Photography and smartphones so far have been uneasy bedfellows. Thrown into the same device, it invariably ended up with the phone dominating the relationship. Poor little photography was only allowed crappy glass while telephony played the slavemaster. An imbalanced coupling with the phone cracking the whip over the camera (“stop nibbling your lip”) á la kinky, blingy Christian Grey and the camera – futilely resisting its phone-y master – in the shape of inexperienced, wide-eyed Ana Steele.
Fifty Shades of Cr*p aside – in an ironic turn of events it has eventually fallen to a smartphone manufacturer to take up the cause of enslaved photography. Samsung – number 2 in the smartphone market with their enormously successful Galaxy smartphones – have just released a camera with smartphone abilities. The Galaxy Camera comes with a 4.8″ display. Like a smartphone, the camera has hardly any buttons – the controls are accessed via touchscreen. Eight GB storage is available while there is more mobile storage via SD card. The camera runs on Android 4.1 and has a 1,4 Ghz quad-core processor. I.e. – this is a little PC which is not much different from your high-end smartphone! WiFi and 3G enables seamless communication, much as you are used to from your mobile. Apparently the photographic hardware is not yet quite there: While it produces shots of 16.3 Megapixel and comes with an optical zoom, the quality of the output leaves a lot to be desired.
However, I love the concept behind the new Samsung Galaxy Camera. I admit – as a photographer I am prone to succumb to the temptation of gadgetry. We love our accessories. There in my designated camera accessory shelf I have two remote releases (one cordless), an as yet unused camera grip, my (also unused) flash, the indispensible Black Rapid camera strap. On my iPhone I have handy f-stop calculators, a darkroom-compatible developing timer, nifty little photo-sharing apps for flickr, instagram and 365 project, a digital grey card and the funky geo-location app GPS4cam. But wouldn’t it be cool, if you could do away with jumbling your phone while you are shooting? And share proper pics instead of shaky, grainy iPhone images. Straight from the horse’s mouth i.e. the camera?
I am actually flabberghasted at why camera manufacturers who can come up with amazing technology such as the 5d mark whatever or the Nikon d bladibla have not yet been able to find that little inch of space in their bulky hardware for in-built wifi or bluetooth. Just imagine the possibilities – doing a commercial shoot with a client sitting in and transmitting the image to the client’s mobile device for instant viewing. No tangly cables to connect to a laptop for tethered shooting. The ability to automatically geo-tag your landscapes taken on an outing. Quick and easy upload to your own web-based photography portfolio or the photo network of your choice straight from the camera. Ok, I admit freely that I am the queen of social networking and therefore more interested in such possibilities than most. But in a world that is becoming more digitalized by the minute, these functionalities are more than overdue.
Cobblers? Nonsense? Piddlepaddle because it is a compact? Come on, shelve your arrogance for a mo and consider the technology. Samsung has taken a step in the right direction. Sharing has become a part of human interaction – both privately as well as professionally. And time is of the essence when it comes to passing on news/images/updates. So I applaud this first attempt at moving away from the smartphone with camera abilities to a camera with smartphone abilities. Go on, Canon – I want a talking, sharing, e-mailing Mark iv!