I was recently asked to trial and review the Samsung Galaxy camera. As you can imagine, I was thrilled, especially as I am still – still! – waiting for the repairers to fix my Nikon and I have been without a camera since mid December.
The Samsung Galaxy camera is aimed somewhere between a smart phone and a DSLR. It has auto, manual and “smart” – as in pre-set – settings, and you navigate these through the huge touch screen at the back, which also works as the viewfinder. I took it with me for an evening out at a restaurant, and a breakfast out the next day. This allowed me to use it as I would for blogging over a 24 hour period, and test the various functions that I would find useful in different times, places, and light. I have edited some photos, and left others just as they were from the camera when I downloaded them, so we can see the results of both. I always edit my photos for the blog, but of course we need to see what this camera does sans Photoshop!
With perfect timing, a pair of shoes arrived for me that afternoon. Sunny and dotty, these platform wedges are just built for my foot shape – and I know this because I have the exact same pair in a winter finish. Well, if it works, it works, right? I really wanted a pair of golden summer shoes and I promptly pranced off to my clothes racks to see what they would go with – which, of course, is a lot. And new shoes... I just had to wear them that evening!
I started by using the auto setting on the camera. This image shows them in their appropriately pink spotty packaging, which is edited. It was a cool-ish summer evening so I wanted to wear a little sleeve, but which dress: my old favourite red and pink one, or the new gingham? Of course I got them out for some serious pondering. Again, this picture is edited, in that it is brightened.
Makeup time. Here is the same image, one edited and one not. With timing not so good as that of the shoes, I’d had an allergic reaction a few days before, and my eyes were raw and puffy. Still, here we are! This is by the window in early evening light. I find that the colours are very bright and in this case quite accurate. The camera produces images that are very crisp and high contrast, much higher than in real life. This can make portraits very detailed, in that it brings all details including blemishes into dazzlingly sharp focus, far sharper than a smart phone or DSLR, which can be a little confronting. As it was quite windy, I pinned my hair back in coils, or little boos, as I call them. This photo is edited.
I headed to the city in the early evening light. I liked that the camera was small enough to fit into my smaller handbag, and it felt less conspicuous than whipping out my big DSLR in public. It was also refreshing to have it on auto and literally just point and shoot. The big screen made it easy for me to see if the photos were in focus, which isn’t always easy for me with my less-than-perfect eyesight.
Supper time! I could see how the camera worked in lower light whilst still on auto. This photo gives an idea of shutter speed: I do pride myself on being a steady-handed shooter, but you can see how stationary objects are sharp, and moving ones are blurred. The camera handled this lower light very well, and food shots look great, especially with that heightened contrast. Here are my (heavenly, by the way) buffalo mozzarella and zucchini flowers, edited, and our charcuterie plate, unedited. It was easy to take pictures in focus, but the camera tells you off if you do move a bit, which is pretty funny! The images aren’t too noisy either, which is a pleasant surprise.
It handled the late sunset light well, and is only starting to get a little grainy. The colours still look really good. It did well in a dark staircase with some artificial light, too – and I did well at hiding one of my legs. My shoes were doing well all round.
Once it got dark, we gave the flash a go for the last shot of the night. I don’t usually like to use flash lit photos on the blog, but this one actually works surprisingly well – it’s flattering, and look: no red eyes! We drank cocktails and felt brave and got the tram home.
The next day I tried some of the other settings, the manual function and the smart settings. First up, the manual. The screen displays a wheel, and you move it up and down to select your f stop, your shutter speed, your iso and your exposure. I am so used to doing this on the Nikon that the interface didn’t feel as fast to use, but it was very simple.
As I usually shoot using f1.8, I tried f2.8 with an ISO of 200 as it was daytime, and adjusted the shutter speed accordingly. I did like how the screen instantly shows how the image is going to be as you go through the settings. This shot of my dress through the lace curtains is unedited, and I think the low f stop is quite subtle. I’d like to try this again with more of a background for comparison. It does, however, make me feel as though I could reach in and get my shoes off the bed! I decided to wear the gingham dress I almost wore yesterday, and my new shoes again. Of course.
I asked on twitter if there was anything you wanted me to test out, and was requested to see how it went with action shots. The camera actually has a smart setting for action shots, so I tried it on the Babycat, who was having an enthusiastic grooming session. Not bad, but I couldn’t get her with her tongue poking out, and everyone knows that the tongue poking out it what makes it. So I asked John to try it on me, giving my very full skirt a vigorous wooshing, and I do mean vigorous.
Now, for what is obviously going to attract a blogger’s attention: the beauty face setting! This blends skin tone to give an even finish. Here I am doing my best hammy beauty pose, which seems to be rather similar to my regular posing. Hmm. This is using the camera setting only, and has not been edited. You can see how it makes me look a bit doll-like. While this is a powerful feature, it isn’t one I would use; I like to record how I am, blemishes and all, for better or for worse.
The gingham dress has an incredibly full skirt, more than a circle, and it demands to be lifted out at the sides and, as you’ve already seen, be wooshed and swooshed about. Now this second photo, taken from the same spot as the previous one, is for something I was very doubtful of, the zoom function. I am very impressed with how well it works.
And the smart macro setting is very good. John was not so pleased that I almost nudged his omelette with the lens, but just look how close it gets. And beautifully softer in closer places too, giving beautiful depth. The strawberries were so fresh and juicy, and the nuts provided such a dry, salty contrast. Now I want some strawberries.
Ok, that’s the camera, but now here is the really fun stuff – the sharing of pictures online. You can Instagram your pictures directly from the camera from wherever you are, using wifi. I did from home, using my home wifi, and when out, too, using my phone’s connection. The images are much clearer and crisper than those my phone takes, and so I really enjoyed this.
Overall, I loved using this. The big screen is great, and the photos are super-crispy and clear and sharp and vibrant, all things I love. I liked the interface and found it easy to use. Connecting it to the internet was definitely a fun feature but sometimes it did take a while, although this could also be due to our slow internet services. Everyone was fascinated with it and it is an attractive camera, and not too big for my handbag, and not too heavy either. My verdict? I love it.