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Samsung Announces the Galaxy NX: An Android-Powered Mirrorless Camera

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Samsung today officially announced its new Galaxy NX mirrorless camera, the Android-powered mirrorless camera that leaked onto the web one week ago. The Galaxy NX is the world’s first interchangeable lens camera that features 3G and 4G wireless connectivity.

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The Galaxy NX is the first camera to bring the new “smartcamera” paradigm into the world of “serious” photography. Its little sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Camera announced last August, also features 3G and 4G connectivity, but it’s a compact camera with a tiny 1/2.3-inch sensor. Samsung is now stuffing the same Android brains and wireless connectivity (there’s Wi-Fi as well) into a system camera that’s geared toward people who are more serious about photography.

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Inside the camera is a 20.3-megapixel APS-C sensor with a max ISO of 25600. The camera can shoot both RAW photos and 1080p HD videos. There’s 16 gigs of built-in storage space (and 2GB of RAM), but you’ll be able to add up to 64GB by inserting a microSD card.

An Advanced Hybrid Auto Focus system uses both phase- and contrast-detection AF to quickly lock onto subjects. The camera is speedy in other ways too: it has a 1/6000s maximum shutter speed and can capture scenes at a rapid 8.6 frames per second.

On the top of the camera is a built-in pop-up flash unit:

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An obvious strength of the camera is that it uses Samsung’s NX mirrorless lens mount, so photographers who have already jumped aboard the NX train can use their existing collection of lenses on the Galaxy NX.

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The back of the camera is dominated by a massive 4.8-inch LCD touchscreen. Many photographers will also be glad to hear that the camera includes a built-in electronic SVGA viewfinder, which can help you frame shots in direct sunlight and other situations in which LCDs aren’t as nice to use.

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The physical interface of the camera is sparse. Much of what you’ll need will be available through the touchscreen, so there aren’t the large number of physical buttons and dials that many photographers may be accustomed to using:

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The “brains” of the camera — which help make it a “smart” camera — is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean powered by a 1.6Ghz quad core processor. Just like with the Galaxy Camera, you’ll be able to install the full selection of Google Play store apps onto your Galaxy NX. Want to shoot and share with Instagram? You can. Want to play some silly games on your camera during some downtime? You’ve got it! Need to edit some shots on-the-go? There are some serious editing tools in the store that can help you do so.

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For beginning photographers, there are features that can help assist and guide you. A Photo Suggest feature actually recommends photo spots for you based on what’s popular in the area. A Story Album feature lets you put photos onto a timeline and then combine them into digital photo books that can be shared across devices.

Samsung hasn’t yet revealed when the Galaxy NX camera will be available or how much it will cost, but initial rumors pegged the price at around $1,300. Stay tuned for more on this camera.


 
  • jonathan__c

    I’ll take 2! This is actually really cool, I hope it sets a bit of a standard over the coming months. Unlimited custom firmware/software applications.

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    just going to take a moment to have a laugh at those calling the leaked images fakes – these are the same images! derp.

  • mom58

    seems awesome, but one more way for the gov to keep track of you

  • Mike

    That’s what happens when anorexia gets you.

  • raphaeloo

    why would you have contacts, email, messaging on a camera? Just for the sake of using Android? This market is going nowhere!

  • ConsciousConsumer

    Seriously? I have been waiting for something like this for a LONG time. What’s wrong with using your camera as your smartphone? Just ’cause it doesn’t work for YOU doesn’t mean that LOTS of other people won’t find it incredibly useful.

  • nullhogarth

    Whatever else one might say about it, it is devastatingly ugly.

  • Christian DeBaun

    A camera with no mechanical buttons?

    Um, no.

    When you look through that view finder (see the photo above), your nose is going to touch one of those App buttons. Perhaps they’ll be brilliant and place the “Format Card” button right where your nose will touch.

  • raphaeloo

    Ok, having wireless functionality and sharing options that’s cool (I wanted to have these options as well), but contacts? music ? chat? what for? It’s not the slimmest camera so obviously you cant stand 1h holding it while you play/browse, etc. People who have money will buy it just for the sake of it. Meanwhile, photographers will never buy something like this. Imagine how long the battery can last on this thing…

  • ConsciousConsumer

    Huh, various touch screen cameras I have owned just turn the screen off as you bring your face to the viewfinder. I would assume Samsung would do the same…

    Guess you didn’t know about that…

  • ConsciousConsumer

    Again, you are just making assumptions. Think of people that do a lot of travelling, could be a great tool that would eliminate carrying two devices. I could see putting a pancake lens or just the body cap on it for times when I am doing more of the smartphone end of things…

    I am a photographer and I will buy this. If you don’t see a use for it great, to each their own.

  • ConsciousConsumer

    According to nullhogarth. ;-)

  • Ian

    Potentially a revolutionary camera as the converge of the electronics world continues, but I would kill my entire month’s data plan in one shoot if I had the camera transmit all of those 20MP Raw(?) files over 4G!

  • radiancedeluxe

    how fast does this thing boot up? sure phones boot way faster than desktops, but powering the camera on/off is done constantly (lens changes, SD cards, pocketwizard troubleshooting). if this thing takes even 10 seconds to boot that is way too long. I guess this is for the 18-200mm outdoor shooters…

  • Courtney Navey

    Yawn…

  • NikonCoach

    This camera has useful features…to those, for whatever reasons, that cannot or do not use smart phone for those features. And to some the ability to send hi-res images from a ‘real camera’ via 3G/4G network when where/when wi fi is not available might be attractive.

    That said, I am in no hurry to dump my not-so-smart digital cameras.

  • NikonCoach

    I would think it goes to sleep/hibernate when ‘powered off’ and boots up only when battery is changed or when the OS crashes or such.

  • Rob S

    To me this is a a camera solution looking for a problem.

    Its not going to replace my phone period. I have no desire to talk into a lens. So having contacts, a calendar and email is useless. Its not like I am going to stop and read an email in the middle of taking a picture.

    Forget for a minute that 3G/4G will require a new cell contract, new number, new data plan – about $30 a month minimum – who in their right mind sends anyone images before post processing? The happy snap crowd has what they want in a camera phone. And most everyone who is willing to carry around an ILC and a bunch of lenses cares enough about photography to post process. So they made a phone that sucks because it has a huge (relative terms) lens on it and they made a camera thats singular feature is it can send your pictures before you can edit them.

    For about what you would pay for a full frame Nikon D600, you can have a crappy phone attached to a camera with severely limited lens selection, questionable ergonomics (crap I nose texted again during a shoot!) and the opportunity to get a virus…..Yeah Ill pass.

  • rick

    if this just had built in flash and massive evf, and no ugly ass massive handgrip id of bought this hands down. Its just too big for my liking. Think i’ll be sticking with mft just a little while longer

  • rick

    no massive evf that should say

  • http://radiancedeluxe.com/ radiancedeluxe

    yes I agree. but what I am driving at is, if you have to wait 10 seconds for the camera to boot every time you change a lens, that would get old fast. It’s good practice to turn the camera off when changing lenses, as a powered sensor attracts dust. either way, mirrorless or not, I hope smartcameras are the future for serious photography. I am interested in the power of real software, rather than just firmware. But I need actual instant on and off, that is a total dealmaker for me.

  • S K

    All I can say is, best use of technology is, that end-user or buyer gets to select from best of the options and “The more the merrier” fits fine here too, More the competition, better the end-user gets and that too will probably help in slashing prices of best in business to some extent OR least other brands will look to add similar stuff to their high-end models, to add to appeal OR to avoid slashing prices…..

  • Jim

    Think of the custom programming you can now do to your camera by no longer being tied to the factory ROM installed on your camera. For example, if the factory software only allows 3 shots for autobracketing, you could write your own camera app to allow for 7 or 9 shots. Or you could build in timelapse functionality. Or you can leave your camera out in a field, and use your other Android phone (or another phone) to activate the camera and actually see what the camera sees. Being able to customize the camera app is beyond powerful. It could be like Magic Lantern for Canon on steroids.

  • tttulio

    Can it broadcast video to Ustream?

  • gochugogi

    I suppose I’m old skool but I use physical buttons and dials while simultaneously shooting and looking through the viewfinder. The various shapes and positions of physical controls allow control via feel only. This design looks like you need to drop the camera from face to dial in flash exposure compensation or change drive modes. Or maybe there’s a couple function shift buttons I can’t see?

  • Sj Pangaribuan

    you are probably the only one then…
    c’mon …it will be tiresome after a while to hold the camera for a long time even when you are not using it so just you can use the cell phone portion of it…

    in this case having 2 devices is more realistic…

  • ConsciousConsumer

    Yeah, really “tiresome” to hold something that may weigh around a pound on my belt while travelling. You must have a medical condition that has rendered you very weak if you find that tiresome…

  • Tobias W.

    This is not a photographer’s camera, this is an electronic gadget. Seriously. There’s not a single useful button or dial on that body other than the shutter release and the on/off switch!! Do you really think a true photographer takes his eyes off the viewfinder to point and click through a stupid Android app to change the EV and so on?!

    Go on, buy this abomination and get yourself laughed at.

  • Tobias W.

    Make no mistake, it is an ugly abomination.

  • ConsciousConsumer

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Your opinion is just that, YOUR opinion.

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    because you must be a ‘true’ photography because you have real dials to play with. oh dear.

  • Rob S

    I think his point was that its going to be tough to do anything other than happy snaps or auto mode if EVERY change – speed, aperture, ISO, EV requires moving away from your eye and using a touch screen. Sorry but this is a pretty fatal flaw in a $1300 camera.

  • johneve

    Lol, smartcamera. Just as you are ready to take a shot…. A message pops up: “Are you sure you want to do this? My photo suggest feature strongly advises you to move to a more interesting location. Locking shutter button now. Will unlock when GPS confirms interesting location. In the meantime you can play some silly games on your camera”

  • johneve

    It’s not about being cool. It’s about being practical and able to change your settings, focus points, shutter speed, aperture etc on the fly while you are shooting without taking your eye off the viewfinder. Buttons give you tactile feedback that allow you to do this. Now if they came up with a camera that could read my mind and do this without manual interference i would be all for it.

  • Rob S

    How is this camera stupid? Let me count the ways:

    1 – Its big feature – cell connection – will require a cell account that will cost $30-$50 depending on how much data you buy. And you had better buy data. Thats as much as an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

    2 – I know how unhappy my iPhone gets when its out of cell range and now your camera will be just as unhappy? Pretty much kills it for wildlife photographers or anyone who lives in a rural area. And as for traveling, not only are HUGE portions of the world without cell coverage have you ever paid international data rates? I cant wait for the first story about someone getting a $2000 phone bill because their camera was not set to airplane mode on a vacation.

    3 – How big is the battery on this thing? It has to power a phone/computer and a camera. Since there is no optical shooting option its got to power two screens constantly. Going back to using it out of service areas, we all know how awesome battery life is when your camera is searching. How many people are going to ditch their real phone and take a chance on using up their battery taking pictures…or visa versa. Oh, it has to power wi-fi too.

    4 – It looks about as wide as a normal DSLR but super thin everywhere but the handgrip/battery. Thats going to be fun to hold. And of course since its mirror less anything other than a pancake and you are holding the lens, not the camera.

    5 – Micro SD? So my options are to transfer wirelessly (slow, battery killer, potentially expensive) or deal with a micro SD card. Dont get me wrong, they are amazing but not exactly sturdy.

    6 – 20MP sensor? Do they even have a lens that can resolve a 20MP image? My 16MP APS-C produces RAW files up to 29MB. You are going to transfer those wirelessly? No of course not, you are going to shoot JPEG but even those can reach 10MB. 100 of those and you have eaten half your data on a typical 2GB data plan. I get loving the Megapixels but since the target audience is probably not printing 20×30 it would have made a lot more sense to put in a 10 or 12 MP sensor that would have saved money and probably battery.

    7 – Two words – shutter lag.

    8 – if this really cost $1300 I will be VERY impressed if they sell even one. For $1300 you can buy an iPhone 5, Pentax K-5 and a EyeFi Pro and do everything this thing does plus a whole lot more.

    9 – Two more words – black eye. Notice the gap between the eye cup and the back of the camera? It just invites you to cram that viewfinder into your eye socket. And how many pictures are going to be tilted downward/blurry because your are trying to press the camera against your cheek but there is nothing there?

    10 – Malware. Ah yes, the always connected camera. How long before someone makes an app that lest them remotely take over your camera? Steal your pics, erase your pics. Better not use this for those private sexy time sessions. Wait till someone figures out how to use your 64GB memory card to store data.

    It will be fascinating to see the arc of this thing. The first reviews should be golden! Time to make some popcorn!!

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    people are used to touchscreens in this day and age, I think people buying this camera will have no trouble making images that are a lot more than just “happy snaps”

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    I’m sure touchscreens can be just as practical :) and not everyone is shooting at a million miles an hour, some people take their time and don’t need to be glued to their viewfinder. As I’ve said somewhere else, this camera isn’t going to pull me away from my 5D mark II but I still think it’s a good innovation, I can’t wait to see how many other companies take this up, exciting to see where it leads!

  • NikonCoach

    Valid point. DSLRs at least have the mirror in front of the sensor whereas mirrorless camera won’t have anything to shield the sensor during lens change. However, would the sensor be powered when the system is in sleep/hibernate and lens is changed? Does it need to be? I do not know for sure but I am thinking it doesn’t have to be powered during sleep/hibernate.

    Full disclosure: I currently do not own a mirrorless ILS camera.

  • Rob S

    By traveling I you mean traveling in the US. Because outside the US you will get killed on international data. And you mean traveling for pleasure not business. Because you are not going to make a very good impression using your camera as a phone. For that matter, I am not sure it can even function as a phone. Im sure some one will make an app that lets you do so but it will still be the stupidest phone ever.

    So let me get this right you are planning to spend $1300 (apparently) plus $350-600 a year for a data plan to have a crappy phone and a crappy camera. And to make up for the size you are going to put the equivalent of a pin hole lens to get a “smart phone camera” look. P. T. Barnum would be proud!

  • Rob S

    The remote control ability would be pretty cool. I could see using it for hazardous situations….and creepy ones. But here is the thing – its not weather proof, the battery life is probably crap and wireless transfer times are going to be killers. How long to send a 10-30MB file and will you be able to do anything else during that time? The most obvious use – wildlife – is defeated by the fact that the best wildlife is outside of cell range! So you need to be indoors, in cell range, with a pretty good idea when you need to activate it……and we are back to creepy where you can use it to spy on your girlfriend. Thats going to look great in the marketing materials!

  • ConsciousConsumer

    I was going to try to reply to you but it is obvious you have your little mind made up already. By the way, it’s not my fault you are poor.

  • ConsciousConsumer

    Why are you so angry? Everything you say is negative, try thinking/relating to things with optimism, life is so much better that way.

  • gochugogi

    Well, the basic design and appearance, oddly enough, ape a small DSLR right down to the beefy grip and fake pentaprism bump. Why? to appear quasi professional? Fool people into thinking it’s a DSLR? It would probably sell much better with a sleek futuristic exterior to go with the Droid OS.

  • Norshan Nusi

    Great for the enthusiast… but not good for the advanced photographer.

    Lack of buttons really slows you down….

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kombizz/sets/ kombizz

    It seems it is alright to capture
    The price is little too high

  • Willi Kampmann

    The bump houses both the EVF and the flash. And I’d suspect the gyroscope might be in there, too. The beefy grip is not only highly ergonomic (I really miss it on my OMD), but also houses the huge battery (over 4000mAh as far as I’ve heard). That design makes sense to me and I think it’s rather attractive.

  • Willi Kampmann

    The bump houses both the EVF and the flash. And I’d suspect the gyroscope might be in there, too. The beefy grip is not only highly ergonomic (I really miss it on my OMD), but also houses the huge battery (over 4000mAh as far as I’ve heard). That design makes sense to me and I think it’s rather attractive.

  • Willi Kampmann

    And to those who are sick and tired of horrible proprietary camera firmwares and are eagerly awaiting the first Android equivalent to Magic Lantern. No matter what camera feature you desire; chances are, with Android you could just install them afterwards.

  • Willi Kampmann

    That’s not true. Samsung lenses have a button called iFn that lets you change the function of the focus ring. So by shuffling through focus, aperture and shutter speed, you could change all those parameters by turning the ring. Also I’m pretty sure sooner or later you will be able to change the function of the dial on top of the camera. This can also be clicked; You could change aperture by turning it and change exposure compensation by clicking and turning it, for example.