From dusk till dawn: Samsung sheds more light on the making of the 16MP Galaxy S5 camera

From dusk till dawn: Samsung sheds more light on the making of the 16MP Galaxy S5 camera
Samsung's Galaxy S5 earned the top place in our thorough camera comparison immediately after launch, thanks to its improved 16 MP camera with ISOCELL sensor, which is able to produce consistently pleasing results in a variety of scenarios. The ISOCELL technology decreases cross-talk between adjacent pixel cells, plus the pixels have 30% larger full well capacity. This means that each individual pixel can receive more light before saturating itself, which results into an improved color dynamic range, and images with better color exposition. The improved light sensitivity results in better performance of the camera sensor in low-light conditions, too.

Samsung didn't stop here, though, and wanted to derive the maximum of the sensor/lens/chipset/software combo. The company prides itself in two things in particular, when it comes to the camera of the S5. One is the ultra fast 0.3 seconds autofocus time, which is made possible by the new Snapdragon 801 chipset's 45% increase in image processing power, and the PDAF (phase detection auto focus) brisk focusing tech. 

The other is the always-on HDR mode, both for stills and video. To take a high dynamic range photo one needs to combine a few pics with different exposure settings, so processing those shots quickly, and seamlessly merging them in a single image, is quite the daunting task with the speeds that the Galaxy S5 shoots at. Samsung's engineers apparently used a separate sensor for the short and the long exposure part of the HDR snaps, and developed a proprietary algorithm to deal with the deluge of pixel data that results from combining the shots. They traveled the globe, and kept shooting over a thousand of images per day in all weather conditions, until they were pleased with the always-on HDR feature, that you can see demonstrated below. Our camera comparison comes to show that the effort put in developing the Galaxy S5 camera has definitely been worth it, do you agree?



Related phones

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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25 Comments

1. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

'They traveled the globe, and kept shooting over a thousand of images per day in all weather conditions' - Wow that's some real dedication right there. Its not easy to beat Sony who've been producing camera lens for flagships for so long.

2. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

the only company that could match Sony (and in this case even surpass it) is Samsung, although i think they'd be pretty equal if Sony got their algorithms right.

4. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Are you serious? Top DSLR lenses are made by SONY FYI..

5. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

And sensors.

6. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

I love Sony from 1987

8. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

I love Sony since I got my "My first Sony" radio/audio recorder in the late 90's lol. I had lots of fun with it :D http://cdn.head-fi.org/d/de/de074b43_755l9or.jpeg

18. james.blunt.1973

Posts: 41; Member since: Dec 15, 2013

I love Sony from 1973

10. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

And dslr have what to do with their smartphones? It doesn't matter if they make the lenses and sensors and everything else, they always underperform compared to other smartphones. Always.

16. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

lolol. Still the only manufacturer whose phones take better pictures than Z2 is Nokia.

19. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

but samsung has better result using same sony's lense/sensor which sony use. So sony knows how to make good lense and good sensors but dont know how to use them

21. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

It was only five minutes, but it was a tough five minutes. Samsung's marketing department really had to think of exactly how to best BS their customers. How many images per day? Hundreds? Too little. Millions? Not believable. Okay, thousands it is. Weather conditions? Baking hot sun? No, phone will explode if the camera is used that much. Ice cold winter? No, phone won't work right. Better to put "all weather conditions" so the legal department is happy. Okay, everyone, good work. Ship new marketing BS now!

22. cheetah2k

Posts: 2299; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Sometimes, companies who have been producing camera sensors & lenses for flagships for so long get complacent. Seems this is the case with the Sony Z1 / Z2. All we need now is for Canon to start making phone camera sensors and lenses. Only then will the phone camera really start to get serious :p

3. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Why not just use a Xneon flash use twin OLED flash one at top another at the bottom

7. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

lol.....you wanna blind people ?

9. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Lol...

11. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

That's awesome.

12. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

They did none of this.

13. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Their marketing department worked hard, though.

14. SAIDH0

Posts: 10; Member since: May 08, 2014

Not exaggerating but GS5's camera is one of the best to date! .. The amount of detail that it has is jus insane.. IMO its the closest thing to a pureview camera and in some situations it can even beat it..

15. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

some situations beat it? Would have to disagree. IMO that is. The camera is great no doubt about that, but i would put the pureview, 1020, icon/1520 up against this any day. But this is all IMO that is.

20. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The lack of natural colors is regrettable. Instead, the GS5 puts out pumped up fake colors. The Galaxy S5's lack of OIS is regrettable. All the major camera makers use OIS for their better cameras or lenses. Because it works well. The lack of dual tone flash is also regrettable. Samsung gave us a gimmick heartbeat sensor instead of dual tone flash. The lack of good low light performance is also regrettable. Other than the faster focus in good light situations, the new camera of the GS5 is just a bundle of regrets.

25. Teeeyoo

Posts: 99; Member since: Jul 13, 2013

You are such a hater..i can feel it..lol

17. SAIDH0

Posts: 10; Member since: May 08, 2014

I agree with u but the pureview camera is not perfect! I owned L1020 before and man that camera was a beast its just it wasn't consistent and slow.. with that said, I would say Pureview camera is the best but the GS5's camera is more consistent and that's jus my opinion :)

23. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I think you have a good point. Nokia Lumia camera hardware specs were good, but Lumia cameras were well known for terrible lag when taking pictures. The Samsung devices I have used have not had nearly as much lag.

24. jojon

Posts: 436; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Really?....i would put my Lumia 1020 up against ANY other phone cam and blow it out of the water

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