Thursday, 24 January 2013

review: the Samsung Galaxy

sg_shoes_dresses_b_rt sponsored by nuffnang 

  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.

sg_shoes_dresses_a_rt sg_shoes_dresses_a_ue I decided on the ol’ red and pink. This time the photo is unedited, and you can see how vibrant the colours are – and how well the dress is going to get on with the shoes!

sg_portrait_ue_a sg_portrait_rt_a 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.

sg_portrait_rt_b 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.

sg_city_dresses_a_rt sg_city_dresses_b_rt sg_city_restaurant_a_rt 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.

sg_city_restaurant_b_rt sg_city_restaurant_c_ue Our dinner was a last minute early booking, so as the night was still young we went to a bar a few blocks away. All of these are unedited, so let’s look at how the camera went.

sg_city_bar_a_ue sg_city_bar_b_ue sg_city_bar_c_ue sg_city_bar_d_ue 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.

sg_city_bar_e_ue 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.

sg_dresses_shoes_mn_a_ue 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.

sg_babycat_motion_smtft_action_a_ue 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.

sg_moi_motion_smtft_action_a_ue Even in the mid morning, this room is quite dark, so I think it did a great job considering the light available. In broad daylight I’d imagine this would be even sharper.

sg_moi_smtft_beautyface_a_ue 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.

sg_moi_ginghamdress_a_rt 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.

sg_moi_ginghamdress__zoom_a_rt Let’s look at more of those zoom capabilities. This gorgeous velvet dog was snapped from our position on the bench by the window, and I had to zoom well in.

sg_velvetdog_zoom_auto_a_ue I don’t think we’ve quite seen how well it works yet.

sg_velvetdog_zoom_auto_b_ue Still not seen it yet.

sg_velvetdog_zoom_auto_c_ue Nope, not yet.

sg_velvetdog_zoom_auto_d_ue More please.

sg_velvetdog_zoom_auto_e_ue Oh, ok, bai gorgeous dog!

sg_breakfast_a_ue Again, these are all unedited, as are the coming food shots. The colours and contrast make food look particularly good, I think.

sg_breakfast_macro_a_ue 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.

sg_breakfast_macro_b_ue 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.

sg_instagrams 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.


Margarita Bloom said...

You always take the most gorgeous photos. I adore your red dress!! Goodness, the mozzarella and zucchini flowers looks absolutely mouth watering. I've been on a cooking bend lately and have been looking up recipes. I might have to look up those zucchini flowers. lol...

Sounds and looks like the camera works pretty good. :) Great review.

Meg Eileen Carroll said...

Hello! Clicking the link I was surprised at how quirky the camera itself looks. It looks quite light and nifty, and the photos have turned out great. Naw, that puppy is 100 times adorable. This being said, I am totally and utterly amateur in regards to cameras and photography. :D

shipshapeandbristolfashion said...

Interesting review - I'm saving up for a compact that sits between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot so it's great to see a review that covers all the kinds of scenes and situations I'd be shooting ('cept for the puppy - need to get me one of those!). How much does the camera cost? Either in AUS dollars or GB pounds if you happen to know x

epicureaddict said...

I'm real glad you did this post! I do have one question though - I need to have my Canon fixed, I also just use it for blogging - could you point me in a direction? Almay

AhkaVintage said...

I'm surprised by the review - I didn't expect it to be that good to be honest - but the images are quite acceptable, especially in the low light.

Blythe said...

Very nice post. Great pictures and lovely dress.

Spoonful of Vintage said...

So excited that you did a review of the samsung camera! I've been really intrigued as to what they were like. Such a great way to take beautiful instagram photos!
xoxo Amie @ Spoonful of Vintage

Esz said...

The camera is way cool! It takes great pics :-D

LOVE those shoes - would you care to reveal the brand? :-D

Selina said...

All I want to see is a beautiful velvet puppy, Babycat and gingham swishiness. Camera works fine for me

Carly said...

The photo's are fantastic! Very impressive. xxx

miss.love2807 said...

WOW the pictures came out really good! They look sharp and crips just like you said. I am looking for a new cam so I will definitely consider this baby here *_* Thanks for this awsome review! I love how you take pics of different things (yourself, clothes, food, outside), this was really helpful! And girl, you look absolutely stunning!

Jessica Cangiano said...

Thank you for the thorough, informative view and bevy of sample images. It's amazing how you can see when the beauty setting is applied. It's pretty, but not very natural - almost like you're being heavy Photoshopped right out of the gate. You always look drop-dead gorgeous as is, so there's no need for a setting like this on any camera you own.

♥ Jessica

Melanie said...

You look absolutely gorgeous in the red dress!

Love xx
Melanie ~

Teresa said...

Great review. It looks like a handy little camera!

Harlow Darling said...

Wow, amazing!!! These photos look better than anything I've taken with my SLR, and I can't tell whether it's your wonderful eye for photography or just because it's such a good camera! Either way I can only imagine how convenient it must be for taking photos on the go, lugging around an SLR can be a pain :P

Katie said...

Thanks for writing such a comprehensive review, with plenty of lovely photos along the way. I'm seriously tempted by this camera - I already have a Samsung Galaxy SII and I like the basic camera on that. It sounds like it would be great for better quality Instagram photos, too.

I just happened to be wondering if it would work on my mobile phone's broadband and you answered that question for me. Thanks again. :)

Sarah said...

Thank you for such a comprehensive review! I desperately need a new camera but I have no photography training which is scaring me off buying a very expensive and technical SLR. I'm wondering whether I should just take the leap or try a more people-friendly (aka idiot proof) camera like this! For reference, what camera do you normally use? Would you buy it again/recommend it to other bloggers?

Aloysia Adinda Nareswari said...

i don't know why but you are one of my favorite bloggers because you took many good pictures :) seems you had a very fun day, wish you had good day ahead!

Eccentric Owl said...

What an awesome review, and amazing little camera. It'd be so convenient to have!

jardine said...

Great review. It would make a great travel camera, I think. Sometimes I feel like it's too much bother carrying around my DSLR.
Thanks for such thorough testing of the camera!

Debs said...

Great review. I'm on the lookout for a camera and will definitely check this one out. Thanks Maryanne :)

Picturetalk321 said...

Gosh, I want this camera NOW. Relly enjoyed readin this and all your experiments. Does the camera look and feel nice? Looks a bit ugly in that mirror shot? But food pics gorgeous. And zoomdog. Can one use this even without a lot of fstop etc knowledge? btw if you ever do a how-you-edit-photos post, I would read it with delight! Also, do I want the shoes more than the camera?? :). Happy Australia Day.

Picturetalk321 said...

I am with you! I did SLR photography in the days of analogue but have forgotten the art and am scared of it now!

esme and the laneway said...

Margarita Bloom‬ : oh the zucchini flowers were amazing! And buffalo mozzarella... omg yum.

‪Meg Eileen Carroll‬ : I think the camera looks good too :) I think it is a good size as all the back is sceen. Oh that puppy, so gorgeous!

‪shipshapeandbristolfashion‬ : haha yes that puppy was so gorgeous! I've seen a few prices around but the link goes to some general price info :)

‪epicureaddict‬ : I'm not sure I know what you mean – ? If you mean should you fix it or get a point and shoot, I think it depends on what you need from you pictures :)

‪AhkaVintage‬ : yes it definitely handled low light better than I expected too. The pictures were surprisingly good!

‪Blythe‬ : thanks!

‪Spoonful of Vintage‬ : thanks! Yes the instagram pics were sooo good, loved that bit :)

‪Esz‬ : thanks! Oh they're Gorman, my obsession continues..! :D

‪Selina‬ : haha that makes my life easier! ;D

‪Carly‬ : thanks – glad you like them :)

‪miss.love2807‬ : thanks very much :)

‪Jessica Cangiano‬ : My pleasure. Yeah that Beauty Face is full on!

‪Melanie‬ : thank you! It is an all time favourite :)

‪Teresa‬ : it is, I took it out with me the other day because it is much easier to carry around than my DSLR. Useful!

‪Harlow Darling‬ : oh it's so much easier than the big camera. I got my Nikon back the other day and have to work up the strength to lug it about again!!! I'm not joking!

‪Katie‬ : glad to have answered your question :) Yes, the Instagram quality was incredibly good.

‪Sarah‬ :
I usually use a Nikon DSLR (as of late August 2012) after several years of using an entry level Canon DSLR. I think it depends on what kind of pictures you want and how much time you want to spend on doing them – the Point and Shoot is a lot quicker and easier, and fool proof, but then won't get the same depth as a DSLR can. I would recommend the SG for bloggers from a practicality point of view, easy to carry around, not embarrassing to get out in public, easy to use etc, and a DSLR if you want to take more complicated photos.

‪Aloysia Adinda Nareswari‬ : thank you, you too!

‪Eccentric Owl‬ : it really is. I used it last week for a day out!

‪jardine‬ : good point! I think so too. Especially as when you're travelling etc you don't always want or need a fancy shot.

‪Debs‬ : my pleasure :)

‪Picturetalk321‬ :
Thanks! I think the camera looks good, I like that it is a matte white. You don't need any camera knowledge for it, the auto is the best setting (in my opinion) so it does all that for you :) Haha the shoes are a favourite already!

‪Picturetalk321‬ : yes it does involve a bit of thought etc, it's been a nice break for me to shoot with just an iPhone or the SG – just aim and fire! :D


epicureaddict said...

Thanks for answering - sorry I only got back to this Canon actually got moisture damage, so I guess I'm on the hunt for a new one :( Have a nice day!

addie said...

Can I ask you what/how you color your hair to get that hue? I ADORE it. Its this perfect very very light shade of pink/purple.

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