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Samsung Galaxy Camera – Design and Performance

By Paul Nuttall


Our Score


Review Price £399.00

Samsung Galaxy Camera: Design

Thanks to the 4.8in screen that dominates the back of the device, the Galaxy is by no means a small camera. Add to this the 21x optical zoom on the front and the Galaxy Camera and it all adds up to a fairly chunky device, even when compared against other travel compacts with similarly sized optics. The handgrip is reasonably sized though, which allows you to get a fairly secure grip of the camera – at least when shooting in landscape orientation. Shooting in portrait mode can be a little trickier though – holding the camera with the grip at the bottom doesn’t feel particularly comfortable, while holding it with the grip at the top makes the whole package feel a little top-heavy.

Samsung Galaxy Camera 13

The Galaxy Camera’s touch-screen renders the need for physical buttons pretty much obsolete, and indeed the only other button aside from the integrated shutter release and zoom control and the main on/off button is a small button on the side of the camera that’s used to raise the pop-up flash. Given how the Galaxy Camera is part camera and part mobile device these buttons actually serve dual purposes; for example, the zoom lever also acts as a volume control, while the power button not only activates the camera, but also puts it in to locked mode.

Aside from these three physical buttons everything else is controlled via the 4.8in touch-screen. While we rather like the minimalist look this approach results in, we can’t but help feel that Samsung may have missed a trick in not bestowing the lens ring with its proprietary ‘i-Function’ technology. For those not familiar with other Samsung cameras, this is essentially a customisable button that acts in combination with a control wheel around the lens to allow direct user control of a range of camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed or even ISO. Hopefully Samsung will see fit to include it with any future updates to the Galaxy Camera.

Samsung Galaxy Camera 9

Samsung Galaxy Camera: Performance

At 4.8in the Galaxy Camera’s display is the same size as the Galaxy S3 smartphone’s and, on the whole, offers the same high level of performance. While some touch-screens have disappointed in the past year or so since they first started to appear on cameras, the Galaxy Camera’s capacitive touchscreen proves highly responsive and accurate to your various finger jabs and commands.

In addition to controlling all of the various apps (photographic and otherwise) the touch-screen also provides the operational control for the camera itself. In addition to controlling all the regular shooting settings and menu navigation, the screen also allows you to use Touch Focus control, whereby you can select a point of focus simply by jabbing the screen in the appropriate place. Touch Shutter takes this one step further by automatically activating the shutter once focus has been set, making it a handy alternative to the shutter button on the top plate.

Samsung Galaxy Camera 5

While the Galaxy Camera’s Android operating system provides plenty of flexibility, there is a slight downside to having a 4.8in capacitive touchscreen, GPS, 3G and Wi-Fi all on board – rapid battery drain. Of course, you can choose to switch off the various functions, however if you really want to use the Galaxy Camera to its full potential and take advantage of all the integrated technologies then a spare battery might well be worth considering as the camera will drain battery power with the same intensity of a regularly used smartphone. Thankfully the Galaxy Camera takes the same battery as the Galaxy S2 smartphone, so spare batteries are both affordable and readily available.

On the plus side, however, the ability to use mobile apps on a camera can be really quite useful. For example, while out testing the Galaxy Camera in central London, we were able to navigate using Google Maps, before editing images with the Photo Wizard and Adobe Photoshop Express apps and then uploading our images directly to Facebook via the official FB app. As mentioned above though, using all these apps one after the other is pretty taxing on the battery and we only managed around four or five hours of shooting before we were running on empty.

Samsung Galaxy Camera 11

In terms of operational speed the Galaxy Camera is reasonably quick, no doubt thanks to the 1.4Ghz quad-core processor that’s employed to power everything along. Start-up time extends to only a few seconds and, once up and running, shot-to-shot speeds are pretty reasonable too.

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September 5, 2012, 7:23 am

OK, I want to know the two obvious things about this beast:

a) Can it readily be used as a phone? I don't mean with Skype, I mean ... er... natively? Is that one of its functions, including pairing with my Bluetooth headset to make ordinary calls? Does it accept a SIM card?

b) Is there ANY detectable delay between what happens in front of the lens and what shows on that lovely big display? That's always been my complaint with electronic cameras - the delay that causes me to miss action and nature shots - I have more photos of blurred departing tail-feathers than I'd care to count, because my electronic viewfinder's delay had me clicking after the subject (bird?) had already launched.

If the photos are really impressive in quality, including decent low-light performance (detail and lack of noise...) I'm in. If the thing can be carried as a replacement for my Motorola Droid3 phone, I'll even forgive it the lack of a physical keyboard.

After all, the reason that people carry compact cameras is so they can get candid and impromptu shots. Uber-correct optical and image-processing performance - while really, really nice - would be secondary.

Women would carry CAMERA-phone (as opposed to their current camera-PHONE) in any everyday purse, and not notice the additional bulk and weight... among the load of bricks they usually have in there.

Guys who don't wear suits would just revive the belt-mount phone case. Only the suits would have a hard time finding a suitable way to carry the thing.

But my a) and b) questions need answering. Anybody?


December 20, 2012, 5:51 am

The 3G is for data only and it does take a sim. This device has no telephone capabilities Been looking at this phone as a possible xmas present to me from me :-)

Cant answer B sorry.

Merry Xmas


January 26, 2013, 12:56 pm

I've also tested the camera... Also tried to see if the screen will scratch :) Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... to see if you'll have any issues with that :)


August 28, 2013, 5:54 pm

Hi Juppiter,

I have owned this nice piece of hardware for the last 2 months, taking it with me to my trips in Eastern Europe and Asia, and I can only tell you that this has got to be one of the best cameras I've ever owned!

To answer your questions:

1 - I'm afraid that there are no phone features, so Skype is just as far as you can go.

2 - Having used it at different times of the day, in a number of situations ( including night time shots, fast action pictures and dimly lit places), I have never experienced one single delay between what happens in front of the lens and the image on the display. Moreoever, the camera is equipped with two features, one for the least experienced users which allows you to automatically adjust the camera to the environment conditions ( for instance, if you need to take continuous shots, or you need to take pictures at dusk or at night etc). This feature is particularly useful especially for those who are new to semi-professional photography. Additionally, there is an alternative mode aimed at more experienced users, which allows you to manually adjust the aperture, the shutter speed and the brightness.

In either case, you get flawless shots. Ever since I bought this camera, I have totally forgotten that irritating 'tail-feather' effect which occurs especially when taking pictures of fast-moving objects.

I hope my reply was useful to you.


June 23, 2014, 12:20 pm

Why do I need a SIM card if the camera can not be use as a phone?

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