After shooting Robbie Williams live at the O2 Arena using the Samsung Galaxy Camera, photographer Simon Niblett tells us why the world’s first Android™ camera is a step ahead of the game and part of the next revolution.
Being surrounded by 18,000 screaming Robbie Williams fans is just another day at the office for Simon Niblett. However, capturing professional shots with a camera that not only comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 21x super long zoom and 3G/Wi-Fi connectivity but also fits in your pocket, is a definite ‘first’ for any photographer.
‘When I first picked up the camera and I saw that it said 21x zoom, I thought – “that can’t be right”’, Simon says. ‘Normally this just means that it zooms in on the picture file, so I was surprised to see the size and power of the lens.’
Simon usually shoots using more traditional methods, with three cameras and a host of lenses. ‘To have such a long lens with this type of camera is not what I’m used to, but the quality of the picture is amazing - I don’t know how they do it.’
Simon’s experience extends to a variety of disciplines, from shooting celebrities like Robbie Williams, which he’s been doing for 15 years, to extreme National Geographic projects, shot in some of the world’s most remote locations. So it can be said that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to cameras and all things related.
Simon continues to explore the camera, trying out new features like the wireless connectivity. “The ability to send pictures so easily makes this a really clever piece of equipment. It's a shame I can't also make phone calls from it.’
Capturing someone as active as Robbie on a circular stage, as they have at the O2, is not an easy job says Simon. “You run around to one side of the stage and as soon as you get there, Robbie’s moved back to the other side.” However, Simon soon discovered a way of photographing Robbie’s energetic performance.
“It has very fast focus, which was good for the concert as he [Robbie] doesn’t keep still,” Simon says. “Standard handheld cameras do have automatic focus, but with this [Galaxy Camera] it’s great, you hit exactly where you want to focus and it does it very quickly. “The other major obstacle Simon has at any concert is lighting. ‘The Image Stabilisation feature is a major bonus. It means shooting in lower light is possible. With so many set changes, handheld cameras usually don’t really know what’s happening most of the time, but the Galaxy Camera was great.’
One of the major new features on the Galaxy Camera is definitely the operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It brings enhanced functionality to the world of photography. “I think having a camera with such an advanced operating system is the way to go. It's like a camera with a computer attached to it,” Simon says.
“From a post-production point of view, it is very rare to find a camera with so many tools, normally you can just add the odd basic effect, but this makes a proper job of it.” Simon edited photos from the gig on the Galaxy Camera’s touch screen, using apps such as Best Face and Photo Wizard.
Best Face mode is amazing. Normally I would spend hours editing a set of pictures to get one that’s right. As you know, in every group picture there is always one face that’s not right, with Best Face, you just quickly find the ones you want and it’s done - that’s a very clever thing.”
This level of integration is not a reality for most cameras. With Android OS, cameras now have quick and easy access to tools and apps you wouldn’t normally have on your camera. This includes everything from creative apps like Instagram to games like Angry Birds.
‘That’s where the revolution is. You don’t really need a computer when you have one of these (Galaxy Camera). That’s the future; you take a picture, you edit on your camera, you send it off, and it’s job done.’
Last night I edited some shots on the camera and then simply used Wi-Fi to send them to my laptop. That's great.
When asked if he would prefer to have this level of connectivity, Simon says, ‘Nobody prints anymore, camera requirements have changed, no one even knows about printing. Everything is on your computer now, so yeah, definitely.
To view Simon’s photos from the O2 Arena, simple visit the exclusive gallery in Facebook and see the Galaxy Camera’s amazing results.