Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 vs Samsung Galaxy NX Comparison

January 15, 2014

In this post I will compare the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 vs Samsung Galaxy NX.  The Samsung Galaxy NX is unique among the two, mainly because it features both 3G/4G connectivity alongside Wi-Fi connectivity.  The Galaxy Camera 2 dropped the 3G/4G LTE connectivity in favor of NFC alongside Wi-Fi connectivity — but you can’t make phone calls with it compare to a conventional phone (well, if you install Skype app for Android you can).

Both cameras are powered by Android platform, the Galaxy Camera 2 has version 4.3 of the Android Platform (Jelly Bean) and Samsung Galaxy NX camera uses Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean).  This means that both devices act as Android devices for all intents and purposes. So if you want to play Candy Crush, Angry Birds or use Google Maps to navigate to a remote location, you can do that.

Another big difference between the two is that the Samsung Galaxy NX is a mirrorless camera  in Samsung’s NX compact camera system. Which means that you can mount different lenses one it, including fast prime lenses, superzoom lenses and others. Of course This is just a glimpse of the differences between the two cameras. In this article we’ll dig deeper into the specs and features and see which camera offers the best features and learn the cons and pros of each camera compared to the other.

We’ll start with a short introduction to each camera and continue to the comparison later on.

Samsung Galaxy NX

The Samsung Galaxy NX is a unique camera in the sense that it’s different than many other digital cameras. The Galaxy Camera NX as it’s name suggests, belongs to the NX system, a range of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. For those of you who are not familiar with the term ‘mirrorless’ or ‘compact system camera’ — the term refers to digital cameras the have no internal reflex mirror as in Digital SLR cameras, and therefore allows camera manufacturers to create interchangeable lens camera that are smaller and lighter in size, as well as small and lighter lenses as well.

It doesn’t necessarily means that the camera will be at the same size as a compact camera. The Samsung Galaxy NX is much larger than a compact camera, at the size of an entry-level DSLR.

Samsung Galaxy NX size comparison vs Nikon D3200 and Canon PowerShot ELPH 530 HS

Samsung Galaxy NX size comparison vs Nikon D3200 and Canon PowerShot ELPH 530 HS

The screenshot from camerasize.com gives you a good understanding how big the Samsung Galaxy NX really is. However if you look at the cameras from the top on camreasize.com, you can see that it’s much slimmer than the Nikon D3200, but the grip does take a lot of space. The Canon is a compact camera that you can put in your pocket, the NX is no where close to that.

At the heart of the Galaxy NX is a 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor, the same sensor size used on all Samsung’s NX cameras. This is probably one of the biggest differences and probably the most important ones when you compare the Galaxy NX to other compact cameras, mobile phone cameras or the Galaxy Camera 1 and Galaxy Camera 2.

To give you a better view of the sensor size differences, take a look at the next image.

Samsung Galaxy NX sensor (APS-C) vs Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 sensor

Samsung Galaxy NX sensor (APS-C) vs Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 sensor

Yep, you are seeing that right. The Samsung Galaxy NX sensor (in yellow) is much larger than the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 1/2.3″ sensor.  This means that the each pixel on the NX camera is much larger than the one on the SGC2 (4.3 microns vs 1.34 microns). His give the NX a HUGE advantage in terms of dynamic range, color accuracy, details and high ISO performance. You’ll see much less image noise when at high ISO, which helps the camera perform much better in low-light. The other good news is that the Galaxy NX inherits the excellent sensor from the NX300 mirrorless camera. The NX300 was praised for its superb image quality, but slightly less impressive in low-light — at least if you compare it to other Compact System Camera like the Fujifilm X-A1 for example.

At the back of the camera you get a 4.8″ 921K-dots scLCD (Super Clear LCD) touchscreen monitor with Gorilla Glass. This screen was designed to offer superior outdoor visibility, an it’s the same display used with the Nexus S Android smartphone.  Unlike a DSLR or other NX cameras in the NX lineup, the Galaxy Camera have only four buttons at the top including a dial for navigation and changing settings. All of the camera operation is done using the large touch-sensitive display. You can use touch gestures like pink to zoom and and out, swipe left or right to browse through images in the albums, etc.

The large display doe consume lots of battery power, but the Galaxy NX battery life is rated at 440 shots (CIPA standards), which is excellent considering its screen size. Of course you do have the option to change the screen brightness and lower the power consumption and prolong your shooting time. The Galaxy NX battery capacity of 4360 mAh.

The the back of the camera you’ll find a SVG resolution (800×600 pixels / 480K-dots)  electronic viewfinder with diopter control. It’s relatively poor resolution in today’s standards, but I assume that most people will use the huge LCD screen at the back to compose their shots, rather then the tiny EVF.

Before we continue, let’s take a look at a Samsung Galaxy NC camera review by What digital Camera:

The camera also enjoys an advanced Hybrid Autofocus system, which includes 105 AF points on-chip phase-detection and 247-point contrast-detect AF. This is the same AF system found on the NX30 and NX300, and it was designed to give you excellent AF speed and accuracy, especially when shooting fast moving subjects.

The Samsung Galaxy NX is all about connectivity. This included a SIM card tray, which when used, allows you to get and send data within the mobile network carrier that you are subscribed to. This means that you don’t need to have a Wi-Fi hotspot near you when your are shooting outdoors. This works the same as a mobile phone, but with no support for GSM voice communication. This also means that you can’t send SMS or MMS messages, but you can send emails, share your photos on social networks and online photo sharing websites (e.g. Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, etc.), use apps that need Internet connectivity to operate, etc.

The camera is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi a/b/g/n HT30 2.4G/5GHz, 4G LTE/3G HSPA+42Mbps (cellular data) and NFC wireless connectivity, A-GPS + GLONASS. So even if you don’t have a SIM card, you do have the option to use Wi-Fi hotspots or connect the Galaxy NX camera to your mobile phone to get connected to the Internet to get and receive data wirelessly. Other connectors include microUSB, USB 2.0. The camera has 16GB of built-in storage and you can expand the storage using MicroSD card (suppoorts up to 64GP).

The Samsung Galaxy NX is based on Android Jelly Bean platform. Which means that you can can install almost any app available on Google Play on the device. As an Android device, the Galaxy NX comes with very good hardware specs, including DRIMe IV image processor, 2GB of RAM and 1.6GHz Quad-core processor. This should allow you to run many modern apps and games smoothly without any hiccups.

As I mentioned before, you can’t use the Galaxy NX as a phone, only for data connectivity. However, you do have the option to install Skype app for Android  and use the Galaxy NX as a communication device if that’s what you want to. But between us, this will certainly look awkward and you probably already have your mobile phone for this.

The main advantage of having a built-in wireless data connectivity is that you don’t need to rely on 3rd party Wi-Fi hotspots or your own hotspot to get Internet connection.  This means that when on-the-go, you can upload your images and videos online and share them with friends and family wherever you are. Furthermore, there are thousands of camera apps out there that you can install that will make it more fun to edit your photos and videos in-camera and share them with others. The possibilities are endless. This breaks the concept of a digital camera being a closed device with no option to extend its functionality. Now with the ability to install any app from Google Play, you aren’t restricted only to what the camera manufacturer gives you.

Other features include Full HD 1080p30 video recording,  8.6 fps continuous shooting speed, 1/6000 sec shutter speed, built-in Google Maps (Turn-by-turn Navigation), ChatON, TouWrist and TripAdvisor apps, Story Album, Video Maker to edit your videos, Paper Artist to create unique shots and Samsung Smart Mode that helps beginners to take gorgeous shots using special modes like Drama Shot (we all remember it from the Samsung Galaxy S4), Action Freeze, LightTrace, Multi Exposure and Sound & Shot.

In my opinion, the Samsung Galaxy NX unites the best in mobile and the digital camera world to bring the connectivity many digital camera are missing. With the ability to change lenses, backup your photos online everywhere you are, install apps and games, share photos and video anywhere on the spot, be creative and extend your camera functionality using apps, even make voice calls using Skype — the creative possibilities are just endless. This is the camera that many enthusiasts and amateurs will want to hold in their hand and use.  It’s indeed a large camera, but you get tons of features in return, including large rear gorgeous touchscreen and relatively very large sensor, which will give you the option to finally enjoy shooting with shallow depth of field and get better low-light shots compare to any mobile phone camera on the market.

One last thing to add. The Samsung Galaxy NX is compatible with all Samsung NX mount lenses, including lenses with the iFunction. The iFunction allows you to access and change the camera settings from the lens on the fly. I personally think that the this camera would better off without the EVF and it’s takes valuable space at the top and partially blocking the screen when you shoot low angle shots where you look down at the screen. The screen itself is very responsive.

Samsung Galaxy NX Price

The biggest downside of this camera is its stiff price. For $1600 for the body only and $1700 for the body plus the 18-55mm lens (check latest prices on B&H Photo here) — the Galaxy NX is not everyone’s cup of tea, and certainly for many photographers it will be too expensive.

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 replaces the Galaxy Camera which was announced in 2012. The new model drops the SIM card support for data connectivity and adds NFC alongside the Wi-Fi to offer easier binding with your NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet device. This means that if you buy this camera you’ll have to rely on nearby Wi-Fi network in order to enjoy the benefits of online connectivity, like backing up or sharing your photos and videos online.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera doesn’t add much over the previous model. The Galaxy Camera 2 is now a bit faster with 1.6GHz instead of 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of ram instead of 1GB, is runs on Android 4.3 instead of 4.1, it’s slightly larger, have more powerful battery and added NFC.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 might not convince you to upgrade from the older model, but it will certainly appeal to those who appreciate the benefits of having an Android 4.3 OS as a back-end in their camera.  On the other hand, some people already got an Android mobile phone, so it seems a bit odd for some people to have two Android devices for different purposes. Having said that, you should focus on the advantage that the Android platform brings to this camera compare to an equivalent superzoom camera without an Android platform.

If you want to carry a single device that functions both as a phone and a superzoom camera, you should probably be looking at the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom instead (GSM voice communication + 10x optical zoom digital camera) — but you get much less optical zoom though (21x vs 10x).

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 and Galaxy NX side by side

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 (left) and Galaxy NX side by side (right)

The Galaxy Camera 2 enjoys all of the benefits of an Android OS device, except those which are related to the phone’s functionality. It’s like an iPod compare to an iPhone, but with bigger zoom and more advanced camera design and functionality.  Like many other mobile devices, the GC2 enjoys Wi-Fi- and NFC wireless connectivity, has a fast processor, responsive touchscreen display, boasts lots of built-in communication based software for sharing your photos (e.g. Tap & Go, Photo Beam), but unlike the previous model that offers 3G/4G, this model is dependent on 3rd party wireless communication.It can be one from your mobile phone (via tethering) or a wireless hotspot from your router or shared wireless connection in a public place.

Some people even see the lack of 3G/4G data connectivity as an advantage. They don’t want to signup for a second data plan with their carrier, when they can use their mobile phone’s carrier for this purpose.  This just add to the total cost as a reoccurring payment for the data plan. Having said that, I agree with many people who would have preferred that the Samsung Galaxy 2 would have been a phone also.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 comes with lots of built-in software features as expected from a modern Android device, including Samsung Link, Samsung ChatON, Group Play, Sound & Shot, Eraser (removed unwanted subjects from the image), Share Music / Picture / Document, Play Games, Story Album, S Voice, Google Searc, Google Play Store and many others.

At the heart of the device is a 16-megapixel 1/2. inch (6.17×4.55 mm) BSI-CMOS sensor, which is bigger than sensors found on most smartphones. Having said that, it’s still a small sensor nevertheless, and on most part, you will get very good quality in daylight, but the image quality will fall quite fast when you boost the ISO speed. On the positive side, the GC2 comes with a built-in pop-up Xenon flash, unlike many smartphones that use LED flash. This provides stronger illumination of the subject when shooting in low-light situations.

The Galaxy Camera 2 has a 23-583 mm f2.8-5.9 21x optical zoom lens. So it’s lens provided very versatile zooming experience for travelers and fast f/2.8 aperture at the wide-end (23mm). A f/2.8 aperture is only available at 23mm (The widest field of view), and it closes up as you zoom in. This means that if you want to shoot in low-light without flash, you should be shooting with the widest angle possible to enjoy a bigger aperture opening which lets more light pass through.

The camera has lots of scene modes available, including Best Face, Continuous Shot, Landscape, Macro, Panorama, Rich Tone (HDR), etc. The camera enjoys a 2000mAh battery, which means 400 shots (CIPA Standard).

All in all, an attractive Android-based superzoom camera with very good battery life, versatile zoom lens, lots of built-in software-based features and wireless connectivity. Most of the important features you need to have in order to capture great images and share them with others. You also get to enjoy all the benefits of a modern Android-based device, and you can use the GC2, among others, to play games and install and run Android apps from Google Play. That’s not a bad offering if you ask me, but I agree with those who would have preferred the SGC2 to be an independent device, and one that you can replace your current smartphone. Why carry two devices when you can carry just one.

I also think that the days of independent Android-based digital camera are few. I am sure that in the near future we’ll see new camera technologies and new android-based superzooms smartphones. This is the obvious step forward in terms of mobile digital imaging. Samsung did it with the S4 Zoom, and I am sure that many companies will follow. Samsung takes advantage of its financial advantage and releases so many mobile devices that can get your mind blow up. So even if you don’t like the Galaxy Camera 2, Samsung certainly have a type of device to answer your specific needs.

Galaxy Camera 2 vs Galaxy NX

Now that you’ve got a good understanding of the key features of each camera, let’s see how the two compared. There are obviously big differences between the two, but who knows, you might be convinces to get the other device instead of the one that you initially planned buying.

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Conclusion

As you can see, the two cameras heavily differ from each other both in terms of price and features. The Samsung Galaxy NX is the much better camera for enthusiast and advanced photographers who want to elevate their photography skills and enjoy an overall, much better photographic tool. The larger sensor and the ability to change lenses will change the way you use your camera, and for most part, in a very positive way. The larger sensor will allow you to choose in much lower lighting conditions without highly compromising image quality. This is especially true if you intend to buy a fast prime lens. The larger sensor will yield stunning defocused background (lens dependent) that will help you to better separate the subject from distracting background and other subjects in the frame.

The Galaxy NX enjoys much more advanced AF system that provides faster and more accurate AF performance, especially when shooting fast moving subject, particularly when the subject moves away or towards the camera. With the NX Camera you also get to enjoy built-in 3G/4G cellular data support, double on-board storage memory, an eye-level electronic viewfinder and faster burst and (much faster) maximum shutter speed.

The camera is independent of an external mobile device for exchanging data. This means that you don’t need to have to take your phone with you to connect to the internet to upload and share your photos.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera was designed for amateurs who want a travel superzoom compact point-and-shoot camera, but prefer to buy an Android-based superzoom than one with proprietary operating system. With both cameras you will be able to install Android apps from Google Play, which apps that extends the camera built-in software capabilities for editing and sharing images, other apps which are not related to the camera and also games. Although I this a bit uncomfortable to play games on the Galaxy NX, don’t you?

If you are serious about taking your photography skills to a new level, I think that the Samsung Galaxy NX is a much better option. It’s much more expensive, but you are buying a very high quality camera. Don’t forget to add the cost of the lenses, because you might decide to add another lens to your lens selection that offers different advantage over the Kit one (18-55mm OIS lens).

If you are just searching for an Android-based superzoom camera, the Galaxy Camera 2 is a great choice, although it didn’t convince me to upgrade from the previous model.

Two cameras, each one aimed towards a different audiences.  Which one your prefer?



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