Android Central

The Galaxy Camera is a device Samsung hopes will usher in a new era of smart point-and-shoot cameras. With a 16MP sensor, a 23mm lens with 21X optical zoom capability and optical image stabilization, it's far beyond what you'll find on the average smartphone. And yet it's powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and backed up by the latest mobile internals from Samsung -- a quad-core Exynos chip and 1GB of RAM.

We've spent the past few days getting to know the Galaxy Camera, shooting a vast quantity of photos and video along the way. Our first impressions are that it unsurprisingly trounces every smartphone out there in terms of image quality, and compares favorably to current high-end point-and-shoot cameras. But it also carries a hefty price tag -- $500 in the U.S., and upwards of €500 in the eurozone. So if you were to judge the Galaxy Camera solely on image quality, you might come to the conclusion that you're paying over the odds. But we'll save the argument for our full review, coming in the days ahead -- this post is all about the end results.

What we're presenting here is an 70-photo-strong gallery to give you an example of the kind of shots we've been able to produce during our first few days with the Galaxy Camera. Most of the outdoor daylight pictures are taken in automatic mode, while some indoor and close-up images (particularly device shots) were taken in "smart" and "expert" modes. Smart presents users with a list of presets to fit particular circumstances -- for example, macro, night mode, panorama. Conversely, expert mode gives you full access to S/A/P/M toggles, allowing you to tweak program modes, apertures, exposure, ISO and shutter times to your heart's content.

On the whole, we're pretty pleased with the photos and video we've been able to produce using the Galaxy Camera. It's not going to replace your DSLR, but it's surprising how much of a difference the Android-plus-TouchWiz combo makes to the usability -- and enjoyability -- of a point-and-shoot camera. And that point is reinforced when you go back to using a clunky traditional camera UI.

Check past the break for our extensive photo gallery and sample video reel. We'll have more for you in the full review later in the week.

Click an image in the list to view it. Click the expanded view to show the full-sized shot.

 

Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Camera initial photo and video samples

37 Comments

Impressive shots! I'm not sure if they are $500 impressive, but if/when the price comes down by half, I'll bite.

Alternately: If they add a real phone and I don't have to carry two devices, I'm buying it tomorrow.

The darn thing's got a microphone and speaker... why not a phone app??

I can't see on the specs where the Sony NEX-5N has GPS, or WiFi or HSPA data or uploads directly to a 50GB Dropbox account. Or where you can download apps, geotagging and uploading to a dedicated photo album for backup. I not sure where the Sony NEX-5N can allow for running any number of different photo-editing apps, or movie editing programs. Where can the NEX-5N send your location directly from the camera, or overlay tourist information through the digital viewfinder.

I'm not sure how on the NEX-5N you update the core camera functionality whenever you want - adding a new feature like photosphere directly to the camera when it is available without relying on Sony to decide to do an update.

The point I'm getting at - this is the merging of a mini-tablet with a camera, it is a new class. Telling people they would be 'better off' with something that is completely different and doesn't really fulfil the main USP of this camera is a bit rich.

If you want to just take normal point and shoot photos to download at home then plenty of point-and-shoots are better than this, but you shouldn't even be considering this. If you want to bring full manual point and shoot camera capabilities with endless ways to update the features to an android touch device then this is the best there is - for now.

Sorry buddy some people want a camera not a "mini-tablet" with camera lenses especially when you can get a camera that does better at being a camera for less.

I have a USB OTG cable for my Galaxy S3, so any camera with a USB port on it will give me access to all it's pictures with one step that takes about 30 seconds start to finish. About 99% of your list is now gone. While I do like most samsung products, the Galaxy Camera just doesnt have the image quality to justify $500 (and another fucking data plan) when there are alternatives that are cheaper AND take markedly better pictures. Sorry!

It's not a new class, it came out as the Galaxy Note, lol.

I could list the features that a NEX-5N has that this doesn't, but it's a camera. If you're paying this much for one, the strength should be with the camera, and not the optional features that may not even be useful depending on the person.

Daf L, I am not a hater, and while I think all your points are valid, I think many camera/photography enthusiasts like me do not understand this camera.

Having android inside my cameras is something I would love and be very interested in. Having an expensive point and shoot with the convenience features of my phone is not something I am the least bit interested in.

If I am going to spend my 500 dollars on a camera, then its going to be something like the 5N...a huge APSC sized sensor, shallow flange depth for mounting fast high quality glass from ANY manufacturer, focus peaking, and all the controls and settings I actually need to generate great images.

If I need "OK" images to document stuff I am doing or where I am at then I am going to use my slim, small phone and not carry two devices with me.

This is a nice point and shoot, and if I was going to buy a point and shoot, maybe I would look at this camera...but frankly P&S are obsolete now with phones...sure, phones might not match the image quality of P&S quite yet, but if I need to get paid for my photos I'm probably going to need to stick them in Lightroom anyways and use a camera that gets me the prints I am looking for.

What baffles me is why Samsung didn't stick this tech inside one of their ILC Mirrorless systems...you hit the target people you are aiming for and actually improve their life. :?

In short: love the idea of having Adroid in my cameras...do not love this camera.

Cameras I currently own (for reference of my PoV):
NEX-7
7D
A99
NEX900
iPhone 4s

From a position perspective, they really just wanted to get more miles from the S3 and to one-up the awful Nikon S800c for the title of "smartest camera". Frankly is there any situation where you would want more smarts in a DSLR when you can just take a minute to copy all of your shots to your phone (with tons of smarts) anyway?

Two things I notice:
1. Great depth-of-field look to the pictures.
2. Alex lives in a much cooler place than I do (and he can exchange his corn when necessary).

"Great depth-of-field look to the pictures."

WHAT are you smoking? Would you mind sharing some?

The DOF in these photos is atrocious.

For a bokeh addict, yes the camera is an underperformer. The only shots that show DOF are all macros/zooms, and when they do it looks like it was done with photoshop because the blur is like a smear. But then again, this is a P+S and not a SLR.

I feel I need to point out that not only are those pictures great, there are also of the City of Chester (United Kingdom), I live there :D

The best thing about this camera is that technology will soon trump it driving the price way down to the affordable range (unlike most DSLRs that tend to hold their value). At that point, I'm in. This will be a nice replacement for my Panasonic point-and-shoot when it hits around $300.

Pretty normal for most P&S zoom cameras, shooting video. Higher end ones have the ability to add an external mic to get around this issue.

Ferguss says:
Anybody else notice the muffled sound when zooming in and out in the video? Is that normal?

Yeah, that is odd, sounds like you're in a tunnel as soon as you start zooming in and when he zooms back out the sound returns to normal. Very strange. Also the focusing on video when zooming isn't that great, kind of a disappointment.

Looks like you live in a beautiful place Alex and you got some nice shots.

I'm going to have to be a Debbie downer though w regards to what I've seen from this thing..including other sites.,. First off I agree that to someone really interested in this as a camera it is way overpriced. However, don't think Sammy ever had the more serious amateur photographer in mind when they made this. Low light performance seems poor largely due to pretty bad ISO performance and even tho I don't see it mentioned often it also seems to struggle w its focus in some pics I've seen. Sound on the video would be my other complaint as it appears muffled..then again, we can't expect too much from he lkel tiny microphone on he thing.

Agree w some of the others; the price would need to drop significantly because at its current point it doesn't hold up against the other cameras out there and I can't see the teenie boppers, yuppies or social media addicts picking this up as easily as they would if it had that damn Apple logo on it.

On the one hand, I'd rather have a Micro 4/3rds camera with EyeFi sending automatically to my GS3 for further processing.

On the other, this thing with PhotoSphere from 4.2 would be pretty cool!

This is a good idea except for one thing. THey should of gone all out. DSLR with removable lenses. ok tack a few hundred on the price but that would be something worth it. I personally think point and shoot cameras are obsolete when the camera on my GS3 isn't all that bad. If I want a better quality picture and want to lug around another device I might as well go high end.

At least that is how I feel.

The shots and video seem really crisp and vibrant. Too bad $500 for a camera is too rich for my blood. Besides, my S3 is good enough. It would be nice if Samsung released this on its own without a contract and sold it on its own.

Work flow.
For people who wants to shoot a good photo, edit on the spot, send it online, comment and tag it within minutes and have fun doing it with their friends.
Not for those who'll spend hours alone poring over hundreds of similar looking photo to look for the perfect one, another hour to get the composition and the effects just right. That's the whole day right there, and how many more have you got to go?
If it's your job or hobby, sure, go spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on your photo collection.
For others, there's this Instagram on steroids.

I want one with super-zoom. :D

Alex, have you or anyone you know tried FxCamera or Camera360 or even Instagram to see how camera apps work on this device? I am anxious to hear how the fisheye in FxCamera works or the Warhol effect or even some of the cooler Instagram filters. Keep us posted because that will be a huge decision factor for me. I mean if I can pull off digital fakery that looks almost as good as a special or different lens then I'm in. Low-fi is the new hi-fi.

Thanks

Kind of looks like yet another review that's missed some important items - unless I'm missing something myself. All of the super duper controls for manual - turn OFF when you try to do a video - so you're left with amateur night out videos who's exposure bobs up and down with the light. Does anyone know how to get around this?