. One of the best part of the smart mode is that you're assure to have the mentioned effect / outcome whereas the drawback of it might possibly that you couldn't really change the setting like ISO / aperture in this mode.
In Expert Mode, the Galaxy Camera simulate the setting of a DSLR as shown above and its setting were much better compare to entry level DSLR and it is only fair to compare only with camera that is within RM2000 budget. Even my Canon 1000D (and most basic DSLR lens) couldn't go as low as 2.8 aperture. The Samsung Galaxy Camera could reach ISO of 3200, Aperture of f2.8, and shutter speed up to 1/2000. This mode actually give photographer more control on how they want their photo to be in precise and accurate manner.
Likewise, beside manual mode, there's also Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, and Video mode on a DSLR. Personally I think everyone would get so use in this expert mode simply because with every twist of the setting, changes made will be reflected instantly on the 4.8 inch LCD display thus giving a preview of the outcome before actually snapping a photo, saving both battery lifetime and storage.
While the 1920x1080 resolution is absolutely awesome, another feature that you might want to take note is its Slow Motion video recording feature. Gone were the time of having to edit video after it is being shot, and come the day to have slow motion feature on the go, anytime anywhere. Here's a sample of Slow Motion alongwith 21x zoom I tried on Sunway Pyramid last night.
One of the most common worry / concern of a active photographer is shooting great picture at night. With the Night setting from Smart Mode, the camera would snap 3 photo simultaneously and then combine it to reduce noise and to have a brighter effect toward the photo. Here's a sample of photo taken in One World Hotel with dim / orange light
Honestly I only did one shot and this is what I get and when I pinch zoom for the details, I must admit that I'm impressed. The perfect photo quality and clarity is just undeniable attractive.
 This photo above is taken with the setting of ISO 200, F2.8, and 1/30. No doubt the photo quality is too amazing and I'm sure if I set ISO to 400 I would get brighter picture. Now let's test the night mode on an outdoor environment. Below is a photo captured right infront of Sunway Resorts with the same expert setting.
I just have to admit, it does feel and look like how my DSLR behave. Too bad my DSLR was sent into service for faulty lens and annual cleaning, otherwise would do a side by side test on every commonly used mode / scene.
Here's a sample of the Night mode also right in front of Sunway Resorts. This took me 2 - 3 attempt as my hands were shaky lifting up in the air as there were plenty of people walking by at that point of time. I do however notice there were more noise in this picture, but overall it is still appealing for a point-and-shoot camera to produce such quality picture in low light condition.
Here is the photo taken with macro mode during when my BFF proposed to his GF at Le Midi, Bangsar Shopping Centre. If you know Le Midi, you will also know that it is a low lighted environment and is especially dark at night. Do note that every single photo posted here in this blog post has NOT been edited. There were several mode (like light mode, waterfall mode) that would require a tripod for it to work, I shall get some other photo uploaded in my next entry.
It does look like Samsung did live by its tagline after all. So what about uploading and sharing of photos? Well to me I did tried to share on both Wifi and Mobile network and guess what, I have no issue with stable Wifi connection, but when it come to mobile network, there seems to be an issue, in fact a big issue. You see on average each photo is saved in approx 2-3MB file size and judging that our mobile network in Malaysia is slower compare to other country, uploading of photo might either be slow, or even more frustrating it will be cut off when there's no signal detected which happen quite often especially when you're in a shopping mall.
Overall I'm very impress with the Galaxy Camera and too bad Xmas is over, otherwise would definitely request it from Santa. On second thought, I might use my earning from ChurpChurp and Nuffnang to fund this bad@$$. Until then, Happy New Year to all my readers and hope you have a wonderful start in 2013.

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