CES 2013: Samsung GALAXY Camera Review

Today, I continue the CES 2013 coverage with a review of the Samsung GALAXY Camera.  Hybrid cameras or even WiFi enabled cameras are the latest craze. Tablets and smartphones are becoming the primary photography device for most consumers, possibly thanks to apps like Instagram and Twitter. During CES, it was interesting to see Samsung come out with a high-end device that might be perfect for the most avid mobile photographer or videographer.

If you’re curious to see my thoughts, then please keep reading.

• Design
At first glance, the Samsung GALAXY Camera looks like any other regular digital camera. It’s an extremely sleek, lightweight 16 megapixel (MP) camera with a 21x optical zoom and massive touch screen. On top of the camera you’ll find the usual power and zoom buttons as well as the mic. Along the camera’s sides are the the manual flash button which pops up the flash whenever necessary and the microUSB slot that charges the camera. Underneath is the battery compartment with slots for a microSD card and SIM card as well as the rechargeable battery. However, it’s once you power on the camera that you notice that this is not any ordinary digital camera.

The Samsung GALAXY Camera is actually an Android based camera. Running  4.1 Android Jelly Bean, you will be able to upload or edit your photos directly on the camera using the 4.8″ touchscreen. It’s all pretty seamless and really convenient to do all your photo or video editing directly on the Samsung GALAXY Camera instead of having to transfer to a computer or another device prior to uploading where ever you want.

Below is a quick video highlighting all of these features for you†. It’s extremely easier to see these features in a quick video than to have me sit here can come up with flowery prose to illustrate what I mean.

• Image Quality
During our visit of the Samsung booth during CES 2013, I saw elaborate setups showing off the image quality in extreme conditions of low light, distance, and moving targets. I was just disappointed I wasn’t able to achieve the same results at home. While the Samsung GALAXY Camera is able to take wonderful photos, the on-screen preview panel doesn’t always show you the image you actually take. When a photo is taken, you might feel like what you saw on the screen was the image you took but for me that wasn’t always the case.

Overall the image quality is amazing but with an unreliable preview, you might be left with a bunch of missed photo opportunities and blurry memories if you use the camera’s auto function.  You have to remember that the camera features many other presets that help assist novice photographers like myself but I found myself just sticking to the auto preset whenever using the camera and maybe switching to the macro view. Why? It was the easiest and I wasn’t really taking photos that would benefit from the other image presets.

I have created a gallery down below to show some examples. I made sure to take pictures in extremes because it’s valuable to see what the camera really is capable of.

• Video Quality
For video quality, I made things simple and just let you be the judge.

Below is a video taken with the Samsung GALAXY Camera prior to editing.

Below is a video taken with the Samsung GALAXY Camera and editing with the camera. I think I might have a future in film editing, no?

• Cost
The Samsung GALAXY Camera is $499.99 and is available through AT&T but this excludes the data prices since it will be using your mobile data plan.

• Bottom line
The Samsung GALAXY Camera is a pretty pricey camera, in my opinion but if you’re an avid mobile photographer, then it might be time to upgrade to this camera instead. My only gripe, really, is the preview. Not being able to accurately tell if I had taken the perfect shot was a huge bummer for me but I have to admit that I didn’t dive into the presets as much as I should. I’m not convinced that this might have helped either. But to reiterate, if you have the budget and are already an invested mobile photographer then this might be the camera for you. Just know that additional data charges will apply.

† Music provided by The Free Music Archive: “Ponky Fonky Ferret” By Goto80 and the Uwe Schenk Band