The Samsung Galaxy Camera NX has me scratching my head. On one hand, I love mobile technology, so having Android on a camera always seemed like a neat way to shoot, edit and share photos on the fly. On the other hand, I really love photography, so taking photos with better quality than a smartphone really matters to me. You'd think that with the two of these combined, I'd be saving up all my pennies for the Samsung Galaxy Camera NX, but I have no interest in it whatsoever. Why?
To start, it's hard to say who this camera is for. The image quality on the Samsung Galaxy Camera was pretty good, but not so great that I would've chosen it over, say, a Canon S110. The Galaxy Camera NX has Android, which is really cool for those who love Android and Google's services, but does the mobile platform really need to be on a camera? Lastly, there is cost. I can imagine the Galaxy Camera NX being on the more expensive size given its feature set and its lens interchangeability.
I really like Android. My daily phone is an HTC One, and that has a little 4MP camera on it. Most of the photos I shoot on my HTC One end up on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. I've never considered printing any photo shot on the HTC One, nor do I intend anyone to view full, 4MP-sized images online, either. Image quality is good enough for the web, good enough for sharing and good enough for snapshots I take every single day. I can shoot photos, edit the photos a little in Snapseed, then send the photo on its way to my social networks. It's easy.
When I want to take better photos, perhaps ones with better dynamic range, image quality or varying depth of field, I use my DSLR. My Nikon D600 has excellent image quality, and is far more capable than any smartphone camera in existence. If I'm printing a photo, or delivering high-resolution files to a client, I am definitely going to pick up my D600 over my iPhone 5 or HTC One.
Between my Nikon D600 and HTC One, what use would I have for a Galaxy Camera NX?
If you're looking for a camera that produces decent image quality and can take a variety of lenses, you're probably better off buying a low-end or entry-level DSLR or a mid-to-high range mirrorless camera. Chances are, those cameras will have better image quality than the Galaxy Camera NX. But if you're looking to take really nice pictures to share online or with friends and family (hence the LTE capabilities on the Samsung Galaxy Camera NX), I promise you that the camera on your smartphone is good enough. If you end up sharing a photo that's 800 pixels wide online or on your phone, no one will be able to tell the difference between an iPhone photo or a Fuji X100S, for example.
It's really hard to tell what Samsung is trying to accomplish with this camera, or the market it's trying to create or satisfy. When I think of a non-smartphone or non-tablet with Android on it, I immediately think that having Android on the device is just a gimmick or selling point. Then again, part of me thinks that Samsung created the Galaxy Camera NX just becaues it could -- just like it can create an array of smartphones and tablets that come in nearly every screen size imaginable.
In most cases, I'd never steer anyone away from buying something unless it's a totally crappy or outdated product. However, I'd urge you to think really hard about whether the Galaxy Camera NX is for you. If you're taking lots of high-quality photos that might require different focal lengths, and you need to edit and send them out right away, perhaps this just might be the camera for you. In fact, if you're a professional photojournalist and you need to get good images to your editor as news breaks, I couldn't think of a better camera. But if you're a casual photographer, your smartphone is more than just fine. And if you're looking for a camera system that has interchangeable lenses and excellent image quality, you should consider a brand that has tons of lenses to choose from (like Nikon or Canon).
If you think I'm totally out of my mind and that the Samsung Galaxy Camera NX is the greatest thing since sliced bread, let me know why! I'd love to hear why you think this is going to replace your current camera system, or why it might steer you from investing in a dedicated imaging system that wouldn't otherwise have Android. On the other hand, if you agree that the Galaxy Camera NX fits an odd and small niche market, and that image quality isn't as great as proper mirrorless or DSLR cameras, let your voice be heard! Viva la resolution!