Having spent my early career as a news photographer before the advent of digital, I remember all too well the hassle of getting assignments back to the picture desk before deadline. So, when Samsung showcased their new GALAXY Camera (available with either 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity options) at a swanky launch in Cape Town recently, it literally blew me away.
Like many, I enjoy using my smartphone’s camera while on the fly. However, when I need a quality shot I have no choice but reach for the heavy artillery. Well, the GALAXY Camera caters to both needs – namely hassle-free, instant connectivity and quality high-resolution images – simultaneously.
Granted, having had only the chance to fiddle with the demo units on display, I can’t comment on the camera’s actual image quality. That said, its specs show huge promise.
Boasting the latest Android platform, Jelly Bean, it also features a 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, and comes with an f2.8, 23 mm lens with 21x optical zoom. The lens can be controlled via either the button or the 12 cm HD LCD touchscreen. Alternately, you can just the Voice Control option which allows you to manage a number of functions such as “zoom in” or “shoot” via voice command.
Using its easy-to-navigate menu system, users can choose from a series of preset scenario options which automatically adjust the camera’s settings to capture a great shot. For example, “rich tone” delivers images with greater intensity (particularly effective for reducing overexposure in bright surroundings), while “light trace” automatically controls the shutter speed for night scenes full of light trails. Also included is a comprehensive set of 35 photo-editing features, allowing you to make quality edits on the go.
Other features include a 1.4 GHz Quad-Core, processor, 8 GB internal memory (expandable via micro SDSC, SDHC or SDXC memory cards), Bluetooth 4.0, full HD video as well as Mobile Google services such as Gmail, Google Maps, and their Chrome browser.
Why it works for me
In the days before digital, when travelling out of town on assignment, filing your photos was a mission. It involved lugging a large, heavy metal trunk packed full of darkroom gear and tools around. Once in your hotel room out came the hacksaw, used to lop off a corner of the bathroom’s door so you could feed an extension cord inside to power up the enlarger and red safe light.
Next, the bath was filled with hot water, the film and print chemicals were mixed and then placed in the bath to bring them up to the required temperature. While this was happening you tackled the room’s telephone – it had to be ripped open to expose the inner wires. That was the only way you could connect the bulky transmission machine (comprising a drum that you rolled your final handmade print around before hitting “send”) to the phone line.
To say it was a laborious process would be an understatement. Once, while covering a coup in the Transkei in the 1980’s, I even had to route my images via London as I couldn’t get a clean enough direct line to Johannesburg. Completing the job literally took all night.
Now you know why (in principle, at least) I think Samsung’s new GALAXY Camera is the best thing since sliced bread. If I was a young daily news reporter today, getting my hands on this baby, especially the 3G version, would be a no-brainer.
Both the 3G and Wi-Fi versions are said to cost about R4 700 each. For more information visit www.samsung.com