Smart Gadgets are fast making inroads into our lives ever since the launch of iOS and Android based devices.
Recently we reviewed an Android-based camera from Nikon. This time, we are reviewing a similar camera from Samsung, the leader of Android devices. The Samsung Galaxy ‘Smart’ camera has been much awaited in the market, and here is why. Design and Build Quality The Samsung Galaxy camera bears the stamp of Samsung’s excellence in design. The main body is made of metal and the seamless design provides a rugged feel. The camera mentions ‘made by Samsung’, which means it is not made by any third party OEM. The back panel is completely covered by the 4.7-inch LCD. In our review of the Nikon S800c, we expressed our wish for a scratchproof screen, and Samsung has provided it in this camera. We actually tried to scratch it with different metal objects, but could not produce even a hairline mark. The camera, obviously, has a touch-screen interface and only three buttons on the body— Power, Shutter release (which has the zoom lever attached), and Flash. The lens has a three-segment construction and the tripod receptacle is metal.
At the heart of the 16.3-megapixel Samsung Galaxy is a 1/2.3-inch Type (6.16 x 4.62mm) sensor (Samsung does not reveal much technical detail about the camera), along with a 1.4 GHz Quad Core Application Processor. The camera houses an optically stabilised 23-483mm equivalent lens with aperture range of f/2.8 – 8 at the wide-angle end and f/5.9 – 8.5 at the telephoto end. In the normal mode, the lens focusses from 80cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and 3.5m to infinity at the telephoto end. In Macro mode, it focusses from 10 to 80cm at the wide-angle end and 150 to 350 cm at the telephoto end.The camera uses TTL autofocus and the focus modes available are Centre, Multi, and Face Detection. Shutter speed ranges from 16 to 1/2000 sec. It features the usual metering modes — Multi, Spot, and Centre-weighted along with Face Detection Auto Exposure. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-2 EV in 1/3 EV steps. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 3200. Shooting Modes available are Auto, Smart, and Expert Control. The Smart Modes are Beauty face, Best photo, Continuous shot, Best face, Landscape, Macro, Action freeze, Rich tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, and Light trace, whereas the Expert Control mode allows you to choose between Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Camcorder, and Manual. The camera features the usual White Balance modes — Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Tungsten, and Custom. Still images are recorded in JPEG format with a maximum size of 4608 x 3456 pixels while videos can be recorded in AVI, MP4/3GP, WMV, FLV, MKV, or WEBM format at the best quality of 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps. The built-in flash has a range of approximately 0.5 to 3.8m at the wide-angle end and approximately 0.5m to 1.8m at the telephoto end when sensitivity is set to Auto. It has a recycle time of approximately 4 sec. The flash modes are Auto, Auto and Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash Off, and Red-eye fix. The device has an internal memory of 8GB and can accept a MicroSD card of up to 64GB capacity. It accepts a Micro SIM for mobile data access.
The device uses a 4.7-inch HD Super Clear TFT with 16M colour depth for display. The panel is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass screen.
Apart from the digital camera aspect, the device is a full-featured Android Smart device with Android 4.1 ( Jellybean) operating system. The device has all standard applications installed, but does not have the phone feature. So it enables you to browse the Internet, share multimedia, and send messages, but does not allow you to make a phone call. It supports AGPS and GLONASS along with 3G data transfer.
The Galaxy camera is powered by a 1650mAh Li-ion battery. It has dimensions of 128.7 x 70.8 x 19.1mm ( WxHxD)and weighs approximately 300g.
The Samsung Galaxy camera is ergonomically designed. The large screen provides a better touch experience than on any other touchscreen based camera we have tested. The touch controls are large and responsive. The screen provides excellent clarity and resolution. The camera has a prominent rubberised hand grip, which ensures a firm grip. The menu is intuitive and userfriendly. From a powered down stage, starting up the device takes approximately 2 seconds if you power off the device for short durations, but if it is powered off for long durations, or you make it restart, it takes approximately 20 seconds, as is the case with Android Smartphones.
The Galaxy camera, on the first look, impressed everyone with crisp images on the LCD screen. Autofocus was fast and precise. Out-of-the-box images appeared sharp and noise was well controlled. Native print size was 11.52 x 15.36 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of the screen size, images were noise- free up to ISO 800. Observed at 50 percent, ISO 800 showed slight noise. Viewed at 100 percent of the screen size, images were free of noise up to ISO 200. The slight noise observed at ISO 400 was as good as imperceptible in normal images. In an emergency, you could use even ISO 1600 at lower magnifications without significant deterioration in image quality.
Prominent darkening was observed at the extreme corners at the wide-angle end. Flare observed at the wide-angle end at the widest aperture was of extreme levels and purple fringing was also seen. The lens produced barrel distortion from 23 to 50mm, while pincushion distortion was seen from 80 to 300mm. Auto White Balance produced distinct casts under various light sources except Shade and Fluorescent. We feel Samsung could have done better here though the casts could be easily corrected in Photoshop.
The device is complete with all the Android goodies for photos and videos, which are fun to use and adds some good functionality.
Value for Money
The Samsung Galaxy camera retails at an MRP of Rs.29,900. Considering the utility of the device, this price seems fair.
+ Excellent build
+ Great screen
+ Good noise control
– Cast under most light sources
– Flare and Chromatic Aberration
|Design and Build Quality||18/20|
|Auto White Balance||2/5|
|Value for Money||8/10|
If you have a basic phone, but want to step into the world of Android with a powerful camera and high-end hardware, the Galaxy camera is a steal. What differentiates this device from other smart devices is the camera with a larger sensor. For the segment it is targeted at, the Samsung Galaxy camera is certainly a Best Buy!