Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review - Camera Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – Camera

The Note 4 had a great camera and it’s more of the same with the Note 5. Again, it’s modelled on the setup used on the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus with key features like Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and the ability to capture RAW images included. The latter means you can now have more control with editing images without sacrificing detail. There’s an improved 16-megapixel main camera on the back with a new wider f1.9 aperture lens that should in improve low-light shooting and generally capture brighter images. If you want to know how it fares against its predecessor, you can check out our Note 5 vs Note 4 in-depth comparison.

Up front is a 5-megapixel camera sensor with a wide angle selfie option to help you badly mimic that famous Oscar selfie. On the video front, there’s still 4K video restricted to five minutes of recording but you do still of course have the ability to shoot more without restrictions at Full HD 1080p video at 60fps. The on board optical image stabilization will also help reduce the blur and keep things steady.

It remains one of the best smartphone cameras for overall image quality and ease of use. Though be warned, low-light photography is still by no means perfect.

Note 5 review 35

The camera app is a familiar place and puts a big emphasis on shooting in Auto mode. Though there’s a pretty comprehensive Pro mode, which offers a raft of manual features like white balance, ISO sensitivity and exposure if you really want to tinker around with the settings. It wouldn’t be a Samsung phone if it didn’t come packed with camera modes as well. There’s a Selective Focus, Panorama, Slow Motion, Fast Motion, Virtual Shot and a Video collage mode. So there’s plenty here if you want to be more playful with your images and video.

One of the notable new modes is Live Broadcast to YouTube. Think Periscope but with the ability to shoot in higher resolution and in both landscape and portrait orientation. Yes, this one is for the Vloggers. It works with both front and rear-facing cameras and is very easy to setup, although there’s a little delay initially when the broadcast is being set up.

Overall image quality is solid across the board. In bright, natural light, the Note 5 produces the most rewarding results for both landscape and macro-style images. There’s plenty of colour and vibrancy but at times Samsung can overdo it with the saturation. Samsung’s HDR mode is a saviour in many situations but it can have a tendency to add more sharpening than you need. This can adversally affect the natural feel of images.

Note 5 samples 13
Up close, the Note 5 does a great job of capturing great levels of detail

Note 5 samples 11
It’s a similar story from afar where colours are punchy and vibrant but can at times look a little oversaturated

Note 5 samples 7
Indoors with good light, it manages to capture a good blend of natural tones and rich colours

So what about when it gets dark? Image noise doesn’t disappear altogether and you have the same 16-megapixel sensor to play with as the Note 4. The wider aperture does help brighten up images, particularly outdoors with a some light source.

Note 5 samples 15
Under artificial lighting, the Note 5’s optical image stabilization comes in handy

Note 5 samples 9
There’s still some image noise present, but this image taken at around 10pm does still offer some decent detail

Note 5 samples 17
Again, even with some lighting, you can capture some really great images in low light

For shooting video, the Note 5 is a solid performer as well. Footage is vibrant and colourful with good audio capture. 4K video inevitably requires a 4K monitor or TV to take real advantage of the higher resolution video quality.

We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main phone for the review period

Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world testing

Always has a SIM card installed

Tested with phone calls, games and popular apps

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.