Thursday, December 27, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Normally I am not a big advocate of convergence devices.  A combined Camera and Phone?    Seems kind of dumb, and what is wrong with the teeny weeny little camera say on the back of the iPhone.

But I have to say I'm rather taken with the

So taken that since November 2012 I've been the owner of one.  After using it on a daily basis for about 6 weeks now here is my report:

Wonderful Android
The basics are that this is a full featured Camera but with an explicit and acessible Android Operating System that is fully available to the User.  In addition the camera has a 3G Phone mini SIM slot  (that in Switzerland I've filled with an Orange Pay As You GO card) and a micro SD slot   (which I've filled with a Sandisk 64GB card)

Some Facts
You can read alternative reviews and videos galore.  Here is what I noticed

  • Android 4.1.1 is current
  • Camera is Model GC100
  • 305 grams, 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM, 1.4GHz Exynos 4412 CPU, 4.8" 720x1280 pixel display, 
  • 16MPixel camera,  sensor 6.17 x 4.55mmr

  • 28 - 481 mm , x21 optical zoom lens !
  • Decent popup Flash with button on camera side
When you boot the OS  it always starts in Camera mode.

Camera features

  • The Optical Zoom, relatively large lens  (for a smartphone) and decent Flash set it apart from any Smartphone
  • Bizzare 720x480x120 fps slow motion video
What it can do
  • Ability to send and receive SMS via your SIM
  • Skype works
  • 3CX and provides me a SIP phone number for receiving outgoing calls.  I won't say it is very reliable!

  • Camera modes: Landscape, macro, Action Freeze, Rich Tone  (HDR), Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light Trace, Beauty Face, Best Photo, Continuous Shot, Best Face.

    These modes require some digital processing and can delay time to next shot.
  • Expert Modes: Program, Aperture, Shutter, Movie, Manual, Manual Camcorder

  • Camera effects: None, Sepia, Black and Wite, Negative, Old Photo,Sunshine, Vintage, Retro, Faded Colours, Nostalgia,Comic, Pastal Shades, Gothic Noir, Impressionist.

    The effects can be applied to the Expert Modes.  They can't be applied to Preset Camera modes  (e.g. HDR/Best Face etc.).   These effects don't delay camera operation.

  • Torch Application Works
  • Runkeeper (with GPS support ) works
  • Bluetooth connection to Jaybird Sprint headphones works
  • 50GB Dropbox account in deal with Samsung
  • Automatically upload any photo taken to Dropbox Cloud

What it can't do && Also
  • Wired connection to Audi Music system fails
  • Bluetooth connection to Audi Music fails
  • After day of inactivity needs waking up to use camera/Android
  • Android Boot time is <15 seconds
  • When cold booting get annoying switch to Card for photos message
  • I've setup VPN network tunnels (!!) and this forces you to setup a PINcode security.   (But you can say don't lock for X minutes,  && I set it to 30 minutes, so if shooting shots within that time PIN code need not be entered)
  • 16M Pixel Shots not available on all camera modes. For example, 16:9 photos will be 12M Pixels.
  • Terrible Battery Life!  Well less than 1 day certainly even with moderate Shooting.  SO:  From ebay I ordered 3 batteries  (Same as Samsung SIII) and a charger for < 20 GBP  (35 USD).  Typically I now carry 2 spare batteries.

Having an Internet connected pocket camera is a truly wonderful experience.  Whilst I dream of this functionality with the addition of full frame sensor and compact size, well we have to take things slowly.

For now the Galaxy camera is the ultimate small format,   powerful occaisional camera && 

And Internet Browser, 
and Wi-Fi Hotspot, 
and GPS Map/Navigation,
and Alarm Clock, 
and Torch, 
and Gaming Device, 
and SMS sender, 
and Skype/SIP phone.  

It just does everything  (well apart from making conventional phone calls)

Samsung Galaxy Camera dpreview
Galaxy source code published

xda developers 
Shooting with the Galaxy
Sample Album1
Sample  Album2