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CAMERA

Samsung Galaxy Camera - The Future Of Digital Photography (Part 1)

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Samsung’s “Connected Camera” could well be the future of digital photography

There’s no denying that smartphones are becoming the take-everywhere camera of choice for many photographers, although while the imaging capabilities have improved in recent years, there are still limitations. The need for a slim and pocketable device means that none have as yet featured an optical zoom, while sensor size is also limited for the same reasons. This disparity between smartphone and full-blooded digital camera has created a gap in the market for a marriage between the two, and into this gap arrives the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

Features

Dubbed the '“Connected Camera”, the Samsung Galaxy Camera boasts the bare bones to rival many a conventional digital camera. At the core of the model sits a back side illuminated l/2.3in CMOS sensor, the same found in standard compact cameras and larger than that found in a smartphone. The sensor offers full HD video capture at 1080p and 30fps alongside traditional stills capture. The Galaxy Camera also packs quite the optical punch. It features a 21x optical zoom lens that covers a focal range of 23-483mm in 35mm equivalent terms and has a maximum aperture off/2.8 at the zoom’s wide angle. The lens is also supported by optical image stabilization technology.

This composite of two separate images illustrates the struggles of the Galaxy Camera’s Auto White Balance setting.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is, in many ways, the epitome of convergence technology. In no area is this more apparent than on the rear of the camera, where the largest and most highly specified screen ever found on a digital camera resides.

The screen measures 4.8in and features a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, thus gaining the HD moniker from Samsung, while it also benefits from full capacitive touchscreen technology. The screen features a 16:9 aspect ratio that’s perfect for HD video capture and review.

The model also benefits from integrated dual-band Wi-Fi technology, although that's just the start of its connected capabilities, as the Galaxy Camera is the first digital camera to feature integrated 3G technology and offer cellular network connectivity.

Samsung is keen to push the serious photo capabilities of the Galaxy Camera, and as a result it features full PASM exposure modes for image capture. Alongside this advanced functionality are the traditional shooting modes to make life easier for the relative novice. This includes the default Auto settings, as well as a range of Smart settings including Action Freeze and Rich Tone.

The range of "Smart” modes include a Night composite setting for low light as used

Design

As you would expect for a model that possesses the largest screen ever seen on a digital camera, the Galaxy Camera is by no means small. The rear of the camera is dominated by the touchscreen with physical buttons noticeable by their absence. While there’s no denying the benefits of having a 21x optical zoom when it comes to imaging prowess, its presence in combination with this large touchscreen does turn the Galaxy Camera into a bulky shooter.

It does present a bit of an issue when using the Galaxy Camera in traditional portrait smartphone orientation though, as it’s difficult to get a steady grip on the camera.

Although the majority of the camera's functionality is accessed and controlled from the ample touchscreen, the body does feature a few control buttons. On the top plate sits a shutter release button complete with zoom lever, as well as a power button.

The only other physical button found on the camera is the one used to trigger the camera’s flash on the left hand side. Outside of this, the rest of the body is noticeably minimalist and as a result it does have a sleek appearance. One possible oversight in the pursuit of keeping the body as clean as possible is the absence of any functionality around the lens ring. Samsung’s NX CSC cameras feature an i-Fn function ring essentially a customizable control wheel - around the lens and thus made better use of the area. We hope that future Galaxy Cameras will feature the same functionality.

The right hand side of the Galaxy Camera's body houses a reasonably-sized handgrip which, in combination with the protruding lens, offers a steady grip that’s welcome when shooting at longer focal ranges. It does present a bit of an issue when using the Galaxy Camera in traditional portrait smartphone orientation though, as it’s difficult to get a steady grip on the camera.

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