Nokia isn’t the only smartphone manufacturer that offers a phone with great camera abilities or should I say, a perfect camera with a phone attached to it. Meet the Galaxy S4 Zoom coming from Samsung. Samsung has updated its Galaxy S4 line with several other devices including the Galaxy S4 Zoom. It’s a little bit heavier than the other smartphones and if you look at it from the front you will see the casual Galaxy S4 look, but from the back there is the camera look that can be seen on some other great camera devices. Let’s begin with our full review.
I’m going to make this review a little bit different than the others because this smartphone has some other phone capabilities because it’s all about the camera. When it was revealed, Samsung mentioned that this smartphone is meant for those who want to have a great camera experience with some phone capabilities attached to it.
This device is classified as a smartphone but whether you decide it to use it as a phone or not it all comes down to its camera and image quality. For launching the camera, you will need to unlock your phone first, launch it from the menu or hold down the shutter button. Samsung has brought you an app that is easy to understand and won’t take you much time learning it. You can see the onscreen controls that will let you switch between rear and front cameras, set on or off the flash, self-timer, autosharing option and geotagging. The icons which are placed on the screen give you an easier experience while zooming in or out without even touching the main lens. Other buttons that can be seen are open mode selection, take photo and switch for video capture.
If you are wondering what is that arrow placed at the bottom of your screen, it gives you a full list of some filter effects which are included into the camera. These are fish-eye, vintage and sepia. Alongside the filters there are plentiful of other modes like auto, ISO, contrast, white balance, exposure time and etc. You will get a feeling that you are handling a professional camera.
There is a new category called Smart Mode that includes macro, panorama, HDR, night shots settings, action, smiling tots and action. If these are too much to remember for you, there is another mode to suggest the proper mode before you take any picture. There is a mode that shows you the most used or 5 favorite modes on the top of the screen and yet another shortcut shows on the screen when you turn the lens of the camera in order to zoom.
Samsung has done a great job in order to make this camera app intuitive.
Let’s see the image quality because I know this is the most desirable feature on this device.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom doesn’t show-off saying that they have the best camera and highest mpix resolution around. This came before the wonderful Nokia Lumia 1020 camera/smartphone that gave an overall great image quality and highest megapixels. However, the Zoom gave some excellent images while using pressed modes, auto settings and other controls.
The Auto mode gave photos with good quality and crisp edges. If you are all about taking photos indoor, this camera relies more on its flash while other smartphone cameras don’t. We all know that using a flash indoors takes away that atmospheric surrounding scene. There are different opinions about this because many people are worrying about seeing the faces on the image rather than the background.
This camera has a 10x optical zoom which is the most amazing feature here. Zoom quality is amazing without losing its image fidelity. You can take advantage of it if you want to take photos of smaller objects using the zoom lens. Sometimes it fails to focus on some objects while zooming it and wasn’t great at performing the zoom macro feature.
You can feel free and play around with the other modes. Here is what we concluded while we are trying all the modes. The Macro mode images came out great, giving rich details of the object you are shooting. The auto mode falls short behind some other cameras but still it will give you some interesting photos that you have never experienced with other phone. If you have spare time you should get attached to the editing tools.
The last details about the camera are about the video mode and front-facing camera.
The front facing camera comes equipped with 1.9-mpix sensor that took some “OK” photos. The color exposure was off sometimes giving us flashy and gray faces. The 720p video capture helps with your video chatting but the image won’t be as good as you are used to on your webcam. When you use the main camera for shooting videos you will get 1080p HD capture.
We can’t forget to mention what’s under the hood of this smartphone. I know that it’s irrelevant for those who will use it only for the camera but still this phone is powered by dual-core 1.5GHz processor that falls far behind the processor used in the normal Galaxy S4.
You should buy this phone if you want to experience true optical zoom lens on your device or carry a high-end smartphone with point-and-shoot capabilities. If you are searching for advanced controls on your camera app and receive an expensive phone specs, than you should go for it. On the other hand, if you don’t want to own a heavy handset skip this camera with phone capabilities.