Now that video on Instagram just got real, a connected pro camera with direct access to Android apps makes a fair bit of sense. Enter the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy NX.
Samsung continues to push its Galaxy brand into new devices’ types and categories, a strategy aimed at extending the success it’s had with the brand in smartphones. Today the Korean giant has added the Galaxy badge to its high end camera range, with the launch of this digital mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC): its first interchangeable lens camera to run Android.
Samsung’s other high end cameras have been badged NX but this is the first time it’s used the Galaxy brand on its pro range. It’s not, however, the first time it’s pushed the Galaxy brand into camera tech territory — having recently extended the Galaxy S4 range with a hybrid smartphone point-and-shoot camera with a 10x optical zoom on the back. That device, the Galaxy S4 Zoom, remains a mid-range affair. It’s certainly not targeting the professional photographer market, as the Galaxy NX presumably is. Samsung also previously launched another mid-range camera running Android, called the Galaxy Camera — making extending the brand to its pro MILC range a natural next step.
The Galaxy NX runs Android 4.2.2 skinned with a version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI tweaked to make sense for the camera format. This means the UI defaults to the camera app view. Swiping left from there brings up a familiar Samsung Android home screen where users can get at all the usual Android stuff including Google Play, the web browser, plus apps — like Instagram, say. And that’s the obvious use-case for a bit of kit like this: being able to post near-SLR quality photos direct to apps like Instagram or share on social media, without even having to pull the photos off the camera first. The Galaxy NX has both 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi built in. It is Samsung’s first interchangeable lens camera to include LTE, in fact.
The version of Android on the Galaxy NX does not include a phone dialer but that’s the only other major software difference when compared to a typical Samsung smartphone. The point here is clearly for Samsung to leverage the familiarity of its TouchWiz environment to try to bolster the appeal of its high end camera kit.
Who might the Galaxy NX appeal to? Perhaps someone hankering for a better camera but not necessarily yet especially well versed in how to use more pro photography equipment. The external look and feel of the Galaxy NX bears that theory out, being especially plain looking — almost devoid of markings. It’s also terribly lightweight for such a large bit of kit, adding another convenience string to its bow.
The Galaxy NX has a 20.3MP APS-C CMOS Image sensor that’s 24mm in size. It’s powered by Samsung’s DRIMe IV processor, which it says is 4x faster than its previous processor. The device supports up to 25,600 ISO, and it’s the same family of interchangeable lens as Samsung’s prior MILCs.