On the whole, images display good balance between shadow and highlights, resulting in a pleasingly even tone across the image. We did find that the Galaxy Camera has a fairly regular tendency to underexpose though, although you can of course correct this with exposure compensation, of which the Galaxy Camera offers /-2 EV.
Colour tends towards the vivid end of the spectrum, but is generally pleasing nonetheless.
While colour is generally accurate, it is quite vivid. Unfortunately, white balance tends to be a bit inconsistent and results can vary greatly in a range of different lighting conditions. During testing we found that images captured in artificial light swung from warm to cold, and even in good natural light there is a lack of consistency. Thankfully, you can opt to set the manual white balance manually, and although it can become a bit of a chore we found this to be the preferred option.
While having a large focal range to call on undoubtedly aids overall flexibility, such lenses often tend to lack critical sharpness – and so it proves with the Galaxy Camera. This isn’t immediately apparent when images are viewed on the camera’s LCD screen, however under closer inspection on a larger monitor some softening can clearly be seen.
As you can see from this composite of two images, white balance inconsistencies can produce wildly different results.
Noise is controlled reasonably well, although images do suffer from some fairly aggressive noise reduction. Above ISO 400 this adds to the aforementioned issues with sharpness. At ISO 800 and above fine detail appears smudged, which could be an issue should you be looking to make large print enlargements at such settings.
For an in-depth look at the differences in image quality between the Samsung Galaxy Camera and the Galaxy S3 smartphone be sure to read our Samsung Galaxy Camera versus Samsung Galaxy S3 head-to-head.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera is an ambitious blend of digital camera and mobile device that, for now at least, occupies a unique position within the digital camera market. And, in many ways it's a success too. As a camera, it’s fairly well featured with a far-reaching zoom lens and a decent – if not spectacular – sensor. The large, sharp 3.8in touchscreen display is also responsive and makes using the camera surprisingly easy and intuitive, while the external design is minmalist yet reasonably practical. Plus the whole Android interface is surprisingly intuitive and genuinely adds to the shooting experience. So far, so good.
However, as might be expected of a device as ambitious as the Galaxy Camera, not quite everything is perfect, and there are a number of niggly issues that ultimately leave us wanting. For a start, while impressive for a touchscreen camera, we still found controlling the Galaxy Camera was more combersome than a normal camera without a touchscreen or with more buttons. Plus, the interface is just slow enough to be on the frustrating side, especially for a camera of this price. Add in the mediocre battery life and image quality, and the surpising bulk of the camera and the lustre really starts to wear off.
We do see the point in cameras with 3G and that run Android but ultimately when you're paying this kind of money they've got to be excellent both as cameras and as mobile devices to be worthwhile and sadly the Galaxy Camera doesn't quite cut it.