This year, simple is the word Samsung seems to have remembered, ingraining it into its collective head and bridging that Android overlay simplicity over to the camera, which can be opened via a shortcut on the lock screen, a shortcut on the menu, or just by double tapping the home button.
Once loaded, you’ll find a few options for you, with high-dynamic range (HDR) settings, self-timers, flash choices, and arty effects available including faded colour, grayscale, tint, as well as other downloadable options in the auto mode.
For the most part, the automatic camera setting does a very good job of taking shots, and we found optimal results in places where there was strong light and where there was little light, and many a smartphone camera would have shut up shop and just say no way with the style of photos we were taking.
We even found we could get up close and personal with objects, with decent macro shooting abilities found on the Galaxy S6, something we generally struggle with.
You’ll find a few other modes available to you, with selective focus trying to emulate Lytro’s “after-shot focus”, a panorama mode, slow motion video, fast motion video, a virtual shot, and even a few downloadable options including a very useful “rear-cam selfie” that picks up on your face when you aim the 16 megapixel camera at your head, which in turn results in the a better quality selfie than the front-facing shooter.
That’s not to say that the wide angle lens of the front-facing selfie camera is all that bad, but rather that the 5 megapixel output is weaker than the 16 megapixels from the camera at the back.
Most people won’t be bothered, though, and you can turn down the beauty mode if need be, but it’s more than that, with more of warped portrait due to the wide angle lens being used.
Our point of view is that the rear selfie cam mode (which can be downloaded for free from Samsung’s downloadable camera mode section) produces better selfies, though you don’t get to see yourself on screen at the time of the shot.
You, of course, can be the judge.
We wish the company would have paid more attention to its so-called “pro” camera mode, which offers controls for exposure balance, sensitivity (ISO), white balance, focus, and colours, but nothing else, and the typical assortment of aperture and shutter speed — you know, controls people who are pros generally value — are missing.
Overall, however, the Galaxy S6 camera is a stunner, and it’s one of the first times we’ve been hugely impressed by the efforts of the engineers working in Samsung’s mobile phone camera department, producing a smartphone camera we’d be happy to use from day to day.