Samsung Galaxy S5 camera review
DxOMark Mobile Report: Samsung Galaxy S5
The Galaxy S5 is Samsung's latest flagship smartphone and successor to the Galaxy S4. It comes with a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, an F2.2 maximum aperture, 4K video capture and phase detection AF, but has to make do without an optical image stabilization system.
Android 4.4 is powered by the latest generation Qualcomm quad-core 2.5 GHz Snapdragon S801 processor and 2GB of RAM. The Super AMOLED screen measures 5.1 inches and comes with the same 1080p resolution as the S4. You can choose between 16GB or 32GB versions and storage can be expanded via a microSD slot.
With a DxOMark Mobile score of 79 the Samsung Galaxy S5 shares the number one spot in the DxOMark smartphone rankings with the Sony Xperia Z2, placing itself in front of the Nokia 808 and the Sony Xperia Z1.
The DxOMark team reports that the Galaxy S5 images show 'good auto-exposure, pleasant, rich and realistic colors, good white balance, low noise levels in low light conditions and good sharpness and details in the center of the frame.' The testers found 'almost no color fringing or ringing' and liked the 'good image quality with flash.'
On the downside there is 'a noticeable loss of detail in low light conditions and non-uniform sharpness across the image field.' The team also found the AF not to be always accurate in Auto Mode.
In video mode the Galaxy S5 produces the 'best mobile video tested to date', with 'good autofocus and good textures.' On the downside there are 'visible color non-uniformities in some light conditions.'
Color, Exposure and Contrast
The DxOMark team found that the Samsung Galaxy S5 images show 'good auto-exposure even in difficult outdoor situations, pleasant, rich and realistic colors in all light conditions and overall good white balance.'
However, the testers also found that 'in high dynamic range scenes, images can be slightly burnt out' and 'with some indoor tungsten lighting a slight color shading can be noticed.'
Overall DxOMark awarded the Samsung Galaxy S5 scores of:
- 4.5 out of 5 for Exposure
- 4.5 out of 5 for White Balance accuracy
- 4.0 out of 5 for Color shading in low light*
- 4.0 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 the that when shooting with the Galaxy S5 'a lot of detail is visible across the frame' with 'low noise levels in low light conditions'. The testers found the S5's noise and detail levels to be 'better than the Galaxy S4'. On the downside there is a 'noticeable loss of details in low light conditions.'
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 that can be blurred away by noise reduction or obliterated by excessive sharpening (such as fine foliage, hair or fur).
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.
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.
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 and Detail Perceptual scoring
- Texture (bright light): 4.8 out of 5
- Texture (low light): 3.0 out of 5
- Noise (bright light): 4.0 out of 5
- Noise (low light) 3.2 out of 5
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 S5 are shown below:
- Almost no color fringing.
- Almost no ringing noticeable.
- Sharpness varies across the frame
- Sharpness 3.5 out of 5
- Color fringing 4.5 out of 5
- Ringing center 9.0%
- Ringing corner 3.7%
- Max geometric distortion -0.3%
- Luminance shading 22.4%
Distortion and Chromatic Aberrations
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 Samsung is doing very well in bright light but loses some of its edge in lower light conditions. The overall score is 80/100 in bright light and 59/100 in low light.
- Autofocus is fast and accurate in trigger mode
- Very little overshooting
- Good scene change detection
- Automatic face detection
- Autofocus isn't accurate in auto mode
- Autofocus slightly less repeatable in low light than in bright light
- In low-light lab conditions the camera occasionally refocuses during capture, resulting in partially blurry pictures
DxOMark scored the Samsung Galaxy S5 82/100 overall for its flash performance which is three points less than the Sony Xperia Z2.
- Good detail preservation, accurate white balance and color
- Some white balance errors in mixed light
- No red eye correction
Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Photo: 79 / 100
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. Bottom line: DxOMark found the Samsung Galaxy S5's overall video performance to be the best of all devices tested so far, with nice textures and good AF. Only in some light conditions the Samsung can struggle with color reproduction.
- Best mobile video tested to date
- Well balanced video mode, without any major flaws
- Good autofocus
- Good texture
- Visible color non-uniformities in some light conditions
Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Video: 79 / 100
Jun 12, 2014
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