Samsung is unveiling the Galaxy Camera 2 today, its second take on the idea of a truly smart point-and-shoot. Like its predecessor, the Galaxy Camera 2 runs Android, has wireless connectivity, and is operated primarily through controls on a large, 4.8-inch touchscreen. It's still designed around making photos easy to share and edit using Android apps, but this time around, Samsung is promising a camera that can take even better photos in the first place — potentially making up for one of its predecessor's weakest points.
A style change and a spec bump
Though the Galaxy Camera 2 has the same 16-megapixel resolution and fairly small 1/2.33-inch sensor size, the device includes a new image processing system that Samsung tells us should be able to turn out better looking photos. The camera also includes a 1.6GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a battery that's estimated to last over 350 shots. It's running Android 4.3, and in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the new Galaxy Camera also includes NFC connectivity. For now, Samsung isn't saying whether there will also be a model with 3G connectivity like its predecessor had, but further details could come when the company announces specific regional availability.
Some of the Galaxy Camera 2's biggest additions fall around shooting modes. It's including a ton of new smart scene modes — 28 in total — after finding out that owners of the original Galaxy Camera used them quite a bit to help automatically set up shots. But it isn't going all-in on simplicity: photographers will also be able to select separate autofocus and autoexposure points on the new model's touchscreen, adding a slightly more advanced feature for those who want to make sure that their pictures turn out just right.
The changes aren't all so exciting though. The new camera is ever-so-slightly larger than the original Galaxy Camera, which was already on the big side. It's also taken on a faux-leather styling, doing away with the original's sleek white and black curves — it's a much better-looking camera, and easier to hold and operate. Otherwise, the Galaxy Camera 2 doesn't stray far from its predecessor: it includes the same 21x zoom range, the ability to go up to 3200 ISO, shoot 1080p video, and film slow motion at 120FPS.
Pricing and availability will be announced at a later date, but Samsung is promising to have the new camera on display at CES next week. Its predecessor sold for $499 at launch with 3G connectivity.
Samsung is also giving a bit of attention to another line of cameras today with the announcement of the NX30, the successor to its NX20 mirrorless camera. For the NX30, Samsung has improved the camera's processor, included a touchscreen and better EVF, and generally tried to make the camera handle a bit more like a traditional DSLR. It'll even ship with Adobe's Lightroom 5 for photo editing. Like the Galaxy Camera 2, it'll also be on display next week, with pricing and availability to be announced at a later date.