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Low light camera performance test: Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S6 edge+

Low light camera performance test: Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S6 edge+

Well, folks, as expected, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are now a reality and chock-full of the latest and greatest smartphone hardware. Some may be surprised by this, but Sammy actually knocked down the resolution of its flagships' cameras to 12 MP from 16 MP in their predecessors. However, contrary to a belief that is still somewhat popular, it's not all about the megapixels. Sensor, aperture, and pixel size are also pretty important factors that determine how much light the camera is able to capture in the short period of time that a snap is taken. For the price of reducing the camera's resolution by 4 MP, Samsung gained individual pixels sized at 1.4 μm — a substantial upgrade over the 1.12 μm pixels of the Galaxy S7. The aperture and sensor have also grown to F1.7 and 1/2.5", from F1.9 and 1/2.6" on the older flagship.

OK, OK, enough numbers and technical words – how does this affect the new Galaxies, exactly? Well, the new cameras should be able to perform noticeable better in low-light conditions. Think no-flash bar shots, twilight photography, and even night shots. The Galaxy S6 and its siblings was pretty good in those areas, considering it's a smartphone and not a professional grade camera, and we were curious to check how the S7 does. Of course, a short hands-on time is not enough to put the camera through a lot of different conditions, but Samsung at least had set up a box for low-light photography tests.

The box in question has a picture set up inside it, and the luminance inside measures at 1.5 lux, according to Samsung (1 lux equals the amount of light that falls on a one-square-meter surface that is one meter away from a single candle. In other words – it's pretty dim in there). We had both a Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy S7 set in Pro mode and both had their settings at identical levels — 1/6 shuter speed and ISO 640 – cookie-cutter values for dark environments. So, the difference you see between both pictures comes entirely from the different sensors and any possible changes into the post-processing algorithms, which we have no access to.

Galaxy S6 edge+
Galaxy S7
Galaxy S6 edge+ Galaxy S7

100% crop 1


Galaxy S6 edge+
Galaxy S7
Galaxy S6 edge+ Galaxy S7

100% crop 2


Galaxy S6 edge+
Galaxy S7
Galaxy S6 edge+ Galaxy S7

Admittedly, it's not a mindblowing distinction, especially when we view the images in normal zoom, as most consumers would. The Galaxy S7 produces a slightly brighter image. One could argue that it's also slightly more yellowish, but since we don't know how exactly the box looked from the inside, it could also be said that it's the Galaxy S6 edge+ that produces a more blueish image.

Zooming in for a 100% crop, we can see that the older Galaxy introduces a bit more grainy noise when compared to its successor. Again, it's not a difference that might cause one to immediately sell their Galaxy S6 and pre-order the S7, but we appreciate the upgrade to an already great camera. You can check out or even download the full images from the gallery below and inspect them up close at your leisure. What do you think?

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posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:04 7

1. tedkord (Posts: 9867; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


More brighter?

posted on 03 Mar 2016, 03:34

76. NewroticSlob (Posts: 88; Member since: 09 May 2013)


Much more...! :)

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:06 9

4. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 756; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)


I cant see any big difference. S7 is marginally better than S6 Edge+

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:49

18. bur60 (Posts: 821; Member since: 07 Jul 2014)


Let me tell you this, this is a picture of a picture, so a static object which relies on lighting directed to it. If you took the picture in reallife you would see a huge difference because the scenery really gives off light that goes into the sensor. Just wait for actual comparisons. I think it's pretty good

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 13:37 1

42. joevsyou (Posts: 667; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


yes this is a picture of a picture, however this isn't just some picture on the wall. the box was made with the purpose of testing a camera

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 10:15 3

22. nodes (Posts: 681; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


as expected from Galaxy S6 S, it's only an incremental upgrade, wait for S7 next year.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 11:07 1

33. Macready (Posts: 811; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


It's hard to compare still, because the S7 has a 26mm equiv lens, while the S6 has a 28mm equiv lens, the latter thus resulting in a larger magnification. So if you compare the same object in the picture, the S6 has a head start in terms of detail when taken from the same distance

The above combined with the extra megapixels and different sensor aspect ratios, means that the S6 has 55% more pixels to cover the same subject shot from the same distance. Some of that will be lost in NR, because pixel level noise will be higher too, but in theory, more pixels allow for better NR too.

That being said, I expected a slightly larger difference in detail/noise balance, mostly because of the extra light from the larger aperture and the slightly larger sensor. Even if it only accounts for about (or slightly less than) half a stop total improvement on paper. RAW will be more enlightening.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 13:36

41. joevsyou (Posts: 667; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


thats not a bad thing, Samsung is on the top when it comes to camera's on phones and the s6 packs a amazing camera already. the s7 takes it to the next level with the duel pixels for fast focusing speed and better lighting. With that test above the s7 took a picture of what it really should look light while the s6 put a tint blue across the picture

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 15:27 1

48. HomerS (Posts: 155; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)


This test was ment to show how much faster the S7 can autofocus on the image and that it is less grainy. Phonearena totally missed that.

Check the test out:
https://youtu.be/7G-7wJM7hcc?t=8m31s

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 17:12 2

55. joeytaylor (Posts: 385; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


The S7 autofocus is nuts. ..played with it today at best buy

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 16:04

73. epdm2be (Posts: 451; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)


Thanks for pointing this out and providing that link. I was also totally unaware of this.
That auto-focus on the S7 is indeed incredibly quick. Wow.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:06

5. KillTheKardashians (banned) (Posts: 93; Member since: 19 Feb 2016)


saw better comparisons on youtube

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:06 1

6. willy.4 (Posts: 26; Member since: 14 Oct 2015)


I thought you gave sources for posting's ... Anyway they won't let me post the link where I saw this yesterday .... on Samsung news site .... It will explain it in greater detail.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:14 2

9. paul.k (Posts: 141; Member since: 17 Jul 2014)


It's the official Samsung box at the Samsung booth. We are pretty sure they don't change the picture inside for every different reporter that comes by :)

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 15:30 1

49. HomerS (Posts: 155; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)


This test was ment to show the autofocus speed of the dual pixels and not how much more light it can process.

The light test was with the model in the dark room.

I thought you guys knew this?!

posted on 29 Feb 2016, 07:04

75. dd11 (Posts: 10; Member since: 20 Jul 2010)


Out door not-so-low light tests: allaboutsamsung.de/2016/02/das-samsung-galaxy-s7-e​dge-bei-schlechtem-licht-ausprobiert/

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:25 3

13. ibend (Posts: 3167; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


source? what source?
I believe its from MWC, and they shoot it with their own hand (just like other tech site)

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:19

10. nebula (Posts: 473; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


It seems S6 and s7 both are a little off colour ( magenta vs green) but S7 is brighter

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:25 2

12. GreenMan (Posts: 754; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


Still can't hold a candle against my 8 Year Old DSLR!

Now, don't tell me things I already know... I'm well aware that I'm trolling...

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:44 3

15. Supraman21 (Posts: 291; Member since: 09 Jun 2010)


No s**t, Sherlock.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:44 14

16. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


Can your 8 year old DSLR record in 4k?

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:48 2

17. GreenMan (Posts: 754; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


@TyrionLannister Fair Enough, lad!

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 10:16 2

23. nodes (Posts: 681; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


not that different with 5 mins recording.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 10:21 6

24. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


You stop at 5 min. Start again 0.1 sec later and stitch them together later.

When there's a will, there's a way ;)

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 01:15

61. Prizm (Posts: 9; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)


Or do HDR?

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:50 2

19. bur60 (Posts: 821; Member since: 07 Jul 2014)


Can you stick your dslr into ur front pocket?

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 09:55 4

20. GreenMan (Posts: 754; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


@bur60 Well, I can't stick a 5.7" Phablet in my front pocket, either!

So... Right back at ya!

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 10:27 3

25. Pattyface (Posts: 1511; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)


Someone's wearing skinny jeans again

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 10:48

28. iushnt (Posts: 1482; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)


I stick my mediapad x2 in my front pocket.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 16:16

51. tedkord (Posts: 9867; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Disco is dead. Lose the skinny jeans. I carry my Note 5 in my front pocket every day, and it's in a good sized case.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 13:52

43. kevin91202 (Posts: 514; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)


I bet your ancient DSLR's 1080p video would look like old 8mm film footage compared to most of today's smartphones. So, have fun with your polaroid.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 10:01 6

21. twens (Posts: 953; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)


I remember how they praised the 12mp camera on the iPhone 6s Plus to the point I had to sell my 6 plus to get it. Now I regret my purchase and can't even find a good deal to resell it in my country. I stand to loose almost 30% of the money I used in purchasing the 6s plus. My point is simple, if it was the iPhone that increased in sensor size PA would have been all over it and not call it a mere increment. Give credit where it's due. The camera on this new s7 is dope, even the old generation s6 family still takes better pictures. Stop down playing a companies effort to do better than they did before. My iPhone which I was persuaded to buy due to this sites fake reports doesn't take better pictures than my old iPhone.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 10:33 2

27. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 756; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)


never listen to anyone. Always do the reach by yourself

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 11:03 2

30. Heisenberg (Posts: 86; Member since: 11 Feb 2015)


Sometimes I wonder if it's their Joy when other companies play second fiddle and the smartphone market is strictly about iPhone. They act dumb in my own opinion

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 11:05

31. Heisenberg (Posts: 86; Member since: 11 Feb 2015)


Sometimes I wonder if it's their Joy when other companies play second fiddle and the smartphone market is strictly about iPhone. They act dumb in my own opinion

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 11:06 1

32. MDave (Posts: 108; Member since: 09 Apr 2015)


Can't really tell much from the comparison to be honest.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 13:07

40. Shocky (Posts: 2068; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Might want to get your eye-sight tested.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 11:56

35. rd_nest (Posts: 1578; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


ahh, I like what I see. Quite significant diffeence.
People download the photos and view it at 1:1 pixel level.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 13:07

39. Shocky (Posts: 2068; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Huge difference, impressive camera on the Galaxy S7.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 14:08

44. sobit81 (Posts: 32; Member since: 18 Apr 2015)


I can say one thing: lg g5 will destroy samsung s7. This huge pixels in s7 is only a marketing move and looks like they are coping iphone with that 12 mp.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 16:18

52. tedkord (Posts: 9867; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


There have already been comparisons, and it hasn't gone write the way you described.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 19:17

56. j2001m (Posts: 2755; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


From the tests I noted the cam on the G5 is not even upto the G4, so try harder, the lg G5 is doa
Need removing battery just buy a wireless battery case, samsung offers 800 bigger battery that cover any damage over time, this battery will 100% last way longer than G5 2800 battery, you also going. To need a case for the G5 as its all metal,

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 14:18 3

45. Cod3rror (Posts: 122; Member since: 06 Apr 2013)


If you look at the picture at 100%, S6 edge shows more detail.

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 01:25

62. Prizm (Posts: 9; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)


I had a look and can't agree. S6 has more sharpening and noise, but I didn't necessarily see more detail. Aside from the hue, the difference between the two is very marginal.
Another note, the aspect ratios are different. The S7 photo is about 4:3 while the S6 is more like 16:10.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 23:57

59. rsiders (Posts: 834; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)


My LG V10 says that's cute. I don't even have to edit these.
https://flic.kr/p/DvHanP

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 01:27

63. Prizm (Posts: 9; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)


Not a very unbiased test if Samsung provides the box themselves!

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 09:02

66. WGACA (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 May 2015)


What can you do in a box??? Look up the video. There's not always a conspiracy man. By the way LG did the same last year but only proved their camera was actually worse.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 15:55

74. Prizm (Posts: 9; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)


Don't take my comment too seriously. FYI, I've already pre-ordered an S7 Edge. I've also already seen other reviews where Samsung were allowing people to take the camera out for the day and test it, so other low-light tests have been done independently anyway. No conspiracy there.

But since you asked the question, a manufacturer can do a lot with the box: You can control how much light gets in, you can control the type of picture inside (colors, etc), so that the conditions in the box are best suited to make the S7 camera look good. Samsung will know in advance how the camera will perform in the box.

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 04:09

64. refillable (Posts: 1038; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


I'll be honest.

There is definitely less noise and better colours, but in terms of details, it is not any better. Not sure if it can beat the G5 as the G4 was already beating S6's picture to dust (in low light).

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 09:03

67. WGACA (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 May 2015)


HA. What sites have you been looking at? It beat the S6 in what? Yellow tint all over the picture? DxOMark also scored the S6 higher than the G4. S7 will surely beat the G5.

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 09:52

70. refillable (Posts: 1038; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


Don't be negative at first. Look at this comparison:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-S6-wins-another-blind-camera-comparison-LG-G4-is-close-second_id71751

"Yellow tint all over the picture?"
You're making this up, aren't you?

DxOMark? Who cares about their score when there is something better to be judged?

That article from xda? Not a good way of comparing. I'll wait for a review from a trusted source.

That being said, I'm not saying the G5 will be better. I'll wait for real reviews. However based on my observations, I am quite skeptical that S7 will beat the G4 in low light. But I'm quite positive it will pretty much beat the G5.

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 09:13 1

68. WGACA (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 May 2015)


forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s7/how-to/camera-c​omparison-samsung-galaxy-s7-vs-t3321247

Nuff said. S7 by far the best camera right now, including the G5.

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 09:00

65. WGACA (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 May 2015)


As usual, Phonearena is sceptical about a new Samsung product whereas everyone else sees the distinct difference. Is very weird that on other websites you can see the massive difference in low light conditions and here all of a sudden the difference is neglectable. I personally don't take Phone Arena serious anymore.

posted on 25 Feb 2016, 09:13

69. WGACA (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 May 2015)


forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s7/how-to/camera-c​omparison-samsung-galaxy-s7-vs-t3321247

Nuff said. S7 by far the best camera right now, including the G5

posted on 03 Mar 2016, 08:41

77. RELAXyougeeks (Posts: 17; Member since: 07 Apr 2015)


Take a pic in a dark room with the tiniest amount of light; say a computer monitor or even an exit sign being the only glow; and the S7 blows away the S6 edge+ and the G4 and the 6S+. I've tested this a ton of times in the last week. It's literally brighter than real life.

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