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ISO comparison

As with many point-and-shoots, the more light you have, the better your photos will be. If you're considering the Samsung Galaxy Camera for daylight shooting, you'll likely be very satisfied with the results. Likewise if you're looking for better low-light shots than you'd get with a smartphone.

Subjects do get noticeably softer as you increase ISO, which means with less light you'll lose sharpness and fine details, and things start to look flat. (Images definitely benefit from some light post-shoot sharpening if you're going to be using them at small sizes.)

On the other hand, the f2.8 lens and the back-illuminated CMOS sensor keep the camera from immediately ratcheting up ISO, so you can take low-light photos (at least at the wide end of the lens) with better results than from some competing models. Basically, if you're considering this for its online-sharing capabilities and don't typically make large prints above 8x10s, regularly enlarge and heavily crop pictures, or view them at large sizes on screen, it's a fine choice and will do better than a smartphone.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET


Colors are bright and vivid, but not entirely accurate, which is common for point-and-shoot cameras. Samsung's auto white balance is a little too warm indoors and a bit cool outdoors (and indoors, too, if you manually set the white balance). Also, as with many compact cameras, highlights blow out pretty easily.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET

Lens distortion

With such a wide-angle lens, it's not surprising to see a little bit of barrel distortion (top). When fully zoomed in there's a little bit of pincushioning as well (bottom). The lens on my review sample was sharp at the center and fairly consistent edge to edge without significant softness.

Fringing in high-contrast areas of photos isn't much of a problem unless you're enlarging photos. At smaller sizes you'll likely only notice it in extreme cases, such as bare tree branches against a bright white sky.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET

Zoom range

A big reason to buy the Galaxy Camera instead of sticking with your phone is for its zoom lens. It starts at a very wide 23mm (top) and extends to 483mm (bottom).

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET


One of the camera's Smart shooting modes is an instant-panorama option that will take up to eight photos and combine them into one ultrawide picture. The results are fairly seamless, though viewed at full size, they aren't the best quality.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET


The Silhouette mode takes pictures of, you guessed it, silhouettes with backlighting.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET


Sunset emphasizes the sunset by making colors more intense.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET


Waterfall sets the camera for a long exposure (6 seconds in this case) so you can get a nice flowing water effect. Of course this and several of the other Smart modes such as Light Trace and Action Freeze can be accomplished with the camera's Expert modes (shutter speed-priority, aperture-priority, and manual).

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET
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