Samsung's Galaxy camera came out almost a year ago, and it roughly mimicked the specs of an international SGS3 but included a unique camera system and body. Although the device couldn't make phone calls, it included cellular connectivity and was arguably the best in the first of a limited number of connected cameras competing with it. After many whispers, Samsung has announced the Galaxy S4 Zoom, an updated version of its connected camera line with a display and front face emulating the SGS4 but topped with another 16 MP camera system. 

Camera Emphasized Smartphone Comparison
  Samsung Galaxy Camera (EK-GC100) Nikon Coolpix S800c Nokia PureView 808 Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
CMOS Resolution 16.3 MP 16.0 MP 41 MP 16.3 MP
CMOS Format 1/2.3", 1.34µm pixels 1/2.3", 1.34µm pixels 1/1.2", 1.4µm pixels 1/2.3", 1.34µm pixels
CMOS Size 6.17mm x 4.55mm 6.17mm x 4.55mm 10.67mm x 8.00mm 6.17mm x 4.55mm
Lens Details 4.1 - 86mm
(22 - 447 35mm equiv)
21x zoom + OIS
4.5 - 45.0mm (25-250 35mm equiv)
(28mm 35mm equiv)
4.3 - 43mm
(24-240 mm 35mm equiv)
10x zoom + OIS
Display 1280 x 720 (4.8") 854 x 480 (3.5") 640 x 360 (4.0") 960 x 540 (4.3")
SoC Exynos 4412 (Cortex-A9MP4 at 1.4 GHz with Mali-400 MP4) ARM Cortex A5(?) 1.3 GHz ARM11 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212
Storage 8 GB + microSDXC 1.7 GB + microSDHC 16 GB + microSDHC 8 GB + microSDHC
Video Recording 1080p30, 480p120 1080p30 1080p30 1080p30
OS Android 4.1 Android 2.3.6 Symbian Belle Android 4.2
Connectivity WCDMA 21.1 850/900/1900/2100, 4G, 802.11a/b/g/n with 40 MHz channels, BT 4.0, GNSS No cellular, WiFi 802.11b/g/n(?), GPS WCDMA 14.4 850/900/1700/1900/2100, 802.11b/g/n, BT 3.0, GPS WCDMA 21.1 850/900/1900/2100, 4G LTE SKUs, 802.11a/b/g/n with 40 MHz channels, BT 4.0, GNSS

It appears Samsung's biggest emphasis with the follow up to Galaxy Camera was thickness, as the S4 Zoom is 15.4mm thick, compared to 19 mm for Galaxy Camera. Display gets a bump down from 720p LCD to qHD LCD, and oddly enough SoC goes from the quad A9 Exynos 4412 to dual A9 Exynos 4212, though Samsung includes the usual "AP differed by market" caveat, so there's a possibility the LTE variant includes some similarly classed Snapdragon SoC. As usual it isn't really easy to find out until all the different model numbers and band combinations are in the open. 

Last time around Samsung made things easy by supplying the sensor size, it's easy enough however to verify that the S4 Zoom is using the same 1/2.3" 16 MP sensor by going off of crop factor (5.64 crop factor for a 1/2.3" format sensor * 4.3 mm focal length, gives us their own published 24 mm focal length in 35mm-effective numbers). Likewise the availability of some photos published by a few websites with access to the hardware makes it easy to verify the same captured photo size of 4608 x 3456. I'm not surprised that Samsung kept sensor the same size given the desire to get the package thinner, but I find myself wishing that this did include a larger one for better indoor and low light sensitivity. There's thankfully still OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) onboard. The change in thickness also accordingly comes with a slightly higher F/# at the widest and most telephoto points, from F/2.8 to F/3.1 wide open, and F/5.9 to F/6.3 at telephoto. There's no way around the fact that on paper the S4 Zoom is a bit of a step down compared to Galaxy Camera, but it is thinner.

Of course, the real benefit is that it's a connected camera running Android 4.2 and including GNSS, 802.11n dual band WiFi, BT 4.0, NFC, and a 1.9 MP front facing camera. The biggest change of course is that unlike the Galaxy Camera, Galaxy S4 Zoom is capable of making voice calls directly. I could see myself sticking a SIM in Galaxy S4 Zoom and using it as a hybrid smartphone plus point and shoot device for sure, I just wish it was a step up over Galaxy Camera on the camera side of things. For that we'll have to wait and see if a Galaxy Camera 2 appears.

Source: Samsung

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  • AmdInside - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    I thought I was done with Samsung phones but this may make me come back.
  • GTRagnarok - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    The looks you'd get holding it next to your head :D
  • icebox - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    A bit late for April's fools, aren't they?
  • Anakha - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    Imagine the lens extending while its in your pocket... The term "Are you happy to see me" takes on a whole new meaning now... lol
  • lurker22 - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    Albeit it not very happy given the size :)
  • mwarner1 - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    An interesting compromise device. Slightly surprised with the specs of the device though - I would have thought a 720p display and something at least equivalent to the Galaxy Camera in terms of SoC.

    It is not for me personally, but I can see this appealing to quite a few users who are hankering after an always available, good quality camera with Xenon alongside a reasonably decent Android phone.
  • SeannyB - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    I was also thinking with better hardware (and the ability to shoot in raw format, lol), I could be enticed by such a smartphone. I'm always glad to see phone makers experiment with designs outside of the iPhone mold.
  • flyingpants1 - Thursday, June 13, 2013 - link

    It's an instant fail as a phone because it's just too thick.

    I would have kept the Galaxy Camera name for this... It's a Galaxy Camera that can make calls. Which isn't so bad I guess..

    I can sort of see the use case. It's a niche product. I don't know many people who need their pics to be uploaded to FB within 2 seconds. The example Anand gave was wedding photos.. OK.

    But for a normal person.. all my stuff is on my real phone anyway.. I'd rather carry my S4 and P&S separately instead of carrying this monstrosity. If I am in a super hurry to upload pictures, I can still put the microSD card from the camera into the phone, or just use USB OTG to connect them.

    Samsung, the day you will truly kill P&S is if you release a normal S4 with an attachable lens, which you could sell for $100+.
  • Lucky Stripes 99 - Thursday, June 13, 2013 - link

    I would have been very happy if Samsung had modified a regular GS4 with a camera similar to the one in the Nokia 808 Pureview. It would have been a great smartphone with advanced optics that could still fit comfortably in your pants.

    Instead, they merged a GS4 Mini with a mediocre point and shoot. The lens is too slow for good night shots, which is the whole reason I drag a PnS along to bars and parties. It is also oddly shaped (at least my old TL110 had a tapered collar around the lens), which means it isn't going to slide into my pocket or sit on a car cradle well. And being a derivative of a derivative, I'd bet that software updates from the carriers will dry up quickly.

    Nokia needs to hurry up and end their partnership with Microsoft so that we can finally get some nice CAMERAphones with Android.
  • Gregg Thurman - Thursday, June 13, 2013 - link

    From the article:

    "Although the device couldn't make phone calls, "

    Did I misinterpret that sentence?

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