We have all witnessed the great progress that Samsung made in camera, the camera performance of Samsung flagship devices always exceeds our expectation. We purchased S7 Edge as soon as it appeared in the market. We are eager to know how excellent the camera will be.
There exists different version of S7 Edge with different CMOS sensor in the market, one is Sony Exmor R IMX260, another is Samsung ISOCELL S5K2L1. This China mainland retail version is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC and Sony Exmor IMX260.
Both IMX260 and S5K2L1 are 12-mega-pixel CMOS sensor, less than 16-mega-pixel IMX240 of the previous generation. IMX240 is an Exmor RS CMOS with size of 6.828 mm (1/2.6"), the default aspect ratio is 16:9, unit cell size is 1.12 ¦Ìm ¡Á 1.12 ¦Ìm, while IMX260 is an Exmor R CMOS with size of 7.18 mm (1/2.5"), the default aspect ratio is 4:3, unit cell size is 1.4 ¦Ìm x 1.4 ¦Ìm which is bigger than that of IMX240. Exmor RS is a more advanced technology. But we cannot judge the camera just by technology and unit cell size, since different structure and algorithm affect much.
(chipworks.com have a further finding about IMX260, read more: http://www.chipworks.com/about-chipworks/overview/blog/samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-teardown)
Another feature for this new CMOS is Dual Pixel Technology.
In Samsung.com, Each and every one of the pixels on the image sensor has two photodiodes instead of one, meaning the professional-grade Dual Pixel Sensor can focus as quickly and as accurately as you would with your own eyes.
In other words, Samsung enlarged on-chip PDAF range from the center part to throughout CMOS sensor. This implies better autofocus experience. However, this may also bring pixel amount down.
The equivalent focal length is about 26-27mm under default aspect ratio of 4:3, wider than 28-31mm of mainstream. S6 Edge reach the widest focal length under aspect ratio of 16:9, if you shoot under 4:3 aspect ratio, the equivalent focal length will be about 31mm. S7 Edge owns the largest aperture of F1.7 among smartphones, as comparisons, iPhone 6s Plus is F2.2, both S6 Edge and Lumia 950XL are F1.9. Due to larger aperture, S7 Edge will have 20% increase in light capture compared to S6, and 40% more compared to iPhone 6s Plus. However, larger aperture means more difficulty in edge control. In additional, OIS is integrated, coordinate with larger aperture, better low light performance could be achieved. Samsung highlights Low light performance in the first place on their website.
Wide angle and large aperture dose much affect the imaging quality, especially the corner. The lens performance of Galaxy S7 Edge is among the best in smartphone lens. The overall resolution remains high no matter in the center or corner. This large aperture does not bring significant vignettering, but this may be eased by algorithm. Control in dispersion is also excellent. However, sharpen process still exists, this would lead to sharper photos but harder texture, especially for some specific material.
The anti-glare performance is also good, excellent contrast would remain when strong backlight occurs, but reflect ray of light and ghosting would come out. Some specific side backlight would lower contrast much, but easy to avoid. We met such kind of fish scale purple glare in this specific light, the coating has nothing to do with it. We guess this may be caused by reflecting in the lens.
The autofocus speed of Galaxy S7 Edge is significantly fast than the previous generation, even faster than iPhone 6s Plus, and it is the fastest in all smart phones we ever used. It also performs excellent in pre-focus, it will re-focus immediately when scene slightly changed. Faster autofocus and excellent pre-focus give us better focusing experience, we do not worry anything about focus. Out-of-focus happens few times in daily use. The autofocus speed would be slower under low light, but still much better than other devices. However, out-of-focus will still happen when shooting random fast moving subject, or too low light to capture moving subject. In a word, the autofocus performance of Galaxy S7 Edge, fantabulous!
The default metering mode of S7 Edge is center-weighted average metering, and tend to be a little bright, if you watch our photos without a good enough display, you may suggest that photos may have overflow problems, but actually photos are correctly exposure. S7 Edge also supports metering on a selected AF point when touching to focus, and the metering is moderate. This function can be used for metering adjust. S7 Edge also provide ¡À2EV exposure comprehension under professional mode with the stop of 0.1EV. Those different metering methods makes S7 Edge be able to cope with any scene.
The metering of S7 Edge is combined with scene detection. For example, in the scene below, white occupies most of the picture, we need add exposure comprehension according to our experience, but Galaxy S7 Edge need not.