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[January 17, 2013]
Photos get wings [Financial Express (India)]
(Financial Express (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Simply shoot, edit and share photographs with the touch of a button on this Android camera with wireless internet connectivity It is beyond doubt that mobile phones with decent photo-taking features have replaced compact digital cameras for many consumers and are cited by industry watchers as the main reason that camera sales have plummeted within the past year. Led by the Apple iPhone, mobile phones with built-in cameras are taking over the role that has traditionally been held by simple-to-use snapshot cameras. But a new photography trend is emerging these days that has the ability to connect directly to the internet and upload pictures or video right from the camera. We are talking about Android cameras with wireless internet connectivity enabling users to not only share photos, but also download apps.
While traditional camera companies are scrambling to innovate and win back the point-and-shoot crowd, Samsung is offering instant sharing of images through mobile or Wi-Fi connectivity, powered by Android platform, equipped in one beautiful device. For the uninitiated, the camera runs on the kind of operating system you would usually see in a smartphone or a tablet. Users can also shoot, enjoy, edit and share video from anywhere, at any time through the Samsung Galaxy Camera (EK-GC100), priced at R29,900. However, it doesn't come with call making capabilities.
We got hands-on with the new device and let's look at the tech specs. The Galaxy Camera has a 16-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, a 21x optical zoom lens, an optical image stabilisation system, an 8 GB internal memory and a microSD memory card slot. There's a smartphone-style 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 processor onboard and a 4.8 inch touchscreen with 1280 x 720 pixels (or 1,843,200 dots, as the screen uses a PenTile matrix).
Quite frankly, the Galaxy Camera is unique and an interesting concept. By sticking a high-end smartphone onto a digital camera, Samsung has combined high performance photography features with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and the freedom of wireless connectivity to create a full-fledged internet device. Using Wi-Fi or cellular data network to connect, users can browse the Web, send text messages and share images on social sharing networks such as Flickr, Facebook and Google +.
Even though the camera is mostly made from plastic, build quality is good. The test-unit that came to us had a very cool looking white body, with a rubber hand grip. The 4.8-inch high definition touchscreen fills the entire back of the camera. Once captured, users can enjoy their images on this high definition Super Clear Touch Display. However, the camera's beautiful display can be used for more than just viewing. Users can quickly and easily make professional edits to their photos using the integrated Photo Wizard; a comprehensive set of 35 photo editing tools powered by the camera's super-fast quad-core processor. User can also use Paper Artist, an app that became popular on the Galaxy Note II, for quick and unique photo edits.
At 300 grams, this Samsung camera seems heavy but that is no surprise given that it packs a 21x optical zoom lens into a body you can easily fit in your jacket's pocket. The device sports four physical buttons: on/off, shutter-release, zoom and playback. Everything else is controlled via the touchscreen. The touchscreen is user-friendly and essentially the same as in Samsung's Galaxy S3 smartphone that we had reviewed earlier.
When turning on the device for the first time, follow the on-screen instructions to set up your device. It feels more like a touchscreen tablet than a regular digital camera. It starts up onto a standard Android Home screen rather than a camera menu or a shooting mode. You can use the screen to access the settings, menus and everything else you'll find on the camera. It is responsive and the menu system is easy to navigate. When using the full manual controls, the settings fill the screen, giving access to ISO, exposure compensation, aperture and shutter speed. You just hit the setting cog to access the other options, which are split into three headers; camera, share and general. Once you are used to the camera, you'll soon find it a simple task to set the camera up.
In the test-run, I took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness. The picture quality is good with good colours and images captured are sharp. The camera films full high definition video at 30 fps. Video quality is splendid and the optical image stabilisation is certainly nice to have if you are tired of the shaky clips from your smartphone. When viewing your pictures in the photos album on Android, not only does it include the pictures taken on the camera, it also includes those from other services you have connected to, such as Facebook and Dropbox. They can also be edited on the apps.
Digital photography is a hot topic these days and people want to share their images quickly. That said, the Galaxy's advantage is that it's all in one; you shoot and you share, just like you would with a mobile phone.
SPeCS * Dimensions: 70.8 x 128.7 x 19.1 mm (H x W x D) * Display: HD Super Clear LCD (TFT) * Operating system: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) * Image sensor type & size: BSI CMOS, 1/2.3 inch * Lens (focal length): f = 4.1 ~ 86.1 mm (35 mm film equivalent : 23 ~ 483 mm) * Camera: 16.3 MP, 4608 x 3456 pixels, autofocus, 21x optical zoom * Memory: 8 GB * Weight: 300g Estimated street price: Rs.29,900 Copyright 2013 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by Contify.com Credit: Sudhir Chowdhary (c) 2013 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by Contify.com
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