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Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) Camera Review: In-depth testing with photo and video samples

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 camera review: We test the improved 13-megapixel rear camera on Samsung’s new Galaxy A3, as well as the 5-megapixel selfie camera. Here’s our full A3 camera review with photo and video samples.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 camera app review

The new 2016 version of the Galaxy A3 uses the same Samsung camera app as last year’s Galaxy S6 and it’s a decent interface, although not the most streamlined we’ve seen.

On the right edge you get a virtual shutter button (which can be replaced with the volume down key if you prefer) as well as a separate video button to start recording a movie. There’s a toggle that switches between the 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facer, as well as a Modes button (check out our ‘Galaxy A3 camera special modes’ section below for more info) and fast access to your photo gallery.

On the left edge there’s a row of settings that can be hidden and called up with a quick tap. This includes a filter feature, toggles for the flash and timer and a shortcut to the resolution settings.

You can quick-launch the camera app with a double-press of the Galaxy A3’s Home key and then snap away instantly, giving a gap of less than two seconds between raising the phone and shooting a photo. The A3’s lens is just as fast at focusing as the S6’s 16-megapixel camera, so you can rapid-shoot no problem.

Read next: Galaxy A3 unboxing and what’s the difference vs Galaxy A3 2015?

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 camera performance review

The A3’s camera holds up well against similarly-priced rivals such as the Wileyfox Storm and OnePlus 2. Photos are packed with detail and boast realistic colours and the lens only struggled with high-contrast situations, at which point you’ll need to switch into the HDR camera mode. It’s a shame that HDR isn’t a simple toggle on the main screen, but hey ho. At least the HDR mode helps to prevent over-saturation in bright spots, while adding detail to darker areas.

Low-light environments are also a struggle until you turn on the single LED flash. This does a decent job of lighting up your subject, although occasionally focusing takes a couple of (slightly blinding) seconds.

That front-facing 5-megapixel camera has much the same strengths and weaknesses, again capturing plenty of detail but really struggling in low light. And this time there’s no S7-style illumination feature, which flashes the screen white to light up your mug.

Check out our photo gallery below to see the results.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 camera photo samples

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 camera special modes

Samsung’s selection of bonus camera modes is thanfully quite slim, so the menu isn’t cluttered with all kinds of crap that you’ll most likely never use (like the Galaxy S7‘s, for instance).

The Pro mode will be of interest to anyone who knows their ISO from their white balance. The Galaxy A3’s Auto mode does a strong job under most conditions, but the Pro mode definitely helps when the ambient lighting is a little tricky. You can also get some quite artistic shots by messing around with the various levels.

Panorama mode is good for capturing landscapes and HDR mode we’ve already covered above. The Night mode and Continuous Shot are pretty much pointless however, as the Auto mode is more than sufficient thanks to its fast focus and flash.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 video performance review

The Galaxy A3’s 13-megapixel camera can shoot up to 1080p Full HD video, and it does a decent job of it too. Videos are just as detailed as photos and there’s reasonable image stabilisation to cut down on judder when you’re moving about. The focus occasionally slips up during motion, but for the most part keeps your scene looking nice and crisp.

Check out our Galaxy A3 video sample below.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 camera video sample

Read next: Our full in-depth Galaxy A3 2016 review

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