In this article I will compare the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 versus the first generation Samsung Galaxy Camera for those who debate whether to buy the newer model or whether it’s worth upgrading from the first model.
The new Galaxy Camera 2 is similar to the Galaxy S4 Zoom (in general terms) but without the phone — obviously there are differences between the two. The Galaxy Camera 2 is replacing the first generation Galaxy Camera which was released in 3G and 3G version at the same day they were announced on August 29 ,2012.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is aimed for those who are not satisfied with their mobile phone’s fixed zoom lens, and on the other hand don’t want to buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom because they like their phone with its camera cons and don’t want to replace it. They love the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Camera is running Android, because they can install their favorite apps (e.g. Instagram) and many other apps to extend their camera capabilities. The SGC2 is also aimed for those who want to upgrade from the previous model, but the main question is whether it’s worth upgrading too.
Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 — Key Features
The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is all about optical zoom and Android operating system. Many people are already familiar with the operating system and learn to appreciate its advantages. Therefore it’s easier for them to pick up a point-and-shoot camera that runs on this platform. Furthermore, it allows them to install apps which give them much more control over how the image looks and shared compare to conventional P&S cameras. Furthermore, it gives you the option to install many other apps that are no necessarily related to the camera functionality.
The new Galaxy Camera 2 features a 1.6 GHz Quad-core processor and have a 2GB of RAM. If that was a phone, this is close to a high-end specs for a mobile phone, but this isn’t a mobile phone. Nevertheless, you should expect super smooth performance when running apps, playing Android games and browsing through the camera user interface — everything should be butter smooth.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, but Samsung didn’t reveal any information about the ability to update the OS to the latest Android version 4.4. The camera doesn’t have an eye-level viewfinder and all of the control is done using the physical buttons and the 4.8-inch Super Clear LCD capacitive touchscreen. The screen has 720×1280 pixels HD resolution and uses Corning Gorilla Glass 2 for protection against bumps and scratches. I recommend to use a protective cover and case (if available) for the camera to protect it.
At the heart of the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is a 16.3MP 1/2.3″ (6.17×4.55 mm) BSI CMOS sensor. This is a
very small sensor, but one that is popular on many conventional point-and-shoot digital cameras. You usually find it in superzoom cameras where it’s needed to use a small sensor to keep the lens optics smaller. A larger sensor for the same optical zoom lens would force Samsung to use a larger lens which makes the device itself much thicker and larger. Second, it will increase the price of the device. That means that you shouldn’t expect too much from the high ISO performance, although the Galaxy Camera 2 uses BSI sensor that makes the sensor more sensitive to light due to wires being at the back of the sensor instead of the front.
To give you a perspective how small the Galaxy Camera 2 sensor compares to the NX30 sensor:
As you can see from the sensor size illustration above, there is a BIG difference between the two. The things that actually make the difference is the pixel size and sensor technology. Regarding the pixels size, the
SGC2 features a 21x optical zoom lens with 23mm wide angle and F2.8-5.9 aperture range and an optical image stabilization mechanism. For those techie guys among you, the NX30 has 4.3 micron pixels, SGC2 has 1.34 micron pixels – HUGE Difference. This will certainly have a negative effect on the Galaxy Camera 2 high ISO performance compare to the NX30.
Compared to other known smartphone camera sensors:
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has the same sensor size as the Galaxy Camera 2, 1/2.3-inch (blue square). You can see that it still much smaller than other mobile phone cameras like the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Nokia 808 PureView. The iPhone 5S uses a 1/3″ sensor (4.80×3.60 mm), so it is smaller than the Galaxy Camera 2 one, but larger than the the iPhone 5 one (1/3.2″ 4.54×3.42mm).
So that was just to give you a better understanding about the sensor size and how it compares to other cameras/phones. The Galaxy Camera 2 can record at various ISO sensitivities from ISO 100 up to ISO 3200. 1/2.3″ sensor usually perform best up to ISO 400 and from there the image quality degrades very fast.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 has 8GB of internal storage memory (user memory space is usually less), which is not a lot considering the fact that you will be installing Android apps too. The good news is thatyou also have a microSD slot which can be used to insert a microSD card that expands the storage capacity (up to 64GB).
Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 can capture images in JPEG format only, no RAW support here. However you do have the option to choose the image resolution, starting from full 16MP resolution down to 1MP with two wide image resolutions available for 12MP and 9.2MP.
The SGC2 ca capture 1080p30 Full HD videos or 720p at 60 fps/30fps or 640×480/60fps, 640×480/30fps, 320×240/30fps. You can also shoot multi motion video at 768×512 pixels and up to x8 speed at 120 fps.
Other features include an advanced Smart Mode which offers 28 different shooting modes, including Best Photo, Best Face, Macro, Panorama, HDR (rich Tone), Sound & Shot, Eraser, Drama and others. The camera comes with built-in pop-up Xenon flash, which is stronger than the LED flash available in many mobile phones. This is a Galaxy Device, so you also enjoy built-in apps like the Samsung Link, ChanON, Story Album, Xtremera, Paper Artist, S Voice, Group Play, Play Games and others. You also enjoy a wide range of Google apps and services, including Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play Store, and others. Other apps are inherited from Samsung’s latest mirrorless cameras, including ‘Tap & Go’ (make it easier to connect the camera to NFC-enabled devices), ‘Photo Beam’ (automatically send image to the smartphone), ‘Mobile Link’ (Select image to transfer to your mobile device), ‘Remote Viewfinder’ (control your camera from your smartphone).
The Galaxy Camera 2 is not a phone, but you do have WiFi a/b/g/n, built-in GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, including four sensors (accelerometer, geo-magnetic, gyro-sensor, gyro sensor for the optical image stabilization). The battery is Li-on 2000 mAH, an upgrade over the previous model.
On of the main advantages that you get when buying the Galaxy Camera 2 compare to point-and-shoot is the ability to install apps (not just camera-based ones), and this is a huge advantage compare to other point-and-shoot cameras that don’t even have wireless capabilities and default limited functionality. Compare to mobile phones, the optical zoom and image stabilization certainly plays a very significant role — after all, you probably wouldn’t buy such device if it didn’t have a large optical zoom lens — wouldn’t you?
Now that you are familiar with the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 key features, it’s time to see how it compares to the older model, the Samsung Galaxy Camera (1).
Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Camera
Let’s take a look at what changed from the first Samsung Galaxy Camera compare to the newer version.
|Samsung Galaxy Camera 2|
|Samsung Galaxy Camera 1 (4G)
|Announced||January 2, 2013||August 29, 2012|
|Processor||1.6GHz Quad-core||1.4 GHz Quad-core|
|ISO||100 - 3200||100 - 3200|
21x optical zoom
Optical Image Stabilization
21x optical zoom
optical image stabilization
HD Super Clear Display
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
HD Super Clear Display
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
|Platform||Android 4.3 Jelly Bean||Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
(upgradable to 4.1.2)
|Dimensions||132.5 x 71.2 x 19.3 mm (5.22 x 2.80 x 0.76 in)||128.7 x 70.8 x 19.1 mm (5.07 x 2.79 x 0.75 in)|
|Weight||283 g (9.98 oz)||300 g (10.58 oz)|
|MicroSD Slot||Yes (up to 64GB)||Yes (up to 64GB)|
|Battery||2000 mAh||1650 mAh|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Colors||Black, White||Black, White, Pink, Orange, Red|
|GPS||A-GPS support and GLONASS||A-GPS support and GLONASS|
|Flash||Xenon Flash (pop-up)||Xenon Flash (pop-up)|
As you can see from the above comparison table, the sensor stills remains the same, which is petty, but you get a more powerful processor, double the storage and RAM, slightly larger camera (should be smaller don’t you think?), more software features and better battery life (which is always good).
I’ve expected from Samsung, as this is a camera focuses devices, to upgrade the sensor to say at least. Depends on its price which is not available yet, I don’t see any convincing reason to upgrade from the first Galaxy Camera. If the image quality is the same, I don’t think that it’s worth the upgrade, unless you think that the extra RAM, Storage and Battery life are worth it.
I think that the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is a good device that has its market, but it’s unfortunate that we are not seeing a major update that have an impact on the image quality.
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