What kind of photos and video does the Galaxy S8 capture?
The Galaxy S8 is arguably the most important Android phone of the year. Samsung’s most popular brand is the world’s most popular Android phone, and it goes without saying that what Samsung does, others follow.
That’s why we were surprised to learn that Samsung didn’t make a big deal of its flagship’s camera this time around, opting to maintain the status quo. It doesn’t hurt that the status quo is a 12MP rear sensor and f/1.7 lens combination with optical image stabilization that, even a year later, still beats the proverbial pants off most of its recent competition.
We also now know that Samsung is indeed using a couple of newer 12MP sensors in its Galaxy S8 series: Sony’s IMX333, which we don’t know much about other than it is a successor to last year’s IMX260; and Samsung’s own S5K2L2 ISOCELL, a previous version of which was found in some Exynos variants of the Galaxy S7. The front-facing camera is also a new sensor, the 8MP Sony IMX320.
We spent a couple of days taking photos with the Galaxy S8 to see how the camera fares in real-world scenarios. None of these photos have been retouched or edited in any way. The Galaxy S8 that we briefly used to test the camera was a Snapdragon 835 model with the Sony IMX333 sensor.
We’ll be doing comparisons, including to the Galaxy S7, in a separate post. But now, the photos.
On first glance, Samsung’s done a great job maintaining detail throughout all the photos captured on the Galaxy S8, and appears to excel in balancing exposure between light and dark scenes, even when HDR isn’t explicitly turned on. The phone seems to be incorporating HDR seamlessly in every photo unless it is otherwise turned off.
The Galaxy S8 deals with movement quite well, but like all phone cameras doesn’t appear to automatically prioritize shutter speed in fast-moving scenes, leading to blur in exchange for a lighter photo. Less aggressive movement is captured with aplomb, and looks great.
One area we really hope the Galaxy S8 does better than its predecessor is in low light. From our initial tests, it does maintain detail slightly better than the Galaxy S7, but it’s not an out-and-out upgrade. Still pretty great, though.
I’ll let these speak for themselves. The Galaxy S8’s default focal length is slightly longer than the S7’s, which leads to closer in-focus macro shots. I’m drooling over some of these.
As with all phones, the Galaxy S8 tries its best in artificial light, and it seems to do a fine job exposing properly given the challenging environment.
I’m not going to say I’m good looking or anything, but the Galaxy S8 makes me look good — in daylight or dark. It also makes Zadie look super cute.
Front facing camera
The big upgrade to the Galaxy S8’s optics this year is in the 8MP autofocus front-facing camera, and it does a fantastic job in daylight. Low light captures, though — no better than last year.
120fps of slo-mo perfection.
More to come
We’ve got lots more photos and video examples to show off very soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, let us know what you think in the comments below, and jump into our forums to keep the discussion going!