Save 40% On inPixio Photo Studio 12 - Now 29.99

Samsung Galaxy S4 Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera phone.

|  Samsung Galaxy S4 in Camera Phones
 Add Comment

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 in March 2013 as an update to the S3 and has a 13 megapixel sensor on the rear, 12 shooting modes and runs on Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean). It is available in white and black. Since the launch of the S4, Samsung have also announced the Galaxy S4 Zoom with a 10x optical zoom lens, and Galaxy S4 Active which is water, dust and shockproof. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available from Dialaphone from £27-£52 per month on a contract or £438 without a contract from Amazon.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4 Features

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has two sensors, 13 megapixels on the rear and 2 megapixels on the front. The lens is a 35mm equivalent of 31mm and there is 4x digital zoom available. There is also anti shake to help reduce blur. You're able to geotag your images using GPS.

There is auto mode which doesn't require you to adjust any of the settings although it is possible to manually set the ISO to between 100 and 800, change the white balance setting and use exposure compensation. In auto mode you can also apply a number of effects to your images. Other modes include beauty face, best photo, best face, sound and shot, drama, animated photo, rich tone (HDR), eraser, panorama, sports and night.

With the camera being powered by Android you can download apps, check your email, browse the web and much more. There are plenty of apps for editing pictures, such as Snapseed, and plenty for sharing as well, such as Facebook.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD and there is the option to switch on video stabilisation. The picture effects are also available when shooting videos.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Key Features

  • 13 megapixel sensor on the rear
  • 2 megapixel sensor on the front
  • Anti-shake
  • 5.0 inch full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) screen
  • 3G & 4G compatibility
  • Runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Wi-Fi & GPS
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Range of scene modes and effects
  • Continuous shooting
  • Panorama mode
  • HDR mode
  • 16 / 32 / 64GB memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Available in black or white
Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4 Handling

The S4 is thin and has a large 5.0 inch full HD touch screen which fills most of the phone. There is room for a physical button at the bottom which acts as a home button. Either side of this are buttons which only show when lit up, they are menu and go back buttons. There is a volume button on the left hand side and on / off / lock button on the right. You use the screen to access the settings, menus and everything else you'll find on the camera.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Screenshot 2 Samsung Galaxy S4 Screenshot 3

When viewing your pictures in the photos album on Android, not only does it include the pictures taken on the camera, it also includes those from other services you've connected to, such as Facebook and Dropbox. They can also be edited on the apps.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Screenshot 4 Samsung Galaxy S4 Screenshot 1

There's no CIPA rating provided for battery life, but with use of the phone, camera, Wi-Fi, 3G and apps, you'll soon find the battery is ready for charging, in all likeliness you'll want to charge it every day. This isn't unusual for smartphones, so it's nothing to be concerned about.

We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.2 secs
Focus / Shutter Response   0.25 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo (from locked)   5.7 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo (from off)   32.5 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.7 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.3 secs
Continuous Shooting   7.2 fps

When you switch burst mode on you hit the shutter button and the S4 automatically takes 20 shots at full 13 megapixel resolution.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are generally well exposed with good colour reproduction. If you want to expand the dynamic range the Rich Tone HDR mode takes pictures with more detail in the shadows and highlights. You're able to shoot at fast shutter speeds, in our sports mode example below the camera has used a shutter speed of 1/1708, fast enough to capture the water droplets. The best skin tones when shooting portraits can be achieved when using the beauty face mode, there isn't any red-eye when using the flash.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is good throughout the image, with a good control over purple fringing. You can use digital zoom up to 4x, this does reduce image quality so you may prefer to crop images yourself or get as close as possible to your subject. Then lens is able to focus as close as 10cm, this doesn't stop the S4 from being able to take good macro shots.

Samsung Galaxy S4 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Images are low in noise at ISO 50, 100 and 200, with a slight softening at ISO 400. The highest ISO setting you can manually choose is ISO 800, where noise causes more softening, but image quality doesn't suffer much. The S4 is able to shoot higher than ISO 800, but even in the darkest conditions it rarely gets above ISO 100.

Samsung Galaxy S4 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, both the Auto White Balance (AWB) and incandescent presets perform well. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB performs well with a slight colour cast when using the fluorescent preset. Images are also a little under exposed under the fluorescent lights


Panorama mode - The S4 is capable of taking high resolution panoramas - our example above is 30 megapixels. This is higher than the iPhone 5 is capable of. Detail is good and so is the stitching - we recommend you click on the thumbnail above to view the full panorama.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The S4 comes with a number of filter effects which can be applied to both pictures and videos - we've included examples of each above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is good and, as the S4 has a full 1080p HD resolution screen, you're able to view the video on your device at its best.

Value For Money

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available from Dialaphone from £27-£52 per month on a contract or £438 without a contract from Amazon. Other smart phones with cameras to consider are the iPhone 5 (8 megapixels) at £515, HTC One UltraPixel (4 megapixels) at £518, Nokia Lumia 925 (8.7 megapixels) at £486, Sony Experia Z (13 megapixels) at £435 and Blackberry Q10 (8 megapixels) at £426.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Verdict

For those looking at the photographic abilities of the S4, there is clearly an increase in the image quality from the S3. You can now also shoot at a higher fps rate and the screen is now full 1080p HD and 5.0 inches in size. As we found with the S3, portrait shots aren't great, although for better skin tones there is the beauty face mode. With the addition of the Android operating system, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G capabilities, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is great for shooting on the move and sharing with friends and family.

  The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a stunning 5.0 inch full HD screen and image quality is good for a camera phone.  
Samsung Galaxy S4 Pros
Image quality is good
Android operating system
Apps available for editing and sharing images
Large full HD touch screen
Fast continuous shooting
Decent range of modes and filters
Fast shutter speeds are possible
Very good panoramas

Samsung Galaxy S4 Cons

Not ideal for portraits
Difficult to get close to your subject for macro shots
Struggles to expose properly under fluorescent lights


Thanks to Dialaphone who have loaned the Samsung Galaxy S4 for review.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Specifications

Front Camera
PixelsNo Data
Max ApertureNo Data
Smartphone Cameras
Smartphone Cameras
    Additional CamerasNo Data
    Max Aperturef/2.2
    35mm equivalent31mm
    Optical ZoomNo Data
    Image Sensor
    Pixels13Mp (Megapixels)
    Pixels (W)4128
    Pixels (H)3096
    Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
    Sensor SizeNo Data
    Sensor Size (width)No Data
    Sensor Size (height)No Data
    Aspect Ratio
    • 4:3
    • 16:9
    LCD Monitor
    LCD Monitor5in
    Screen resolution1920 x 1080
    Touch ScreenYes
    Focusing modes
    • Autofocus
    • Face Detection
    Exposure Control
    Shutter speeds shortestNo Data
    Shutter speeds longestNo Data
    ISO sensitivity50 - 3200
    Movie modeYes
    Video Resolution
    • 1920x1080 FullHD
    Video FPSNo Data
    Stereo SoundNo Data
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    USBUSB 2
    Internal MemoryNo Data
    Power Source
    Battery Type2600mAh Lithium Ion
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsNo Data

    View Full Product Details

    Buy Now

    We don't have the latest price however the link below will take you to the most relevant items.

    Samsung Galaxy S4 SEARCH

    We don't have the latest price however the link below will take you to the most relevant items.

    Samsung Galaxy S4 SEARCH

    We transform the way that people buy, sell and trade in photo and video kit.


    Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, MPB.

    It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

    Other articles you might find interesting...

    OPPO Find X5 Pro Smartphone Review
    OnePlus Nord CE 2 Smartphone Review
    Google Pixel 6 Smartphone Review
    Xiaomi 11T Mid-Range Smartphone Review
    Realme C31 Smartphone Review
    Sony Introduces The Sony Xperia 10 IV & Sony Xperia 1 IV Smartphones
    Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G Smartphone Review
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Smartphone Review


    meyeview 13 1.4k 1 United Kingdom
    17 Jul 2013 1:02PM
    this is a phone WITH a camera.
    not a camera.
    why bother doing a review?
    17 Jul 2013 3:02PM
    Hi, as a photography website we are interested in how good the camera performs on these phones with a camera.
    KDC Plus
    10 12 6 United Kingdom
    17 Jul 2013 3:15PM

    Quote:This is a phone WITH a camera.
    not a camera.
    why bother doing a review?

    Because I will be getting mine delivered tomorrow and it's nice to know about it's camera capabilities! Tongue Regards, Keith.
    preset 10 United Kingdom
    17 Jul 2013 3:48PM
    Normally for my serious photography I use Canon 50D with 3 lenses. However, I always carry my shirtpocket coolpix3100 for opportunity shots. Sadly my coolpix died so I'm looking for a replacement. Also, my Samsung phone is due for upgrade. My thoughts are, will the Galaxy4 do both jobs, replace the coolpix, and upgrade the phone. If I buy one unlocked, and sim card free, I'm guessing I can use my existing UK, and Portuguese sim cards, is that correct. What is the price with a 64Mb memory card.

    Sign In

    You must be a member to leave a comment.

    ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

    Join For Free

    Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.