Conlusion - The Good

  • Fast operation and almost non-existent shutter-lag
  • Fast AF
  • Reliable focus and metering
  • Good quality HD video
  • Comprehensive imaging feature set
  • Manual control over ISO and exposure compensation
  • Efficient HDR mode
  • Customizable camera app UI
  • Good array of retouching options in the Gallery app
  • 4.8 inch screen great for composing images
  • New image sharing options

Conclusion - The Bad

  • No physical shutter-button
  • Strong noise reduction and sharpening create 'mushy' low-contrast detail
  • Soft low-light images
  • Slightly unintuitive menu structure
  • Lack of shutter speed indication limits usefulness of manual ISO capability
  • Unreliable white balance when using flash in mixed light situations

Overall Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S III is Samsung's current flagship smartphone running Android 4.0 and as such an overall very responsive and user friendly device. In our review we are focusing on the S III's imaging capabilities and while in terms of camera hardware the S III is not a massive step forward from its predecessor, the S II, the camera app comes with a few new features including burst shooting, an HDR mode, more filter effects and sharing options which makes the S III's imaging feature set one of the more comprehensive ones among its rivals. You can even customize some of the user interface and make sure your most frequently accessed shooting parameters are easily accessible. The device is stylish and very thin and the only real criticism we have of the user interface is the lack of a physical shutter button which makes it difficult to hold in the phone in a totally stable way at the point of capture.

In terms of image quality the S III is not quite on the same level as the best in class. At all sensitivities it uses a lot of both noise reduction and sharpening which results in a mushy appearance of low-contrast detail in good light images and fairly unattractive 'noise-blotching' and soft images at higher ISOs. That said, exposure and white balance in natural light are usually spot on and the S III's image output is perfectly good for typical mobile imaging applications such as sharing on social networks or playing with effect apps such as Instagram.Things get ugly once you engage the digital zoom this is common to most phone cameras.

With a maximum ISO of 1600 and a fairly weak LED flash the S III quickly reaches its limits in low-light scenarios but it is no different to most of its peers in this respect. Overall, the Samsung S III offers the mobile photographer a great screen for composing images, very responsive operation and a comprehensive feature set but the iPhone 5 and the Nokia 808, currently have the edge in terms of image quality, with better low-contrast detail and in the case of the Nokia also noticeably better dynamic range.

The Final Word

The Samsung Galaxy S III is in many respects one of the currently most advanced smartphones and fun to use as a phone and as a camera. The Samsung is very responsive and allows for burst shooting and very fast shot-to-shot times. The camera app offers a very comprehensive feature set with an efficient HDR mode and a partly customizabe user interface but the image quality is not quite up with the best in class. It's perfectly adequate for web-use and online sharing but if pixel-level quality is critical to you the class-leading Nokia 808 and (to a lesser degree) the iPhone 5 are currently the better bet.

DXOMark Mobile Score
72

DXOMark Image Quality Assessment

The Galaxy S3 achieves a good DxO Mark score of 72 which is means it is trailing very slightly behind the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and HTC One X in our list of the best smartphone cameras.

Image results in bright light are very good, with pleasant colors and good detail. In lower light fine detail suffers significantly due to strong noise reduction. Flash performance is generally good and the AF is very quick and consistently accurate.

In video mode, the Galaxy S3 captures good quality footage in bright light, but the continuous AF can cause "lens breathing" and image stabilization does not manage to compensate for walking motion." A lot of noise becomes visible in lower light, too. For a more detailed analysis, visit www.dxomark.com.
Photo Mobile Score 73   Video Mobile Score 71
Exposure and Contrast 75   Exposure and Contrast 88
Color 76   Color 83
Autofocus 81   Autofocus 61
Texture 63   Texture 59
Noise 64   Noise 59
Photo Artifacts 77   Video Artifacts 85
Flash 81   Stabilization 48
Samsung Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3)
Category: Mobile Phone
Camera and Photo Features
Screen Quality
Ergonomics and Handling
Video Quality
Still Image Quality
Speed and Responsiveness
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The Samsung Galaxy S III is a great smartphone with a comprehensive imaging feature set including a customizable camera user interface, manual control over white balance, exposure compensation and various digital filters and effects. Operation is very quick with a responsive AF and very fast shot-to-shot times but the S3 lacks a physical shutter button and fine image detail in low light not quite up with the best in class.
73%
Overall score

Sample Gallery

There are 32 images in our Samsung Galaxy S3 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution.