Android digital camera with huge zoom and apps
Samsung has launched the Galaxy Camera, a digital camera that uses the Android operating system, in a surprise announcement at the IFA technology show in Berlin. It isn't the world's first Android camera. Polaroid and Nikon previewed similar cameras earlier this year, but those cameras still aren't on sale.
The Galaxy Camera is, on paper at least, far more capable than any smartphone camera with a 21x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation and the ability to snap 16 megapixel images. The camera can also record 1080p video and there's a slow-motion video mode for more creative footage.
The Galaxy Camera uses the latest Android operating system, 4.1 Jelly Bean. Photos can be edited on the camera directly before being shared with others over email and social media networks.
Basic camera controls, such as zoom, timer and taking a photo, can be done by voice using what appears to be a variant of the S Voice service on the Galaxy S3, so an internet connection is probably needed to make this work. There will also be an app which can link the camera with an Android smartphone so the phone can be used as a remote control for the camera.
We found, in our brief hands-on, that shutter speed and auto focus speed were unsurprisingly sluggish compared to a compact camera with interchangeable lenses, but the touchscreen interface and shooting modes are miles ahead of any other camera.
Photos are previewed on a massive 4.8in touchscreen which is also used the majority of the controls with very few hardware buttons. There are plenty of shooting modes that replicate professional digital SLR shooting tricks, such as Waterfall Trace and Action Freeze. There are also full manual controls for advanced settings such as aperture and ISO speed – the rotary dial interface looks, at first glance, far easier to grasp than the equivalent settings on a high-end compact camera or a camera with interchangeable lenses.
The internet connection is provided by built-in 3G, 4G and Wifi and apps run on a 1.4GHz quad core processor. Photos can be automatically backed up to photo sharing services. The Galaxy Camera will weigh 305g which is heavy compared to a smartphone, but about average compared to other compact cameras.
Samsung has yet to confirm UK pricing or availability at the time of writing.
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