Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus camera hands-on: Following the London launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ we took the time to dive a little deeper into the camera experience offered up by Samsung’s new flagship duo.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus camera hardware
On the hardware front, the formula isn’t a huge departure from last year’s S7 and S7 Edge, with a 12-megapixel primary camera boasting an f/1.7 aperture, both electronic and optical image stabilisation and dual focus pixel technology, backed up by a single LED flash.
Samsung’s also been able to completely flatten the camera bump that was present on last year’s top Sammys, allowing the phone to not only looks that little bit slicker but lay flat on a table or sit completely flush in a pocket
Meanwhile, the front-facing sensor has been upped from 5 to 8-megapixels and also enjoys a nice wide f/1.7 aperture along with face detection autofocus. It also uses the screen as a flash when needed.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus camera software
The software side is where the biggest differences lie over last year’s S7s. Samsung says the S8s employ enhanced image processing which manifests as three photos being combined into a single image every time you snap the shutter. The phone shoots with HDR enabled automatically to better balance bright and dark areas within shots too.
By default, the S8 and S8+ produce 4:3 stills at the full 12-megapixels, but by dipping into the settings menu you can capture 9.1-megapixel 16:9 images as well as being able to tweak other elements of the capture experience like focus behaviour and shutter options. There’s a toggle to shoot both a RAW and JPEG image simultaneously and, of course, video recording tops out at 4K resolution.
The camera interface clearly takes a leaf out of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A Series, with one-handed use a big part of the experience. Swiping up lets you quickly switch to the front camera whilst swiping right brings up eight distinct modes, including access to manual control, access to a dedicated food mode and the phone’s background defocus ability.
Swiping left reveals a ton of filters along with options to add stickers to your snaps and a new Snapchat lens-style mode that can overlay graphics and effects motion-tracked to your face as you move around. These phones look like pretty serious pieces of sleek, sophisticated hardware but it’s nice to know that elements like this exist to add a little more character to the experience.
As ever, the shutter button is positioned between the video record button and gallery shortcut, but pressing, holding and sliding it back and forth between the two also turns it into a zoom control, with up to 8x digital zoom on offer.
Another feature carried over from the likes of the Galaxy A5 (2017) is the addition of a ‘floating shutter’; a secondary shutter button you can activate from within the camera’s settings that can be repositioned anywhere within the viewfinder. It’s a feature that might prove particularly useful on the larger 6.2-inch screen-laden Galaxy S8+.
Other capture methods include a palm detection shutter, the option to simply tap anywhere within the viewfinder to snap a snap and the option to enable use of the rear-mounted heart rate sensor.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are hitting stores across Europe on April 28th and we’ll hopefully have had time to extensive test both device’s hardware and cameras for full reviews by then. Stay tuned.