Samsung Galaxy J7 review: Jeans & jacket
The camera UI is pretty unified among Galaxy phones, the Samsung Galaxy J7 even has Pro mode. It isn't as advanced as what you get on a Galaxy S or Note, all you get is sliders for ISO, exposure compensation and white balance but nothing on focus and shutter speed (the key settings for Pro mode, if you ask us).
Hitting the Mode button gives you access to other goodies like Panorama, Continuous shot, HDR, Sound & shot and a couple of others. One the viewfinder you also get some additional options including color effects and metering.
The Galaxy J7 camera is a 13MP shooter and impressively features an f/1.9 aperture - just like the Galaxy S6, Note5 and A8. Of course, it doesn't have their sensors, but this is the "premium budget" version we're talking about here (between the Galaxy A end E series).
The front-facing camera is a 5MP/1080p shooter, which gets its own flash. While the Notes keep a more serious, business-like persona, the Galaxy J7 is down for some fun photography even in the dark.
The image quality of the main camera is quite good for a 13MP shooter, though photos have some blemishes. White balance is quite accurate (a bit cold), color saturation is a step above where it needs to be. The dynamic range is a bit short and photos tend to have either overexposed highlights or underexposed shadows.
The noise reduction does a good job of keeping images relatively noise-free and sharp, it even handles complicated detail like foliage quite well. The J7 photos aren't the sharpest 13MP shots we've seen but the camera shows excellent performance for the class.
The HDR mode did a good job of bringing more detail to the sunny sky, without smudging up the rest of the image. It even shot at full 13MP resolution, unlike the Galaxy A8 HDR, which went from 16MP to 8MP.
The panorama mode is okay, just nothing like what the flagships have. Vertical resolution is around 1,200px, which isn't much. At least the stitching is quite accurate even if the post-processing oversaturates colors worse than the still camera.
The 5MP selfie camera is a key feature of the Samsung Galaxy J7, unfortunately is a not in the same class as the main camera. The dynamic range is unimpressive and the sky gets overexposed even when the sun is not directly behind you. Colors appear dull and the captured detail is below the best 5MP selfie cameras.
You can use Samsung's Selfie Panorama mode to capture 120° of the scene, a single shot usually captures 85°.
We also tried the selfie flash in a completely dark room. It's not very strong but it only needs to work at arm's length. Still, the camera does not like the dark (it has an f/2.2 aperture and even at ISO 800 photos were quite noisy).
13MP is perhaps the most popular camera resolution in the mid-range market, here's how the Galaxy J7 holds up against some of the competition.
Both cameras on the Samsung Galaxy J7 top out at 1080p video at 30fps. The main camera lacks high-FPS modes, even 720p @ 60fps would have been appreciated as it makes a real difference in fast-paced scenes.
On the upside, the 1080p video form the main camera is very good quality. It suffers from oversaturated colors and narrowish dynamic range like the still camera, but the 17Mbps videos look sharp and play smoothly.
The microphones capture good quality sound and the phone saves the best of it at 256Kbps bitrate. The mics aren't flagship level, but still get above average audio.
You can download an untouched video sample here - 15 seconds, 31.7MB.
1080p is still the most popular choice, 2160p still hasn't made its way into the mid-range. Here's the Galaxy J7 against some other 1080p shooters.