With its 3G/4G data connection and built-in smartphone technology, the Samsung Galaxy Camera may provide a clue about the technology we will one day see in all digital cameras. Read the Samsung Galaxy Camera review...
Build and handling
The defining feature of the Samsung Galaxy’s build is its 4.8in, 1280×720-pixel resolution touchscreen. This is the same screen as that featured on the Galaxy S3 mobile phone. With such a big screen the Galaxy is slim, but also tall and wide. It is almost as wide and as tall as the Nikon Coolpix P7700. However, this does provide space for a comfortable rubber-coated handgrip on the front of the camera.
Nearly all the features of the Galaxy are controlled via the camera’s touchscreen display. The only buttons on the camera are the power button, shutter release, flash release and the zoom toggle switch. This sparse button arrangement dramatically affects the way the camera operates.
With no thumb rest on its rear, it can seem a little awkward to grip the Galaxy comfortably in the hand. I found that it was best to hold it with my left thumb and forefinger around the lens barrel, as if using a system camera. The lack of a thumb rest also means that you must get used to resting your thumb on the screen, which can slightly obstruct the image. An on-screen shutter/focus-lock button also helps to direct the thumb to a comfortable position to rest on the screen.
Like the WB850, there is a full complement of exposure modes, including manual, aperture and aperture priority. Pressing a virtual mode dial changes the modes. If one of the manual-exposure modes is selected, the ISO sensitivity, aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation appear in an on-screen menu. Using a finger on the screen allows the various settings to be scrolled through. Alternatively, the exposure setting you wish to change can be pressed on-screen, which then displays the relevant setting to change. This is slower than using a basic button arrangement on a conventional compact camera.
While the Galaxy is straightforward and intuitive to use, it is too slow. The touchscreen is as sensitive as those found on mobile phones, and Samsung has done a good job of incorporating the best of its mobile technology into the camera. It is just a shame that the company didn’t take more from its camera range and use it in the Galaxy. The camera would be significantly improved for enthusiast photographers if it included the iFunction technology that is found on Samsung’s NX lenses. A simple button on the side of the lens or camera, with a control ring around the lens, would allow users to scroll through the settings quickly, then change the one they wanted.