The days of including a camera on your cellphone for taking pictures for your 'Contacts' list have long since passed. The cameras are getting so good that many people that normally would buy a point-and-shoot are using only their smartphone camera for all of their pictures. I am not saying that a smartphone camera will ever rival a true DSLR camera, but for most people's family photos, the newer smartphone cameras will all they will ever need or use.
Samsung has had a decent camera over the past couple years, with each year getting better. It has been fifteen years since they introduced a cellphone with an integrated camera – at first more of a gimmick, but now they are getting so good that many users are using their ingenuity and imagination to create real works of art. The options and control over our cameras are growing and the software to manipulate them is beginning to equal PC software like Photoshop. As far as Samsung has come in developing their camera, there is obviously still a ways to go, but they promise that their R&D is aggressively investing to integrate a more powerful camera into a slim body that the modern smartphone demands. The sensor must be so much smaller than the one found in a small digital camera, yet needs to have enough quality to produce a great image.
Look at the table below and you can see how the size of the sensors for both the main camera and the front-facing camera (FFC) have increased over the years. However, it takes a lot more than the size of the sensor to take a great photo – lens quality, autofocus speed, flash, OIS and software in the smartphone that operates the camera – putting them all together and optimizing everything makes a huge difference. Samsung has integrated their ISOCELL technology, which helps take pictures in lower light – they have implemented real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR) to lower the 'noise' in your photos – and Phase Auto Focus (PAF) for quick and accurate lens reaction.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an example of using these many breakthroughs – in fact, the camera is still rated as one of the best main cameras on a smartphone. It may not have the Laser Autofocus found on the LG G3, but the Galaxy S5 can focus in an astonishing 0.3 seconds as well as alter the different focus points. As a user, you do not need to worry about camera settings for different environments – it can be a smooth and seamless experience from taking the picture to sharing that picture with others.
Samsung says the future of cameras must include an upgrade to the front-facing camera (FFC) as a top prioriy. What was once just an afterthought is quickly becoming a more important feature as social selfies and video chatting are on the rise. The Galaxy Note 4 uses a 3.7MP sensor and F1.9 lens that supports a 90-degree wide-angle mode for the perfect group selfie. The new Galaxy A7, A5 and A3 all use a 5MP FFC and rumors have the new Galaxy S6 also sporting a 5MP FFC. Samsung says, "We meticulously evaluate every single facet of our smartphone cameras by taking over 10,000 photos in every imaginable lighting environment for analysis. The same passion and dedication has been put into building the cameras for the release of our 2015 flagship model." I cannot wait to see the new Galaxy S6 the first of March – hopefully, Samsung will be true to its word on the evolution of its cameras.