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Samsung Galaxy Camera: hands-on photos

Samsung lays down the gauntlet with its 21x zoom camera that runs Android Jelly Bean. Click through for photos and first impressions.

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Lexy Savvides

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As part of the annual IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany, Samsung has announced a new Android-based compact camera.

The Galaxy Camera has a 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch backside illuminated CMOS sensor and a 23mm wide-angle lens. No exact local availability or pricing has been announced for Australia, though the Camera will be available in 3G and 4G variants, both with Wi-Fi.

Lexy Savvides travelled to IFA as a guest of Samsung.

Those following the compact camera market closely over the past few months will know that connectivity is the big buzz word for 2012. Just a week after Nikon announced its Android-based camera, the S800c, Samsung has delivered the Galaxy Camera, which runs Android Jelly Bean (4.1), as well as a host of other features, including a 21x optical zoom lens and a quad-core processor.

There's no hiding that the Galaxy Camera is big — with a 4.8-inch HD LCD, screen it takes up a lot of real estate in the hand. It feels comfortable though, thanks to the textured grip on the side.

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The power button configuration and shutter button looks just like an ordinary camera from the top panel.

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A pop-up flash appears from the top of the camera, as well.

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While the Galaxy Camera has a range of fully automatic modes to help make point-and-shoot photographers happy, those who prefer manual exposure are well catered for. There is full PASM control, and to make things even more intuitive, you can swipe along the rows of aperture, shutter and ISO controls to fine-tune.

Full HD video recording is standard at 30fps, but slow-motion recording at 120fps (720x480) is also available. The Camera has 8GB of internal memory, expandable with microSD cards.

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Here it is next to the Galaxy S III for a bit of a size comparison.

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The 21x optical zoom can get in pretty close to subjects, but because of its telephoto reach, it does extend a fair way out of the camera body.

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Yes, you can install Instagram as an app on this Android-based camera.

The Galaxy Camera also has a range of voice controls, which allows the photographer to tell the camera to perform certain functions, like using the zoom or to take a photo using the self-timer.

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A screen shows the range of the shooting modes that are available, including Smart Pro. This is a range of automatic modes designed to make photos look better. They include a special "blue sky" setting, which makes photos with blue skies look more vibrant. All in all, it sounds a bit like regular scene mode detection on other compact cameras.

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The Galaxy Camera in action at the Samsung Unpacked event.

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Running Jelly Bean, it looks just like any other Android device when you take a look at the Apps screen.

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