DxOMark Mobile Report: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Summary

The Galaxy S6 edge+ is an enlarged version of its smaller cousin Galaxy S6 edge and uses the same hardware in the camera department. A 1/2.6-inch 16MP CMOS sensor is combined with a fast F1.9 aperture and an optical image stabilization system. In video mode the camera is capable of recording 4K footage and the OIS is supported by a new and improved digital stabilization algorithm.

With a DxOMark Mobile score of 87 the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ achieves the same score as the Sony Xperia Z5 and takes a joint number one spot in the DxOMark smartphone rankings. During testing the DxOMark team liked the "very good detail preservation in outdoor conditions, very good white balance and the good exposure behavior and color rendering". When shooting with flash images showed "good exposure, good detail preservation and low noise levels". Without additional light sources white balance and color preservation in flash captures was good as well. On the downside, "strong ringing is visible, slight noise is noticeable in all conditions and some pictures show slight aliasing". 

In video mode the DxO team liked the "very high level of detail in bright light conditions, good exposure and color rendering, good tracking and good autofocus behavior". However, footage also showed a "visible loss of detail in lowlight condition" and "temporal luminance noise is visible on edge transitions". Testers also noted "jitter artifacts with indoor walking movement" and that the autofocus is "slightly slow at scene change detection in low light conditions".

Still Photography

Color, Exposure and Contrast

The DxOMark team found that the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ images showed "good exposure and dynamic range and very good white balance transition in bright light". Testers also noted "vivid, pleasant and realistic colors in all conditions". However, "in very bright scenes some highlights are clipped" and "very slight color shading is visible under low tungsten light".

Overall DxOMark awarded the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ scores of:

  • 4.6 out of 5 for Exposure
  • 4.7 out of 5 for White Balance accuracy
  • 4.3 out of 5 for Color shading in low light*
  • 4.5 out of 5 for Color shading in bright light*
  • 3.0 out of 5 for Color Rendering in low light
  • 4.5 out of 5 for Color Rendering in bright light

*Color Shading is the nasty habit cellphone cameras have of rendering different areas of the frame with different color shifts, resulting in pictures with, for example, pinkish centers and greenish corners.

Noise and Details

DxOMark's engineers reported that the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ images show "very good detail preservation in outdoor conditions" but there is also "some noise noticeable in all conditions".

Texture Acutance

Texture acutance is a way of measuring the ability of a camera to capture images that preserve fine details, particularly the kind of low contrast detail (such as fine foliage, hair or fur) that can be blurred away by noise reduction or obliterated by excessive sharpening.

Sharpness is an important part of the quality of an image, but while it's easy to look at an image and decide visually whether it's sharp or not, the objective measurement of sharpness is less straightforward.

An image can be defined as "sharp" if edges are sharp and if fine details are visible. In-camera processing means that it's possible to have one of these (sharp edges) but not the other (fine details). Conventional MTF measurements tell us how sharp an edge is, but have drawbacks when it comes to measuring fine detail preservation. Image processing algorithms can detect edges and enhance their sharpness, but they can also find homogeneous areas and smooth them out to reduce noise.

Texture acutance, on the other hand, can qualify sharpness in terms of preservation of fine details, without being fooled by edge enhancement algorithms.

A dead leaf pattern is designed to measure texture acutance. It's obtained by drawing random shapes that occlude each other in the plane, like dead leaves falling from a tree. The statistics of this model follow the distribution statistics in natural images.

In this example from a DSLR without edge enhancement, sharpness seems equal on edge and on texture. Many details are visible in the texture.

In this second example, edges have been digitally enhanced, and the edge looks over sharp, with visible processing halos ("ringing"). On the texture part, many details have disappeared.

At first sight, the images from these two cameras may appear equally sharp. A sharpness measurement on edges will indeed confirm this impression, and will even show that the second camera is sharper. But a closer examination of low contrasted textures shows that the first camera has better preservation of fine details than the second. The purpose of the texture acutance measurement is to qualify this difference.

Note: Acutance is a single value metric calculated from a MTF result. Acutance is used to assess the sharpness of an image as viewed by the human visual system, and is dependent on the viewing conditions (size of image, size of screen or print, viewing distance). Only the values of texture acutance are given here. The measurements are expressed as a percentage of the theoretical maximum for the chosen viewing condition. The higher the score, the more details can be seen in an image. 
 
For all DxOMark Mobile data presented on connect.dpreview.com we're only showing 8MP equivalent values, which gives us a level playing field for comparison between smartphone cameras with different megapixel values by normalizing all to 8MP (suitable for fairly large prints). DxOMark also offers this data for lower resolution use-cases (web and onscreen). For more information on DxOMark's testing methodology and acutance measurements please visit the website at www.dxomark.com.
Luminance texture acutance slightly improves under daylight illumination. 
In terms of texture acutance the S6 edge+ leads the pack at almost all light levels.

Edge Acutance

Edge acutance is a measure of edge sharpness in images captured by the phone's camera. Again we're only looking at the most demanding of the three viewing conditions that DxOMark reports on - the 8MP equivalent.
In terms of edge acutance the S6 edge+ plus is a level above the competition at all light levels.  
There is only a slight loss in edge acutance as light levels go down.

Visual Noise

Visual noise is a value designed to assess the noise in an image as perceived by the human visual system, depending on the viewing condition (size of image, size of screen or print, viewing distance). The measurements have no units and can be simply viewed as the weighted average of noise standard deviation for each channel in the CIE L*a*b* color space. The lower the measurement, the less noise in the image.

Noise levels are low at all light levels.  
The Samsung's measured noise levels are lower than the competition in all conditions. 

Noise and Detail Perceptual scoring

DxOMark engineers don't just point camera phones at charts, they also take and analyze scores of real-world shots and score them accordingly. Their findings for the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ are:

Natural scene

  • Texture (bright light): 4.8 out of 5
  • Texture (low light): 3.6 out of 5
  • Noise (bright light): 4.0 out of 5
  • Noise (low light) 3.9 out of 5
Bright light sample shot
100% crop: fine detail is visible
100% crop: some noise is noticeable
Low light (20 Lux) studio shot
100% crop: some luminance noise is visible but the S6 edge+performs well compared to the competition.
100% crop: good detail preservation but some very fine detail is being lost.

Artifacts

Phone cameras, like entry-level compact cameras, tend to suffer from artifacts such as sharpening halos, color fringing, vignetting (shading) and distortion, which can have an impact on the visual appeal of the end result. DxOMark engineers measure and analyze a range of artifacts. Their findings after testing the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ are shown below:

  • Strong ringing is visible
  • Slight aliasing is noticeable in some pictures
  • Blue sky saturation is sometimes noticeable
  • Some slight color fringing
100% crop: strong ringing is visible on some edges

Perceptual Scores

  • Sharpness 4.1 out of 5
  • Color fringing 3.7 out of 5

Measured findings

  • Ringing center 17.3%
  • Ringing corner 10.9%
  • Max geometric distortion -0.4%
  • Luminance shading 11.8%

Distortion and Chromatic Aberrations

The graph shows the magnification from center to edge (with the center normalized to 1). The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ shows a slight pincushion distortion, which you are not going to notice in normal photography.
Some lateral chromatic aberration is noticeable in high contrast scenes. 

Autofocus

DxOMark also tests autofocus accuracy and reliability by measuring how much the acutance - or sharpness - varies with each shot over a series of 30 exposures (defocusing then using the autofocus for each one). As with other tests these results are dependent on the viewing conditions (a little bit out of focus matters a lot less with a small web image than a full 8MP shot viewed at 100%). Using the 8MP equivalent setting, the Galaxy S6 edge+ puts in an excellent performance. The overall score is 93/100 in bright light and 91/100 in low light.

Pros: 

  • Fast and accurate autofocus in all conditions

Cons: 

  • Some instabilities in preview
  • Slight overshoot in preview
Autofocus repeatability - average acutance difference with best focus: low light 5.18%, bright light 5.41%

Flash

Like most high-end smartphones the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ comes with a dual-LED flash for better color balance. DxOMark scored the camera 86/100 overall for its flash performance. 

Pros: 

  • Good exposure, detail preservation and white balance
  • Low noise levels
  • Good color preservation without additional light sources 

Cons:

  • When flash is mixed with tungsten light white balance turns yellow
  • Slight white balance instabilites are noticeable with additional light sources

Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Photo: 87 / 100


Video Capture

DxOMark engineers put phone cameras through a similarly grueling set of video tests, and you can read their full findings on the DxOMark website here. Overall, DxOMark found the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ video footage to very good detail in bright light, good detail and pleasant colors.  However, there is visibly less detail in lower light and walking while recording can cause a noticeable jitter effect.

Pros: 

  • Very high levels of detail in bright light
  • Good exposure and color rendering
  • Good tracking
  • Good autofocus behavior

Cons: 

  • Visible loss of detail in low light
  • Temporal luminance noise visible on edge transitions
  • Jitter artifacts noticeable with indoor walking motion
  • Autofocus is slightly slow to detect scene changes in low light

Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Video: 85 / 100

DXOMark Mobile Score
87

DXOMark Image Quality Assessment

With a DxOMark Mobile score of 87 the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ is the new new joint number one in the DxOMark smartphone rankings, sharing the top spot with the Sony Xperia Z5.

The DxOMark team liked the very good detail in bright light, reliable exposure and pleasant colors. They also noted low noise levels in all lighting conditions. Visible ringing and aliasing in some images are a couple of minor negatives.  

Video footage also shows very good detail in bright light and the testers liked the reliable tracking and generally good autofocus performance. On the downside, there is a noticeable loss of detail in lower light and jitter artifacts can occur when walking during recording  For a more detailed analysis, visit www.dxomark.com.

Photo Mobile Score 87   Video Mobile Score 85
Exposure and Contrast 90   Exposure and Contrast 87
Color 86   Color 83
Autofocus 92   Autofocus 88
Texture 90   Texture 83
Noise 86   Noise 89
Photo Artifacts 76   Video Artifacts 89
Flash 86   Stabilization 79