Samsung blazes new trail with the world’s second Android based camera

In short, the Galaxy Camera is a compact digital camera with a very fast f/2.8 lens that runs Android but does not make phone calls.

Samsung Galaxy Camera

 

In Twilight New Moon, Swedish songwriter/singer Lykke Li performs a song called Possibilities. What does that have to do with a camera from the largest smart phone manufacturer in the world? Well it’s be best way I can describe the Galaxy Camera in one word.

When it comes to cameras running Android, it’s not really news. It’s likely you already have one if you have an Android smartphone. If you own an Apple iPhone, you know you can already take fairly high quality pictures under ideal lighting conditions. As a camera that can upload images to social media, that too is old news as the latest update to the Facebook app allows automatic photo sync. Besides, that feature has been available for a long time from Google Picasa and services like Apple iCloud.

On the high-end, DSLRs going forward will likely include Wi-Fi options. The Canon 6D, priced at $2,100, is the first of many to include this feature. For those with older compact digital cameras, Eye-Fi offers SD cards with Wi-Fi built-in.

Possibilities

So what does the Galaxy Camera bring to this very crowded space? For me, it’s the possibilities of what the future holds if and when more apps and functions are added to this platform either by Samsung or third-party app developers. Imagine begin able to perform these task.

  • Tethered shooting with instant upload to a tablet via Wi-Fi direct without the need for an external router.
  • Remote triggering via an Android phone or tablet. If you’re a wedding photographer, you can setup a few of these for wide shots and trigger them at will. If you’re a wildlife photographer, you can place these where the action is and step off to a safe distance. Just make sure you’re not doing it with this lion.
  • Time-lapse photography will have unheard of options if the functions can be controlled easily through software wirelessly.
  • For gamers, I can even imaging a first person augmented reality shooting game that uses the camera’s HD video recorder to record and relay action to other members of the game using Samsung’s Allshare Play technology.

Specifications

  • 16.1 megapixels
  • 2.35″ x 4.16″ screen
  • 23 – 481 mm (21x)
  • Auto and manual modes including aperture priority and shutter priority
  • 8GB internal memory, 32 GB SD card support
  • Geo-tagging, Editing Modes, Camcorder, DivX®, HD Recording, HD Playback, Video Share, TV-Out, Online Image Uploading
  • Modes: Action freeze, Beauty face, Best face, Burst shot, Light trace, Marco, Multi, Mosaic, Natural green, NightShot, Panorama, Rich tone, Silhouette, Smart night, Smile shot, Vivid fireworks, Waterfall
  • 11 oz, 5.07″ x 2.79″ x 0.75″
  • 3.7 Volt, Lithium Ion, 1650mAh
  • Frequencies and Data Type
    UMTS bands: 800/850/1900/2100 MHz and 900MHz
  • Data Speed
    HSDPA CAT 14/ HSUPA CAT 6
  • Communication processor: Intel Infeon XMM6262; Application processor: Samsung Quad Core, Exynos 4412 processor
  • Android™ 4.1 (Jellybean)
  • Full specs

Summary

I had a chance to play with the camera a bit at a press event Samsung put on in San Francisco yesterday. In short, the Galaxy Camera is a compact digital camera with a very fast f/2.8 lens that runs Android but does not make phone calls. It is only available in white, comes with an on/off switch, shutter release, flash button, and manual zoom. All other functions are menu driven using the touchscreen. There is no flash hot shoe but it does come with a tripod mount.  It connects via Wi-Fi or an optional data plan available from carriers. And because it is not subsidized, it is $500 with or without a data plan although that may change if competition heats up among carriers.

A more detailed hands on review will come after we spend some quality time with this class defining hybrid camera.