Rumors are given us the closest look as we can to what the Samsung Galaxy S7 camera will be like. It’s very likely to have the BRITECELL sensor technology, the one that uses “white” (transparent) pixels instead of green pixels. Rumors speaking about 12MP sensor, new image processor and larger pixels, but what the Galaxy S7 camera really needs in order to win the image quality and low-light performance battle?
Galaxy S7 BRITECELL Sensor
I do believe that Samsung won’t go crazy this time and will stay in the 12-megapixel range. Rumors imply that the the Samsung galaxy S7 and S7 edge will use the BRITECLL sensor technology. I don’t think it’s the optimal resolution for those tiny sensors used in mobile phones in general, but it fits the market needs. This means that people want to have a high-resolution camera, and Samsung needs to address this. On the other side, the camera is one of the most important components and many high-end users are basing their buying decision on that particular hardware. Samsung needs to beat the competition and be ready for future competition, especially from Apple, Sony and LG.
As of the time of writing, its Galaxy S6 Edge Plus camera has proven to be a very successful one, luring the top DxOMark positioning alongside the Sony Xperia Z5. Just for general knowledge, Sony owns about 40% of the image sensor’s market share, compared to Samsung that owns around 15%. Sony already introduced its Stacked CMOS sensor technology that has proven to be a very good one. It also, in my opinion, helped position Sony as one of the leaders in the mobile digital imaging industry. Sony is not longer just another smartphone with a good camera, it’s an amazing phone with the best camera on the market (talking about the Z5).
This, of course, can quickly change in MWC 2016 in Barcelona, where we can expect the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge/S7 Plus/S7 Edge Plus (whatever the name is) to be announced. It’s all start with the sensor and every mobile phone company knows that. Most of the high-end devices use a fast aperture, have very powerful image processors, have an optical image stabilization and dual-LED flash. Therefore, the focus is put on sensor technologies and that’s where the most of the money is spent. Luckily for Samsung is that it’s the one who’s making its mobile phone sensors. It has the right people who can innovate in the field and come up with something brand new.
Here’s a video by ZONEofTech that summarize all the final leaks and rumors so far about the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Galaxy S7 Faster Aperture Lens
So the first change we would probably see is a brand new sensor, allegedly the BRITECELL sensor. Rumors talking about an F1.7 aperture. Although I would be pleased to see a f/1.4 aperture, we probably going to be set on something around f/1.8. Another area where Samsung can improve is to implement a better optical image stabilization system, one that offers higher EV compensation as well as compensate for more directions. The S6 was the first of the S series smartphones to have an optical image stabilization. The OIS can be improved by being more responsive and allowing a higher angle compensation. This can vastly improve the low light performance when shooting static subjects under dim lighting conditions.
Galaxy S7 Better Autofocus System
Another area where Samsung can improve is the AF system. The Tracking AF system is the one who is responsible to make sure your subject stays in focus while it moves within the frame. Even if you look at the DSLR and mirrorless camera market, the AF system is continuously being improved. We can expect the same with high-end mobile cameras. There’ll be a phase-detection AF for sure, and probably due to the BRITECELL white pixels it’s going to be even more responsive in low-light. We can expect more AF points and better coverage of the AF points across the frame.
Galaxy S7 More Cool Built-in Apps and Faster Performance
In my opinion, Samsung is the king of built-in apps. I have a good feeling that Samsung is going to surprise us with some very innovative bundled apps for the camera. Hopefully there will be a native RAW (DNG) shooting mode and more cool selfie apps. With such a powerful image processor and innovative sensor, Samsung has to come up with apps that will take advantages of these technologies.
I also expect it to have faster burst speed, more responsive UI and of course better image quality. If Samsung manages to get all of this done, we’ll have an amazing photographic tool in our hand. I don’t expect to see any optical zoom, not this time around. I would love to see at least a 3x optical zoom in a slim phone design in one of Samsung’s high-end devices. Oh, well, maybe next year.
We’ll this help Samsung keep up with the competition? I think that it should, but I think that the real innovation will start next year, but we need to wait and see. The new sensor is one area that Samsung can use to help the camera compete in the image quality and low-light performance section. The other specs can back it up even more, but people expect to see better image quality and especially better low-light performance. This is where many of the marketing is focused on these days, at least as far as the camera performance is concerned.
At the end of the day, the S6 can continue to top the other cameras as long as they stay in the game with all the other features, but Samsung must have the better image quality and low-light performance to top the competition. For me it seems like 2015 is just going to repeat itself, but I might be wrong and maybe one of Samsung’s competitors will surprise us this year.
We can just guess what Samsung will come up with next. The rumors and leaked information looks pretty encouraging to be honest and I am looking forward to that Galaxy S7 reveal in MWC 2016.