by Lori Cunningham
Right before I left for the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, I received from Samsung their new Samsung Galaxy Camera. I was in heaven…I still am. Of all the cameras I have ever owned, the Samsung Galaxy Camera is my favorite by far. Why? The Galaxy Camera has solved some of my most frustrating camera issues:
Problems with Other Camera’s I’ve Owned:
- unable to zoom enough to see my children in their school play
- takes dark pictures inside
- the shutter is too slow, usually resulting in missing my child getting their award altogether!
- not being able to share my photos with others until I download the pics on my PC (which could take weeks…months even!)
- watching my children’s important moments through a tiny screen
The Samsung Galaxy Camera has solved my issues…every one of them. With it’s 21x optical zoom, I no longer have to fight for a front row seat to take pictures of my child at a school event. I can sit comfortably and zoom in from a distance. With the built-in flash that actually pops up when pressed (remember…like the old days?), I get a lot more lighting on my subject, which creates well-lighted pictures.
And get this…I will never miss “the” moment when my child receives his/her award again. First of all, the viewing screen is 4.8 inches! I often joked that while everyone else could see the stage without obstruction my view of my kids special moments was always limited to the tiny screen of the camera I was using. And now, with the “Continuous Shot” mode on, I can take a rapid succession of 20 pictures to ensure I get the shot just as the award is handed to my child. I’ve already tried this and started my shots as my daughter climbed up the last step to the stage and walked across the platform to receive her award. Success…yes!
With regards to sharing, this camera has social sharing down pat. The Samsung Galaxy Camera is built upon the Android JellyBean platform, which means it’s basically like having a built-in smartphone…without the phone. And now, I can download any Android apps I’d like. Immediately, I downloaded Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and a few more. When I take a picture, I can view it and immediately upload it to my favorite social site. Once I log in, I’m always logged in to each social media site and can easily share my pics.
Here are two pictures that came out great. The first one is Deepak Chopra talking with Arianna Huffington during a panel at CES on health. I was WAY in the back of a large conference room and I used the 21x optical zoom to close in on their faces. I was very impressed how how well the picture came out despite my location. The second photo was taken in a dark nightclub during a Mashable event at CES. I used the manual pop-up flash and the photo came out beautifully.
Galaxy Camera Features
- 4.8 inch HD touchscreen screen – biggest touchscreen available
- 21x optical zoom
- HDMI mini input – so I can hook it up to my TV to see pictures and videos
- 4 G built-in (but you do have to pay a monthly data cost)
- the ability to use manual camera options to shoot the perfect picture…if you know how!
- share shot – select the device you want to connect to and all connected devices will receive the shot
- Groupcast/Allshare – love this feature – send your pic to your Samung Allshare devices – like a Samsung connected TV – to see the pic wirelessly on your device almost immediately
- 1080 full HD video 120 frames per second slow motion mode
- download apps from the Android Play Market
- voice commands like “take picture” to instruct the camera to take the picture, even if you’re away from the camera
- a built-in photo editor – so you can pretty up your pics before you post!
- I could go on, but you get the point
Best shot - takes 8 pictures once you press the shutter key and chooses the best shot for you
Best face – takes a sequence of five pictures. Choose the best shot of each person from all the pictures and the camera will include them in one picture
Beauty shot – automatically takes care of beauty imperfections (can you say wrinkles???? pimples????)
Action freeze – catches fast-moving objects (like my son!)
Continuous shot – 20 photos in five seconds (love it!)
Panorama shot – can stitch together a series of pictures for a great horizontal or vertical shots
Rich tones – camera takes 3 consecutive shots and merges them together to balances out the tones
Light Trace – take a picture of someone making a heart with a sparkler – the camera will capture the heart due to the slow shutter
Macro – close up shots
Sunset mode – with a 21x zoom lens, the sunset looks even better
Expert Mode – manually adjust custom settings
and a number more.
A close-up of the featured “jewels” one vendor was showing during CES. My friend Jennifer is all a glow as she learns more about Samsung’s newest Note 2.
The Samsung Galaxy camera did very well inside. In the past at CES, my camera’s shots had been dark, but that’s not the case with the Galaxy Camera. I didn’t use the macro shot in the first picture showing the phones, but the camera did a good job of capturing the glitz and glamour. In the second shot, I used the photo editor and with my finger, I swiped my finger across the screen to colorize my friend in a black and white photo. Had I used my pinky, the picture would had been more precise and even more interesting. In the Photo Editor, you go to Effect, Advanced FX, Splash to create this colorized effect. Honestly, there are so many features in the Photo Editor, I would have never found this effect had a Samsung employee not shown me. Very cool. I used it on pictures with my kids and it’s a lot of fun.
- it takes decent pictures at night – the best camera I’ve had in taking pictures at night
- the pop-up flash provides pretty good light
- uploading directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with either mobile or WiFi is easy
- I love checking my e-mail on the camera
- with the latest Android Jellybean, you can do EVERYTHING you can do on your Android phone on the Samsung Camera…except make phone calls
- the built-in photo editor allows you to create super custom results on your pictures, anywhere from Sepia, a photo collage, or even painting one person in color while the background is black & white
- the 21x optical zoom lens is really great. No longer do I need to sit in the front row to capture a pic of my child superstar on stage
- the camera takes good pictures inside
- I can SKYPE from my camera!
- enjoy music from slacker, Pandora, and my play lists
- I can search the web from it!
- and yes, in a pinch, my son can play Angry Birds or watch Netflix movies on it!
- other than the initial LCD screen indicator showing a battery when you first plug the camera to charge, there is no other visible light to ensure the camera is charging. You have to turn it back on to make sure
- it’s definitely bigger, bulkier, and heavier than the Galaxy S I, II, or III, not very pocketable
- you have to press a button to use the pop up flash, it is not automated
- my plethora of mini USB cords would not work with the Galaxy Camera because the mini USB cord is just slightly different
- the macro mode for zooming in close on an object doesn’t impress me too much
- the camera comes with a SIM card which means you need to pay for cellular service, though if you look on the web, you can get an unlocked version
The Samsung Galaxy camera sells for $499 at AT&T and Verizon for $549. Both mobile carriers require you pay for a data plan for service as well. Verizon’s selling price is more however, with their Share Everything plan, you can combine service for multiple devices on one plan, which ends up being cheaper than with the AT&T plan.
A Mom’s Perspective
There are a lot of tech products I like out there, even a number of them I love. But there are only a few that I really love, and the Galaxy Camera is one of them. As Android smartphone cameras have become more advanced, I began thinking perhaps that’s all I need for a camera. After all, it’s always with me, right? But the truth of the matter was when the pictures or videos were transferred to our large HDTV, they just don’t look as good. They are a bit blurry and pixelated at times. And often inside or nighttime pictures just don’t cut the mustard on my smartphone. And zooming in to get a child’s reaction when receiving their award, forget it.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera is my go to camera, perfect for zooming in on my children in a crowd full of students, video recording my daughter’s winning pinewood derby car, or even checking my e-mail and sending messages after finding my phone has died.
One common problem with a camera (or really any gadget) is that if it has a lot of bells and whistles on it, it can be too overwhelming. You know this camera has a lot of things it can do, but who has time to learn it all? Samsung has a done a great job creating a comprehensive website to help you get the most out of your Samsung Galaxy Camera. See their Tips and Tricks section to learn more about getting the most out of this camera. I spent 25 minutes on this site. It was fun, engages you to click through screens, and helps you understand how to do more with your valuable investment. I thought I knew a lot about the camera already, but I learned some great tricks like more about the voice commands, using AllShare to flick the pics to my HDTV, and learning which Camera setting works best for inside shots (I decided the night shot).
One thing that surprised me about the Samsung Galaxy Camera was how many people know about it. I have gotten stopped nearly every time I have used it. People are excited about it but want to know if it really as good as it looks in the ads. My answer is yes. Even our school crossing guard recognized it in my hand right away and wanted to know what I thought about it. And she asked me about it in November, just 2 weeks after it launched.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy Camera, tell us what features you like best. If you there is something we haven’t covered here you’re curious about, leave us a comment, we’d love to answer it for you.
* I was given a Samsung Galaxy Camera as a part of their CES Camera team. My opinions are solely my own. This is the best camera I have used and I’m thrilled with it.Tweet