Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Samsung Galaxy S3: Camera shootout

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is finally official in India and will start hitting store shelves very soon. Among the many gimmicky gesture-based features and the new Exynos 5 processor is a brand new camera. The Galaxy S4 is the first in the family to sport a 13MP camera sensor, which is a big upgrade over the previous two generations. But how much better is it? Does the extra megapixel count warrant an upgrade of the S3? That’s what we’re about to find out. While we will be doing a more in-depth test of all the features and functions of the S4’s camera, here's a quick comparison with the S3 to see what’s really changed.

For the tests, all the settings were kept on auto and the highest possible resolution for each device was selected. The flash was off in all the tests, except the last one.

Testing the depth of field

Samsung Galaxy S4

Depth of field and colour reproduction of the background is better on the S4


The focus and level of detail on the soft-drink can is very good in both phones. The water droplets are clearly visible and colours are accurate too. However, the S4 is better at blurring out the background as compared to the S3. Not only that, it also manages to retain better colours for the background objects – the orange chair is noticeably better looking in the S4.

Sharpness and exposure: Test 1

Samsung Galaxy S4

S4 manages the exposure very well


With the focus point set on the car park, we can see that the S4 does a much better job of handling the exposure level. Colours and the level of detail is much better, giving you a sharper and punchy looking image.

Sharpness and exposure: Test 2

Samsung Galaxy S4

Once again, the contrast and details are better on the S4


Once again, the S4 manages to produce better colours. The sky is a lot bluer and the overall contrast is better.

Shadows and highlights

Samsung Galaxy S4

Both are pretty much equal here


Both handsets handle shadows well. There’s good amount of detail in the bright and dark areas of both the images. However, the colours appear a bit more punchier in the S4.

Indoors macro

Samsung Galaxy S4

The S3 handles light metering much better


Once again, both the phones manage to capture very good detail indoors under ambient lighting. However, the S3 manages to meter light more efficiently.

Indoors with flash

Samsung Galaxy S4

The S3 has a better exposed image


The image from the S3 is better lit, but it’s not a very nice looking picture. This is because the S3 fires the flash twice, whereas the S4 only fires it once. This leaves you with a darker looking image, but the colours are preserved and the area is evenly illuminated.

Wrap up
The S3 might be a year old, but it’s certainly no slouch. The camera comes very close in performance to the new S4 and in some cases, is just as good. There doesn't seem to be a very significant difference between the two cameras, at least in our preliminary tests. We’ll be doing further testing once we get a retail unit for testing, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our First Impressions of the Galaxy S4 as well as a video tour of the handset and another video demoing the new TouchWiz interface and some of the gesture-based controls.

Published Date: Apr 26, 2013 16:26 PM | Updated Date: Apr 26, 2013 16:26 PM