Is this the mobile camera to beat this year?
Even months after it was phased out, the Nokia Lumia 1020 was still seen as the ultimate mobile cam. In 2015 the two devices that emerged on top were the iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung S6 (With the LG G4 in the mix too)
It also fuelled the customary iPhone vs Samsung banter. True to life images (iPhone) or a slightly artificially brightened reality that the Samsung shooters are now famous for. In lowlight we’d probably favour Samsung; artificial reality be dammed.
In 30 days my S7 (review device) has earned it’s share of frequent flier miles and has been to Goa, Bangkok and Kodaikanal. The results in a variety of lighting scenarios have been stellar.
Samsung has focused on image quality instead of playing the megapixel game. The device features a 12MP rear cam (The S6 sported a 16MP cam) We tested three of Samsung’s key claims (in italics) even as we put the cam into overdrive:
The brighter F1.7 lens and larger 1.4µm pixels on the image sensor capture much more light that your photos come out sharp and detailed: this has made a huge difference in lowlight where the S7 truly shines. While some of the images might seem overly brightened it’s still better than missing details (Think of those lowlight selfies at the nightclub with your buddies)
Each and every one of the pixels on the image sensor has two photodiodes instead of one. The professional-grade Dual Pixel Sensor can focus as quickly and as accurately as you would with your own eyes: This is the S7’s boldest claim – that it can produce DSLR quality images. The dual pixel (a first for a mobile cam) tech impacts image quality but there are some scenarios – like capturing objects at a distance especially in low light, where it is not in DSLR territory.
Every single pixel on the Dual Pixel Sensor is used for phase detection, enabling autofocus that’s so incredibly fast and seamless that even the most sudden movements are caught in the act: I almost always only used the ‘Auto’ mode to capture some terrific images; there’s also a manual mode with greater control.
The S7 is certainly no DSLR and it’s naive to expect a mobile shooter (Even in 2016) to do everything your Pro Cam can. The convenience of a 150 gm mobile device that can slip into your tightest jeans against a DSLR that needs an additional piece of baggage is enough to swing my vote. And yes, this is the best camera on a mobile device right now.