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Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Image Quality

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh


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Review Price £450.00

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom: Camera

Clearly the camera is the most important feature, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom camera is a really impressive performer once you get to grips with all its features.

The 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor main camera is equipped with a 10x optical zoom equivalent to 24mm to 240mm. There’s a Xenon flash to help shoot in low light conditions and a built-in Optical Image Stabiliser to reduce blur and generally keep things steady. There’s now a massive 25 Samsung ‘Smart’ scene modes that should make it almost impossible not to take a decent picture.

It shoots videos at up to 1080p at 30fps. The 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera, meanwhile, is just as suitable for selfies and video chatting as other, similar price smartphones.

Shot using macro mode

The main camera offers Automatic, Smart, and Expert options to take pictures. Automatic mode takes all of the tinkering out of stills shooting. Smart mode gives you a selection of shooting options. If you’ve used a Galaxy smartphone or camera before you’ll recognise modes like Best face and Best photo, but ‘Smart mode suggest’ is new. This analyses your surroundings, taking into consideration lighting levels, then recommends the best Smart mode to apply.

For photographers demanding more manual control, Expert mode lets you alter ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and Aperture amongst other things to give you more control over the picture-grabbing.

In Automatic mode, some shots can look a little washed out and slightly dull - see the shot below. Select the right Smart mode, however, and the level of detail, quality of colours and exposure is up there with decent quality compacts.

The Smart modes do a really great job of applying the right setting to take a great picture. Sometimes it’s not immediately clear, but the subtle differences in sharpness and clarity are noticeable when you look at the photos on a bigger screen.

Shots in automatic mode can look a little dull and washed out, but the Smart modes fix this.

But the standout feature is the optical zoom lens. It really pays off for long distant shot where a standard, fixed-lens smartphone camera is useless.

Twisting the ring around the lens lets you hone in closer to objects in the distance and the results, unsurprisingly, are considerably better than the digital zoom you’ll find on most smartphones.

The S4 Zoom also yields great results in low light, too. The macro mode is ideal for close-up shots, with impressive detail and vibrant colours.

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Jojo Carlos

June 26, 2013, 2:30 am

what about the Nokia 808? Is the S4 Zoom better than the N808?


July 5, 2013, 5:48 pm

I just bought the S4 Zoom in Dubai and already have the Nokia 808. The sensor isn't better but it is still 1.8x the sensor of a standard smartphone. Although it doesn't have a bigger sensor than the 808 it has a superior lens and physical OIS on the lens housing. It takes better pics on average and although it doesn't have the stereo mics of the 808 for video it still takes excellent 1080p footage. Please ignore TR, it is not awkward or clunky, it's a really innovative cameraphone and perfect hybrid.


July 5, 2013, 6:04 pm

Firstly let me say I think Trustedreviews is normally a very good review website but I believe you your initial preview of the S4 zoom has the totally wrong perspective.

This is not one of those super-slim smartphones with a camera function. It is a truly hybrid device with a larger zoom lens that houses a floating physical OIS component and a superior sensor (1.8x size) to the leading smartphones. It is not hard to pocket and as a camera it is extremely easy to grip. When reversed to use as a smartphone, the lens housing actually makes it very hard to let the phone slip from your hand because you can sit it on your index finger and type or navigate one-handed.

I bought the device in Dubai just 3 days ago. I'm sorry trustedreviews but it is unwise to speculate that it 'may' not be good in lowlight. Despite the lower aperture of the Nokia Lumia 920 or even a fully fledged compact camera like the Sony RX100 (1.8 aperture lens), the S4 Zoom takes good low-light and night shots. In full light it shows great versatility and the macro focusing is fast and much more capable than the RX100. Despite the Nokia 808 having a larger sensor (I have one), the superior lens and OIS of the S4 Zoom more than compensates and you get much better results on average. I've compared the S4 Zoom to my RX100 indoors and it actually uses the ambient light much better than the RX100. That's amazing given the very large sensor and lens quality on the RX100.

Finally as a phone it is pretty good and it's a shame they didn't have LTE/4G but the HSDPA is still very useful. It is a superb device for taking out to events where you need a phone and to point and shoot. If you get a foreign sim on holiday you can take great shots on the go and share instantlyand upload to the Web and have phone functionality when needed. Just like the Note a few years ago, a minority will view the S4 Zoom as odd but its hybrid nature will win through and it will be a successful niche seller for Samsung and very likely move a few million units.


July 31, 2013, 8:01 pm

I am really impressed to saw the photography of the camera is just awesome.

Aerial drone photography

July 31, 2013, 8:17 pm

I am really impressed to saw the photography of the camera is just awesome. I wish if i have one.

Diana Loginova

August 13, 2013, 3:51 pm

Saw one, got one. As a photographer enthusiast, sunday clicker and collector of analogue cameras I had to get one as soon as i saw it, yes it is quite bulky, and some people say i might as well talk into my shoe.. It comes in handy and the lens size just does not matter when you realize all the functions, exposures and apertures you can tweak with once you get it.


September 11, 2013, 3:02 pm

Nokia is better sorry that you wasted money :(

jim lewis

October 15, 2014, 9:47 am

i've had this for over a year now. Generally happy, the smartphone is as capable as I need, bulkiness is a minor issue.
However, one MAJOR problem is the ingress of dust inside the zoom/lens mechanism. this is inaccessible to clean but my pictures now all have noticeable artefacts due to objects on the lens which I can't remove.
I would NOT buy this again with this experience.

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