Samsung has tonight unveiled the first interchangeable-lens camera to house an Android operating system, the Galaxy NX, which is designed to give photographers smartphone-like connectivity.
The Galaxy NX should allow photographers to edit images on its 4.8in (HD TFT Super Clear) LCD screen before using Android software applications to quickly upload them to Flickr, for example.
‘People don’t always want to just take pictures with their smartphone,’ said Todd Tieman, a Samsung digital imaging sales and marketing manager who hailed the Galaxy NX as ‘the whole digital imaging process in a single device’.
The Galaxy NX will be compatible with the 12 lenses that currently make up the NX camera system. A new fisheye lens is planned for launch later this year.
The camera is due out in July, though a price is yet to be announced and Samsung would not give an indication of its likely cost when asked.
Incorporating ‘Galaxy [smartphone] DNA’, the new NX flagship is aimed at photo and technology enthusiasts who want to remain connected, according to Tieman.
The 20.3-million-pixel model features an APS-C size CMOS imaging sensor, an ‘eye-level’ (SVGA-resolution EVF) and ISO sensitivity ranging from 100-25,600.
Photographers can download apps from the Google Play store and access ‘all things photo related’ using the on-board Camera Studio to customise settings with their most used apps and camera modes.
‘You can create your final piece of art right in the device,’ claimed Tieman.
A Story Album feature pulls together captured images on a timeline to help users organise their shots – reframing and resizing them to create ‘digital photo books’ to be shared on other devices.
Photographers will also be able to order a hard copy photobook from Blurb, directly from the camera, a service available in 75 countries.
Bundled with the kit will be 50GB of Dropbox storage, free for two years.
The Galaxy NX will be compatible with 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, plus Bluetooth connectivity.
Samsung has sought partnerships with mobile operators for 3G and 4G but, when asked at a London press briefing yesterday, refused to say which companies it has approached.
Samsung points out, however, that the camera will accept a Sim card from other devices for those who already have a mobile contract.
The camera’s Hybrid AF system combines 105 phase detection AF points with 247 contrast-detect AF.
Samsung says that the shutter and sensor are all made in-house, as is the Drime IV processor which was also used on the previous flagship, the Wi-Fi-enabled NX300.
Also on board is Full HD video and ‘advanced noise reduction’.
Camera meets smartphone
Samsung describes the user interface as physically ‘minimal’ – referring to its lack of buttons – but does not expect it to alienate advanced users because they ‘still have control’.
The camera’s 30 Smart Modes include waterfall, vignette, HDR, miniature and light trails. Multiple exposure is also possible.
A Smart Mode Suggest function gives users a choice of three modes, based on shooting conditions, while a Drama setting allows them to choose their preferred action shot from a series of captured images.
There is also a Photo Suggest mode, borrowed from the Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone announced last week. This gives users ‘location-based’ recommendations based on ‘popular photography spots’.
Samsung remained tight-lipped when asked if all future NX cameras will feature an Android system.
‘We will give the market what it wants,’ Tieman told Amateur Photographer (AP).
A spokesperson later told AP that the firm began working on the new camera after unveiling the Galaxy [fixed lens-compact] Camera, the first model to host an Android operating system, last September.
At the time, Samsung suggested that extending the Android system to Samsung NX cameras would be a natural progression.
The Galaxy NX accepts MicroSD memory cards and uses an Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system. It is Micro USB compatible.
Samsung claims the camera can achieve AF in eight milliseconds.
At the time of writing, the firm was not able to confirm the battery
The camera went on show at a Samsung event held at Earl’s Court, London this evening.