Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review
Samsung recently launched a hybrid device called ” Galaxy S4 Zoom”, which is both Smartphone and a camera. Though the name suggests that it’s a Galaxy S4 with a Zoom lens, there is more to it than meets the eye.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom looks like the samsung S4 Smartphone from the front, but turn it over and it resembles a compact camera, complete with a large lens with a Zoom ring around the barrel, a Xenon flash, a protruding hand grip and a large, round shutter release button.
The lens has a plastic covering on the outside, which provides additional protection to the lens so that it does not get damaged even if you put the device (Phomera) in your pocket or bag.The Phomera is certainly bulky with the protruding lens and hand grip, but if you consider it as a camera and phone built into one, then you cannot question the Samsung’s design philosophy. The device is built with Polycarbonate on the exteriors and features a standard, metal tripod receptacle.
The S4 Zoom features a 16-megapixel camera, 1/2.33 inch type (6.16 x 4.62mm) BSI CMOS sensor.The sensor is the standard size and you can find it most compact cameras.The camera houses a Samsung 24-240mm equivalent lens featuring Optical Image Stabilization. The lens has a three-segment construction and it extends while zooming. The device also features a Xenon flash, just like compact cameras, and a focus assist light Aperture options are limited to f13. 1 and f18 at the wide-angle end and f16. 3 and f/17.8 at the telephoto end Shutter speed ranges from 16 to 1/2000 Sec. Exposure can be compensated up to I-1-2 EV in 1/3 EV steps. The sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 3200.
The device provides White Balance options of Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L, Incandescent, Preset, and Kelvin. It features the usual three metering modes—Matrix, Centre-weighted, and Spot The camera can capture continuous frames at 4 frames per second.
The S4 Zoom features four shooting modes—Auto, Smart, Expert, and My mode. The Smart mode lets you select from 25 different subjects or situations and the camera will apply the best settings for the situation. The various options under this mode are Landscape, Dawn, Snow, Macro, Foor, Party/Indoor, Action Freeze, Rich tone (HDR), Panorama, Waterfall, Animated Photo, Drama, Eraser, Sound and Shot, Silhoufte, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light trace, Smart Mode Suggest, Beauty Face, Best Photo, Continuous shot, Best face, and Kids shot.
The Waterfall option lets you execute a long exposure capture to render the flowing water as a continuous stream. The Animated Photo option allows you to keep a part of the image in motion. For example, if you photograph a room with a rotating fan in it, you can leave the fan rotating in the still image, while the rest of the content remains stationary. Eraser lets you remove unwanted elements from the image without leaving a mark.For this, the camera captures continuous frames and fills the void with a perfect part from one of the captured frames.
In the Expert mode, you have the options of P (Program), C (Custom), and M (Manual). In Manual mode, you can change the shutter speed and aperture, but we did not use it since the apertures are limited to just two fixed values. However, the v mode lets you do most adjustments. Still images are captured in JPEG format with dimensions of 4608 x 3456 pixels.
General Features :
The S4 Zoom uses a 4.3-inch, qHD Super AMOLED display. At its core is a 1.5GHz Pega-Dual +XMM6262 processor, which makes it less powerful than the Galaxy S4, but still very much capable. The device runs on Android Jelly Bean v4. 2 and features Touchwiz UL. It has 1.5GB RAM and 8GB internal memory, expandable up to 64GB using an external Micro SD card.
Connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 24/5Ghz, and NFC (Near Field Communication). It provides A-CPS and GLONASS (the Russian equivalent of GPS) support The Galaxy S4 Zoom is powered by a 2330mA1i Li-ion rechargeable battery pack The 54 Zoom weighs exactly 200g and has dimensions of 63.3 x 125.3 x 15.25mm.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is comfortable to hold and operate, though it can just about fit in a jeans pocket. It could just be a lady’s ‘second best friend’ since they are likely to carry a handbag all the time.
If you have used an Android Smartphone, the interface will be familiar to you. The camera screen is touch and tap enabled. All controls are quite easy to operate, the camera also has a quick launch feature, enabled by rotating the zoom ring on the lens. This provides access to various automated modes such as Macro, Landscape, and Portrait. This also enables in-call photo sharing. While in the middle of a call, if you feel like capturing a scene and sharing with the person on the other side, all you have to do is rotate the zoom ring, select a mode, capture, and share.
To conclude, if you consider the S4 Zoom as a Smartphone with a better camera, you might not like the idea of carrying a bulky device around. But if you look at it mainly as a camera with a high-end Smartphone, this can be a minor compromise in comfort.
S4 Zoom’s Camera autofocus was fast and precise, and the system locked on to the subjects with ease even under low-light Out-of-the-box images were tack sharp. Metering modes performed as expected. Slight darkening was observed on the sides (not the corners), but you are not likely to notice it in normal everyday images. The lens produced a prominent flare in strong against-the-light shots, along with purple flinging at the wide-angle end with the lens wide open. The lens produced slight barrel distortion from 60mm to 100mm equivalent focal lengths.
The S4 Zoom reproduces colors well. Auto White Balance performed very well under natural light. Though it produced slight cast under artificial light sources, these could be easily removed in post-processing.
Native image size is 11.52 x 15.36 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of the screen size, the images were free of noise up to ISO 800. Viewed at 50 percent, slight noise was observed at ISO 800. At 100 percent of the screen size, 150 400 showed slight noise. Very slight noise could be observed at ISO 200 if you looked for it. Overall, you can safely use up to ISO 800, and in a tight situation, even ISO 1600 if you don’t need to enlarge it much. We would consider this good noise control for a compact camera.
From a user’s point of view, the S4 Zoom qualifies as a high-end Smartphone. Though it is a notch below the Galaxy S4 in specifications, we did not find it a serious cripple. Even with multiple games open in the background, the applications operated smoothly, and never did we feel the need for a better Smartphone.
Positives & Negatives :
- Two-in-one device
- 10x optical zoom
- Optical Image Stabilization
- Good image quality
- Competitively Priced
- Too bulky for a Smartphone
If you are looking for the right glue to stick your Smartphone to compact camera , the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Saves you from the trouble. But if you need an unobtrusive Smartphone with a decent camera, then you may have to look elsewhere. As an imaging device with a Smartphone, the device is a great buy.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Full Specifications:
Display : 4.3″ qHD sAMOLED
Chipset : Pega-Dual +XMM6262
Bearer : HSPA+ 21/5.76 850/900/1900/2100
Memory : 1.5 GB RAM, 8GB (eMIMC)
Micro SD up to 64GB
Connectors : micro USB, USB 2.0, 3.5pi earjack
Wireless Connectivity : BT 4.0,WiFi a/b/g/n 2.4G/5GHz, NFC
GPS : A-GPS + GLONASS
Dimension : 63.3x125x15.25mm
Battery Capacity : 2330mAh
OS : Android JB MR1 (v4.2)
Messaging & SNS : ChatON, Gtalk, Google+
Augmented Reality : D/L from Play Store
LBS : Google Maps (Turn-by-turn Navi.)
& Apps : TrouWrist, Trip Advisor, Photo Suggest (TBD)
PC apps : Kies, AllShare
Audio : MP3, AAC, AAC+,eAAC+,WAV,AMR-NB,MIDI
Video : MPEG4,H.263,H.264,VP6/8,WMV9
Recording/playback : 1080@30fps
Effective Pixels : 16 Million
Sensor Type : 1/233-trch Type (6.16 x4.62mm) BSI CMOS
Lens : Samsung 24-240mm equivalent
Flash : Xenon Flash
Shooting Modes : Auto, Smart, Evert, My mode
Expert Modes : P, Custom, Manual
Smart modes : Landscape, Dawn, Snow, Macro, Foor, Party/Indoor, Action Freeze,
Rich tone (HDR), Panorama, Watafgl,Amnated Phott Drama,Eraser,
Sound and Shot,Silhoutte,Sunset, Night, Freworis Dist trace,
Smart Mode Suggest, Beauty Face, Best Photo, Continuous shot,
Best face, Kids shot
Shutter Speed : 16-1/2000sec
Aperture : f/3.1 and 1/8(W)cf/6.3 and 17.8(T)
Exposure comp : +/-2EV in 1/3 EV steps
Sensitivity range : ISO 100 to 3200
White Balance : Auto, Daylight, Cloudy,Fluorescent H,Fluorescent L
Incandescent, Preset, Kelvin
Metering modes : Matrix, Centre-weighted, Spot
Continuous Shooting : 4 frames per second