Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review

3.5
October 28, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16.3 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom produced images of average quality during the review period. Noise already becomes obvious at the relatively slow setting of ISO 200, along with a softening of fine detail, and this only becomes progressively worse at the still modest settings of ISO 400 and 800. The fastest speeds of ISO 1600 and 3200 simply aren't worth using.

Chromatic aberrations were pretty well controlled, with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 16 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is good, allowing you to focus as close as 3cms away from the subject. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 24mm wide-angle focal length. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

The anti-shake system works well when hand-holding the Galaxy S4 Zoom in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range, while the maximum shutter speed of 16 seconds allows the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations. The HDR and Panorama modes are the best of the so-called Smart scene modes.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom's 10x zoom lens provides a versatile focal range of 24-240mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

24mm

240mm

File Quality

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has 3 different image quality settings available, with SuperFine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16M SuperFine (5.02Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Fine (3.61Mb) (100% Crop)
   
16M Normal (2.41Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom handled chromatic aberrations quite well during the review, with some purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom are Off, Fill In, Red-Eye Reduction and Auto. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (240mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (240mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Both the Fill-in and Red-Eye Reduction modes didn't cause any amount of red-eye.

Fill-in

Fill-in (100% Crop)

   

Red-Eye Reduction

Red-Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom's maximum shutter speed is 16 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 10 seconds at ISO 100. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 16 second setting the actual exposure takes 32 seconds.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Optical Image Stabilisation

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. With anti-shake turned on, the images are noticeably sharper than with anti-shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/10 sec / 24mm
     
1/4 sec / 240mm

HDR

The High Dynamic Range scene mode captures more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining multiple exposures into one image.

Off

On

Panorama

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera automatically does all the processing and stitching. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution.

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, compact, 1080p, 16 megapixel, hdmi, camera, manual, travel, travel zoom, 10x zoom, GPS, smartphone, 10x, 23mm, 4g, 3g, sim, Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review, Galaxy S4 Zoom, 4.3 inch LCD

Tracker Pixel for Entry