This new camera, launched in in the U.S. in November by Samsung, is interesting on two fronts. First, the form factor of the smartphone and the compact camera have finally converged as people have been expecting them to. And second, the Galaxy camera runs on the Google Android operating system.
The Apple iPhone has driven the masses to photography. Fancy apps can turn a mundane image taken by what is really a “not so good” camera into something that could go into an art gallery. We are seeing a new genre of photography—iphonography. Books are being written about it (see below), galleries and museums are muscling in on it, and the phone is beginning to morph into a camera. Of course, an Android phone can take pictures too, but as usual, Apple is getting the accolades.
The driving force for all of this is that your phone is usually with you all the time. Seasoned photographers know that the best camera to use is the one you have with you — and the phone is almost always there. Capture the moment!
But the iPhone photographers are getting antsy. Early successes are making them want more. That little lens has a fixed f-stop of 2.4 and a fixed field of view of around 35mm in the classic 35mm camera terms. It has its limitations, and these shooters need zooms and a bit more control. Enter the Samsung Galaxy camera—it has an f/2.8-5.9, 23-480mm lens that will let you get closer to the action than any smartphone on the market today.
The specs look good. 16.3 megapixels, that 21x optical zoom, and a whopping 4.8 inch screen. Powered by a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, 8GB of storage, and SD slot and Android Jelly Bean. For connectivity there is 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi.
Samsung is not the first to put Android into a phone. Nikon and the new Polaroid beat them to it, and Sony has it in their just introduced Sony Nex 5R, high-end consumer camera. Many more are coming. This is a good move for camera lovers. The obvious benefits of sharing images, cloud backup and archiving, and access to hundreds of processing and other photo related applications will breathe some fresh air into the shooter’s daily routine. Looking forward to seeing what comes next.
And BTW, the Samsung Galaxy camera does not have a good old phone in it!
Books on IPhonography: