I'm curious as to what folks think has been the best camera released in 2012.
What(model) and why. What is it about the camera that makes is a step forward compared to it's peers and previous gen model.
For me the humble Samsung Galaxy Camera just pips the D800E, as the camera that has changed the way we (may) use our cameras.
While the Nikon coolpix s800 was the first Android based camera to market, it only has Android 2.3, and there are (or may be) some apps that require later versions of Android(than 2.3).
The SGC uses the latest version of Android v4.1.1 and is a cinch to use. Has all the features that the impatient Gen Y will ever need and can be used for many other purposes as well.
The only misgiving that this SGC instills is about the ultimate quality of the images it will produce.
But even with that flaw, the use of a smart OS on a camera is definitely the turning point I thought it would be, as will allow infinite possibility when it comes to creating images.
All that's needed now is for the smart programmer types to start producing apps that leverage the hardware to it's fullest extent.
What this reminded me of was a post by William recently about uploading firmware to the 50D to allow it to capture video.
The work involved in backward engineering a proprietary operating system seems to be a huge task, evidenced by the Nikonhacker group I've been following.
Whereas it seems that Canon's operating system was either easier to reverse engineer, or that the community involved is much larger.
Either way, having a smart and open operating system on the camera negates this need to hack and conquer.
The point is that all that's needed is an app to take advantage of stuff not originally taken advantage of by the manufacturer, not a wholesale rewrite of the entire system.
In a sense this is already done in the form of a few apps already available and the example I'll use is Camera FV-5 but there are many others too, it's just that this is the one I tried.
This Camera FV-5 gives an Android or iOS camera more DSLR like control interface rather than the basic point and shoot interface.
While the SGC comes with a 'full manual' control interface as a native option, the way it works is more annoying that helpful, so an app like FV-5 assists if this is important to the operator.
Basically the idea is that the camera becomes extensible, you can add or remove features as required .. there is no compulsion to install apps but the option to do so is what's important!
While the Android system is nowhere near as quick to react/respond as a DSLR is(or possibly ever will be) I'd expect that the processing power will be much greater in a DSLR based body than a small underpowered P&S.
I've experienced a few mid to low end P&S cameras, and the SGC feels at least as fast, maybe even zippier to respond. Shutter lag is negligible to fast, and AF is quite nippy too .. of course nothing liek a good DSLR and good lens, but as good or better than any P&S.
The other camera that came to mind as a candidate for one of the best cameras for 2012 is also the D600, whilst still a bit more expensive that it should be, it's a turning point for Nikon at least in that we now have a cheap full frame option, if that was important to a Nikon devotee.
But of course again, it has to be seen in context of how the camera has changed the target market segment.
Years before the D600 came the Sony A850, which ushered in the age of a cheap/affordable full frame camera(for some of us the full frame format was important).
So, the D600 didn't really break any new ground, or won't be looked back fondly as a camera that changed it's market .. the Sony A850 will be!
D800 changed the market significantly for this particular year, and may well become the catalyst for a new Mp race between the big two or three manufacturers .. I'm sure Canon won't be sitting back thinking a 30Mp camera is where it's at in two years time .. 45Mp will be the minimum required marketing hype .. and so it will go again.
Ha the Nikon s800 used Android 4.1, as the Samsung does, I may have been inclined to go for that model in preference, but then again the massive 5" screen on the Samsung is also a compelling advantage.
So in a sense this best camera laurel goes just as equally to the Nikon as it does the Samsung, it's just that the Samsung was slightly better marketed.
I can't imagine the target market being too concerned about absolute image quality performance, and I'll bet that the Nikon produces better IQ, but the all round packaging of the Samsung, and it's eventual ease of usage is what places it ahead of the rest of the pack for 2012.
Curious as to what others think a great camera released in 2012, and why ... even if they don't own that particular model.