Samsung’s Galaxy S has almost twice the amount of camera features out of the box than any of its competitor’s currently on the market (Evo, Droid X, and iPhone 4). In this review of Samsung’s Galaxy S portfolio we will be covering every feature found across all 5 devices currently available to consumers (AT&T Captivate, T-Mobile Vibrant, Verizon Fascinate, Sprint Epic 4G, and the international version the I9000). Below you’ll find the main sections: Shooting Mode, Scene Mode, Camera Settings, System Settings, and finally our Wrap-up and thoughts on the software. We’ve added pictures of almost every feature to give you a sense of how they perform in real world scenarios and feel free to click on them to view larger sizes for a closer look at some of the exciting add-ons Samsung’s included in their already amazing device.
Before we get in to any of the main features, let’s first go over what the Camera display will look like when you start the app.
Since every Galaxy S device (except the Epic) has no physical camera button, you press the Camera Key as seen above to take a photo. Mode switches between Camera and Video Recording, while the box underneath Display Image is what the camera is currently focusing on. SCN gets you to the Scene Mode selection screen and the rectangle above that gets you to the Shooting Mode selection screen. While shooting you can keep track of how many pictures are remaining before you run out of memory and Image Viewer takes you to a slideshow of your pictures and gives you editing options as seen below.
Samsung(Android) has included a lot of convenient features in its Image Viewer app such as Share and Set As. Share will let you send the picture through most social sites, email accounts you have, or MMS. Set As will allow you to take that picture and put it as your wallpaper or add it as a Contact’s picture that comes up every time they call. More will take you to two more options: Delete and Send to Online Locker. That concludes the introduction to the Camera application, read on below for a more in depth look at all this super phone has to offer.
**A Samsung Captivate was used to take all the pictures and screenshots below. If a feature doesn’t list it, the picture was taken with the Superfine setting selected.
In Shooting Mode you’ll find great options to alter or combine images to create works of art. The features include: Single shot, Beauty, Smile shot, Continuous, Panorama, Vintage, Add me, Action shot, and Cartoon.
- Beauty Shot — adjusts the contrast to smooth facial features. The picture with the feature turned on is the top image and without on the bottom.
- Smile Shot — the camera focuses on the face if your subject. Once the camera detects the person’s smile, it takes the picture.
- Panorama — takes a landscape photo by taking an initial photo and then adding additional images to itself. The guide box lets you view the area where the second part of the panoramic picture should fall within.
- Continuous — takes a succession of consecutive photos by pressing and holding the Camera key. You can take up to 9 shots and to save space on the page we inserted shots 1, 4 and 9 below to give you an idea of what this feature is like. It is similar to a burst shot feature found on cameras and takes a picture about every .5 seconds.
- Vintage — gives your photo a vintage look (hazy around the edges). Touch the icon in the lower left corner of the display screen to choose a Normal, Warm, Cool, or Mono effect.
- Add Me — combines people with existing background. Touch the screen to pick which side of the screen to focus on and then press the camera key. After that focus on a background and press the camera key a second time to complete the shot.
Scene Mode changes the lighting, contrast, saturation, sharpness, focus, and other settings to fit a certain place, time of day, or type of picture. The modes include: Portrait, Landscape, Night, Sports, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dawn, Fall Color, Fireworks, Text, Candlelight, and Backlight. Examples of the types of situations you would use each mode in and the corresponding descriptions can be found below.
When talking about the Scene and Shooting modes earlier, these are the options that all those modes change in order to get the desired effect. For all basic users the main features you want to pay attention to below are: Focus Mode, Resolution, Effects, Anti-Shake, Blink Detection, and Image Quality. For everybody else, you can find all the other features to tweak and set in order to get the perfect shot.
- Focus Mode — Auto Focus is what you want to be using most of the time. Macro is for when you want the camera to focus on objects less than 2 feet away. Finally if you’re at an important event and want to make sure everyone looks their best, turn on face detection to make the camera more accurately focus on faces you see in the viewfinder.
- Auto Focus
- Face Detection
- Timer — This causes the camera to take a picture at the time increment you set AFTER you press the Camera key.
- 2 seconds
- 5 seconds
- 10 seconds
- Resolution — This is where you can set the quality of your photos. The higher the quality the more space they take up so keep that in mind if you want to take a lot of pictures.
- White Balance — This feature compensates for color differences found within different lighting conditions.
- Effect — You can apply different effects onto your images with these options.
- Negative — Will make your picture look like a film negative.
- Black and White — takes a picture in greyscale.
- Sepia — takes a picture with a brown tint to it.
- ISO — This will set your camera’s sensitivity to light. Use a higher ISO setting in lower or darker lighting conditions for the best effect.
- Metering — this determines the way in which the camera determines the exposure.
- Anti-Shake — to help prevent blurriness due to normal movements and shaking while taking the picture.
- Blink Detection — detects people who are blinking and warns you to not take the picture yet.
- Image Quality — allows you to set the image quality (remember the higher the quality the more memory each picture will take up). Here are examples of the effect each option has on your shots: Normal Fine Superfine . In all the pictures below, the top picture was taken on the W0.4M setting and the bottom picture was taken on the 2M setting to show you what each feature looks like at low and hi resolution.
- Adjust — allows you to adjust the Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness of the picture.
- Guidelines — allows you to turn guidelines on or off.
- Review — allows you to activate the instant review feature where images are displayed immediately after taking a picture for review.
- 2 Seconds for Camera mode
- GPS — allows you to turn the camera’s Geotagging feature on or off (remember this uses more battery turned on). Geotagging is adding the location of where the picture is taken and attaching it to the picture (only available in camera mode).
- Shutter Sound — allows you to set the Shutter sound to 3 different shutter sounds or the option to turn the sound off.
- Sound 1, Sound 2, or Sound 3
- Storage — allows you to set where the pictures are stored: either the memory card or the phone.
- Reset — allows you to reset all camera and camcorder settings.
As you can see the Samsung Galaxy S is a power house out of the gate, and is the most consumer friendly device currently on the market in terms of camera features. If you’re used to using point and shoot cameras and want to combine those features with a phone, the Galaxy S is your best bet at accomplishing that goal. We would also recommend this phone to anyone who wants to ease into the smartphone universe because of its simple menus and easy to understand set of features.