The reason we didn't put the camera in the beginning of the review is because there are no significant changes in the hardware, only in the software. The camera of the Galaxy S III uses a new 8 megapixel sensor of the BSI CMOS variety. This is sensor is supposed to be more light-sensitive than the one in the S2, and can be accessed more rapidly. In combination with the extremely fast quad-core processor this makes a number of features possible that are new for Samsung's Galaxy S models, which we have seen on other quad-core phones.
- Burst mode
Shoots a very rapid series of 20 photos in full 8 megapixel resolution (6 fps)
- Best shot
Automatically suggests your best shot based on sharpness, contrast and facial recognition. Works in combination with Burst mode and lets you take a series of eight pictures in a row. You can also choose a picture different than the suggestion, but only one will be saved in this mode.
The camera takes two photos in rapid succession with different lighting, then combines the two into one photo with a higher dynamic range in which the bright and dark parts of the image are more detailed.
Due to the faster image processing Samsing claims to have "zero shutter lag", which means that there is no delay between pressing the shutter button and the picture actually being taken.
The camera module of the Galaxy S2 already took excellent photos. While the camera of the Galaxy S3 is faster with its new BSI CMOS sensor, the light sensitivity is about the same. In poor lighting conditions S3's camera till use faster shutter speeds than the S2, but uses a lot of digital enhancement to make the picture brighter, resulting in more visible noise. In good lighting conditions the S2 and S3 are almost identical in terms of sharpness. However, when you enable the HDR feature on the S3, the dynamic range is higer.
Of course there is a video function as well. No new features have been added, but now it is possible to film in 1080p without a smaller portion of the sensor being used. In both the Galaxy S2 and the Note is is the case, which made the viewing angle smaller in 1080p mode than in 720p mode. The camera does still suffer from rolling shutter artifacts, which makes the image appear wobbly when you quickly move the phone. When you enable the new anti-shake feature, the image does stabilise more, and the rolling shutter issues diminish. The advantages of the anti-shake function far outweigh the drawback, in our opinion, which is a slight decrease in image sharpness.
Video demo of Samsung's new anti shake image stabilizer function.