Android sharp shooter [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) With Android capability and a fast lens, the Samsung Galaxy camera is actually pretty amazing, writes Arman Ahmad
IF time travel were real, and a person were to travel from 1995 to the present, I wonder what his first impression of the Samsung Galaxy Camera would be.
Back then, a basic camera was pretty much a mechanical box designed to advance a roll of film. In recent years, the camera has gone through a revolutionary metamorphosis. The Samsung Galaxy camera is of course, at the bleeding edge of this technology. It is a reinvention of the camera in the age of Android.
On the outside
The Samsung Galaxy camera is rather large for a compact camera. At 128.7 x 70.8 x 19.1mm and weighing in at 300g, it dwarfs common cameras like the old LX5. Physically, it is not the most pleasing looking of gadgets.
In fact, it looks like someone has grafted a smartphone on the back of a digital camera. The materials used on the device are top- notch.
With only a few buttons on the device, it has a clean, uncluttered look. The shutter release and zoom controls appear to be metal. In fact, the body is mostly metal, including the lens, giving the camera a robust, solid feel but contributing to its weight. The massive lens dominates the camera and juts out a good centimetre when the camera is turned off. When unfurled to its full 21x zoom, it is simply huge. You could carry the camera in your jeans camera but it will leave an odd protrusion on your thigh!
The flash operates via a mechanical release with a spring setup. Press the flash button (again metal) at the side and the flash pops up faster than you can say "Cheese!"
The camera at work
The camera has a focal length of 23mm at the widest end and goes all the way to 483mm. At its widest, the aperture is 2.8, making the camera fast and pin-sharp. Even at the maximum zoom, the aperture is 5.9, making it better than most cameras in this category.
There are three basic modes of operation. First, the Auto mode, which is a common feature in most cameras. The two additional modes are Smart and Expert. The Smart mode gives you 15 optimised sub modes.
It includes Beauty, which will appeal to those who like to take self portraits. It is quite amazing how blemishes and skin imperfections are smoothened over in a fraction of a second. Macro shot is of course optimised for close ups. There are a few modes however that are quite unique. These include Light Trace, Fireworks and Silhoutte.
The third major mode, Expert, allows manual control of functions such as exposure (+/- 2EV), size of aperture and light sensitivity, as well as shutter speed. The sensor is a 16MP CMOS type.
The lens is a particular strong point on the Galaxy Camera.
It is particularly suited for use in a wide variety of instances. In the urban setting, the wide zoom allows you to take picture even in cropped settings. I managed to take decent photos even in the confines of a car interior - which speaks volumes of the camera is versatility.
Low light shots are also excellent. Under fluorescent light, pictures are still sharp and clear. Even in dimly lit places, the camera will still deliver. The 21x zoom allows you to get in on the action without actually being intrusive.
The 4.8 inch HD 1280X720 Super Clear TFT LCD gives good contrast and realistic colour reproduction to view your pictures.
The camera is meant to be always on, like a tablet. If you turn it off, it will take some time to boot up Android, which probably means that you will miss your shot.
Pictures and videos
Images look amazing on the 4.8 inch screen. The moment it is downloaded into the PC, however, and viewed on a bigger monitor, it loses a bit of its pizzazz. Image processing is rather good, giving pictures true to life, accurate colour rendition. Greens and blues seem to be amplified a bit though, but give an overall, pleasing effect.
The camera tends to hunt for focus when the zoom is fully extended. It produces its best images in bright light. At the same time though, the processing seems to do an excellent job of removing noise at higher ISO levels.
Image stabilisation is also good, removing most of the motion blur. This is particularly important because the camera is capable of some serious zooming.
The Galaxy does not capture in RAW, which is a major drawback for some.
Full HD (1920 x 1080) video can also be recorded at 30fps.
Mini tablet functionality
In its alternate persona, the camera works pretty well as a mini tablet. I downloaded a few applications that I use daily.
This included Sports Tracker, which plots my daily cycling route. With this application, cycling and hiking enthusiasts can track the route that they travel and tag photos along the way. The result is a well-documented trip, which can be shared with others on the internet. Facebook and Instagram work well with the camera too.
You can't install Whatsapp directly, you need to download the Whatsapp APK file first. The Whatsapp feature expands the capabilities of the camera.
Sharing photos over the Internet is, of course, a snap. Just choose the picture and click the network icon - opening up a long list of ways to share your picture - from Facebook to email to Bluetooth.
YouTube works well on the camera. Sound playback is not very loud, but sufficient to be heard unless you are in a noisy environment.
I downloaded my favourite Zombie shoot-em-up from Play Store. Gameplay is pretty slick with the Quad Core processor. In 1995, I doubt anyone would have ever imagined that you would be able to play an arcade game on the back of your camera.
Verdict:***** (Above average)
This is one of the best cameras currently in the price range simply due to its wide range of capabilities. It does very well without a flash, thus perfect for low light photography. Coupled with Android capability, WiFi and 4G, it is a lot of gadget for your money.
- Connectivity to the internet
- Wide range on lens and good low light performance
- Not usable as a phone in factory form
- Bulky size and weight
Samsung Galaxy Camera GC100
Sensor: 16-megapixel CMOS sensor
Lens range: 23mm to 483mm, 2.8 to 5.9 Aperture
Screen: 4.8 inches
Stabilisation: Optical image stabilisation
Storage: Micro SD memory cards
Processor: Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9
Battery: Li-Ion 1650 mAh
Other Features: geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection
(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]