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August 29th 2013 11:29 am

What do you think about smart cameras?

I feel like they've been around for a while, but I haven't paid much attention to them. Samsung's just announced the pricing of the Galaxy NX, $1699 with a 18-55mm lens, and its availability in October. It seems like the consensus is a preference for a "traditional" DSLR, especially for that price range. I agree and the main reason is that I've always preferred a no-frills camera with the ability to add features if I need them. That modularity is appealing to me, i.e. I can purchase an Eye-Fi card and transfer wireless functionality to a wide array of cameras. Having said that, I've never owned/used a camera with WiFi or GPS built-in, so I'm interested to see some responses supporting that position as well.

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I use a Nikon Coolpix P520, which replaces the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 that I adored. They both have built-in GPS modules. I used it in the Panasonic, but on the Nikon it takes too much of a toll on the already weak battery life, and while shooting with the Panasonoc, I didn't yet know what sort of applicationand benefit the GPS gives me, or what to even do with the recorded data.
Wi-Fi could be very applicable to me. I find myself transferring my travel photos to my iPhone and iPad very often, and since I'm not sure about Eye-Fi compatibility with my camera (different sources say different stuff), it takes way too many steps to be considered convenient.
The Galaxy NX in particular seems like a very promising camera in desparate need of a price cut. It's a tiny body in disguise: don't let the generously-sized grip and top-mounted EVF fool you - it's a small camera. If you look at it from the bottom, for example, you'll see how thin it is, and according to reviews, it feels very premium and solid without being heavy.
$1,500 can net you a Nkon D7100 with a longer kit lens (18-105, as opposed to 18-55) - possibly the best cropped-sensor DSLR, beating every mirrorless camera from a pure image quality standpoint. $1,099 will get you a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 + 14-42mm kit, one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market paired with a superior lens to Samsung's and basically every other kit lens, while also being more than modestly connected. Even Samsung's own NX300 performs pretty much as well as the Galaxy NX does, yet omits the Android platform for a wireless connectivity option that's second only to Android, and also neglects the EVF, but in a fraction of the price - around a third, in fact.
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I'm curious as to what the setup is like for Wi-Fi enabled cameras. I'm assuming it takes a similar amount of time/effort. For Eye-Fi, you'd have to install the respective apps for desktop/mobile and plug the SD card into a laptop to configure where to transfer photos among other settings. The newer generation Eye-Fi cards (Mobi) make this process easier by removing the laptop as a requirement. After all the setup, the great advantage is that I can insert the card into any compatible camera and transfer photos. I have a Nikon D5000 and Canon Powershot S100 that I use for different occasions.
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