Samsung Galaxy Camera Review

December 10, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a 16 megapixel superzoom compact camera with a 4.8-inch high-definition capacitive touchscreen, a 21x optical zoom with a focal range equivalent to 23-483mm, built-in optical image stabilisation, and the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system with Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity. The Samsung Galaxy Camera can record Full 1080p HD movies as well as slow-motion video at up to 120 frames per second. The remote viewfinder feature allows you to see what the camera sees on the display of your smartphone and take a picture from a distance. The Samsung Galaxy Camera even offers voice control - you can command the camera to zoom in, zoom out and take a shot without touching it. The Samsung Galaxy Camera costs £399 / $499 and is available in white or black.

Ease of Use

With smartphones increasingly becoming the number one default device via which Mr Average takes snapshots - helped, somewhat ironically, by Samsung's own well reviewed Galaxy handsets - and with sales of compact cameras in decline, manufacturers now need to present a pretty compelling argument for the mass market to purchase a standalone camera. Samsung have decided to revolutionize the market by bringing together the camera and smartphone in one device - enter stage left the new Samsung Galaxy Camera which sports the marketing tagline "The Camera Reborn". In essence it's very much like the fusion of a Galaxy S III smartphone and a long travel-zoom camera like Samsung's own WB850F, with a massive 4.8 inch screen on the back and a whopping 21x zoom lens on the front.

Indeed, the Galaxy Camera boasts the exact same lens as the WB850F, a 21x optical zoom with a focal range the 35mm equivalent of an ultra wide 23-483mm, supported by optical image stabilisation. There's also a similar 16.3-megapixel effective resolution from the standard sized 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor sporting 17 total megapixels, which is physically much larger than the sensor that you find in a smartphone and therefore promises better image quality. On the back is a 4.8-inch 1280 x 720 (HD) Super Clear touchscreen LCD (TFT), identical to the Galaxy S III's screen except for the fact that it uses LCD technology rather than OLED. Both devices also now use the same Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system (after a recent Galaxy S III update). One crucial difference between the two devices is that the Galaxy Camera doesn't have any telephony features other than support for Skype or Viber through Android, so it's not going to replace your mobile anytime soon, although it is possible to send text messages if you choose to install (and pay for) a SIM card.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera measures 70.8x128.7 x19.1mm, which means that its best stored inside a camera bag rather than a pocket, and weighs a manageable 300g without battery and card, making it about 25% bigger and heavier than the WB850F camera. Its undoubtedly a large device that will definitely get you noticed, especially given the attractive white finish and the large, protruding zoom, so it's not as inconspicuous as the ubiquitous smart-phone. Having said that, the ability to zoom-in to 483mm using a relatively compact device means that you will be able to capture lots of moments that no smartphone can reach.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Samsung Galaxy Camera
Front Rear

With what feels like a higher proportion of metal in the build than plastic, the Galaxy Camera's sleek and stylish exterior certainly looks the part. It actually features something approaching a proper handgrip with a subtly textured surface to one side of its faceplate - a feature usually jettisoned in favour of cameras that pander more to sleek styling. This thereby suggests that sharp shots towards the telephoto end of its zoom range just might be that much more achievable. Other than the 21x lens and the handgrip, the only other feature on the sparse front of the Galaxy Camera is a small porthole shaped window housing the AF assist lamp/self timer lamp, positioned just above the lens.

This uncluttered presentation is due, in part, to the integral flash being moved to the top plate where it is neatly of the pop-up variety. If we've one gripe though it does seem to take an age to charge from cold before it can be fired. This wait might not be more than a few seconds, but it can take three squeezes of the shutter release before it will fire off a shot in flash mode.

Looking down on the Samsung Galaxy Camera's top-plate with its back facing us, at the left hand edge is the aforementioned pop-up flash, with a manual switch for its activation provided on the left-hand flank. So the flash won't automatically fire unless you have raised it first. Give this a press with a fingertip however and the flash pops up with a satisfyingly solid metallic clunk. Simply press the spring-loaded contraption back down to deactivate. Located below the flash button is a pair of microphones.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Samsung Galaxy Camera
Front Android OS

Also on the top-plate is a tiny inset power button. Hold this down for the first time and the Galaxy Camera stutters into life, taking almost 30 seconds to display a series of graphical screens and then extending the lens from within its body housing to maximum wideangle setting, while the rear screen switches to camera mode a couple of seconds later. The startup time from Standby is thankfully much quicker at just under 3 seconds, roughly what we'd expect from a point-and-shoot camera, although no speed demon.

A half-squeeze of the tactile shutter release button and a central highlighted AF point appears in green along with the customary confirmation 'bleep' that the user is free to go ahead and take the shot. Do so either by using the shutter release button or with a tap of the screen and in default single shot mode a full resolution, Super Fine (top) quality image is committed to either th built-in 3.87GB memory or a micro-SD card in one to two seconds, which is impressive. You can even take a picture using the power of your own voice, with "capture", "shoot", "smile" and "cheese" commands all available. Voice control can also be used to zoom the lens, fire the flash, set the timer options, and change the shooting mode, amongst other settings.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera's shutter release button is encircled by a lever for operating the 21x optical zoom; with a nudge from the forefinger the lens mechanics take five seconds to propel the user from maximum wideangle to extreme telephoto. While, once again, it's not the quickest response ever, this was still sufficiently responsive to enable us to quickly frame up the shot we saw in our mind's eye.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Samsung Galaxy Camera
Front Shooting Mode

When shooting video, the zoom takes more than twice as long to move through the same range, no doubt to minimize the already fairly quiet operational buzz. While this is fine, the initial response could be quicker. Press the virtual record button on the LCD screen and wait a couple of seconds while the 16:9 ratio screen display blanks out and then re-appears before recording begins - by which time the subject you were attempting to frame may well have moved on.

The Smausng Galaxy has an array of beginner and more advanced shooting modes. The subject recognizing Auto setting is point and shoot all the way, the camera getting it mostly right, although - typically - busier scenes can confuse the auto-focus and the shutter will still fire even if the image is noticeably soft, so you can occasionally come away with blurred results. No matter, re-compose the shot and simply try again. The Smart setting is essentially a range of 15 different clever scene modes, including the useful Macro and Panorama modes. There are also 13 creative filters available which are accessed by pressing the arrow icon at the botoom of the touchscreen, useful for previewing and adding a not-too-cliched effect.

The other available shooting modes are the familiar program mode plus the unexpected bonus of aperture, shutter priority and manual modes, which are grouped together in the Expert option along with the Video mode. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO speed and exposure compensation are all cleverly set via virtual dials on the touchscreen LCD, which in reality is a lot quicker and more intuitive than it might first sound.

Samsung Galaxy Camera Samsung Galaxy Camera
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The Wi-Fi options here are many and varied, and include the ability to sync up with a handset in order to use your phone as a remote viewfinder. There's also the ability to let the camera search for a local wireless network in order to directly upload imagery to the likes of Facebook, Picasa, YouTube and the ilk, or connect to a wireless network to email a selected picture to an email account - the address input within the camera with the aid of an on-screen 'qwerty' keypad. There are further automatic wireless back up (either to your desktop or a cloud service) and TV link options for those who have the relevant tech at their disposal.

Pressing the Home icon in the top-right of the screen fires up the Galaxy Camera's default screen, which displays the time and date, allows you to perform a Google Search, includes icons for the Paper Artist, Instagram, Photo Wizard, Video Editor, Camera, and Gallery apps, plus Dropbox, Play Store and a further Apps icon which accesses all 41 default apps and the Widgets screen. Having the ability to connect to a wi-fi network (or cellular data if using as SIM card), then edit your images and video with either the Samsung apps, Instagram or any one of hundreds of other Android apps, and then upload them to your favourite online network quickly becomes compulsive and makes the traditional process of downloading to acomputer seem laborious and old-fashioned. If only all cameras offered the same out-of-the-box connectivity of the Galaxy Camera.

At the back of the Samsung Galaxy, in the expected absence of any optical viewfinder, stills and video are composed with the aid of a HD Super Clear LCD rather than AMOLED screen (as on the Galaxy S III). Samsung does of course have expertise in screen technology, and here that gives rise to deeper blacks and better contrast when both composing and reviewing shots, which, coupled with a respectable 614,000 dot resolution, to our eyes results in a more-than -life-like picture being relayed. The downside is that images may not look quite as dynamic as they did at the point of capture when subsequently viewed on your desktop PC. On the positive side, a sharp screen image ensures that menu options and function icons also look clean, crisp and legible.

With the 4.8-inch screen swallowing up the entire backplate of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, there are very few other physical controls. A plastic flap protects a port for AV/USB output on the right-hand side, with a metal hoop for attaching a wriststrap just below and a headphone port just above. On the bottom of the Galaxy Camera is a metal screw thread for a tripod provided slightly off-centre, and alongside this a catch operated compartment holding both the supplied battery, mini-HDMI port and a vacant slot for a micro-SD memory card and the rechargeable 1650mAh battery.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16.3 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera produced images of average quality during the review period. Noise already becomes obvious at the relatively slow setting of ISO 200, along with a softening of fine detail, and this only becomes progressively worse at the still modest settings of ISO 400 and 800. The fastest speeds of ISO 1600 and 3200 simply aren't worth using.

Chromatic aberrations were fairly well controlled, with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 16 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is OK, allowing you to focus as close as 10cms away from the subject. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 23mm wide-angle focal length. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

The anti-shake system works well when hand-holding the Galaxy Camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range, while the maximum shutter speed of 16 seconds allows the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Samsung Galaxy Camera. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Samsung Galaxy Camera's 21x zoom lens provides a very versatile focal range of 23-483mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.



File Quality

The Samsung Galaxy Camera has 3 different image quality settings available, with SuperFine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16 SuperFine (4.28Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Fine (2.68Mb) (100% Crop)
16M Normal (1.81Mb) (100% Crop)  


Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung Galaxy Camera handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


The Samsung Galaxy Camera offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 10cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Samsung Galaxy Camera are Off, Fill-in and Slow Sync. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (23mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (23mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (483mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (483mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. The Fill-in mode didn't cause any amount of red-eye, a good thing as there is no red-eye reduction mode.

Flash Off

Flash Off (100% Crop)


Fill-in (100% Crop)


The Samsung Galaxy Camera's maximum shutter speed is 16 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 10 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Optical Image Stabilisation

The Samsung Galaxy Camera has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. With anti shake turned on, the images are noticeably sharper than with anti-shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/5 sec / 23mm
1/5 sec / 483 mm

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Samsung Galaxy Camera camera, which were all taken using the 16.3 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 32.4Mb in size.

Product Images

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Front of the Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Front of the Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Front of the Camera / Flash Raised

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Isometric View

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Isometric View

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Isometric View

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Isometric View

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed


Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Modes

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Smart Modes

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Aperture Priority Mode

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Manual Mode

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Picture Wizard

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Home Screen

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Apps Screen

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Rear of the Camera / Widgets Screen

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Top of the Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera
Bottom of the Camera
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Side of the Camera
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Side of the Camera
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Front of the Camera
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Front of the Camera
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Memory Card Slot
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Battery Compartment


The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a brave attempt to do something entirely new, especially when you consider that Samsung's core camera business is predominantly the declining compact market, which the Galaxy Camera is aiming to replace.

In many ways this new kind of device succeeds, particularly if you already routinely edit and upload your photos using a smartphone. For those users, the massive screen, long zoom and better image quality offered by the Galaxy Camera will be a real attraction, while the Android operating system with all of its apps and widgets makes editing and sharing your images instantly addictive. The Camera app is also worthy of mention, sporting a very polished interface that is easy to use if you're shooting in full auto or one of the advanced shooting modes.

By compact camera standards, though, the Samsung Galaxy Camera's image quality isn't that great, suffering from obvious noise at relatively slow ISO speeds and chromatic aberrations, with the photos somewhat misleadingly looking much better on the excellent LCD screen than when downloaded onto a computer and viewed more closely. Still, its more than perfectly fine for cropping and resizing for posting on Facebook or Instagram, or for making regular-sized prints.

Although the Samsung Galaxy Camera is a large and eye-catching device, certainly more so than the ubiquitious smartphone or humble compact, its 21x zoom lens is much more versatile. The effective image stabilisation system makes it possible to shoot at the full 483mm telephoto setting in good light and still get acceptably sharp results, while the 23mm wide-angle setting will happily accomodate group shots of your friends and family.

So while the Samsung Galaxy Camera doesn't take the best photos in the world, it is a versatile device that is surprisingly easy to use given its almost total reliance on a touchscreen interface, with its real strength lying in the ability to edit and share your photos online with very little fuss. For those users, the so-so image quality won't be such a big factor, so if the main way that you share your photos is uploading them to your favourite socaial network, then we can heartily recommend the new Samsung Galaxy Camera.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 3
Value for money 3.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Camera from around the web. »

A fresh and very successful re-imagining of what a camera should be and how it should work. Spot-on for anyone who wants an easy way to share their pictures without being restricted to smart phone resolutions and quality levels, and very fairly priced considering the specs and features. The best Android camera yet, and one that competitors will have to work hard to beat.
Read the full review » »

There’s been a dramatic uptick in amateur photography over the past few years — more people want to share more photos, and faster. This has led users to demand more and more from their smartphone cameras, while at the same time cheap DSLRs and the birth of Micro Four Thirds and other interchangeable-lens systems have put stupendously high-quality cameras in the hands of the everyman.
Read the full review » »

Every so often a product comes along which looks set to change the world of photography as we know it. One such product, and our innovation of the year for 2012, is the Samsung Galaxy Camera – the first camera to offer not only Wi-Fi functionality, but also 3G data connectivity.
Read the full review »


Network/Bearer and Wireless Connectivity

  • HSPA+21 (850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100)
  • 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4GHz / 5GHz
  • Wi-Fi Direct available
  • DLNA, HDMI 1.4 support
  • KIES, KIES Air support


  • F = 4.1 ~ 86.1mm (35mm film equivalent : 23 ~ 483mm)
  • 2.8 (W) ~ 5.9 (T)
  • 21x Zoom Lens


  • Quad Core Application Processor
  • 1.4GHz CPU Speed

Physical Specification

  • 70.8 x 128.7 x 19.1mm Dimension
  • 300g Weight


  • 1650mAh Battery Capacity
  • USB Chargeable
  • Standby Time : Up to 280 hours (3G)

Shutter Speed

  • Auto : 1 / 8 ~ 1 / 2000sec Manual : 16 ~ 1 / 2000sec

White Balance

  • Auto WB, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom

Services and Applications

  • Samsung Apps available
  • ChatON available
  • Instagram, Paper Artist, Dropbox, Gallery, Photo wizard, Video Editor, AllShare Play, S-Suggest, S-Voice


  • Android 4.1 (Jellybean)

Image Stabilization

  • Optical Image Stablisation


  • 3.87GB Memory


  • White, Cobalt Black


  • Assisted GPS / GLONASS available


  • Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure
  • Multi, Spot, Centre-weighted, Face Detection AE
  • ±2EV (1 / 3EV steps)
  • Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

Still Image

  • 1. Auto 2. Smart (15 Mode) : Beauty face, Best photo, Continuous shot, Best face, Landscape, Macro, Action freeze, Rich tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light trace3. Expert Control (5 Mode) : P (Auto+), A (Aperture Priority), S (Speed Priority), Camcorder, M (Manual)
  • 16M : 4608 x 3456, 14MP : 4608 x 3072, 12M W : 4608 x 2592, 10M : 3648 x 2736, 5M : 2592 x 1944, 3M : 1984 x 1488, 2MW : 1920 x 1080, 1M : 1024 x 768
  • Normal, Vintage, Black & White, Autumn Brown, Negative, Nostalgia, Colour Fade, Retro, Sunshine, Old Photo, Comic, Pastel Sketch, Gothic Noir, Impressionist

Audio and Video

  • Full HD (1080p) Video Recording & Playback available
  • Recording up to 30fps

Image Sensor

  • 1 / 2.3"
  • Effective Pixel Approx. 16.3 Mega pixels
  • Total Pixel Approx. 17 Mega pixels


  • HD Super Clear LCD (TFT)
  • 16M
  • 4.8"
  • 1280 x 720 (HD)


  • Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyro-sensor, Gyro-sensor (for OIS)


  • USB v2.0
  • 3.5pi 4pole, Stereo
  • MicroSD External Memory Slot (SDXC 64GB)
  • MicroSIM
  • Micro USB available


  • TTL Auto Focus (Centre AF, Multi AF, Face Detection AF)
  • Normal : 80cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 350cm ~ Infinity (Tele) Macro : 10cm ~ 80cm (Wide), 150cm ~ 350cm (Tele) Auto Macro : 10cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 150cm ~ Infinity (Tele) Manual : 10cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 150cm ~ Infinity (Tele)


  • Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash Off, Red-eye fix
  • Wide : 0.2m ~ 6.2m (ISO Auto), Tele : 0.5m ~ 5.1m (ISO Auto) , Flash EVC : ±1EV(1 / 2 steps)
  • Approx. 4sec.

Movie Clip

  • * Movie Size : 1920 x 1080 (30fps), 1280 x 720 (60fps), 1280 x 720 (30fps), 640 x 480 (60fps), 640 x 480 (30fps), 320 x 240 (30fps)* Slow Motion Video WVGA : 768 x 512 (120fps)
  • Normal, Vintage, Black & White, Autumn Brown, Negative, Nostalgia, Colour Fade, Retro, Sunshine, Old Photo, Comic, Pastel Sketch, Gothic Noir, Impressionist

Your Comments

Loading comments…