Features

Most of the Galaxy S6 Edge's special shooting modes can be accessed via the mode screen. More modes are available for download.

With this latest device generation Samsung has introduced a slightly simpler user interface, with fewer options and pre-installed Samsung apps. The same principles have been applied to the camera app, resulting in a more streamlined imaging feature set out of the box. In addition to the default Auto mode you get the Pro mode described on the camera operation page, the Panorama, Selective Focus and Virtual Shot features we have seen on previous devices as well as Slow and Fast motion video modes we'll cover on the video page. HDR mode is accessible via an icon on the main screen.

Many more modes are available as downloads from the Samsung app store, including Animated Photo, Sports Shot and Sound & Shot which we have all looked at in reviews of previous Samsung models. It's also worth mentioning that, like on the Note 4, Night Mode, which previously had to be activated manually, now kicks in automatically when a scene is too dark. We have included samples on the Image Quality page of this review. Below we are having a closer look at the Galaxy S6 Edge's most essential imaging features.

Panorama

In panorama mode the target window helps keep the camera aligned while panning.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge's panorama mode is pretty much unchanged from the versions we have seen on the Note 4 and Galaxy S5. Panorama images are very large with an impressive amount of detail that allows for extensive zooming in the image viewer. Image size varies a little but vertical 360 degree panoramas are around 20,000 pixels wide and 3000 pixels tall. Vertical panoramas tend to be be only around 1500 pixels tall. 

Stitching quality is very good as well but moving subjects can occasionally cause some ghosting. The risk of this happening is higher in lower light. In dimmer conditions you can also end up with some softness in your images, so it pays to take extra care when panning. You can shoot both in landscape or portrait orientation and if you don't want or need to capture a full 360-degree panorama, you can press the shutter button any time to stop. The app will then create a panorama with the images you have recorded up to that point.

Despite any obvious upgrades the Samsung panorama mode is still one of the best around and allows for capturing immersive images that can also make pretty large prints. 

Vertical panorama, 360 degrees, 19200 x 3040 pixels
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HDR

Like virtually all smartphone cameras the Galaxy S6 Edge struggles with highlight and shadow detail in high-contrast conditions. Enabling HDR mode noticeably helps to mitigate the problem. Unlike older versions of HDR mode this latest iteration does not show any ghosting on moving subjects nor is there a noticeable speed penalty.  

There are no parameters for fine-tuning the effect but the results look very good as they are, with the intensity varying between scenes. As you can see in the sample below a noticeably amount of highlight detail is recovered while shadows are only lifted very slightly, helping the image retain a natural look. Overall, in high-contrast conditions it's a good idea to leave HDR enabled all the time. 

ISO 40, HDR off 
ISO 40, HDR on 
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HDR mode can also be useful when shooting in low light, for example to better balance the strong contrast between lit and dark areas in indoor or night shot. In the sample below you can see how the illuminated letters are much easier to read in the HDR image than in the standard exposure. At the same time the overall tonality of the image remains very similar.

ISO 200, HDR off 
ISO 200, HDR on
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