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Review: Samsung Focus Flash for AT&T

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The Focus Flash — and all Windows Phone devices — will launch the camera when you press the camera button, even if the phone is locked and asleep.

There's a box that appears in the center of the screen to help with centering the shot. Basic controls to access zoom and the video camera are stacked on right side of the display. The Focus Flash offers a lot of tools for controlling the camera, including the ISO, metering, photo quality/resolution, white balance, and so on.

The Focus Flash has touch-to-focus, and will focus on whatever you touch in the viewfinder. It focuses really fast. But don't get too excited.

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There's no software shutter release. The problem is that using the physical button includes autofocus, so it refocuses the camera, and it might focus on something other than what you want it to. It sort of negates the purpose of the touch-to-focus feature.

Once images are captured, they slide to the side, with a thin edge still visible; touching that takes you to the gallery app.


The Pictures Hub is a great way to treat photo galleries. Your own photos are stored in one place, but the Pictures Hub also syncs the photos shared by your Facebook friends.

The Pictures Hub is all about sharing. It lets you easily upload images to Facebook, SkyDrive (Microsoft's photo upload service), Flickr, or send them along via MMS or email.

There's no way to edit pictures in the native gallery app other than using the "auto-enhancer" tool. All this does is fix exposure, white balance, color, etc. You can't crop or rotate, and you have no control over how the auto-enhancer works. It does its thing, and you either have to take it or leave it.

However, you'll find salvation in the Photo Studio application. This separate app is a rich photo editor that lets you do all sorts of crazy things to your pictures. Editing features are vast, and include crop, rotate, fix brightness, fix contrast, fix color, etc. It works with the pictures you've taken with the Focus Flash itself, but not those in your Facebook folder (it will share directly to Facebook, Picasa, and other web services, though).

Even more interesting, the Photo Studio software can act as a camera and lets you apply a lot of effects to shots as you take them. For example, you can pick panorama mode for wide vistas, or "plus:me"” to add yourself to existing photos, and so on. It's a neat tool that bolsters the Focus Flash's otherwise stock camera.

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