I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. While the motivation for this purchase was as an enhanced communication tool for my business, I was somewhat intrigued by the rave reviews that the Samsung S7 has garnered. My interest was further piqued by the fact that many smartphone reviewers have given the Samsung S7 Galaxy a ‘superb camera’ rating.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Like many smartphone users I took all of the jpegs in this article using the ‘auto’ camera setting.
I didn’t use the digital zoom on the Samsung Galaxy S7 since it would degrade image quality, especially when showing images in this article at 2048 pixels on the long end.
The first observation I had with these initial images I took with the Samsung S7 is that the jpegs have clearly been optimized for viewing on the small screen of the smartphone. When viewed in this relatively small size the images are generally pleasing in terms of colour etc.
As you can see with the image above the camera sensor in the Samsung S7 is challenged under high contrast situations. A lack of definition in shadow areas and difficulty holding onto highlight details is evident.
This is to be expected as any smaller sized sensor will not have the dynamic range provided by a larger sensor.
Of course for many folks the simple convenience of always having a camera with them is more important than overall image quality.
All of the images in this article are out-of-camera jpegs with no adjustments made to them.
The small screen optimization that Samsung has used with the jpegs produced by the Galaxy S7 appears to include a high degree of sharpness.
When viewed on the phone’s small screen this does help the images appear crisp and sharp.
When blown up to larger sizes, such as 2048 pixels in this article the overuse of sharpening becomes apparent, creating a harshness in the images. This is quite apparent in detail areas with many instances of a ‘fake’ appearance being evident.
The majority of smartphone users that I have observed show each other their images in the ‘small screen’ environment of their smartphone displays so this overdone sharpness likely is not an issue for them.
My Samsung Galaxy S7 has the ability to capture images in both JPEG and RAW formats. I am looking forward to doing some experimentation with S7 RAW files.
The next article in this series will look at what happens with Samsung S7 jpegs when some very minor tweaks are attempted with jpeg files.
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