Samsung Galaxy S3 Camera Review
Like most smartphones the Galaxy S3's camera is geared towards 'point-and-shoot' operation and all you need to do to capture an image after launching the camera app is press the shutter button. You can also change and/or lock the focus point by tapping and/holding a specific point on the screen. For many users these will be the only controls they ever use on a smartphone and that's totally fine.
However, for those who like to play with options and functions the Samsung Galaxy S III's camera app has a much more comprehensive feature set than its stock Android equivalent. Many of the features we know from digital compact cameras but by smartphone standards the Galaxy S3's camera comes with a comprehensive feature set.
In addition to the features described in more detail below it is worth mentioning the Samsung also offers a range of scene modes, geotagging and the ability to capture stills images while capturing video at the same time.
Burst Mode / Best Shot
Setting the camera app to Burst Mode allows you to capture up to 20 shots at a frame rate of approximately six frames per second in one burst by pressing and holding the shutter button. The images are captured at full size. This works very well for moving subjects in good light and therefore fast shutter speeds.
In lower light no control over shutter speeds or ISO in Burst mode means that you often end up with slower shutter speeds and therefore some motion blur in your images. The S3 camera has a tendency to keep ISO to a minimum which in low light typically results in shutter speeds that are not fast enough for moving subjects.
In Burst mode you've also got a 'Best photo' option. If this mode is activated the camera takes eight shots in quick succession and then picks the best image based on focus, smiling and blinking and other unspecified criteria. After a Best Shot burst has been captured the camera app suggests the best shots but all shots in the burst are displayed and you can save all of them if you want.
With HDR mode activated the Galaxy S III takes three images in quick succession and combines them to one High Dynamic Range image. Both the standard and HDR exposure are saved. The sample below shows the standard exposure on the left and the HDR picture on the right.
As you can see the HDR exposure has a slightly 'flatter' appearance but shows more detail in the highlight areas of the scene, such as white cabin of the boat on the left. HDR mode works best with relatively static scenes such as the one in the sample above. With moving subjects in the frame you often end up with a 'ghosting' 'effect in the image.
There is an abundance of apps available in the Google Play store to create panoramic images and the stock Android camera app offers this feature too. But you don't need to reach for a third-party app - thre's a panorama function included in the S3's native camera app. It essentially works in a very similar way to the panorama modes we have seen on many compact cameras before.
Once you've set the app to panorama mode and pressed the shutter button you can pan the camera in any direction and hold it vertically or horizontally to create a panorama picture. As you are panning the app draws a frame around the last image that was captured which allows you to align your framing pretty easily.
The app creates approximately a 180 degree panorama but the images are stitched at a reduced size, resulting in panoramic images that are typically just over 6000 pixels wide. Panoramas of static subjects are usually nicely rendered but pretty often show at least minor stitching errors. Like most panorama modes things become more problematic once there are moving subjects in the scene. This can result in 'ghosting effects' and/or the same subject appearing multiple times in the image.
This is a filter which retouches blemishes on subject faces. When looking at the image close-up the effect is a little too pronounced for our taste, overprocessing the image and essentially make people resemble display mannequins. This can be a fun feature to play with but the novelty factor wears off pretty quickly and any serious retouching work is certainly better done in a dedicated app or on your computer.
This shooting mode is essentially a filter that converts your image into a cartoon at the time of capture. You can see the filter applied in the live view images which helps create the desired effect but with essentially no parameters to plat with the possibilities are distinctly limited.
The S3's camera app offers a range of digital filters which have their own dedicated menu button. This includes the follwoing effects:
- Black and White
- Washed out
- Cold vintage
- Warm vintage
- Blue point
- Green point
- Red-yellow point
In theory these filters work in similar way to the Cartoon and Beauty shooting modes. It's not quite clear why the latter were given Shooting Mode status but it certainly makes the user interface look a little unstructured.
The filters are pretty standard fare, the same sort of effects we've seen on compact cameras for many years. That said, some of them can render an otherwise boring scene a little more interesting.
Like pretty much all smartphones the Samsung Galaxy S3 doesn't offer optical zoom, but a 4x digital zoom is available, and can be controlled using the famililar 'pinch-to-zoom' gesture. Image quality from digitally zoomed images deteriorates quickly with the zoom factor and at maximum zoom range image quality is very poor compared to the wide-angle images.
Post-capture Editing (Gallery App)
Out of the box the Galaxy S 3 does not have an image editor installed. If you select the edit function within the Gallery app for the first time the phone will first ask you to download and install the image editor which, once done, offers you a good array of editing options. You find all the standard functions such as cropping, resizing and a range of color and contrast options. More sophisticated editing options include effects such as Pop-Art, Retro, Sepia and Old Photo filters, a variation of digital frames and options that allow you to put 'stickers' on an image or directly draw on it.
Smile Shot is another feature we have seen before on various compact cameras. Smile Shot looks for faces in a scene and automatically triggers the shutter once all faces are showing a smile. Like similar features we have tested before the smile required to trigger the system is quite pronounced. So, sometimes facial expressions in Smile Shot pictures can look a little 'artificial' but even though, the function still makes an excellent party trick.
Share Shot and Buddy photo share
Share shot allows you to share pictures right when they are taken with other Samsung devices which support the feature. This includes the Galaxy Camera, the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Galaxy Note II. Although the feature uses Android's Wi-Fi Direct technology is does not work with all Wi-Fi Direct capable devices, only Share Shot capable ones, so make sure the person you want to share with owns a compatible phone or tablet.
Buddy photo share uses facial recognition to match your photos with your contacts. By tagging photos you can send and share pictures, and sort them in your gallery by faces.
|Blue and yellow in water by fireplace33|
from Ink and water
|Kylmä joki kopio by Kaappo|
from Shutter speed 1/25 or slower
|WR_2.8_13 copy copy by photoprof|
Ridiculous test incoming. What happens when you slap a $50 Yongnuo 50mm F1.8 lens onto a $12,000+ 5K RED cinema camera? One YouTuber decided to give it a shot and find out.
Drone giant DJI has released a teaser video titled 'adventure unfolds,' implying that a new folding drone is coming on January 23rd at 10am Eastern time.
Some good inspiration for current and aspiring wedding photographers out there. If you shoot images like these, you're bound to stand out from the crowd and give your clients that "wow" factor.
In his video Structure, photographer Drew Geraci shows how everyday objects become fascinating landscapes when captured in moving 4K shots at up to 1000x magnification.
The 2018 Japan BCN camera rankings are in, and the most surprising bit of news is that Canon is still outpacing Sony in the mirrorless segment, taking the #2 spot in that segment while still dominating in DSLRs.
Nikon's updated D850 firmware brings a number of smaller bug fixes, including fixing a green cast issue that was happening when users had long exposure noise reduction turned on.
Fujifilm's first 1:1 macro lens for the X-system gives a 122mm equivalent view of the world. We gave it a go shooting close-up subjects as well as some portraits – take a look at how it performs when paired with the X-T2.
According to a Reuters report, US Congress is urging US companies to sever ties with Chinese manufacturers of communication equipment.
A firm launch date is still forthcoming, but in the meantime a sample reel from Kodak's new Super 8 camera has been released.
HTC's newest handset, the HTC U11 Eyes, improves on the standard U11 by slapping a dual camera on the front for 'portrait mode' selfies with real-time bokeh simulation.
Missile scare notwithstanding, we spent a lovely few days in Hawaii shooting with Sony's newest APS-C E-mount lens. See how it measures up capturing the spectacular scenery that the Aloha State is known for.
Now that we've completed our review of Panasonic's Lumix DC-G9, we've updated its entry in our Best Cameras Under $2000 and Best Cameras for Sports & Action buying guides.
Hasselblad has introduced its next-generation multi-shot camera body, built to shoot 400-megapixel photos by using sensor-shift technology to combine up to six exposures into a single monster image measuring 23200 x 17400 pixels.
CVS is banning digitally altered beauty imagery on its store-brand beauty products, and plans to mark other brands' images as "Digitally Altered" if they're not up to snuff by the end of 2020.
Canon has announced that it will introduce a series of printers that allow users to refill the ink tanks themselves—a surprising shift that could, in theory, save customers quite a bit of money.
Adventure and lifestyle photographer Lucy Martin put together a useful little video that goes over her 18 favorite Lightroom shortcuts—a great guide for beginners.
Following a series of allegations of sexual misconduct against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, magazine publisher Conde Nast has severed ties with both of the famed fashion photographers, and released a code of conduct for future photo shoots.
Photographer Christopher Payne captures the 'colorful world of craft and complexity' you'll find in the General Pencil Company's factory in Jersey City... and almost nowhere else.
A new feature in the Google Arts & Culture app compares your facial features to its database of thousands of artworks, finding your fine art "doppelganger."
Recently, we spent a day in Los Angeles with photographer, cook and food blogger Kylie Mazon. Join us and see how Kylie approaches the challenge of shooting lifestyle and promotional images for a downtown hotel with the Canon EOS M6.
Leica has announced a pair of short telephoto lenses for its SL full-frame mirrorless camera. The APO-Summicron-SL 75mm and 90mm F2 ASPH lenses feature an apochromatic design to reduce chromatic aberration, one aspherical element and minimum focusing distances of around 0.5m.
The Panasonic G9 is the brand's top-tier stills camera. We've updated our already large sample gallery with even more photos to enjoy.
The latest product of Huawei's collaboration with Leica is a smartphone with a great all-around imaging feature set that left us very little to complain about.
In this quick video, award-winning travel photographer Bob Holmes shares nine of his most basic and straightforward tips for finding great images, even when you're in a rut.
Gudsen has launched a new gimbal that’s aimed at mirrorless photographers. With a payload of 3.9lbs/1.8kg, the new Moza AirCross can provide stabilization to a mirrorless body even fitted with a cinema lens and a new in-handle option can provide power to Sony and Panasonic cameras.
The Lensbaby 46mm Macro Kit comprises of three stackable filters with different magnification levels, which can be combined with several of the company's "bokeh effect" lenses.
Nikon Rumors is reporting that an upcoming full-frame mirrorless camera from Nikon will sport an all-new "Z-Mount" with an extremely short flange distance of just 16mm.
A lot of people still have positive associations with the Kodak brand and its iconic logos, but it’s worth clearing something up: not everything with the Kodak name on it has much connection to a bunch of clever people in Rochester, New York.
A leaked image of a Galaxy S9 retail box indicates the new model might come with a variable aperture lens and a super-slow-motion video mode.
The portable little scanner features a 3.5-inch color screen, an integrated SD card slot for saving your scans, adapter trays for different types of film, and an HDMI port for viewing your scans directly on an external display.