Samsung Galaxy S3 Camera Review
1 Introduction + Design & Operation
DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.
The Samsung Galaxy S III is the latest incarnation of Samsung’s hugely successful Galaxy S smartphone line and Samsung’s best-selling smartphone to date. The first model in Samsung’s flagship series, the Galaxy S, was introduced in 2010 and featured a five megapixel camera and a, for a smartphone at the time, innovative imaging feature set including panorama mode, smile-shutter and 720p video recording.
The second generation Galaxy S2 was launched in 2011 and came with the usual improvements such as faster processing and an updated OS (Android 2.3 Ginger Bread vs 2.1 Éclair on the Galaxy S) but also had significantly improved image capturing capabilities. With an eight megapixel backlight-illuminated sensor and 1080p video capture the Galaxy S2 was one of the best specced smartphones, in terms of its photographic capabilities at its launch.
On paper the S3, launched in May this year, comes with identical imaging specification as its predecessor but offers some interesting new camera features such as a burst shooting mode, simultaneous HD video and image recording, a reduced shutter lag and a Best Shot function that recommends the best picture based on colors, lighting and sharpness.
Please note: We tested the US version of this phone which at the time of review was running Android V4.04 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’. Samsung is currently rolling out Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' for the international and US versions of the S3. Once this update is available we will have a closer look and update this review if it offers any new camera functions or changed image quality.
Key Photographic / Video Specifications
- 8 megapixel backlight-illuminated CMOS sensor
- F2.6 lens
- 4.8 inch, 1280 x 720 dots (316ppi)
- ISO 80-1600 (100-800 manually selectable)
- 4x digital zoom
- Burst mode
- Panorama Mode
- HDR mode
- Touch to focus and hold to AF lock
- 11 Filter effects
- Image Stabilization
- Best Shot recommends best pic based on colors,lighting and clarity
- Zero shutter-lag
- 1080p 30fps video mode with stills capture during recording
Design & Operation
Since the introduction of the original Galaxy S in 2010 Samsung has maintained the general design language on its flagship devices. Nevertheless the S III is clearly distinguishable from its predecessors by its thinner profile and tapered edges. The screen has increased further to 4.8 inches and now takes up almost the entire face of the phone, with only a very thin bezel all around.
The Galaxy S3 slightly deviates from the standard Android hardware specification in so far that the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen are hard-buttons rather than soft-buttons as it has been Android standard since the introduction of version 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich'.
By default, autofocus is acquired at the centre of the frame but you can tap anywhere on the screen to move it within the scene. If you tap and hold you lock the focus and can then recompose the scene. The controls to the right of the screen are dominated by the large 'virtual' shutter button. Unfortunately the shutter cannot be assigned to any of the phone's physical buttons. Above you find the stills/video switch and at the bottom a thumbnail of the last captured image which takes you to the Gallery app when tapped.
On the left you find another array of icons. Apart from the settings icon at the bottom these can be customized and set to any of the following functions:
- Scene mode
- Auto Contrast
- Exposure Compensation
- White Balance
- Focus Mode
- Metering Mode
The settings icon at the bottom gives you access to those parameters that are not set as a shortcut and a few additional options which cannot be assigned to a menu button:
- Image Stabilization
- Image Quality
- GPS Tagging
- Shutter Sound
Like most latest-generation smartphones these days the Galaxy S3 has very few external controls. The power button is on the right, the volume rocker is on the left and on the front you'll find the Home button. The other Android buttons, the Back and Multitask buttons, are implemented as capacitive touch-buttons left and right to the Home button. They light up as you touch them.
The Samsung's excellent 4.8 inch screen is great for framing photographs but it inevitably makes the Galaxy S3 one of the largest smartphones around. And while the thin tapered edges look quite elegant in combination with the S III's size they make the phone a little more 'slippery' to hold as a camera than some of its rivals. If you use your Galaxy S3 a lot for taking pictures we would recommend the use of a case. It does not only protect your device but also makes it more comfortable to hold when taking pictures.
The Galaxy S3's flash settings are very simple. You can turn it on, switch it off or set it to Auto mode and let the camera decide if it wants to use the flash. In video mode the flash LED can be used as a permanent video light. On the S3 camera app the LED does not provide any anti red-eye or focus light functionality but it can be useful for non-photographic purposes. There is a variety of apps out there that let you use it as a flash light.
From the phone's lock screen you can directly open the camera app by tapping the camera icon and swiping across the screen. This directly opens the camera app but from there you can continue using the phone as usual.
Apart from the flash options the Galaxy S3 offers a range of shooting modes which cater for different shooting situations. There is an HDR mode which combines three exposures automatically in-camera in order to increase the dynamic range of the photograph. Other modes incluse a burst mode, of roughly 6fps, a panorama mode and a smile shot mode that takes a picture automatically when your subject smiles.
|a lost person by dalgo|
from - Fond Memories - (in BW Only)
|Diver's Watch-2757 by vbuhay|
|Cerulean Sukhoi by cjf2|
|Cheetah in the wild by cmgpereira|
The EOS 90D is Canon's newest DSLR camera, sporting a new 32.5MP sensor and 4K video without a crop. As Chris and Jordan discovered during their testing, there's a lot to like.
A new gallery from the Canon EOS 90D, shot by Chris and Jordan while filming this week's episode of DPReview TV. As usual, it comes complete with reflected images in puddles.
The Axibo slider can detect and keep focused on faces and most objects thanks to an integrated 6 + 1 AI core CPU
Fujifilm has announced that it is developing a 50mm F1.0 lens for its X-series, instead of the promised 33mm F1.0, as part of its X Summit event in Tokyo.
Fujifilm has revealed extensive detail about its forthcoming X-Pro3 model in a development announcement at its Fujifilm X Summit in Tokyo, Japan.
Ricoh has stated that it's developing a new flagship APS-C DSLR that it'll preview later this month and expects to bring to market in 2020.
Apple says the iPhone XR isn't going anywhere – even now that the iPhone 11 is on sale. The two devices are priced $100 apart – so what does that extra cash get you?
Something about these seems a little familiar, but we can't quite put our finger on it.
ON1 Photo RAW 2020 is now available as a public beta, bringing with it new and improved features across the board, including more AI-powered tools, improved performance and multiple integrations for a more streamlined workflow.
Huawei has announced the details of its new flagship smartphone, the Mate 30 Pro.
Sebastiaan de With, co-founder of the iOS camera app Halide, has used his app's technical readout feature to obtain very detailed camera specifications for the iPhone 11 Pro.
Our guide to the best cameras over $2000 has been updated to include overviews of some of the latest contenders.
Apple joked about the new 120 fps recording mode on its latest smartphone with 'slofies,' a made-up word that combines slo-mo and selfies, but it turns out it might've not been quite as tongue-in-cheek as we initially thought.
The C1 and C1 Plus aspire to bring studio-style lights to the world of smartphone photography for $299 and 499, respectively.
In a press release on its website, Photokina has confirmed that Leica, Nikon and Olympus have canceled their reservations for Photokina 2020.
Readers were quick to point out that Robert Frank wasn't the only iconic artist the photography community lost recently. Peter Lindbergh, Charlie Cole and Fred Herzog have also passed away.
Back in the film days Canon had 'eye-controlled' focus that let you set an AF point just by looking at it, and a recent patent suggests Canon is still interested in this technology. Chris and Jordan consider what a modern eye-controlled AF system might mean to photographers.
CyberLink has revealed the latest updates to its suite of creative production apps, including PhotoDirector 11, PowerDirector 18 and more.
Aputure's impending LED light has 600W raw output in a size not much larger than your standard cinema light.
Apple's iPhone 11 camera updates will inevitably be seen as attempts to catch up to Android. But, taken together, we think they stack up to meaningful upgrades that might make an already very capable camera one of the most compelling options on the market.
Monogram, a company formerly known as Palette Gear, has a new crowdfunded campaign up for its next-generation modular control panel, the Creative Console.
Rumors have been heating up regarding Canon's potential IBIS system and this new patent application gives us the best look yet at what Canon is up to.
The new filters use artificial intelligence to automatize and simplify a range of portrait retouching tasks.
The Laowa 100mm F2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO is unusual among macro optics for offering a maximum reproduction ratio of 2:1. Check out our gallery to see how it performs.
A group of friends traversed around California in an attempt to recreate the stock wallpapers Apple has included with macOS.
With iOS 13 the iPhones XS and XR as well as the latest iPad Pro models will be capable of simultaneously recording video streams from multiple cameras.
The paid firmware update doubles the range for remote cameras/flash units and brings a number of additional features.
The two ‘MicroPrime’ lenses add additional options to SLR Magic's current MFT cine lens lineup, which includes the 12mm T2.8 and 18mm T2.8.
It's not every day that we get to shoot with a system like the medium-format IQ4. We took it into the studio for some portraiture as well as a more casual spin around the block because, well, why not?