Samsung’s new Galaxy Camera — the EK-GC100 — has raised the bar for what’s possible to do with a camera.
The new category, connected camera, makes it possible to take a picture and post it immediately on any social media site or email it to your friends.
I have been using this camera for the past two weeks and it is fairly simple to operate.
It resembles a Galaxy S3 mobile phone with a 4.8-inch LCD touch-screen display. The back is made of gorilla glass. The camera runs on the Android Jelly Bean operating system and is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor. It has 8GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM.
The camera is superbly designed. The rubber-like grip on the right of the camera, where you can find the button to pop-up the xenon flash, makes it easy to handle. However, the camera is bit heavy at 10.6 ounces, so it is not pocket-friendly.
On the top is the power and zoom and shutter buttons, while a 3.5-inch headphone socket and the micro-USB sits on the left. Access to the microSDcard slot, microHDMI, microSIM and battery, is at the bottom. The SIM is not for making calls, but for data connectivity.
The camera has a 16MP CMOS sensor and 23mm wide-angle lens with an impressive 21x optical zoom. You can take videos and pictures without losing any quality, even when zooming in 21 times.
The user-interface is intuitive and you can take snaps in three different modes: auto, smart and expert. Auto mode is for those who just want to point and shoot. It has 14 built-in filters and be accessed on the big screen.
Smart mode is for absolute beginners. It has filter effects like light trace, best photo, panorama and best face.
The expert mode is for professionals and gives you full control over the pictures you take. This mode has more complicated settings to choose from and resembles a SLR lens. It has four main controls: aperture priority, programme, shutter priority and full manual control. Each control gives users helpful on-screen tips and the screen adjusts automatically as you change the settings. Changes between settings is not as fast as with a DSLR.
You can capture a burst of 20 shots at 3.8 frames per second and then select the best picture. The camera’s ISO ranges from 100 to 3,200, the aperture from 2.8 to 8.0, and shutter speeds up to 1/2000th of a second. The images are saved as JPEG files. There’s no option to save as RAW.
It can shoot videos in full HD at 30 frames per second and 720p at 60 frames per second.
It can also take slow motion videos at 768x512 at 120 frames per second. Even in low light the quality of video is good and the only problem is the noise of the motor when you zoom while you change settings.
The 1650mAh battery on the device has an average life, in part because of the huge screen, data connections and Android operating system. You can shoot full HD videos for more than three hours before the battery drains out or take more than 1,630 pictures.
The camera can also be used to surf the internet via WiFi or 3G, check emails, play games and update social media sites. Apps can be downloaded from the App store. Photo-sharing apps worked well. The camera also plays all music formats and XVID files. It has a tiny speaker but at full volume the device tends to vibrate.
The EK-GC100 is priced at Dh1,999.