​Update: The doors to Samsung's impressive booth opened this morning, and laying within were a couple of Galaxy Cameras that we didn't see during Unpacked. On the stand is a rather vivid pair of new colors in red and in orange. So we thought we'd share some pictures with you. There's also the already announced dark blue version thrown in for good measure.

We're live in Berlin at the Samsung Unpacked event where the Samsung Galaxy Camera has just been unveiled. We've had a little hands-on time with the new Galaxy Camera, and the first thing that strikes is that this is a capable, high-quality point-and-shoot. The device feels extremely solid and well built, and the 4.8-inch HD SuperLCD display is of similar quality to the S3's.

We shouldn't forget that this is a camera powered by Android, and not an out and out Android device. Samsung has put their latest version of the Touchwiz Nature UX on there, based on Android 4.1. Yes, that's right, this is a camera running Jelly Bean. The possibilities with a connected camera are pretty exciting, and we're seeing the start of a whole new category of devices. 

Of course, image quality remains to be seen. However, with a 16-megapixel sensor and 20X optical zoom, Samsung looks to have created a compelling alternative to smartphone cameras for those looking to graduate from the world of smartphone photography.

Check out our hands on video with the Galaxy Camera above, and remember to keep it locked to AC throughout the week for more on this and everything else from IFA 2012 in Berlin. 

 
There are 103 comments

Reader comments

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Camera [now with more colors!]

103 Comments
Sort by Rating

Oh, so this is why they dumped the 8 megapixel job on the S3. gg.

Those with a keen mind and eye will see that this camera is an instant collector's item though.

No they "dumped" it because optics are more important then how many dang MP you have. I wish people would get it through their head that more MP does not equal better. I can guarantee you that there are some 8 MP cameras that blow away 12MP ones.

If the total sensor size isnt going to get bigger (as is the case inside smartphones for a variety of reasons) but the process allows for more pixels to be divided in the same space, then often the additional pixels win out in picture quality since you can suppress more noise if you have more data to work with. Sure there are plenty of crappy, high pixel count sensors but if you consider the same sensor diagonal and the same material (like sony does when they make smartphone cameras) then the more pixels you can get on there the better the pictures will turn out. Get THAT through your head.

The reality is that if you have two sensors the same physical size and one has more pixels, yes in theory the one with more pixels may be able to suppress more noise but each smaller pixel also will not be capable of gathering as much light as a larger pixel. And let's face it, most cell phone cameras ARE crappy sensors with poor optics, then they compound the problem buy substituting a LED light instead of a real flash and a lot of new ones grossly oversaturate colors.

Heck, I had an old 3.1 MP Sony camera that could still outperform any cell phone camera available today. Yeah, the resolution wouldn't be as good in ideal sunny outdoor conditions, but who only takes those shots? I think the point is that phone cameras would be much better off focusing on optics instead of MP. They are not at the point yet where you can use them as your primary camera, but there's no reason they couldn't be other than the manufacturers know most people ignorantly equate MP with picture quality.

You got that exactly backwards -- if the sensor is the same size then you get less noise with less pixels. The only way to increase pixel count without adding noise is by making a larger sensor.

SiliconAddict is totally correct. At the same sensor size a higher quality and LOWER pixel count are going to make a far better image than a higher pixel count sensor.

Indeed, there are 2MP sensors available that produce a far better image than any consumer grade 12MP chip. The image would be different, of course, but anyone who understands image quality and digital imaging will take the 2MP 'quality' sensor over the 12MP consumer grade one.

Thus, in general, an older quality sensor of much lower pixel count will beat a newer higher pixel count sensor of the same size. The older sensor has had some years to allow for its manf. processes to reduce the total cost giving you a better sensor than a newer one that tries to cram more into the same space.

So, no mic and handset speaker?
It's a little thick, but I'd almost consider carrying something like that as my sole device. It's not like I use my phone for talking much anyways. I use it more for taking pictures (and even more for gaming, email, text, etc).

With 4G built-in, all I'd need is the mic and speaker to use it for occasional calls. Does it have bluetooth? Not ideal, but I could use a bluetooth headset for calls. Rather not have to carry the extra piece, but a bluetooth headset is pretty small...

There people who care more about camera then phone, thats where this kind of device aims for. It is still better then first generation iPod touch the most limited iOS device in existence and i didn't seen Android device

I care more about the camera than the phone. But that doesn't mean I don't want a phone...

My pockets only hold so much. If I have a choice between bringing my camera and bringing my phone, I will always choose the phone. I'd rather have both!

The bottom line is that the S3 will fit in this things shadow... If you have room for that bulky brick with the lens sticking out half an inch, you can probably make room for a S3 or other similarly slim phone. Sorry, but you are in the minority of people who regularly dress with pockets so loose that a "phone" like that is not a burden. Hell, most people complain about the size of the S3 and this thing is just as wide, plus probably about 5x as thick in the lens section.

I just wonder how much of this camera's functionality will be included in the company's inevitable Galaxy S IV. Maybe this is the testing ground. But I am so impressed by this. As long as it's competitively priced, Samsung has a real winner.

I dont think so, note that they cut most of hardware compired to phone, because lanes are probably most expensive part of this device

It would have been nice to see the actual camera interface and controls for more than a couple seconds. :-)

20x OPTICAL? You sure about that? More likely combo of optical (if any) and zoom (cropping).
If true at the depth of field shown on the lens, well, almost defies physics, would be interesting to know how they did that, and how bad the distortion is at either extreme (all the way in / all the way out).

ADS

Why would it have to be a combination of optical/digital zoom? There are many 20+x optical zoom P&S cameras already available in the same form factor. I have one sitting right with me even as I type this Sony DSC-HX30V.

The rest of your post is gibberish, sorry to say.

All lenses are compromises, even SLR cameras with long zooms suffer at the close and far ends and take the best pictures in the middle of the range.
The only way to make a zoom this long is to add elements, which lessens the light going through, so normally the variable f-stop numbers go higher.
This one seems quite nice, I'm glad it is!
But you're right about form factor, it is quite a bit thicker than I first noticed.

ADS

You have NO idea what you're talking about.

An SLR does not have a long zoom, a short zoom, or any kind of zoom. It's just the camera body. There are various lenses you can attach to an SLR however, and they all vary in quality. Some aren't even zooms. Those that are zooms are sometimes good at the wide or at the long or at the middle or all or none or any combination thereof.

He obviously meant that a zoom lens on an SLR has these same compromises (which is why in a perfect world you choose a different fixed lens for every situation).

How do you like the Sony DSC-HX30V? I was considering purchasing that exact model and wondered if the quality/features match the price. Thanks.

Every post seems to end with "keep it locked to AC". Can someone explain what "it" is and how I can lock "it" to AC.

Just a cool way of saying keep your attention on Android Central for the latest happenings....hence; keep it locked right here. That phrase isn't just AC related. I hear it all the time on the radio.

Are people being really thick here? Its a camera, not a phone. It has a powered zoom function, its not a fixed lens, that how its 20x optical zoom. Nikon already has such zoom on a thin camera so its not impossible. This is a camera that happens to run Android, not a phone/tab with a good cam.

No one is being thick. They are asking for info that wasn't given.
At the same time, they're telling the world what they want and would pay money for.

Yes it was given. This is obviously a connected point and shoot camera that runs Android. Why? Because Android is easy and free and familiar. The fact that it can do more is a bonus. Is it duplication if you have a phone? Well yes, but it doesnt really hurt if you are out taking shots and you get an email on your camera when its round your neck.

If we were assuming, we wouldn't be asking questions!
I believe it is you that is assuming things. As evidenced by the fact that you can't point to where in the article or video it says that this device does not have a mic.

Note that it's certainly not unprecedented for even a crappy point and shoot camera to have a mic and speaker. I had an old Casio camera that had a mic and speaker because it could shoot video and playback with sound.

Then dont be lazy and look at other sites. It clearly has a mic, it records video with audio. Its not a phone, so why would it make calls?? Its a CAMERA.

Oh, so now it clearly has a mic? A minute ago you were telling me it was obviously a camera and, implicitly, therefore having a mic would be stupid.

If it has a mic and speaker, and has a data connection, it CAN MAKE CALLS. I call that a phone...

Here's a thought: Maybe people are trying to justify this device's existence. There's already a lot of cameras available and a lot of Android phones available. This would be something special if it combined the too. If it's just another camera (even a nice one), it's not interesting. That is, unless it has hardware that we can use!

You think a camera that records video with audio doesnt have a mic?? Really? How many time does it need saying. This is a point and shoot camera with internet connectivity. It uses Android for that because its simple to use Android. Its NOT a Camera phone, its a camera with connectivity. My god..

There is an oblong hole placed just inside of the shutter button on top, this is likely the mic for video.

There is a twin screened slots located on the right side bottom of the device, this is definitely a video playback speaker, and could include another mic element as well.

Remember that this blog post is not a full review with all the specs, just a brief product overview/description by Richard combined with a quick "hands - on" video by Alex.

So when you are out in the parking lot taking pictures, your boss can email to remind you about the 2:30pm meeting you forgot about. Same reason it has SMS. Duh!

Sensor size and image quality will be everything. If this is nothing more than an overpriced point-and-shoot it will be a failure. If it's a decent quality DSLR running Android it becomes very interesting.

Hmn? It's obviously not a DSLR.

Sensor size is 1/2.3". Typical for the P&S form factor. Based on Samsung's prior camera efforts, it will likely be reasonably passable high-end P&S type image quality. This one is all about the software, which is interesting but, with the lack of buttons and dials, the jury is still out on it's actual usability as a camera vs. it's P&S competition.

You're right its clearly not a DSLR. but buttons and dials? For real? The thing has a 4.8" touchscreen. If the setting you want isn't available as a slider bar, easy tap, or one layer deep in a menu, it doesn't belong on ANY kind of camera. The intelligence available is staggering, it might even outperform most "buttons and dials" cameras when put in the hands of an inexperienced shooter. Here's how:

"it looks like you are looking at a lot of movement. Do you want me to speed up the shutter to make sure your pictures aren't blurry? Y/N"

"It looks like you are shooting in the dark. Do you want me to turn on the flash, or increase the ISO, in order to take a usable shot? FLASH/ISO"

"It looks like you are a skeezy celebrity trying to make a shameless sex video. Do you want me to turn on the 'night vision' and then upload the file straight to TMZ?"

Yes, for real. Buttons and dials are more efficient for adjusting camera settings quickly, while composing a shot. If you think the myriad adjustments that can/need to be made should only be available with the single tap of a touchscreen, then you are sadly mistaken. If you thing pulling your eye away from the viewfinder to make adjustments on a touchscreen instead of the tactile methods that buttons and dials provides is a better approach, then more power to you ... but then I guess, joebob2000, you must be the real expert, while the engineers from Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Leica and etc. are blithering idiots.

But based on the rest of you comments, it appears your photography interests are pretty, ah, limited.

Nice points, and yeah I see now in the specs this is essentially going to be a P&S. I was hoping it would be closer to a mirrorless DSLR.

With the smartphone-like hardware I think it's safe to assume this is going to be too expensive for casual photographers, yet the optics and controls won't be good enough for serious photographers. While this thing is neat, I just don't have any interest in it.

I wouldnt pay more than $99.99 for this. My EVOLTE does all that plus video chat, plus, phone calls. If i dont know what im talking about and this camera DOES video chat and/or phone call than I would pay maybe $149.99. Wifi only, I dont even need a damn antenna in it (if it has one).

This is a CAMERA. It will take better shots than any phone. Its not a phone, its a CAMERA that happens to run Android as a way of being a connected CAMERA.

But why would I want all of the Android functions on a CAMERA...? I have an EVO LTE for all of those functions and a Nikon DSLR for a CAMERA, as you put it. Why would I want to browse the web and check my gmail calendar on Mt CAMERA?? And man is it loud in here...

:P

Since all this stuff is synced to the cloud I can see it as being just another convenient place to look, depending what's in your hand at the moment. I don't see too many people picking up this thing to browse the web or check email as a first point of contact (yes, some will just like some use their phones exclusively for the internet), but if I'm taking pictures and an email comes in, it would be nice to just check it right then and there...maybe even reply right then and there it's ergonomically feasible.

My dSLR does one thing really well but that doesn't mean having it do other things really well wouldn't be awesome. I'd love this tech to get migrated eventually to the point of having GPS embedded, tagging automatic, and event reminders right in the camera so I don't run over time for the wedding ceremony that starts in 5 minutes.

Obviously any features you don't want, you can ignore.

I live in NYC and I like most people do not use my phone as much for talking as I do for IM'ing/texting/email/etc.. It would be great to leave my house with just this for an afternoon and still be connected. Do I want to jump on a conf call on this? Not necessarily but the option would be nice. Call me crazy but I would want to plug in some headphones and listen to spotufy while I take pics.

Well I guess that's just you. Your EVO's camera quality is 16 MP with 20x optical zoom? That's damn impressive.

For those of us in the real world, a typical point and shoot with these stats minus Android of course, runs about $200. So, I highly doubt your price point is eve remotely close. I'm guess it'll be closer to $300 bc of Android. Anything more, and it's probably not worth it.

And read before you respond. It has 3G and 4G antennas for some reason or other. I do however agree, Wifi only would be nice.

Your EVOLTE doesn't do video chat. It's on Sprint's network; you'll be lucky to get dial-up modem speeds anywhere except standing next to a tower.

SO glad I dropped Sprint like a bad habit. Worst network in the country BY FAR.

This thing is beautiful. Very in keeping with the recent Samsung phones. It shows that when they stop trying to be Apple like (i didnt say copy), they make better stuff than Apple could ever hope to.

If it shoots video I would think it would at least have a mic and maybe a speaker. Not necessarily in locations for a phone though.

Looks like a mic to the left of the shutter button. Almost certainly will shoot video. In fact the odds of it not being able to shoot video are infinitesimal.

EDIT: Other sites are reporting full 1080p video capability. As expected considering this is pretty much the standard on newer P&S cameras nowadays.

Looks like it might have a speaker on the bottom.
I expect VOIP speakerphone capabilities shortly after launch. ;-)

Beautiful!! Would make a nice Christmas present. But wait, it's rectangular and with rounded corners. Will it ever see the day of light. I bet Apple is gonna say they stole the idea from them. NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why!!! Sorry, but I had to do it. This thing is great, gonna have to give my wife my Sony and see if she understands the need. Can't wait.

The 3G/4G antenna will be for direct uploading to Instagram, Facebook, etc. Also YouTube and Vimeo for video I would guess. If Samsung is smart, they've included an NFC chip so you can shoot a high-quality picture and then "beam" it to other Samsung devices. I think this is a cool concept, and shows how all technology is slowly becoming a singular, all inclusive device.

Um, if you want to graduate from the smartphone camera world, get a real camera. I have a hard time thinking that this actually brings anything to the table. There's tons of cameras out there that blow away any camera on any phone.

There's a pretty big gap between smartphone and hardcore dSLR. I have a 55lb bag that says this Samsung Android camera isn't a bad idea.

But you can check our gmail calendar on it, which is...well, kinda pointless.

Tons of cheap cameras can do image uploads. I don't see what the point is with this full Android business on this device.

Depending on price, I'm probably in for this one!
The specs look great but I would also want to see some photo examples and know how this works in low light. My Galaxy Epic 4G works reasonably well in low light, so I think this should be good.
Another thing I'd want to see is how viewable the display is in bright outside light. I generally shy away from cameras that don't have a view finder for this reason.
Looks like a good possibility for a Christmas present to myself! LOL

As an Android developer I want to know if the basic settings of the camera i.e.
shutter speed, ISO, zoom etc can be set from an app. This would allow software
to control and sync multiple cameras working together to create stereoscopic
images and movies.

I'd love to get this...esp since I'm in the market for a new camera. So far I haven't seen anything that I really liked. Thanks for posting this video.

Just get any Sony point and shoot from the past 5 years. They are all adequate cameras if you don't want a DSLR. About $120 and you are good to go.

Nikon has a new android camera too. I would bet that sammys will have better android software and Nikon will have better images. Well they should anyway. The Nikon is supposed to be $350 I think so I wouldn't expect this one to be much more if at all. For camera I would have to go with Nikon though.

We'll see; I just can't see how this Samsung will be priced anywhere near the Nikon. The Nikon is 10x zoom, 3.5" screen and no 3g/4g connectivity. Granted it *probably* has better glass but specs-wise, the Samsung is significantly stepped up. Much bigger screen, much longer zoom, voice control, 3g/4g radios, bluetooth... I am guessing more like $450+.

Wow, what a waste of R&D money. I am an avid amateur photographer and from my experience photography breaks down into two camps, people who take snapshots (who are almost always satisfied with smartphone images) and people who take photographs (almost all already own DSLRs or high end point and shoot cameras). Way to design a product that neither will buy because their needs are already satisfied.

Well eventually the two will likely merge, technologically speaking, so try not to be too down on the early efforts. Besides, if a company wants to spend it's R&D money how it sees fit, why is that a "waste"?

Well I'm a professional photographer and from my experience, there are a lot of folks in both of those camps wanting something better in the middle. The problem is the current middle just isn't that good image quality wise.

Manufacturers have seen the hunger though and are finally trying to feed it.

"Good enough" for smartphone shooters is HEAVILY weighted by the fact that the pictures are "just there", there is no downloading, swapping memory cards, or even walking back to your PC. You can use them instantly. A lot of smartphone shooters "put up with" the lack of quality in favor of connectivity (except for those douches who use instagram.) I know because I am one of them. I own a point and shoot, plus a midrange dslr, and still the most use goes to my smartphone because aside from clicking the shutter there is no time overhead (as a family man this is important). The pictures are immediately sent where they are needed, sharing with family on facebook, or saving to my cloud backup, or whatever.

Finally I can get back to carrying around a single device! It's the device of my dreams - the Google Camera-Phone. What? You say there's no phone in the Samsung Galaxy Camera? Excellent! VOIP, baby! I don't want to have to buy a prespecified number of voice minutes from a cellular service provider. I don't want to have to buy a crippled cell phone from robber barons, especially when the crippled phone will be filled to the brim with bloatware that I can't remove. Google Voice plus the Samsung Galaxy Camera seems like it could be everything that I need. I don't want to carry around an obsolete device like a cell phone! I don't want to have to buy a data plan for a cell phone. I just want to buy a data plan for my camera. And the robber barons can't force me to buy minutes, because there's no phone on the device!

That 4G service has to come from someone...I doubt it's included in the price like Kindles since it's going to be more data intensive.

The robber barons CAN force you to have a plan with a "obsolete cell phone" on it in order to participate in 3g/4g data though (like they do now). Sorry but this isn't quite the dream, yet. Once MVNOs start supporting 4G, then we will talk.

And don't forget, unless you are literally tethered to a metro area of some sort, you are probably going to need your phone more than ever before, right when you hit the "1x" region (your car breaks down on the way to your kids' summer camp, etc).

I love how everyone thinks that android automatically means phone (or in the ouya's case phone games). People need to realize what android is. A base operating system that can be adapted to just about anything with a screen. For any purpose, whether it is for gaming, cameras, phones, tablets, tvs, computers, or flamingos. Seriously though, ANDROID DOES NOT = PHONE.

Its probably worth noting (sadly it wasnt in the review) that this camera is bascially the Samsung WB850F, with more androidness glued to the back (more info on each can be found on dpreview.com) If you google for WB850F you can find reviews of the image quality, to get an idea for how well it shoots (we know how awesome the UI will be).

While an android powered camera sounds like a good idea, I am a skeptic about this. While Samsung makes great smart phones, they are not known for making great cameras. In fact if you brought a Samsung digital camera last year, you know what I am talking about.

I think that people are missing the point that this is called INNOVATION, taking a risk, doing something a little bit different.

I do really disrespect Apple's comments shortly after there USA (only in the USA) victory over Samsung recently regarding themselves as being innovators. Sure in a small sense they are, they made one phone and some computers.

Now take a look at the Asian market that produces end over end of new fresh products and this Android camera is just one of plenty of new ideas that the Asian manufacturers have produced.

Are we forgetting that this is a point and shoot? I haven't read a review of a point and shoot that expects the highest quality pictures, if consumers wanted that they would buy a high end SLR from a brand such as Canon. Now, since when have we seen a camera like this ... how about never.

I'd be interested in testing this and look forward to seeing it in the stores. Samsung are one of the leaders in innovation - Apple like to think that they are, but they haven't come up with anything new in a long, long time.

Innovate - Verb:
1. Make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.
2. Introduce something new, esp. a product.

Don't do it Samsung! Quickly, you need to go patten cameras with touchscreens before apple sues you for copying the iPhone's touchscreen with a camera. And if they win that, they will sue for the idea of making parts inexpensively by having screens made in Korea.

I can't wait to see the price. I want this so bad! I hope I can pop my sim card in their (TMOBILE USA) and use it.

That's a good question. I'm not sure. People are used to charging their phones daily but they definitely don't charge their cameras every day.