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Learn in depth of all about the Galaxy S3 camera through my guide below.

The articles are based on my personal opinion and may subject to errors and mistakes. Do correct me if you found any misleading information.

I have stop updating this blog as this phone may retire from now on with new phones like Note 2 and S4 out in the market. The basics should work just fine and do enjoy the extra features that your new phone brought you.


Disclaimer: This is not a professional review and all the findings and opinions are based on my own experience only.


Part 1: Hardware and Features

Part 2: User Interface

Part 3: Limitations

Part 4: Shooting Mode

Part 5: Scene Mode

Part 6: Summary and Conclusion


CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO START LEARNING ABOUT YOUR CAMERA

BELOW WILL ONLY BE PICTURES UPLOADED TIME TO TIME

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

[Guide] Samsung Galaxy S3 Camera Usage Guide, Part 1: Hardware and Feature

A comprehensive yet easy guide for Samsung Galaxy S3 camera review

Disclaimer: This is not a professional review and all the findings and opinions are based on my own experience only.

Part 1:  Hardware and Features
Part 2: User Interface 
Part 3: Limitations
Part 4: Shooting Mode
Part 5: Scene Mode
Part 6: Summary and Conclusion



Preface

So, we have heard all the good stuff about the improved camera feature in the new Samsung Galaxy S3. So how high is it able to stand against all the other competitors and also how well it is able to perform as claimed?

This time, Samsung boast about the camera's ability too, but not as much as the phones from other brands (hint hint the A and the H), until their ads looks like promoting a camera instead of a phone. Hardware wise, it has an upgraded sensor with BIS (Backside Illuminated Sensor) which claimed to be able to increase light sensitivity to achieve better low light performance. The same 8MP sensor is claimed to be identical to what used in Sony Xperia and iPhone 4S as published in various tech blogs.

However, I won't be doing any comparison because I myself do not own all these phones. Instead, I will comment on how to maximize out the potential of the camera in S3 to bring out the best picture (not the Best Picture function) from it.

Hardware

As mentioned previously, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has an upgraded BIS sensor from its predecessor, the Galaxy S2. Even thou both phones have the same megapixel count, but the difference in sensor will translate into difference in colour rendering and light sensitivity. 

The lens itself is a very slight improve in terms of aperture value when compared to S2, i.e. from f2.65 to f2.6, a very marginal improve. As compared to iPhone 4S's f2.4, and HTC One X f2.0, it clearly shows that the S3 is lacking behind and will not be as a fast shooter as the other two phones mentioned, and it is up to the sensor to increase light sensitivity and image processor to handle with the noise reduction to counter to shortfall of 1/3 or 2/3 stops of light. The smaller aperture size has proven to take its toll in low light shootings in my test and will be explained in detail later.

Taking the aperture value aside, I noticed that the sharpness of this new lens is improved when compared to S2. The old Galaxy S2 has a pretty sharp lens already, and with the S3 equipped with a sharper lens, it is no doubt a great news for its users like me. Even thou most of the sharpness came from sharpening process in its post processing, I still find it very acceptable for those who aren't that picky. In fact, it's a phone camera we are talking about here. Any serious shooting will definitely resort back to a proper camera.

The front facing camera has a lower megapixel count than S2, i.e 1.9MP vs 2.0MP. However, the new FFC is also equipped with a BIS and the output quality is much better than S2. The lower of 0.1MP count equates to better quality pictures, it's considered as an upgrade for me.

Features

Following other phone manufacture's footsteps and also taking advantage of the camera features in ICS. The Samsung Galaxy S3 also possesses the zero-shutter lag (almost!) shooting and Burst Mode.

Burst Mode
The Burst Mode can take up to 20 pictures at 3.3fps, that means it takes 6 seconds to take 20 continuous pictures. The Burst Mode will require the user to tap on the screen until all 20 pictures are taken or the user can lift their finger as long as he/she thinks that the number of frames is enough. While in Burst Mode, there is an option to select the Best Photo function.

When to use?
- Fast action scenes when you need to capture every moment that is happening. 
- Doesn't have time to filter the pictures on the spot and want to pick the best picture later. 

Tips?
- Make sure the camera has prefocused at the correct position to avoid disappointed images where the camera focuses at the wrong place.
- Try avoid panning with Burst Mode in low light. Anything shot in low light requires slower shutter speed. Any movement of the camera or the subject will result in a blur image.
- Recommended when have good lighting.

Best Photo
In Best Photo, instead of long tapping the shutter button, the user will only required to tap once then the phone will burst for 8 pictures instead of 20 pictures and it will automatically select the photo which it thinks the best according to its preset judging criteria, which sometimes a hit and miss unfortunately. Nevertheless, the user can always save the other 7 pictures individually if they think they want to keep those as well.



When to use?
- Instead of a set of similar pictures, you just need one best image. Saving storage and time to manually delete the pictures one by one. 
- Wanna take a portrait in low light but afraid of hand shake? It helps reducing hand shake because you just need to tap the shutter button once and choose the best one later.
- Wanna camwhore by taking 8 continuous pictures? Use best photo and save all the 8 pictures. Why use Best Photo instead of Busrt Mode? Because Burst Mode requires your finger to be on the shutter button during the whole capturing process, which is inconvenient for posing.

Tips?
- Make sure the camera has pre-focused at the correct position to avoid disappointed images where the camera focuses at the wrong place.


Some social features such as Share Shot, Buddy Photo Share and Face Tagging are some convenient features that can be used to improve the user experience.

Share Shot
Share Shot enables you to share the pictures taken by you to other Galaxy S3 users via Wifi-Direct connection setup prior to it. Meaning to say, you can setup the Share Shot via Wifi-Direct with your friends or family who owns a Galaxy S3 as well before a party or a tour. Any photos taken by you will be automatically shared to their phone as long as the Wifi-Direct connection is active, and any photos taken by them will also appear in your phone as well. This eliminates the process of sending the photos later on after the party or tour. Everything is happening at the same time as the event. No more meeting up later to review pictures and wait for turns to send via bluetooth or cloud storage.

When to use?
- Going to an event or a party with a gang of friends who have Galaxy S3 as well and would like to share all the pictures taken on that time without the trouble of sending it manually at a time later.

Tips?
- None

Buddy Photo Share
Buddy Photo Share is a feature where the phone will allow you to send the picture to the people within the picture via any method available, i.e. email. It will detect and try to recognise any faces within the picture and then prompt you whether it is the correct person tagged. After confirmation, then options will be available under the face tag to share the picture to those respective people.



When to use?
- When you want instant access to sharing via email. It's a short cut to send pictures directly to the people within the picture. Not a feature that I will use often.

Tips?
- None 
Face Tagging
Face Tagging is another feature where the phone will try to detect faces and tries to recognise the identity of the person tagged via the past history of matching the face with people within your contact list. The Face Tagging feature can be disable manually if you dislike your pictures appears with ugly yellow boxes around people's faces.

When to use?
- Tagging and addressing friends within your contact list to facilitate other features like Buddy Photo Share.

Tips?
- None

Voice Command
Voice Command is another useful feature here. Instead of tapping on the shutter button, users can use Voice Command like "smile", "cheese", "shoot" or "capture" to order the phone to take a picture. This feature can be enabled in Settings > Language and input > Voice cmd. This features comes in handy in some occasions, I used it a lot when I'm afraid of handshake during low light, or I can use my voice as a remote control during a group shot, where the phone will be place away from me. Instead of setting the timer and wait for 10 seconds, I simply asked everyone to say cheese and the camera snaps! Then comes the moment of pride when everyone has a shocking expression on their face as if they just witness magic!

The Voice Command also helps a lot in camwhoring mode, where I believe girls will like it a lot. The front facing camera is often used by girls to self portrait and often they faced a problem to tap on the shutter button while holding the phone due to the lack of a physical shutter button. Often they have to risk dropping the phone by holding the phone with two fingers and tries to tap the button with another finger, or simply use two hands in order to self snap, which will destroy their posing. The Voice Command gives an advantage to them because they just need to simply shout out the command and the phone will take a picture for them after 1 sec, which is enough for them to re-pose their mouth expression (if any!).

However, the Voice Command is a hit and miss feature due to the clarity of our voice. For example, my cousin wanted to try out the Voice Command, but when she said "shoot!" a few times but the phone did not respond, then she mumbled "shit you!" then it snaps! So, make your voice command clear!

When to use?
- As a remote control during a group shot instead of using the 10 second timer.
- Avoid hand shake from tapping the shutter button.
- Camwhoring mode where you can pose freely with another hand.

Tips?
- You need to speak clearly or any command that your phone recognizes after you are familiar with it.
- You need to wait 1 second after the phone gets your command. This enables reposing in 1 second for those who need it.

Proceed to Part 2: User Interface

28 comments:

  1. Haha...
    'Shit you' are more clearer than 'shoot'..
    Nice review btw..
    Keep it up bro

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol.. that was really a funny scene when it fails at "shoot!" but snaps at "shit you!"

      Delete
  2. Hi I'm a S3 user from Taiwan. I found here via Google.
    And I'm very happy that this is the most detailed camera review post of S3 that I've ever seen(even better than GSMarena). Really really well done. Your review helped me a lot when choosing scene modes/adjusting EVs and ISOs.


    BTW there's only one thing that I'd like to ask you for help: When shooting indoor , my newly bought S3 shoots lots of noises.

    For example:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23062843/1.jpg
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23062843/2.jpg
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23062843/3.jpg

    These are taken with Auto mode, you can check the EXIF information.
    The third one is shot with HDR.
    The light is normal fluorescent lamp.Should be bright enough?(no idea)

    What I don't know is that: when using party&indoor scene mode and HDR mode, I'm very confused that the noise level is remarkably higher than auto with manual 100~200iso.

    I dunno why it happened, shouldn't those modes designed to shoot better photos?
    Or maybe my camera module is broken....


    Thx for your kindly reply, as you're the most suitable person that I've ever meet :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi zheng tai,

      first of all, thanks for your visit and comments.

      I will try to explain with my understanding about camera. The photo itself will definitely end up noisy due to the limitations of small sensor. The bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

      second thing is, normal fluorescent light may seem very bright to our human eyes, but that's usually not the case for digital camera. Don't believe me? Get a DSLR, set it to AV mode, check on the shutter speed value and you will notice how slow it is. Because the fluorescent light operates by flashes of light with a rate of 60 flashes per second (commonly in my country cz of 60Hz current supply), where as sunlight is definitely higher. If you really want to visualise the fluorescent light effect, I suggest you to get a camera with manual mode, set it to a very fast shutter speed, then you will notice only a portion of your picture is exposed while the other part is dark.

      The scene modes are design to PREDICT and to ANTICIPATE the conditions but not necessarily accurate. If the result is unfavourable, always revert back to Auto Mode with some manual settings.

      Nothing is wrong with your camera module, it's just the limitation of a phone camera, both software and hardware.

      Delete
  3. There's no doubt that Apple is the brand whose sales chart goes up by its only name. The name Apple is enough to describe about its product. But this time the fight among Apple & Samsung. But I got Samsung Galaxy S3 Comparison with other of Samsung Model and Nokia. It was very floated in market & News also that the Galaxy S3 is the competing Model with iPhone also. I was finding the right place where I could make myself clear & doubtless about that for what should I go iPhone5 or Galaxy S3. After reading this blog I would like to go for Samsung Galaxy S3 as it has much more features than iPhone 5. Like Big screen, NFC, 2Gb RAM etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. iPhone 5 is overhyped, iOS 6 is dead. look at how fail is their new apps after ditching Google's service and the letterboxes due to fragmentation where used to be non iOS issue. very failed indeed.

      Delete
  4. I have just spent the past 4 hours going through your magnificent guide and I congratulate you on all the work that you have put into it. It will remain my reference point for all information I need on my phone camera into the future.
    Now I am even more in love with my new Galaxy S3!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're welcome. With more new phones coming out overpowering the Galaxy S3, our S3 still stands strong for daily usage.

      enjoy your phone.

      Delete
  5. I too have Samsung Galaxy S3 but i never noticed such a close review about it's camera.superb observation....::)

    ReplyDelete
  6. How do you access "shortcuts" I want to enable the timer but all I see is edit shortcuts?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Asking about camera voice commands on Samsung Galaxy S3 camera with new Jelly Bean. None of the help files seem to match the camera exactly. One phone has the voice commands and the other doesn't. Can't find the setting that is different. Thanks, Shack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. u mean your phone doesn't come with the voice command? what model or which region r u located? mine is working fine.

      Delete
    2. I have only just found this guide(it has greatly informed me on the use of my S3 camera, many thanks to the author).
      I hope this answer may help others to activate voice control even if it is a little late for Richard...

      You need to use the 'app' S Voice which should already be installed on your phone.
      Tap on its icon to start it up (it will talk to you, lol... ignore this) tap menu soft button at lower left corner of phone facia to bring up 'settings'.
      If you only want to control your camera, uncheck all tick boxes and turn on 'Voice Control' with the slider button.
      Tap on 'Voice Control' to bring up list of items that can be controlled, tick the selection box for 'Camera' and deselect all the rest. Use return soft key (bottom right corner of phone facia) to back out of S Voice and return to home screen.
      That's it... next time you use the camera you will see message at bottom of screen informing you that you can use the words 'cheese', 'smile', 'shoot' or 'capture' to take a photo.

      Delete
  9. Here's the problem I encountered. For example I have my photos stored in Gallery. Then I'm gonna use it on Instagram, InstaWeather, Twitter, Facebook etc- so I need to insert that photo -- gallery opens but it took nearly 15 to 20 seconds before the entire gallery folders open for me to choose the picture that I like to post. I dont think its a memory issue since I have 11GB available, all running apps are all close. So i tried it on my colleague which also using s3 and he doesnt have any problem, one tap of my finger and opens immediately for just 2 seconds. Hope you can help me with this..thanks thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. r u using a class 4 micro SD card?

      Delete
    2. Currently no SD Card just phone memory..planning to buy soon.

      Delete
    3. that's strange then. normally the flash drive will load very fast.. have you tried clear thumbnail cache?

      if u still think it's slow, u can try install this app quickpic.. it's a gallery app which loads quite fast as well.. just an alternative solution for u.

      Delete
  10. Thanks! with quickpic its a lil faster. Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am unable to find continuous shots option in camera can any one help me

    Regards
    Syed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. since the update, continuous shot can be triggered by long pressing on the shutter button instead.

      Delete
  12. I took photos with the Best Shot option without realizing that I had to save them. Is there a way to recover those photos? It didn't even save the camera selected "best shot" from either of the 2 sets of 8 that I took. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you may try to download diskdigger from google play store and scan for jpg.. But not sure whether the file is permanently deleted as it depends very much on the disc partition whether new data has been written on it. Give it a try..

      Delete
  13. This is so nice. I am going to try this one. Thanks for sharing. samusung galaxy

    ReplyDelete
  14. hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for sharing. samusung galaxy.

    ขออนุญาติแชร์ :)

    ReplyDelete