New Galaxy S5 camera samples test the 16 MP sensor, compare it with the Galaxy S4, Lumia 1520, and Note 3

New Galaxy S5 camera samples test the 16 MP sensor, compare it with the Galaxy S4, Lumia 1520, and Note 3
Samsung's new Galaxy S5 flagship comes with a 16 MP ISOCELL camera, an apparent improvement over the 13 MP shooter in last year's Galaxy S4. The sensor is 1/2.5" in size - quite a bit larger than your average Android phone sensor - and only giving way to the 1/2.3" unit in the Sony Xperia Z1. Granted, Samsung used a larger sensor, but also crammed 16 million, instead of 13 million pixels in it, so the pixel size itself is still 1.1 microns.

The ISOCELL technology, however, decreases the cross-talk interference between adjacent pixel cells, which bleeds light meant for one pixel, into the neighboring pieces. This allegedly overcomes the problem with stuffing many small pixels close to each other, which some argue is the reason behind the artifacts that often appear with Sony's 20 MP photos from the Z1, for instance. Samsung also explained that the pixels in the ISOCELL sensor have 30% larger well capacity. This means that each individual pixel can receive more light before saturating itself, which results into a wider dynamic range, and better color representation.

In addition, Samsung claims the fastest in the industry 0.3 seconds shot-to-shot times with the Galaxy S5, and the camera interface got a number of extra features, like the Selective Focus mode, that you see in action on the right. Also, the camera on the S5 shoots in wide view 16 MP mode by default, while the full 13 MP resolution of the S4, for instance, produces photos in 4:3 format.

Talk is cheap, though, and without an optical image stabilization module, the low-light performance of the Galaxy S5 might be called under question here. Luckily, an abundance of real-life camera samples with the S5 just appeared, putting the 16 MP ISOCELL sensor through its paces in various scenarios. We have the camera tested under indoor, outdoor, and night conditions, as well as some macro samples, plus a comparison with the same shots, taken by the S4. Dig in the slideshow below (the comparison shots are towards the end), and tell us what you think. These are full-size samples straight from the handset, so arm yourself with patience, while they load.

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)



1. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Eh, it's not bad actually, but in low light condition pictures do show some noises which is quite not what I expected to be since it has an ISOCELL camera. But still, it's not bad when in well lighten conditions.

3. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Test the same scene with a Z2 or 5S (both don't sport OIS) and compare. Where there's light, the camera is pretty damn good.

34. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Z2 has bigger sensor and fast F2.0 lens. 5s has bigger pixel size with 1.5 micron.

38. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Comment still stands.

46. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Since Note 3 and S4 can take better pictures than S5, i'm pretty sure Both of them (Z2 and 5s) will outperform S5 especialy in low light.

42. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

1.1 microns genza, read the article

47. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

iPhone 5s has 1.5 micron.

48. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

WWAAIITT........ im sorry.....i became dyslexic for a bit there. thought we were talking bout the phone IN the article, the bad

57. realthedeal

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

Just google this and click on Android (can't post links). I think the Galaxy s5 looks better than the other two in the link I posted, but honestly it looks pretty bad here. "Galaxy S5 vs One (M8) vs Xperia Z2 vs G Pro 2 nighttime photo samples"

58. GBPN15

Posts: 6; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

One will win that one. Its camera is designed to the night. :/ Z2 isn't as good as it. :( Have a Z1

12. LiyanaBG

Posts: 381; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

same crap nothing special

16. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Lol dude. Even note 3 took better photos than s5.

39. gamblor77

Posts: 118; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Ya pretty mediocre honestly. The irony is I have a Note 3 and the photos are nothing special at all. From my experience the Note 3 takes really nice photos up close (macro) but any kind of scene photo is just OK, low light is pretty horrible like all other Samsungs I've owned. And yes I have tried all different settings and even other camera apps like FV-5 and ProCapture. This article just adds to my feeling that they seriously sh*t the bed on the S5 and it makes me sad. Here's hoping the Galaxy F with OIS is real and actually takes good pics, otherwise I'll be considering the Xperia Z2 or New HTC One.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Like all other Samsung phones you've own? Seems like you've never used any other brand before. Because try just about anything that isn't Nokia and low light images all look pretty bad.

49. rickysam

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

dude dont even think about sony in case of low light photos they r the worst in low light

15. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Yeah, these samples are good from S5 but night shots are horrible even worse than S4. And in good light conditions it's good though compared to 1520. Let's wait for the samples from the final retail unit which I expect to be better than these.

28. Maryewww

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 16, 2013

I don't know why i tend to like note 3's photos over S5,

30. Maryewww

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 16, 2013

Oh yeah, i know why!! ISOCELL is gimmick!

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Picture #4 and #6 are literally phenomenal.

36. GMS85

Posts: 217; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

I agree with you!

4. harvardale

Posts: 51; Member since: Jul 22, 2011

Those night shots are awful.

11. szaboagoston

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 28, 2012

Agreed. But no smartphone can do decent night shots, perhaps the 1020. A point and shoot like the Canon Powershot s110 or the Sony RX100 II takes a thousand times better low light pictures.

5. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

18 and 19...S4 is the clear winner.

7. milos

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

I totally agree. Look at the detai and noise level. S5 looks worse than S4. Unless they mislabeled the photos

10. mail2eswar

Posts: 15; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

Exactly. I feel in most of the cases S4 is a winner. Pictures from S5 looks more noisy and lost details. Even in the last photo, Note 3 is clear winner over S5. The ISOCELL is either a Marketing crap or just a fail in their implementation.

6. chunky1x

Posts: 270; Member since: Mar 28, 2010

Phone Arena's photo viewer is a big steaming pile of cow dung especially when used in slow internet connection. I missed the old version.

13. LiyanaBG

Posts: 381; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

i have very fast 100mps internet and its slow loading they need to change it

8. Nesco

Posts: 12; Member since: Aug 09, 2013

phonearena photo viewer is sh*t..iam sure my connection speed is enough for such pictures...but still it doesn't load

20. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

simple solution for now: go to the source. they load way faster.

9. majp89

Posts: 182; Member since: Jun 18, 2013

It looks like the S4 and the S5 photos are reversed especially in 18 and 19, there is no way that the camera is that cloudy and noisy and all of a sudden the S4's camera is improved.

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