Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom preview: First look

GSMArena team, 12 June 2013.

Still camera samples

We'll leave image quality discussions for the review, but you can gorge your eyes on the samples below.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom Sm C1010 Preview Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom Sm C1010 Preview Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom Sm C1010 Preview Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom Sm C1010 Preview
Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom camera samples

And here are a few snaps that use the HDR mode (called Rich tone in the UI).

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HDR off • HDR on • off • on

The Galaxy S4 zoom lives up to its name thanks to the 10x optical zoom. Here's a quick sample of how close you can get with it.

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Zooming in

While the above images show off the resolving power of the Galaxy S4 zoom at 10x zoom, it doesn’t give you a good feel of just how close that 10x zoom can get you. Here are some more samples – the first photo shows the scene with no zoom, the second one is from the S4 zoom at 10x and the third shows the maximum close up you can get with the Nokia 808 PureView.

We've highlighted an area in the 808 PureView photo that shows where the max zoom image of the S4 zoom fits.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom (no zoom) • S4 zoom (10x zoom) • Nokia 808 PureView (max magnification)

It's not even close - the Galaxy S4 zoom manages to capture much more detail on the air conditioners, the metal railing, flower pots and so on thanks to its 10x zoom. The 808 PureView has only its high resolution sensor to rely on and that doesn't cut it if you need a close-up shot of something far away.

We also took a quick sample in the dark to see how the xenon on the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom does. We pit it against the Galaxy S4 (which relies on LED only) and the Nokia 808 PureView (which packs xenon too).

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Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom (xenon flash) • Samsung Galaxy S4 (LED flash) • Nokia 808 PureView (xenon flash)

The S4 zoom flash fills the scene more uniformly than the 808 PureView flash. The Galaxy S4 photo looks pretty good too, but it was taken at a slow shutter speed, which is only good for static scenes. The xenon flash will let you take photos of moving people.

Video camera

The Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom can record 1080p videos at the standard 30fps or you can go to 60fps at 720p, which offers fluid motion for action-packed scenes. This mode is quite rare on phones, but can really make a difference.

The camera can also do 120fps slow-mo videos (but resolution drops to 576p) and there's a time-lapse option at up to 1/8x speed.

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Some video camera options

You can use touch focus and zoom during video recording and snap stills too. Here's a video that goes from 1x zoom to 10x and back.

The video camera shares the still camera interface, but there are a few options specific to the camcorder. One is to enable Quiet zoom during video recording, so you can zoom without noise from the mechanism being captured in the recording, and Windcut, which tries to reduce noise in windy situations.

Check out a 1080p sample recoded with the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom.

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