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S3 vs. S5 on 4:3 and 16:9

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By azsamsancho, Senior Member on 17th August 2014, 08:41 PM
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OK, I did some tests using my old S3 and my new S5. It kind of seems to me that the 4:3 has more info compared to the same aspect ration on the S5. In fact the 16:9 has only a tad bit more info compared to the 4:3 of the S3. Take a look:

Here is a 4:3 image from the S III:

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Here is the 4:3 image from the S5:

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Here is the 16:9 image from the S5:

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Does not it look like the 4:3 from the S5 is cropped/zoomed in? Cameras 2 years ago used to have a 4:3 sensor and to get a 16:9 image they used to crop the 4:3 image and generate a wide resolution. Did Samsung do the wide sensor and now in order to get a 4:3 image chop off the left and right? Maybe this is well known and I am just discovering it myself. Can someone verify?
Last edited by azsamsancho; 17th August 2014 at 08:54 PM.
17th August 2014, 09:37 PM |#2  
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What you are referring to as "more info" is usually referred to as coverage, field of view (FOV) or equivalent focal length. It is only one measure of a lens characteristics and by no means an absolute arbiter of quality.

You could buy a $9,000 SLR telephoto lens that by your description would have very little info. Does that make a telephoto lens terrible? Not at all, it's just a characteristic that may or may not suit a particular situation. The S5 has a longer effective focal length and so appears in your vernacular to be cropped or have "less info". I don't see any intrinsic reason why that is bad though.

Samsung galaxy S3 camera has an 8 MP, (4.54 x 3.42 mm CMOS), 3.7 mm, f/2.6 lens. equiv focal length 26 mm
Samsung galaxy S4 camera has an 13 MP, (4.69 x 3.53 mm CMOS), 4.2 mm, f/2.0 lens. equiv focal length 31 mm
Samsung galaxy S5 camera has an 16 MP, (5.08 x 3.81 mm CMOS), 4.8 mm, f/2.2 lens. equiv focal length 35 mm

Last edited by fffft; 17th August 2014 at 09:40 PM.
17th August 2014, 10:30 PM |#3  
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Thanks for the clarification. Apologies for not using the right terminology... yes, I meant FoV. So is 35mm focal length better than 26mm; meaning, the higher the number the better? All I know is that the lower the f, the better is low light performance . And by that definition, if S4 is f2.0 then it should perform slightly better than the S5.
18th August 2014, 08:06 AM |#4  
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No single parameter defines a camera. The S4 may have a better maximum aperture, but be inferior to the S5 in fifteen other aspects. Leading 99.9% of people to conclude that the S5 camera is superior. For that matter a camera with a higher aperture but more sensitive sensor can have superior low light performance despite a higher aperture. It would be hard to find a valid reason why you'd only care about the maximum aperture to the exclusion of all other camera specifications.

Anyone who feels that a camera can be defined by only one number e.g. megapixels or aperture doesn't understand how various specifications impact the use and ultimate performance of a camera. It is never that simplistic. A longer focal length is not intrinsically better or worse than a shorter one. It simply defines the FOV. If you are doing portraits or shooting a distant subject, a longer focal length would be advantageous. And just the opposite if you wanted to shoot a panoramic landscape.

18th August 2014, 02:15 PM |#5  
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Galaxy S4 lens are f1/2.2 same as S5...

I personally prefer standard 35mm equivalent over wider lens (like 26mm equivalent) because it provides more natural looking images and the corners doesn't lack of definition (like xperia z/z1/z2 or lumia 1020...) or other aberrations.

IPhone usually has a 35mm focal equivalent lens too, which I think is perfect for a smartphone.
19th August 2014, 01:49 AM |#6  
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Originally Posted by juanmaasecas

IPhone usually has a 35mm focal equivalent lens too, which I think is perfect for a smartphone.

Those are subjective, personal preferences. Your ideal of "natural looking" will not be the same as someone else's. I'd much prefer a phone that had a 50 - 75 mm equivalent focal length, but a ~ 35 mm compromise is more common in phone cameras. Corner definition has little relation to small differences in focal length and your argument there is spurious. It is much more strongly related to aperture, in many cases corners will be sharpest ~ f8.

Different reviews have variously cited both f2 and f2.2 for the S4 lens and the Samsung site doesn't give us any aperture specification. The difference isn't significant though and it hardly matters which is the actual case.

Probably the closest thing to a "normal" focal length is 50 mm equivalent which is considered desirable for general use in conventional SLR cameras because it is the focal length that closely approximates the perspective of the human eye. 35 mm has long been considered a wide angle lens and produces a more distant and reduced magnification image at disparity with the unaided eye.

With the advent of digital zoom, most smartphone designers have compromised on a design that tries to cover a range of focal lengths by using a wide angle lens that people can digitally zoom in to frame (crop) a scene. This tries to be everything to everyone, but sacrifices resolution for convenience. When you "zoom in" this way, a picture is degraded with less resolution and a more apparent grain.have taken to using wide angle focal lengths.

There is no perfect or best focal length. It depends on your usage, subject and personal preferences among other things.

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