A connected camera

For day 3 of #blogjune – in which I talk about my new camera

When I went to the US last year I took along my “proper” camera, a Panasonic Lumix. After walking around charming Charleston on the first morning I’d taken a dozen or so photos, intending to upload them to Flickr when I got back.

But then, I also wanted to share some photos while I was on the road, on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, to keep in touch with friends back home. So, I quite often found myself taking a photo with the camera and then taking the same photo with my old first generation Galaxy phone. It got pretty annoying pretty quickly, juggling two devices between bag and pockets.

After a couple of hours I stopped at a Starbucks, for the free wifi as much as for the coffee, and uploaded some photos from my phone to Instagram and checked into Twitter and Facebook. I did the same when I got back to the hotel in the evenings.

The Lumix camera takes way better photos than my old phone, but by the second day I had all but abandoned it and just snapped most of my travel pics on the phone so I could share them right away. It’s so great to be able to comment with people as you go, plus I had all my photo apps for editing.

I mostly take photos at home for sharing via social media, on Instagram, or Ravelry, or on Flickr for things like the Challenge Friday group so I’ve mostly been using the old phone camera at home too.

For our recent trip to Japan I decided to get an Android camera, maybe more a compromise than a “best of both”, but here’s my little report on how things turned out.

I bought the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 (EK-GC200) which runs Android 4.3. It has a 21x optical zoom, which is probably overkill for a camera of this standard (my Lumix has a 12x optical zoom) but it actually came in pretty handy, and was certainly way better than “zooming in” on a phone camera. I added a 16Gb micro SD card. Charging is via standard micro USB so I didn’t need to take a separate charging plug on my trip.

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The back of the camera looks pretty much like an Android phone with all the usual apps. Not just camera apps though, if you want you’ve also got Chrome, Email, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Flickr etc. so it would have been pretty easy to take a photo and compose a short blog post on the go or upload photos to Flickr, but I mostly posted to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Apps are accessed from the usual app screens, but there’s also a Camera Studio home screen where you can group camera apps for easy access.

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I only bought the camera a couple of days before we left so I haven’t experimented with many of the features yet, but I have to say I found a camera loaded with all my apps and instant connection via wifi to be pretty useful.

It has manual modes but so far I’ve stuck with Auto or some of the 28 Smart modes such as Indoor, Food, Panorama, and Night. You can group favourite Smart modes to save scrolling through all of them, handy when you need to quickly switch from “Food” to “Night”. The photos below are all unedited to give you an idea how the camera performed out of the box…

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On the road I stuck with simple image editing using the Aviary app for straightening, cropping and adjusting colour and brightness, and PicFrame for simple collages. And as soon as you connect to wifi you can set all your photos to back up  to Google (or Dropbox, etc.) automatically.

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Walking past a temple in Kyoto one evening a lady pointed out cranes high up in the trees. I had never seen a Japanese crane before so it was quite special. They were hard to see at first and I could never have got photos without the zoom lens!

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All in all it turned out to be a really useful camera. Picture quality is at least as good  as the Panasonic Lumix, and editing and sharing is vastly simpler, and I’m looking forward to experimenting some more now that I’m home.

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8 responses to “A connected camera

  1. Thanks for this review. I’m the half-owner of a dying Lumix and have also increasingly found myself using my camera phone in preference to lugging a ‘real’ camera round. Sometimes you want that bit of extra zoom though so this sounds ideal!

  2. strawberriesofintegrity

    I need to think more about this…might be what I need?
    I have a 2 year old Panasonic Lumix but rarely use as I use phone instead because I want to share instantly!

    • Exactly what was driving me nuts before… It is wifi only, but I prefer that so I don’t chew up my phone data (especially overseas!)

  3. I had not heard of this type of phone but I’m very intrigued. Your Japan photos looked great, so I think you made a great choice!

    • Thanks Janelle! I almost always use photos for some kind of sharing in social media now, I wouldn’t have bothered taking photos for Ravelry using the Lumix camera but now I can use the new Galaxy camera and share using the Ravulous app.

      (ps: so sorry I mis-spelled your name in the earlier post, now fixed!)

  4. This type of camera sounds really fascinating – and I totally understand about juggling 2 devices. I did that last year on my trip to the US. I need to look into the android camera. Also, the zoom! So good – I love the 12x I have on my canon at the moment, but 21x would be so good.

    • You know, I thought the 21x zoom was too much and was worried that it might look fuzzy, but the photo of the crane in the tree tops was at full zoom and came out pretty well! Thanks!

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