Digital cameras aren’t being adopted as much as just a few years ago, and of course that’s due to smartphone cameras getting better and better. This resulted in the need for a dedicated point and shoot camera becoming less and less. However, there are some advantages of having a digital camera over a smartphone camera. This includes potentially a better sensor, optical zoom, and more extensive features. Smartphones obviously offer their own set of features and a good list of advantages over a straight up dedicated shooter.
Samsung have aimed to offer a lot of advantages that smartphones have by bringing the Android OS to a dedicated digital camera. We have included the full specs just below, so lets get this review rolling.
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It’s clear from the specs we’re looking at a pretty solid digital camera. The advantage of the Android OS brings us access to a lot of software and additional features. We also have a quad-core CPU clocked at 1.6GHZ with 2GB of RAM. We also have 8GB internal storage with a nice MicroSD slot for expansion, but let’s take a closer look at the camera itself.
Samsung didn’t attempt to hide the true nature of the device. The large lens will gather the most attention on the front side of the device, but on the back we have that nice large 4.8-inch display. The resolution isn’t highest at only 720p, but it should get the job done nicely.
The lens extends outwards only when in use. The built in lens sports a 21x optical zoom. More specifically it’s a 4.1mm – 86.1mm – 1:2.8-5.9 – 23mm
On the left side we have the NFC logo, which is of course also where NFC is located. The right side includes a 3.5mm headphone hack, MIcroUSB connection, and a lanyard connection.
The included xenon flash can be ejected using the button right next to it on the top of the device. This is obviously a nice advantage of smartphones with typical LED flashes, which are no match for a full on xenon flash. The included battery is 2,000mAh and the compartment is located on the bottom of the device.
That’s pretty much it for the camera’s astethics. It’s very much a typical point and shoot camera, but with small hint of smartphone simply due to the large display on the back of the device.
Performance of the Galaxy Camera 2 is what you would expect from a mid-range smartphone of today’s standard. The device clearly is designed to house the most powerful chips available, but they shouldn’t have a problem getting the job done.
The main aspect of this device is of course the camera, and just before we take a look at the camera UI, below is some screenshots taken form the Galaxy Camera 2.
Unlike smartphones, the Galaxy Camera 2 will be more likely used in landscape rather than portrait It does support both in any regards. Both the Camera and Apps icons are static when scrolling through the different home screens available. Nearly every other aspect of the device is standard Android with Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI.
The camera UI is very similar to what we see from Samsungs Galaxy smartphones. However, being a more robust camera, it does come with some extra options.
Both the auto and smart modes are very similar to Samsung’s smartphones, we do have a more extensive list of available modes to choose from. The manual mode however, includes complete control over your camera in a nice graphical way. Sometimes navigation can be laggy, but mostly it’s an elegant process for fine tuning your settings.
Samsung include a pretty extensive list of available modes to choose from. which we have included below. Samsung also allow users to add specific modes to a custom list – allowing for quicker navigation.
- Smart mode suggest
- Beauty face
- Best Photo
- Selfie Alarm
- Continuous shot
- Best face
- Colour bracket
- Kids shot
- Action freeze
- Rich tone (HDR)
- Animated photo
- Drama, Eraser
- Light trace
The camera supports full HD recording. below is a few minutes recorded using default settings.
It’s time to breakdown the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2. We’re breaking down the conclusion into Design,Display, Photo, Video, and then finally Overall.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is no doubt a digital camera, and like we said before Samsung haven’t made any attempt to make the device more smartphone like. We do have a nice large 4.8-inch display on the back side, but mostly the device is very camera like. The flash is raised by a mechanical button and can be reseated by flicking it down, which may have some concern to wear in the future, but overall the device is very sturdy and easy to use.
We also like the added Micro HDMI connection, but may have been better suited if located on the side of the device, rather than underneath. We also have a standard screw connection (1/4-20) for using the camera with most tri-pods and mounts available. To be honest, the design of the camera is very standard and is very much a take it or leave it. We’ve got three buttons on the top of the device – which are flash release, power button, and finally the shutter button. this includes zoom function, which is a quick rotary mechanism.
The lens when not in use extends 2cm outwards from the device, which then becomes 5cm when it use and when completely zoomed in, it reaches 7.2cm. The camera itself at its thinnest is still just under 2cm and and its widest is just over 2.5cm thick. This make’s it a fairly bulky device, and not at all on the slim side of things. Weight isn’t too bad for a digital camera @ 285g. It’s still should be noted, that regardless of the near tablet/smartphone aspect, your still carrying around pretty beefy digital camera.
Ultimately it’s a pretty standard looking digital camera with a large display, with nothing too negative outstanding regarding its design.
The included 4.8-inch 720p display is nothing to brag about. There really isn’t anything exceptional regarding the display, other than its size, which isn’t typical of a digital camera. This is to cater to the included Android OS, which the display has no problem making it very easy to use. Basically, you won’t find much a difference using the Galaxy Camera 2 over a mid-tier smartphone from a year ago, display wise. Brightness isn’t as high as we would have liked, as we have no alternate view-finder to take advantage of if we’re dealing with the bright sun.
The main purpose of the camera is to take pictures, but also video as well – which we will get to shortly. The main purpose of a dedicated digital camera is to gather great quality photos, optical zoom, and of course extensive features. Thankfully the Galaxy Camera 2 delivers on those. Camera quality is great and provides well balanced and excellently detailed photos. We also have the 21x optical zoom. The zoom does have trouble focusing at times, but when focused it works wonders and is obviously a massive step over the sad digital zoom we get with smartphones.
Overall we’re pleased with the photo quality and it’s one of the Galaxy Camera’s strong points.
Sadly the video quality isn’t on the same level as the photo quality. We’re more impressed with the latest smartphones available, when it comes to overall quality and features. The main issue with video recording is the focusing, which can in a lot of cases prove to be very laggy, or in some cases fail to focus altogether. Simply put, we don’t recommend the Galaxy Camera 2 for video if any form of moving is involved, as focusing isn’t that good. The quality was pretty decent, but again, we’re more impressed with the latest smartphones and most of the competition in the digital camera space can offer a better overall video performance.
Samsung have obviously pushed the Galaxy Camera series in effort to offer a unique point and shoot experience. The full Android OS offers users access to a great many apps, with a lot of specific camera apps that the Galaxy Camera 2 seems very well suited. Photo quality is decent enough from a dedicated camera aspect, but sadly we’re not seeing the best video performance, with the focusing the main culprit for a less then joyful experience.
The Galaxy Camera 2 really comes down to one aspect, and that’s whether you will find use out of the full Android experience included. That’s the only real benefit the device offers over the competition, in some cases even Samsung offer better alternatives if the Android OS is no benefit to you. There is definitely advantages to having an Android OS included with your camera; like we said before, the many apps available for it are an easy pro for the device itself. It also allows directly syncing photos on the device to the many backup services available through android. This eliminates the extra step of having to copy them to another device.
Overall, the Galaxy Camera 2 is an okay digital camera with solid photo performance, okay video recording with a very picky auto focus. The main attraction is the large display and complete Android OS. There is no doubt the device is very unique and isn’t going to be for those just looking for a decent dedicated shooter, but rather one that offers an amazing OS that can be of some use when taking pictures. We do recommend the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 if the aforementioned features are something your after. However, if your simply looking for a decent point and shoot camera with quality your main concern, then we definitely recommend checking out some other digital cameras on the market.