Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera review: raising the bar for smartphone cameras

“Gauging the shooting capabilities of Samsung’s latest flagship”

While smartphones have pretty much replaced our digital cameras as anytime shooters, they still haven’t been able to match the quality offered by simple point-and-shoot cameras. Yet, at the same time, Apple’s iPhone series has established itself as a leading choice for smartphone cameras thanks to its quick shooting capabilities and no-fuss interface. What the iPhone lacks in megapixels, it makes up for in quality, since even with its 8-megapixel sensor, it can give tough competition to 13MP or even 16MP cameras on Android devices.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 10

Its rival Samsung has won accolades for producing some of the best shooters among Android-powered options, but it’s still been unable to compete with the iPhone. However, with its latest flagship duo, the Galaxy S6  and S6 edge (unboxing | first impressions), the Korean brand might just have that chance. The devices come equipped with 16-megapixel shooters with an aperture of f/1.9 along with an LED flash to shoot in dimly-lit environments. The camera also compensates for hand movements thanks to optical image stabilisation technology. The leading manufacturer has also ensured that the shooter is able to capture images quickly – even when the phone is in sleep mode – as you can access the camera interface within 0.07 seconds by pressing the home button twice. Now, let’s see how all those specs and Samsung’s enhancements translate into actual image quality. Here are a few images taken with the Galaxy S6 edge over a variety of situations with the aspect ratio set at 4:3.

Long shot

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera review - long shot

This shot makes us fall in love with the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge’s 16-megapixel shooter. The image has turned out really well with impressive colour fidelity and a good amount of detail, so much so that it looks like a painting. Even at full resolution, the image doesn’t lose its sharpness and you can easily distinguish the various elements.

Close up shot

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera test - close up shot

The Galaxy S6 edge’s camera continues to amaze us with this scenario as well. The close up image has details and natural colours, along with a nice depth of field effect which adds to its beauty. Now let’s see whether our impression remains the same when it’s zoomed in.

Close up shot (zoomed in)

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera test - close up shot (zoomed in)

Magnifying the same image shows how well the device is able to capture details without increasing the amount of noise. Not only can you make out the different textures on the petals and leaves, but the edges appear sharp too.

HDR off

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera quality - HDR off

The above image has been taken to see the HDR capabilities of the smartphone. While as such, we have no complaints about the sharpness or colour variance of the image, let’s check if dynamic range spruces it up.

HDR on

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera quality - HDR on

Sadly, we aren’t that impressed with the HDR mode on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. The image has improved, but that’s a negligible difference and isn’t what we’d have expected from the device considering its predecessor, the Galaxy S5 (review | FAQs) shone in this respect.

Front shot

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge front camera quality

While the 16-megapixel sensor mounted at the back of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge seems impressive, for most prospective consumers, its front camera is as important. The S6 edge is well equipped for the task with a 5MP snapper at the front and as can be seen in the image embedded above, it has an eye for detail since you can easily see different textures of the object, be it at the base or the brown trunk of the tree.

Low-light shot

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera samples - low light shot

In poor lighting conditions, the wide aperture of the Galaxy S6 edge’s sensor does come into play to allow more light, thus capturing a decent image. There’s no doubt that the image has a lot of grain, but you can see the object clearly along with its various attributes and the colour is depicted well too.

Low-light shot with flash

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera samples - low light shot with flash

Turning on the flash however, alleviates all our issues with the previous shot. There’s no grain and thanks to uniform illumination, the exposure is spot on. You can even make out the texture at the base of the subject. Colours are also reproduced well.

Night shot

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera performance - night shot

Shooting a moving object requires the device to have a fast shutter speed, and even more so if it’s flowing water taken at night. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has done a splendid job in this situation, as it has captured the fountain really nicely with no blurriness. Plus, the blue and green light sources don’t spill over in the image, which is the case with most smartphone cameras.

Looking at the images above, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes across as an impressive shooter. The images display an ample amount of detail with accurate colour reproduction. It’s also quite versatile, doing a great job in different conditions barring the HDR mode. The cameras of the S6 edge have raised our hopes for the device on a whole, and we’ll bring you more on the smartphone in our review.