One of the most fun (funnest?) parts of being a blogger is that I sometimes have the opportunity to try out new and noteworthy gadgets and products before or soon after they hit the stores. Then, if I like what I find when I give the item in question a trial run, I enjoy getting to let y’all know about it.
For the past week or two, I’ve been giving a new and very different kind of digital camera a hands-on tryout, and now I’m eager to share my impressions.
Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post to find out how you can enter to win a new Samsung Galaxy camera. Trust me. You want this thing.
As anyone who knows me or reads my blog is aware (because I mention it ad nauseam), I am an iPhone girl. I luuuurve my iPhone, and I actually just traded up to the iPhone 5. One of my favorite things about my smartphone is the built in point and shoot camera. It’s a pretty solid camera for taking casual snapshots, and I can use the photo apps I’ve downloaded to my iPhone to tweak and improve the shots I get after I take them. I don’t even have to move the photos onto my laptop or upload them to a photo storage service like Flickr to do this editing; I can do all of it with the apps right on my phone.
I also like that through the apps I’ve downloaded from the app store for various social networks, I can very quickly and easily share my snaps with my pals on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (my favorite) and Twitter. Last, my iPhone makes emailing or texting my pix to friends and family easy as pie. For all of these reasons, the camera on my iPhone is the only one I ever use any more — for photos and also for video. It’s handy (like, literally, in my hand) and I’m spoiled by what I can DO with the photos I take with all those apps.
But of course, as much as I like my iPhone, none of the things that I just told you that I love about using it as a camera are iPhone-exclusives. My husband, who is as devoted to Android products as any of the Apple fans you see lined up outside the stores on new release day uses his Samsung Galaxy smartphone in exactly the same way(s) that I use my own mobile gadget.
Over the past year or so, I have realized that the fact that Jon and I have grown so attached to our quick ‘n’ easy built-in smartphone cameras, and have come to rely on it them so exclusively for capturing moments in our family’s life has a real downside. While our smartphones’ cameras are fine for easy snapshots and video, the fact is that smartphone photography has major limits. In particular, I can’t ever get truly good shots of anything that requires real zoom, and it’s pretty tough to get a truly clear, crisp action shot. Given that I am the mother and Jon is the stepfather of a high school athlete (14 year old E), there are many times when we really want to snap good action shots or grab some video of E playing from a distance. This is also true when our kindergartener, C, performs in something like a violin recital or a school program. In those instances, our phone cameras just don’t deliver. At all.
Additionally, for whatever reason, no matter what apps I try, or how I set the flash, all the photos that I shoot with my iPhone from inside our house have a yellowish, slightly fuzzy cast that really diminishes the quality. I am able to get far better photos when I use my phone camera outdoors in natural light, but something about the particular quality of the light inside our big, old house simply does not agree with my iPhone camera. Jon’s phone camera does slightly better in this regard, but the pix he shoots inside the house still aren’t half as good as ones he takes in better light.
But to be honest, I’ve just kind of surrendered myself to the quantity over quality balance offered by my smartphone photography and video. Its just SO easy to use because I can use all the social and photos apps that I love right on the camera itself, and it slips into my pocket, plus its connectivity allows me to shoot and share quickly and easily. In other words, I have become the lazy mom photographer – addicted to the ease of use of my smartphone camera, and allowing that ease of use to trump my ability to get many of the shots I could get if I just had a higher quality camera in my hand.
Enter the brand, spankin’ new Galaxy Samsung camera, which I have been lucky enough to take for a test drive.
Now I will freely admit to you that when I first heard the concept of this new Samsung Galaxy camera explained to me, I didn’t quite get it. So it’s a camera? With wifi?? What’s so interesting about that? After all, wifi enabled point-and-shoot digital cameras have been around for quite some time now, and nobody I know really uses one when they already have a smartphone equipped with a camera. So I wondered why and how this new Samsung digital camera would offer anything new or different.
But I was game to try one of these new cameras out. And Jon — Android fanboy that he is — was REALLY enthusiastic about me trying out one of these much-discussed new Android-based gadgets. Thus, for the past week or so, that’s exactly what we have have been doing. And both of us are here to tell you that the Samsung Galaxy is nothing at all like just another ” digital camera with wifi.” It’s something entirely different, better, new and quite wonderful.
The easiest way to describe the new Samsung Galaxy camera is that it’s not a camera, primarily. It’s actually a small (but bigger than my iPhone), fully featured Android-powered Galaxy tablet with a super high quality display. It’s just that this 4.8 inch Android tablet also happens to function as a camera. However, this is not just any camera — this one is of a quality that simply isn’t available on any other existing smartphone or tablet. Imagine if the new iPad mini or the Kindle Fire or even the full-size Galaxy tablet were scaled down to a largish, handheld size, and could easily take photos and video of a quality pretty darn close to the ones being shot by that guy over there carrying the camera bag full of lenses for his digital SLR. That’s what you get with the Samsung Galaxy.
Just how good is the camera part of this small Android tablet? Well, it offers 16.1 megapixels, which is about what you get with a Nikon D5100 digital SLR or the high-end Canon CoolPix point-and-shoot digital. My beloved iPhone 5′s camera is not even in the same stratosphere as a 16 mp camera. And the Galaxy also offers a 21x zoom for both stills and video. Plus, the camera can be set to “expert” mode, meaning that if you want to shoot much like you would with an SLR, very specifically adjusting aperture, shutter speed, lens size, light, etc, you can do that too, whether you’re shooting stills or video. This is a REAL camera.
My favorite thing about the Samsung Galaxy is that because it’s actually a full-featured Android tablet equipped with built-in wifi (and optional, cheap 4g service) you can still use all those apps you love in the exact same way you love using them on your smartphone. The Google Play store comes preloaded onto the tablet/camera, so you can just download the Android versions of things like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and photo editing apps like Camera+ right onto your Galaxy. But now, when you use your Facebook app to directly post your photos to Facebook, what you will be sharing is something captured at a quality that’s not only “good enough” for social sharing, but that will also be worth your time to actually print and frame and hang on your wall.
Yep, PRINT AND FRAME! Remember back when we used to print and frame our favorite photos, and display them all over our house? Not so much since the advent of the camera phone, right? Yeah, well, now I predict that Galaxy camera users will want to return to that archaic practice, while still also enjoying the ease of smartphone snapping, app-editing and social sharing, because the photos are high res and gorgeous, not just “good enough” to share on Instagram.
I think I have gone on enough for the time being about how much Jon and I are loving this new kind of camera, but I will have some further thoughts in follow-up posts to this one, and I also want to show off some of the pix and video that we’ve shot so far with the Galaxy Samsung camera. I think you’ll be amazed at how much better they look compared to all the photos I share in my blog posts that I’ve taken with my smartphone’s built in camera.
And now, for the best part of my Samsung Galaxy test drive: I WANT YOU TO WIN ONE OF THESE CAMERAS.
And if y’all have any questions about our experience with the camera so far, or how it works, leave a comment below and Jon and I will respond, or get the answer for you if we don’t know it ourselves. Thanks!
Would you like to enter to win your own Samsung Galaxy Camera? Just repin one of the photos from Babble’s “Holiday Memories + Moments” Pinterest board with the hashtag #samsungmemories for a chance to win, or upload your own photo onto your personal Pinterest board, using the hashtag #samsungmemories. And from there, Babble editors will select their favorite 20 photos, from which the winner will be selected at random. Remember! The contest ends December 31st, 2012, so START PINNING!
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