In the rivalry between compact cameras and advanced smartphones the latter are steadily eating away the market from the former as integrated cameras are developed there is a promising third force – compact cameras based on advanced smartphones. The Coolpix S800c is exactly that: the first Android camera with all the features you expect.
16 MP 25-250 10x 3.5″ $430
The fundamental difference, apart from the fact that amateur photographers increasingly forget their compact cameras at home but always take their mobile ones with them, is in the functionality of the systems. Traditional cameras benefit from specialization: larger sensors provide better image quality, lenses offer a convenient optical zoom, richer general and control, and photography-focused functionality. Smartphones are taking their versatility, convenience and unlimited possibilities to expand: new programs of third-party developers offer users the functionality that the creators of the device could not even imagine. Not to mention full-fledged built-in browsers and access to online services and social networks of interest to the particular user.
These factors explain both the difficulty of combining the two principles the idea itself has been floating around since the advent of mobile platforms . The general purpose operating system and general purpose processor are good for programs, but are much less effective for specialized imaging and processing tasks. It’s also unclear what happens if third-party apps get access to the complex tech stuffing. And the simplification of cameras in smartphones is not due to greed or stupidity of manufacturers: high quality is achieved in a large volume, and the thick and heavy phone – clearly not the cherished dream of buyers.
With the Coolpix S800c, developers have tried to combine all the strengths and challenges of the systems. Technically speaking, the result is a decent compact phone with a 10x optical zoom, backlit matrix, gesture control, Full HD video recording, a decent amount of internal memory 1.7 GB and a slot for SD or SDHC cards. Instead of its own operating system the device runs Android 2.3 nothing is known yet about the possibility of upgrading to a new version and offers the usual functionality of modern smartphones and tablets. Connection to Wi-Fi networks, installation of programs from Android Play, determination of coordinates by satellites. In other words, you can process the finished pictures in mobile Photoshop and immediately publish them in an online album or social networking site to your liking, and in the meantime check your email or plot a route to the next shooting spot.
The device is far from perfect and has many obvious and non-obvious flaws. The Coolpix S800c has a battery life of only 140 shots, according to the specs. But, first of all, it’s an experiment, an attempt to understand how cameras of the near future might be built at all secondly, lovers of advanced gadgets definitely shouldn’t be stopped by the flaws: if you’re about to buy a modern camera with a touchscreen, wireless connections and GPS, you will certainly want a popular platform at least for the sake of the browser, maps and other applications. Instagram on a real camera – isn’t that the future? You can play games too.