2015 was a milestone year for mobile photography. With the introduction of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 & Note 5, LG’s G4 & V10, and Google’s Nexus 5X & 6P, Android smartphones finally caught up with (and arguably surpassed) Apple’s iPhone in terms of imaging consistency and quality. The Korean twins pushed the envelope with high-performance 16-megapixel sensors and ultra-fast, OIS-equipped lenses (f/1.9 for Samsung, and f/1.8 for LG).
At MWC 2016, LG launched the G5, which features a modular design and pairs last year’s excellent G4 camera module with a wide-angle 8 MP f/2.2 shooter for a novel dual imaging setup, and Samsung introduced the Galaxy G7 & S7 edge, which fix everything we disliked about the Galaxy S6 & S6 edge, by incorporating a larger battery, including a microSD card slot, and making the handsets water-resistant.
During its press conference, Samsung spent a significant amount of time exuding the virtues of the Galaxy S7’s new shooter, and while it’s easy to gloss over the details among all the new features, we’re excited to tell you that the Galaxy S7 camera is another leap forward in mobile photography — so much so, in fact, that Apple better have something significant lined up for the iPhone 7’s shooter.
What makes the Galaxy S7 imaging experience so special? First, the handset features an insanely fast f/1.7 (!) lens with OIS. This kind of aperture is impressive for a dedicated camera, and unheard of for a smartphone. Second, the Galaxy S7 uses a 12-megapixel sensor with large 1.4-micron pixels which gather even more light than before. These “pixels” are actually pairs of pixels which enable faster, more accurate autofocus (just like a pair of eyes can judge distances far better than one).
This means that the Galaxy S7’s new shooter will perform significantly better than the competition in low light, and will focus much quicker and more precisely than some dedicated cameras. While we have not used the Galaxy S7 camera enough to give you a final verdict, our preliminary tests and sample pictures support our initial conclusions. Skeptical? Watch our Galaxy S7 camera UI walkthrough and judge for yourself, and of course, stay tuned for our full review.