Galaxy S5 Explained: the Camera (HDR, Fast Auto Focus, UI)

May 7, 2014 | Comments | Tomorrow Works

If you’re like most people, one of the first things you test when checking out a new smartphone is the camera. The camera can be the deciding factor on the purchase of a new phone, so image quality is of the utmost importance. Over the past few years, Samsung has been on a mission to improve the quality of the camera in its smartphones. 

 

By listening to consumers’ comments and concerns, Samsung realized that users wanted to capture moments in ‘real-time.’ Hence, to meet the users’ needs, Samsung created a completely new image sensor for the Galaxy S5, which offers high resolutions that enable fine details and textures to be captured and provides heightened responsiveness for rapid-fire still photography and FHD and HD. With this image sensor inside the Galaxy S5, real-time HDR, Fast Auto Focus, and Selective Focus features were developed around this sensor. Today, we are going to take a look at the camera of the Galaxy S5.

 

 

HDR in Real-time?

 

 

One of the Engineers of the Galaxy S5 stated that he and his team especially focused on developing the HDR (high dynamic range ) when creating the Galaxy S5. To make the real-time HDR, they controlled both short and long exposure time through another sensor, making the delay time close to 0 seconds. The delay time refers to the time spent in producing the image right after taking a shot.

 

Also, they created a new algorithm that allows the sensor to handle the large area of pixels in real-time. Hence, they took pictures day and night, from sunrise to sunset in various weather conditions, even in the freezing cold of winter.

 

In fact, they took at least a thousand pictures a day, travelling around popular places around the world trying to increase the high definition range in real-time as well.

 

As a result, over the course of several months, the team developed a single-shot method that captures all details and uses different exposure levels for different parts of an image, resulting in higher color fidelity even in poor lighting conditions. This lets users know what the image will look like in HDR mode under any circumstances with just a single tap of HDR ON/OFF. What’s more, users can take photos in bust shots and videos even when there is a strong counter light or when the subject is shaded.

 

 

0.3 Seconds

 

To help users nail that action shot, Samsung tried to shorten the focus time needed to the absolute minimum. The engineers at Samsung believed that a camera that detects two phases at once would shorten the focus time. Hence, Samsung built a brand new sensor with PDAF (phase detection auto focus) functionality and a special chipset for the sensor. The phase-detection auto-focus feature was included as it enables the creation of a focused image much more quickly and accurately when the perfect focus is achieved, and even when it is not. 

 

Thanks to the sensor and the chipset, the focus time was reduced to 0.3 seconds, which is 0.7 seconds less than the previously available options. So yes, the Galaxy S5 is able to deliver a remarkably fast autofocus speed, allowing users to capture motion without a blurred foreground or background. In addition, users can focus on what’s important by blurring the background and emphasizing the main subject in defined detail with the new Selective Focus feature.

 

 

Simpler User Interface

 

Some of the UI of the Galaxy S5 Camera

 

Finally, Samsung also made the user interface much simpler, so consumers can take shots more quickly. Users can now take pictures without unlocking the screen by switching the camera shortcut on through the settings. Through customer surveys and tests conducted inside the company, a simple user interface was one of the favorite features of the Galaxy S5. Engineers at Samsung said they felt extremely proud when they heard that people liked the easy user interface, as the challenge that he and his team faced with changing the user interface was a success. 

 

With all these improvements, users can now take shots much more quickly thanks to the Galaxy S5. Samsung hopes to create a camera that takes photo in the color, tone, brightness, vintage, resolution, ISO, and image quality the way the user wants, without having to adjust the settings. Also, Samsung expects that camera will continue to become more human-like, producing the same picture quality as seen from our eyes. Maybe in a few years time, or even sooner, we can expect a Samsung smartphone with a camera that can take shots even quicker than the Galaxy S5. 

 

 

*All functionality features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.

  • PhilMcK

    “made the user interface much simpler, so consumers can take shots more quickly” That UI just doesn’t look simple to me. I count 25 options in the Settings, and 12 in the Capture UI. How is that “much simpler”? Even a regular smartphone user would have to spend some time to work out WTF all that cruft is.

    The role of a UX engineer is to distil things so things are obvious for the task at hand. Looks to me like this was designed by a committee of marketers who don’t understand the first thing about UX.

    • Charles

      Actually I like having lots of camera options, it gives you more control over what it’s doing. They might not be laid out in the best possible way, but having more control is better than having less.

    • maysider

      no, choice is great = means progress, if you like just icons, buy iPhone
      also would be good to have also a choice of mode in the side bar

  • Charles

    Well, all that sounds nice, but Samsung made an enormous, tragic mistake omitting Optical Image Stabilization in favor of digital, which loses resolution. I was all set to buy this thing and then the bottom fell out when I discovered no OIS. Ridiculous. I display my cell phone videos on a large 60 inch TV, and small movements come out looking real jerky, so I MUST have excellent image stabilization. I am not willing to sacrifice resolution in order to get a stable image, and optical image stabilization technology allows this. I’m waiting to see what the L3-G3 looks like when it comes out shortly, which is expected to continue having the OIS function.

  • Timo

    Was expecting much more quality from S5 camera, I upgrade from S3 but it has better photos then S5. Shame Samsung to released something is not significantly better !!!

  • roki91

    low light photography is not on par with 2 year old flagship like 920