Samsung replaces the compact, releases a zoomable cameraphone

In the next few years, we’ll be lucky to see tiny cameras around, what with the higher quality of cameras inside smartphones, and adding another nail to that coffin is a new model from Samsung with optical zoom.

It’s basically the area smartphone cameras generally fail at, and the idea of zoom in a camera phone usually means blowing things up digitally, with pixelated images all around.

Nokia tried to come up with a different solution in the Lumia 1020, introducing a 40 megapixel sensor that could be cropped down to five or eight megapixels for a few levels of zoom, but a product from Samsung aims to improve upon the research found in last year’s Android-based Galaxy Camera.

The new gadget marks another entry in the Galaxy range and comes in the form of Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 Zoom, a pint-sized variant with a smaller screen dropping from the Full HD 5 inch in the S4 to a quarter-HD 4.3 inch handset.

Connectivity includes 3G and 4G LTE (Category 3), as well as Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, GPS, and Near-Field Communication, the latter of which was missing on the first Galaxy Camera.

Samsung is also dropping the processor tech inside a bit, with a stumble from a quad-core chip to a dual-core model, with 1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (5GB available) and a microSD slot, and Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean.”

One reason why the inside tech might not be as strong is to make way for the camera, with a 16 megapixel sensor included in this, higher than the 13 megapixel of the S4, and featuring an actual optical zoom, running at 10x and equivalent to 24-240mm in the 35mm format.

Basically, it’s a camera snapped to the back of a miniature S4, and Samsung is pushing hard on the fact that this is a camera, with ISO ranging from 100 to 3200, 4 frames per second continuous shooting, manual modes, and Full HD video shooting.

“It is exciting to see a product come into the Australian market that allows users to experience a Galaxy smartphone with the benefits of Samsung’s camera technology,” said Craig Gillespie, Samsung Australia’s Head of Digital Imaging.

“The Galaxy S4 Zoom’s ability to capture high quality images can turn quick snaps into precious photos that can be kept, printed and shared for years to come.”

Pricing for Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom is from $699, with availability in Samsung stores and retail partner from next week, though no telcos have signed this handset up from launch.