How the new Galaxy S6 smartphones make you a better photographer
For all the top-tier features Samsung placed into its new flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge smartphones, the photographer in me thinks the camera is the clincher.
To smartphone users who have spent years wrestling with photographic compromise, the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge will come as more than a pleasant surprise. Gone are the days of blurred action shots, muddy low-light scenes and blown out highlights. Similarly, waiting for the camera to take its sweet time loading up while your toddler-age children scoot out of sight is a thing of the past.
This comes as smartphones in general continue to push the bounds of photography. For semi-professional and casual photographers alike, the trend is clear: Now more than ever, your smartphone’s camera needs to deliver the goods. In Samsung’s case, they do. And then some.
The GS6 photo features that matter
There are lots of reasons why either one of the GS6 devices could be your next lens on the world, including:
- Crystal-clear sensors. The 16-megapixel rear-facing camera means crisp details that stay sharp even after cropping. The front camera gets some megapixel love, as well, with a 5-megapixel sensor that ensures high-quality selfies and high-def video.
- Wider aperture. Bigger lens openings allow more light onto the sensor, which means better performance in low light. In any light conditions, that same wide opening – f1.9 for both the rear- and front-facing cameras – allows for lovely depth-of-field performance and poster-worthy results.
- Stability. Built-in optical image stabilization (OIS) keeps pictures sharp even if your hands aren’t completely steady. OIS makes it easier to capture action shots that, on a lesser camera, would be a blurry mess.
- Better-than-HD video. The rear-facing camera supports ultra-high-def (UHD) video. If you’re into counting pixels, that’s 3,840 x 2,160, which is more detailed than most big-screen TVs can currently display.
- Fast-focusing. Touch-focus and face-detection make quick work of locking onto subjects and getting the shot – which means less time playing with settings and more time making memories.
- Better colour and lighting. Built in auto-HDR (high dynamic range) improves quality in scenes that include both light and dark sections, while automatic white balancing contributes to more accurate colour reproduction.
More than mere specs
What strikes me as unique about the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge isn’t necessarily their camera specs. Because you can only tell so much about how a camera works by reading its feature list. What elevates a smartphone camera to primary-camera status is how all those features seamlessly work together to make point-and-shoot and more involved photography easier and more flexible.
Most importantly, the resulting photos have to stand side-by-side against anything shot from a standard camera.
Already, Samsung’s latest powerhouses are setting the smartphone photography bar high. Ultrafast processing means the camera is ready to shoot the moment you pick it up. So no waiting while the photo app loads. Samsung’s updated TouchWiz interface puts the right controls where you’d expect them to be – no tapping through multiple screens and menus to get where you need to be. Basic controls are always a quick tap away, and more involved manual photo settings are similarly easy to find. Which lets you focus on your subject instead of how you’re going to capture it.
The bottom line
Not so long ago, serious photographers continued to carry their DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras with them because smartphone cameras didn’t quite measure up. However, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge deliver enough outright performance and picture quality to convince all but the most professional of professional photographers to leave their standalone cameras at home.
We’d love to know what you’re shooting with, and what it would take for you to leave your regular old camera at home. Let us know in a comment.
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