I’ve been using this camera for several weeks now and I’m really enjoying the combination of a camera, and a ‘smart’ connected device that lets me share photos immediately.
The camera has a 16-megapixel lens with a 21x optical zoom, which continued to amaze me each time I zoomed the full 21x. At its highest resolution, pictures are 4608×3456 pixels and video is 1920×1080 full HD at 30 fps.
It has a large 4.8-inch touchscreen, which pretty much covers the whole back, and feels more smartphone than camera. The screen is a 1280×720 resolution HD display. Due to the size of the camera, you cannot just take photos with one hand. I made use of the hand strap and balanced it with my other hand. The camera has a pop-up flash on the top (button on left); power and zoom buttons on the top; a micro-USB and audio jack on the right; microSD, SIM card, battery and HDMI slots at the bottom. The Galaxy Camera has a solid build and bigger than your standard point and shoot camera. When popping it into my bag, I was afraid of having it knock over other items so I kept it in a separate zipped compartment in my bag.
The camera lets you shoot in 3 main modes: Auto, Smart and Expert. Auto lets you take pics quickly without changing any settings. The Smart mode has various options, depending on what photo you want to take: Landscape, Best Face, Continuous Shot, Best Photo, Beauty Face, Light Trace, Fireworks, Night, Sunset, Silhouette, Waterfall, Panorama, Rich Tone, Action Freeze and Macro. A few of my favourites were macro – I got some really good close up shots; ‘best shot’, which works if you’re taking group shots and one person didn’t smile in one of the pics, so it stitches it all together using the best pic for everyone; and panorama. And for the professionals, you can use the Expert mode to change settings manually like shutter speed, aperture, and brightness.
Apart from camera functions, it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. If you’ve used Android before, you will be familiar with the interface, it’s exactly the same; it has 3 customisable homescreens. So essentially you have a camera with full access to photography apps, social networking sites and well, apps that you’d find on a smartphone. But lets face it, as nice as sounds to play games on it, it’s the last thing you will be doing with this device. You can connect to the internet via 3G or WiFi, which makes it a good device to take on holiday. Battery life is average. If you’re taking photos and sharing instantly, expect it to last about half a day. Or you could use it in camera mode and share over social networks at a later stage. If you’re downloading photography apps to take pictures from, make sure the apps are not limited in terms of zoom functionality. I preferred taking photos sans apps, and editing or sharing later.
The camera has built-in editing tools so you can get as outrageous or creative as you want. You can crop, add special effects, decorate, draw, add borders, stickers, etc.
The Galaxy Camera is by no means a ‘light and portable’ device, and it’s not something you will be grabbing and taking everywhere you go. It’s easier to just use your smartphone camera, but if you want more functionality that’s between a point and shoot and DSLR, then this it’s a great gadget. However, it is not a cheap in-betweener.
Expect to pay around R5,500 for the Galaxy Smart Camera from MyCamera.co.za