Hey guys. I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy camera for a few weeks now and I wanted to share with y’all what I thought about it. Stay tuned because this is a long post…but for the ADD ones like me, I have plenty of pretty photos to interrupt the text so don’t worry. Don’t run away scared. I got you.
So first things first. This is not like any other point and shoot in the market. It runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean as the Operating System with Wifi and GPS and 3G/4G and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s basically a fully fledged camera in a mobile phone ecosystem and this is where I think Samsung did a brilliant job because it’s easier to think in phone language. We use our phones every time and with this camera it just gets easier to use. It’s a 16.3 mega-pixel superzoom camera with a 4.8 inch touchscreen. 21x optical zoom which is the equivalent of 23-483mm with inbuilt optical stabilization. Records full HD video at 1080p at up to 120 frames a second. It runs on a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU and is powered by a Standard Li-Ion battery. The camera has 8GB internal storage and has 1 GB ram. The memory can be expanded up-to 64 GB via Micro SD.With remote viewfinder, you can see what’s on the viewfinder of your camera and take a picture from your smart phone from a distance. Also included is voice control. You can now tell your camera what to do.
Your basic homepage looks like the image below. It does everything your smart phone would do except make GSM calls (you could solve this by getting the Skype app). You can insert a sim-card (it caters for a micro-sim), to take advantage of mobile data when you can’t have Wifi. You may want to do this considering it comes with an extra 50gb of dropbox space for every buyer. Enough to upload all your photos automatically as you shoot them to your dropbox account. Easy.
The homepage of the camera(with my favorite apps). Looks just like your android phone doesn’t it?
Let us now check out the form of the camera. As you can see from the photo above, it’s an appropriate hand size and feels solid(it’s well built), it is slightly larger than I thought it would be but not uncomfortably so. Considering you need the screen real estate.
Camera front with the flash popped up. You can push it back in when you don’t need to use it.
Side view showing the speaker slots, the flash button, you press it and the flash pops up. You can also see how far out the lens protrudes when shooting.
This side has the USB charging dock and 3.5mm jack for earphones. Also the hook for your strap. The thicker handle with grip really makes a difference.
Top view showing you the power button and the shutter button with the + – swivel button for zooming in and out and also works as the volume button when not in camera mode.
The bottom showing you where the battery goes and the two slots for a Micro SD and Micro Sim. Also showing the HDMI port.
So now that we know this is a very easy to use camera, off-camera, let’s check out the camera itself. Once you unlock your screen you can access the camera or even set it to automatically go to camera when unlocked. When the camera is on you basically have the backside 4.8 inch screen as your viewfinder. The camera has many options that make it easy to use at whatever level. From novice to pro.
Automatic : The camera does all the thinking here. Find your shot and press the shutter.
Casual : You have several options for general fun use and that still make the camera do a lot of the work and allow you to pick the best images. Here we have Best Photo, Beauty Face, Macro, Panorama, Fireworks, Night, Sunset, Landscape, Best face & Continuous shot. All these scenarios help you choose the situation you’re in and snap away.
Smart Pro : Under this option, the uses get more complex and some need tripods to use. You have light trace (for long exposures), Waterfall, Action freeze, Rich tone(for High Dynamic Range) & Silhouette(for sunset shots).
Expert : Here you have your full control over the camera. The option to shoot video, P(program), A(aperture priority), S(shutter priority) and M(manual). Under manual you can control ISO, shutter speed (up to 16seconds) & f/stop (from f/2.8-f/8).
Basic camera look with the shooting options to choose from depending on your level of expertise.
Camera under ‘Casual’ mode.
Camera under ‘smart pro’ mode.
Camera in ‘manual’ mode. You control everything. Your settings are then shown on the screen and stay there in case you need to change them.
Just to show you the level of detail you can get out out of this baby. I shall post a photo I took with it during the photography for the post above. First is the full size image showing the small area I shall show you guys at 100% crop. Shot using the ‘macro’ setting. You can also choose to shoot macro in the expert setting by changing the focus mode to ‘macro’ from ‘auto’. Everything in this camera is awesome, I just wish they also had a focus lock system such that once you focus, it doesn’t change until you refocus. But for now, this shall do. I really don’t have any other complaint with the camera.
Full image. The blue rectangle is the detail shown in the photo below.
This was photographed with the ‘macro’ setting which allowed me to take the photo about 5cm away from the point of focus above.
You can download pretty much any app onto this camera. I shall share only a few of my favorite ones so far that are free. I know you like that word….free.
You automatically get 50gb free dropbox space with every Galaxy camera you buy. If you don’t have one, sign up and it’s on. If you do, sign in and 50gb extra goes to your account. This way you can back up all your photos via Wifi or 3G/4G even before you get back home or to your desk at at work. Just set up your dropbox to do this automatically. Now you don’t have to worry about loosing your precious memories if (God forbid) you loose your camera.
Download dropbox free from the google play store.
The photo editing app that is a one stop shop for professional photography editing…and novice too. Since it came on Android, I use it to edit all my photos on my Galaxy camera. It’s my favorite photography app right now.
You can download snapseed for free from the google play store.
And how could I forget Instagram, the quirky photo sharing app that has shaped mobile photography and made everyone an instant photographer. I love Instagram. That’s my account up there. Follow me if you please. I’m @truthslinger or you could search Mutua Matheka(shameless plug). I get so much inspiration of Instagram and it’s amazing how many talented people there are out there using nothing but their mobile phones.
You can download Instagram free from the google play store.
Okay, that shall have to do it for the apps. It’s only fair that I show you what I do with the Galaxy camera because after all, I am a photographer and not a gadget reviewer.
Nairobi city scape (shot using the native panorama setting in the camera). Totally unedited.
Nairobi at Sunset. Not edited. Shared as shot.
Nairobi Skyline at Dusk (shot using manual settings at 16seconds, f/6.3, ISO 100. Not edited.
The roof tops of Nairobi. Edited using Snapseed on the Galaxy camera.
Nairobi Western side. View of the Hilton hotel. Not edited.
Nairobi Streets. Architectural photography. Edited on snapseed.
Lukenya hills on a cloudy evening. Edited in snapseed.
Chasing dusk on the rooftops of Nairobi. Edited in snapseed.
I don’t just shoot buildings. Here’s baby Reagan. Shot in natural daylight and edited on snapseed.
A self portrait while painting my studio wall. Edited in snapseed.
Wanjeri’s portrait was shot in studio with some lighting. Edited also on snapseed.
The sun setting in Nairobi as photographers capture it. Edited on snapseed and pixlr express.
Just so you know video wasn’t left behind in this intensive testing. But since I shoot crappy video, I handed the camera over to David Blackman, super producer from Nairobi who used it to film the recent sensation that is “the Nairobi Sessions”. Here are some episodes that he did and you can check out the rest on his Youtube. Be sure to check out all 5 or so of them showcasing some great urban music from Kenya.
That is all from me today. Watch out for the camera. The official Kenya release should be today and the camera should be available from kes45,000 or thereabout. If you loved the post or have any questions, let me know on the comment section below. God bless y’all.