Over the years, I must have had more than a dozen different cameras in my life. Most are digital, a couple of them aren’t. There were point and shoots, SLRs, prosumer models, mirror-less cameras, GoPros, camera phones, you name it.
None of them had the same response as when I showed off the Samsung GALAXY Camera - “Is that the Samsung GALAXY Camera? Can I see it?”
And sometimes when I hand it over, I don’t see it again for a very long time.
It’s not difficult to understand why. This is the first truly connected camera from Samsung that runs on the Android Jelly Bean Operating System and comes with 3G data and WiFi capability.
Already packed with loads of features, you are able to further enhanced it by installing various preferred applications. This is really a camera that is virtually limitless.
With the instant sharing capability of the Samsung GALAXY Camera comes This is My Moment, Live. A photo-sharing social website created for those who love taking photos.
The site features four bloggers, with yours truly among one of them that participates in contributing to the many photography themes being showcased on the site. There’s a different theme every day for 28 days. Check out the site at thisismymoment.com.my
Anyway, lets talk about the camera, I want to highlight some of the features that I really liked about it
Panorama shooting mode:
The panorama features is perhaps the most fun to use, and one that is super easy too. Switch to panning mode on the on-screen dial and then just start clicking and snapping. I liked the fact that you can pan all ways, and in both portrait and landscape modes.
Batu Caves photography trip, Dec 2012
Arthur’s Place at Anilao, the Philippines
Sunset shooting mode:
One of the tricky things about getting a good shot of sunset is the short amount of time you have to get everything right. With the sunset shooting mode, the camera set the proper exposure and color balance to get a perfect shot every time. Brilliant.
sunset at Anilao, the Philippines
The other very handy feature of the camera is the 21 x optical zoom. Compare the photo below to the one above. One was captured at 23 mm equivalent, and the other at 172 mm (at 7.5 x zoom). This example showcases how flexible you can be when it comes to composition.
taken at around 7.5x zoom
this taken while seated in the cafeteria upstairs, full 21 x zoom (483 mm equivalent)
Closed up shots:
While not 100% macro by any means, the GALAXY Camera does a good job in taking close up shots. Details and color reproductions are impressive, as with its resolutions. Look at the bottom photos of the coffee, and try to spot the tiny reflections on each individual bubbles.
beach made of corals & pebbles, Anilao, the Philippines
breakfast coffee, Meal Station
Full Manual Control:
Other than the various automated modes, the Samsung GALAXY Camera also comes with the three most crucial modes in any camera – Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, and Full Manual modes. With these, you can be as creative as you want in the control of the camera.
The panning shot of the Porsche Cayenne below is an example of what the Shutter Priority mode can achieve.
To make shooting simpler, there are a total of 15 smart modes in the camera (a few of which described above). They are - Beauty face, Best photo, Continuous shot, Best face, Landscape, Macro, Action freeze, Rich tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light trace.
This makes getting the right setting for the right photo capture easy and fast. I’ll let you find out what exactly is the “Best Face” mode, it’s one of the biggest innovation to me.
Instagram on Camera!
Of course, one of the most important features of the Samsung GALAXY Camera is that it runs Android Operating System, which also means Instagram anywhere and everywhere with the WiFI & 3G connectivity.
I’m a pretty enthusiastic photography hobbyist, and a little bit in videography too.
I’m one of the earliest adopters in digital photography, with my very first digital camera a 3.2 megapixel Kodak model that runs on 4 AA battery with 32mb internal memory, then a Canon Powershot G3, Canon 400D DLSR, Canon S90 compact camera, and the Olympus E-PL1. Haze and I also have a couple GoPro HERO HD super compact camcorders.
The last toy I have to play with (at least for a couple weeks anyway) is the new Sony SLT-A33L A-mount camera. A 14.2 Megapixel SLR system that with 18-55 kit lens.
Calling this camera SLR might be slightly misleading though, for it is has a pretty nifty trick tucked in its sleeves - the SLT, or Single Lens Translucent mirror Technology.
Traditional SLR usually comes with a prism and has a mirror that needs to be flipped up whenever a picture is to be taken, while some 4/3 systems such as the E-PL1 do away with the mirror and hardware autofocus to have a reduce the size of the camera (while also using a smaller sensor).
In the latest SLT lineup from Sony, a translucent mirror is placed just before the sensor, reflecting 30% light to the hardware autofocus system and 70% to the sensor. This achieve several things:
auto-focus as fast as any DSLR
smaller size than traditional DSLR
much quieter shutter
very fast burst mode (SLT-A33L can do 7 fps, with SLT-A55 shooting 10 fps)
ability to use any Sony A-mount, Minolta, Konica-Minolta AF lenses and strobes
The camera feels solid and well constructed, I particularly like the flip down (and turn-around) 3″ LCD screen, it’s crystal clear with 921.6k pixel resolution and makes it not only easy for some of you to camwhore, but very handy when it comes to taking photos or videos in crowded area or when you want to get that macro shot close to ground level.
Electronic Viewfinder (invaluable in places where LCD is distracting to others)
15-point phase-detection AF array with 3 cross-type AF points
ISO 12800 sensitivity (with Jpeg only at ISO 25600)
That’s some serious specs for something with a suggested retail price of RM 2,399 including a kit lens.
Here’re some shots:
I set the camera to P mode, disabled flash, and with Auto-ISO, snap, and got the above picture. The Sony Steady Shot came into play and is really a bless, I could have never taken a photo at 1/15s shutter speed so effortlessly.
With the full suite of SLR capabilities including aperture priority, shutter speed priority, and full manual mode, you can do quite a lot with this camera. The above picture is taken at 1/15s with aperture priority at ISO1600.
This picture of Cendawan the Bengal cat is shot at 1/100s in ISO 3200, I set the camera to full auto mode. A slow camera can only take blur pictures of an awake cat, or sharp pictures of sleeping cat.
A video to amuse you, Cendawan the Bengal cat playing fetch, shot in Full HD
I also took the STL-A33 along to Hong Kong (more posts on that soon), this photo is taken we had dinner at a road side “tai pai tong”. Shot at ISO 3200, f/5.6, 1/320s. The food was very good by the way!
Fireworks aren’t the easiest scene to capture, but this camera does a very good job by just setting to Auto with no flash.
Finally, a shot taken at the busiest spot in Hong Kong – Mongkok. Notice the poster of SLT-A55 and SLT-A33 on display?
note: all photos shown above are straight out of the camera, resized, with no additional edits.
One very nifty feature of Olympus PEN E-PL1 that I reviewed just a while back is this ART filter function. Basically with this function, you completely remove the need for Photoshop at least 95% of the time. All the sample photos shown are straight out of the camera without any post processing. Efficiency!
the art filter function on Olympus PEN E-PL1
Let me explain!
Switch the dial to ART mode on the camera, and immediately you are presented with the screen that looks like the above. Using the up/down button, choose the desire ART filter, click OK, and start shooting like normal. The photos will turn out dramatically different from the usual way.
100% Arabica – sepia filter
There are six different art filters to choose from. The above was shot using the Sepia filter to give it a bit of a rustic look.
making a living – pin hole filter
One of my favorites would be the pin hole filter. Some might view the on-purpose vignetting a cheap way to make photos looking artistic. To me, if it looks good, why not? I love it.
Pulau Tenggol, 2010
Here’s another pin hole effect, on the left is without filter, and on the right you can clearly see the dramatic effect.
The plus point is that you can set the camera to record both original jpeg as well as jpeg with art filter at the same time. Of course, there’s always the RAW + jpeg format too if you want to retain even greater control.
toy city – diorama filter
The diorama filter effect is kinda cute, taking from an elevated vantage point, you can make the scenery looking as if it’s a scaled model, very cool.
daily commute – grainy film
I kinda like the grainy film filter too. I tend to shoot quite a lot of street photos (when I’m not shooting food, that is), and the B&W shots it generates works pretty well. Very usable.
after dive relaxation at Tenggol
The smaller size is a huge advantage when doing street photography, unlike a huge SLR, this isn’t as imposing and people tend to not notice it as much. Not to mention the lighter camera won’t strain your arms nearly as much.
I have a feeling that the soft focus filter will be girls’ best friend. Not that Jaclyn isn’t a hot chick, but the filter just make post processing completely irrelevant in this case. Nice kan?
There’s also the pop art filter that makes colors really stand out, think balloon party.
pop art filter with lord of the rings!
Lacking a chance to attend any party lately, here’s a demonstration of the pop art filter effects with Lord of the Rings midget figures. You can see the amplified color saturation in this filter to make bright colors stand out more.
Here’s four different types of art filter and their amazing effects in a nice little collage to sum it up! Pretty cool isn’t it?
Oh! and these function works on VIDEO mode too! Check out this little video demo that I made while at Tenggol island.
There’s a slow motion effect with PIN hole, and a fast forward effect on Diorama filter when you apply them on video mode. The others will be running at normal speed, makes for pretty cool video, no?
I absolutely love this function, put post processing to bare minimum, saves time, and be artistic!
If you’re thinking of getting this baby, do also check out the Evolve contest for a chance to win an Olympus PEN E-PL1! The contest runs until end of April, 2010. Check out evolvewitholympus.com.my for more!
this post is brought to you by the awesomesauce Olympus Pen E-PL1