Review: Samsung Galaxy S II – Cameraphone, Photography Tool

The best camera is the one you have on you. Increasingly that statement is referring to the smart phone in your pocket. It was because of this that I made my new phone decision based on the quality of the camera and the functionality the phone would offer relating to the photographs I would take with it. The answer, the Samsung Galaxy S II. Here is why it was the choice for me.

First, there are two things that one should know about me. I am not the most patient of people and I don’t always go with the flow. Both of these factors are reasons I picked the Samsung Galaxy S II over an iPhone 4. Having to sign a two year contract meant that I wanted the latest phone to hit our market. With rumours running wild of a new iPhone coming out later this year I know myself well enough that I would not be able to live with a choice to get the iPhone 4 now. I am also not patient enough to wait for a new iPhone perhaps and when I got the chance to test the Samsung Galaxy S II it appealed to my ‘don’t go with the flow’ attitude, particularly when there are so many people I know choosing to go with the iPhone flow.

The Camera

As a Blackberry user I was not excited by cellphone photography until I got to review the Nokia N8 a few months back. My Galaxy Tab had opened up the world of photo sharing possibilities on Android too so that it was a matter of time before I found a phone that would meet both of these needs.

The Samsung Galaxy S II won me over in my first day with it. I will admit that the Nokia N8 is a great camera phone and in terms of handling like a camera it still comes off tops, however the image quality difference is not significant enough for me to deal with the much smaller app selections for Nokia and an OS that was generally not that impressive enough to make me desire it as a daily use device.

I love the touch to focus functionality of the Galaxy S II and it is responsive enough for my style of photography with a phone, I really enjoy it. If there is one complaint I would have is that you cannot turn off the camera sound using the native camera application.

Photographic Tool

There are wonderful selections of applications for Android that make the device great as a photographic tool. Such apps include Golden Pic (which we reviewed some time back) that helps calculate the times in which you can have that amazing golden light and another app that is simply named Photo Tools which is a collection of… tools I guess, for calculation Depth of Field, Time Lapses, a Gray-card etc. I have also seen apps – though I have not tested them yet – that use your smart phone’s camera as an exposure meter.

Perhaps one of the most essential tools for me with the Galaxy S II (and admittedly all Android devices) is the easiness of sharing images to social networks directly or through apps like PicPlz. Another application that comes installed on the phone from Samsung (its not an Android Market app) is the Photo Editor which offers a ‘smart wand’ and ‘lasso’ selection tools allowing for far more flexible editing than I have experienced before on a mobile device, bar a laptop with Photoshop installed on it.

Picture using Pinhole camera in Retro Camera App for Android

Camera Apps

In the Android market there are numerous camera effect applications available. Some like Retro Camera will make your phone behave as though it was made by Lomo. There are other apps for improve camera functionality like Camera Advance as well.

These applications open up another world to your photography shooting and I find are a delight to use.


Okay, I got a little sidetracked perhaps by the apps but that is my point in a way. A phone like the Galaxy S II can be an ever evolving photographic tool. Using the WordPress app I update blogs on the go. I keep in touch using WhatsApp and Skype which now supports the Galaxy S II for video. Emailing, particularly if you have a Gmail account it’s a breeze and I have eliminated the duplication issues I was having with my Blackberry in my Calendar too. As a tool to stay in touch on social networks, document your days, photograph moments and all in all just have a great time, I can highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy S II. Its a great camera phone and photographer tool.

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