Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 Review
For the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 , Samsung went with basically the same main characters — a 21x-zoom wide-angle lens, 16-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor, and a giant 4.8-inch HD touch screen — put in a new wireless sidekick (NFC) to add some interest, and updated the storyline to almost modern day (Android 4.3 Jelly Bean).
Back to the camera bit for a moment, though. Photo quality is very good for what you’re getting, as it was with the original. This really isn’t a camera for pixel peepers.
Low-light photos are better than what you’d get from a smartphone, but it’s best to stay away from the high ISO settings regardless. Instead, take advantage of the camera’s Night mode, which reduces noise and improves detail and color by combining several shots into one photo.
Video quality is good and the optical image stabilization is certainly nice to have if you’re tired of the shaky clips from your smartphone. However, like its photos, video does get softer and noisier the less light you have. The zoom does work while recording movies, but it was a bit jerky when moving in and out.
Also, the mic is right next to the shutter release, so it picks up any finger movement or snapping of the zoom lever. The lens motor makes a faint noise when moving, too; there’s a Quiet Zoom setting that dampens audio when zooming to help. One thing that’s cool, though, is that there’s a headphone jack on the right side that can also be used with a microphone.
The GC2 looks slightly different than the original, but the overall design remains pretty much the same. It has a new pop-up flash that can be angled back slightly to bounce its light. There are now silver accents along the top and bottom and a leather-grain look to the front making it look more like a camera and less like a smartphone. At least from the front.
The back, on the other hand, is very much that of a smartphone. There’s nothing but the 1,280×720-pixel-resolution 4.8-inch display. As was the case with the first version, it’s a pleasure to shoot with as well as to view and edit pictures and movies on. As long as you’re not in full sun anyway, which is a problem for most screens really.
The camera does have a continuous shooting option that can shoot at up to 4.3 frames per second. That’s pretty good, and you can start shooting another burst almost as soon as you release the shutter button.
As for the device’s overall performance, it’s nice and fast. The 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM kept everything relatively zippy. Apps run smoothly, and again with the large touch screen editing photos and video right on the camera is really nice.
Of course, since it’s running on Android 4.3 Jellybean you can load up more than just photo- and video-related apps. (And thanks to a larger removable battery you can do more without worrying as much about killing your battery life.)
Unlike the Galaxy Camera, the GC2 currently comes in just a Wi-Fi-only version. This means you’ll have to connect to a wireless network for Web access, whether that’s at home or work, a mobile hotspot, or turning your smartphone or tablet into a mobile hotspot.
You can also create a Wi-Fi connection directly between the camera and your smartphone or tablet. The GC2 has NFC built in, so if you’ve got an Android device with that feature, you can simply tap the two together to start the connection between them. You can also use the NFC to quickly send photos taken with the camera straight to your phone.
You can also use your smartphone or tablet as a remote viewfinder and control the camera’s zoom; set a self-timer; turn on the flash (if it’s popped up); change picture resolution, and release the shutter. Unfortunately, you can’t use it for recording movies or shooting in any mode other than Auto.
That’s a shame considering how many shooting options are available. Tap the mode you want and a lens barrel pops out; you just slide the rings till you get what you want. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly fast if your initial settings weren’t quite right and you need to adjust again.
At the wide end, there are 10 available apertures from f2.8 to f8.0; at the telephoto end there are four from f5.9 to f8.5. Shutter speeds go from 1/2,000 second to 16 seconds.
For movies, you can shoot at 1,920×1,080 pixels at 30 frames per second; 1,280×720 pixels at 30 or 60fps; 768×512 pixels at 120fps (slow motion); 640×480 pixels at 30 or 60fps; and 320×240 pixels at 30fps. You can also pause movies in the middle of shooting, so you don’t end up with a bunch of small clips.
In the auto, program, manual, and semi-manual shooting modes there is a row of 12 filter effects you can call up from the bottom of the screen. These can be used when shooting movies and applied to photos after you shoot as well. If you want to read about all that this camera can do, I recommended downloading the product manual from Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy Camera 2
|Max resolution||4608 x 3456|
|Other resolutions||4608 x 3072, 4608 x 2592, 3648 x 2736, 2592 x 1944, 1984 x 1488, 1920 x 1080, 1024 x 768|
|Image ratio w:h||4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||16 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||17 megapixels|
|Sensor size||1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)|
|Processor||1.6GHz Quad-Core Exynos|
|ISO||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|Optics & Focus|
|Focal length (equiv.)||23–483 mm|
|Normal focus range||80 cm (31.5″)|
|Macro focus range||10 cm (3.94″)|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Touch screen||Yes (Touch AF, Touch Shutter)|
|Screen type||HD Super Clear Touch Display|
|Minimum shutter speed||16 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/2000 sec|
|Manual exposure mode||Yes|
|Subject / scene modes||Yes|
|Built-in flash||Yes (Xenon)|
|Flash range||3.80 m|
|Flash modes||Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, fill-in, slow sync, flash off, redeye fix|
|Self-timer||Yes (2, 5, or 10 sec)|
|Exposure compensation||±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)|
|Videography notes||1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 or 60 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)|
|Storage included||8GB (2.8GB available)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Wireless notes||802.11a/b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0|
|Battery description||Built-in 2000 mAh battery|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||283 g (0.62 lb / 9.98 oz)|
|Dimensions||133 x 71 x 19 mm (5.24 x 2.8 x 0.75″)|
|GPS notes||A-GPS, GLONASS|