Front camera issues on some phones (Results of detailed testing)

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cheema

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2009
223
49
Portland, OR
First of all let me say that my only reason for conducting these tests is to bring attention to any issues I find, so that they can be addressed by Samsung and T-Mobile. I am just the messenger, don't shoot.

If you have not seen the results of my display tests for this phone, I encourage to you to check them out here:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1320942

I conducted the following tests with 4 phones. 2 Sprint Galaxy S II phones and 2 T-Mobile Galaxy S II phones. Now let's see how our phone compares with the Sprint phone when it comes to the front camera.

1. Front camera test using DSLR

For this test I borrowed some data from my earlier display test. All 4 phones were switched to front camera and the camera settings were reset to default. I then put the phones down on a table and took a picture with my Canon 60D.



Needless to say, this looks really really bad for T-Mobile sets. This is the test that gave me the idea that something else was going on here in addition to the well known screen problems of the T-Mobile/Telus phone. As we will shortly see, the T-Mobile phone is suffering from a double whammy of screen and camera problems in this test.


2. Low light test

For this test I lined up some random objects on the floor and took pictures using all 4 phones. The room was lit by one CFL bulb, pointed in the opposite direction of the objects being photographed. The camera settings were reset to factory settings. I used the 2-second timer to take pictures from the front camera. The EXIF data on all the pictures is identical. Please keep in mind that this test used jpeg data from the phone camera. And the screen defects played no role. Full size, un-edited pictures are available if you click on an image below.

Camera maker : SAMSUNG
Camera model : Sprint: SPH-D710 T-Mobile: SGH-T989
F-stop : f/2.8
Exposure time: 1/8 sec.
ISO speed : ISO-400









3. High light test

For this test I repeated test 2 above. But opened up the curtains to let the light in from outside and pointed the CFL bulb towards the objects being photographed.










Conclusion

And the parade of tears continues. Like the display, the front camera loses the battle badly. The hardware is supposed to be identical. Why does the T-Mobile continue to perform poorly? Was the QA team sleeping at the wheel?

The low light test probably needs no analysis. It is easy to see that the pictures from the T-Mobile phone are just plain dark. In the bright light test, if one is not paying attention it would be easy to overlook the washed out colors in the pictures produced by the T-Mobile camera.

I'll continue to update this post as additional data on the performance of front facing camera becomes available.
 
Last edited:

manekineko

Senior Member
Jul 26, 2009
1,008
231
Wow, this is really eye-opening. I'm assuming you wiped off the lens on both phones before the tests? The T-Mobile one almost looks like it's shooting through a haze.

Also, has anyone done a comparison on the rear-facing cameras?
 

phewizzo

Senior Member
Aug 29, 2007
788
118
New York City
Both phones have the same parts... Just different processor. Im really starting to believe its a software issue.

Sent from my SGH-T989 using xda premium
 

talltexan

Senior Member
May 17, 2009
766
54
Dont forget to thank this guy for his hard work WOW. Still trying to get someone with some followers to voice a concern about this.
 
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Authority

Member
Dec 25, 2009
24
0
Salt Lake City
I noticed this a little too, but I totally overlooked it.. I will probably never use the front facing camera on any device... But it does both me that t-mobile devices are worse quality... Might as well purchase it at walmart :p

I seriously think I am going to side step to the Galaxy Nexus when it is available, mostly for the screen issues on Tmo GS2...
 
K

Killbynature

Guest
Well first of all no need for a separate thread for this ffc for all phones are crap. Second of all you need more precise test. Like see if Samsung and T-Mobile are using the Same screen manufacturer. You can see this by typing dsmeg. In terminal emulator. You have to remember that you have tested I say about 7-8 devices. Not all of them. Xda is about 1% of a total population that has Samsung galaxy 2

---------- Post added at 10:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:50 PM ----------

Both phones have the same parts... Just different processor. Im really starting to believe its a software issue.

Sent from my SGH-T989 using xda premium

SuperCurio the developer for voodoo screen tuning said this himself. We are missing the MdNie chip for processing the screen due to the chipset switch. Meaning Hardware.We emulate the chip in our phones using the Qualcomm MDP. Like i said it may can be fixed by getting better emulation software and samsung reworking the drivers for optimization for the screen. The closest update we have is the wifi calling update which will probably bring various bug fixes as well for the samsung galaxy s2.
 

Splaktar

Senior Member
Aug 10, 2010
674
134
Melbourne, FL
I've done some video chat over Skype in the last few days and this has been the best front facing camera that I have ever used. People have noticed a much clearer and smoother image from the SGS2 FFC than from the 3 different PC webcams that I use. I don't know much about the Sprint version, but I've been very happy with ours.
 
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cheema

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2009
223
49
Portland, OR
Well first of all no need for a separate thread for this

We are talking about two separate issues here. You can use the camera to take a picture and analyze on a separate studio display. The phone screen does not play a part here. And any defects with the screen should be discussed separately.

ffc for all phones are crap.

If all FFCs are crap then how come the Sprint Galaxy S II is taking better pictures with the same camera hardware?

Second of all you need more precise test. Like see if Samsung and T-Mobile are using the Same screen manufacturer. You can see this by typing dsmeg. In terminal emulator.

It is easy to sit back and point fingers at the data that somebody put a lot of effort to produce. It identifies problems in this device so that they can be fixed. Samsung, T-Mobile and much of user community of this phone are oblivious to these issues.

What you say here is irrelevant and absolutely does not matter. The question I set out to answer was:

"Does the front camera on T-Mobile Galaxy S II take better or worse pictures than Sprint Galaxy S II". I answered that with my research and shared the results with everybody else.

You are very welcome to run your own tests and share the results with us. Additionally if you are going to ask others to go on wild goose chases for you, perhaps you should attempt to meet them halfway. I am assuming that you have the same T-Mobile phone as I, you can parse the dmesg as well as anybody else. Tell us what screen we are using. And we'll go from there.

SuperCurio the developer for voodoo screen tuning said this himself. We are missing the MdNie chip for processing the screen due to the chipset switch. Meaning Hardware.We emulate the chip in our phones using the Qualcomm MDP. Like i said it may can be fixed by getting better emulation software and samsung reworking the drivers for optimization for the screen.

And how did you connect mDNIe to the front facing camera? I am not saying that it is not relevant, but I am curious to know if you have any real information connecting the two or if you are spouting nonsense again.
 

cheema

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2009
223
49
Portland, OR
Wow, this is really eye-opening. I'm assuming you wiped off the lens on both phones before the tests? The T-Mobile one almost looks like it's shooting through a haze.

Also, has anyone done a comparison on the rear-facing cameras?

All 4 phones were wiped clean. They are like new to begin with.

I do not know of any comparison performed on the rear facing camera with the Sprint phone. I might do that one day, if there is enough demand.
 

cheema

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2009
223
49
Portland, OR
I've done some video chat over Skype in the last few days and this has been the best front facing camera that I have ever used. People have noticed a much clearer and smoother image from the SGS2 FFC than from the 3 different PC webcams that I use. I don't know much about the Sprint version, but I've been very happy with ours.

The camera on the phones is better than the 0.3 megapixel cameras on most netbooks and notebook computers. However performs poorly under low light and renders colors incorrectly. In some use cases (e.g. plenty of light) many users will not notice an issue. Specially when they have not seen the output of the equivalent camera on the Sprint phone.

In short, the camera produces decent output for a front facing camera. But it can be much much better!

And that is the goal here. To wake up Samsung.
 
K

Killbynature

Guest
We are talking about two separate issues here. You can use the camera to take a picture and analyze on a separate studio display. The phone screen does not play a part here. And any defects with the screen should be discussed separately.



If all FFCs are crap then how come the Sprint Galaxy S II is taking better pictures with the same camera hardware?



It is easy to sit back and point fingers at the data that somebody put a lot of effort to produce. It identifies problems in this device so that they can be fixed. Samsung, T-Mobile and much of user community of this phone are oblivious to these issues.

What you say here is irrelevant and absolutely does not matter. The question I set out to answer was:

"Does the front camera on T-Mobile Galaxy S II take better or worse pictures than Sprint Galaxy S II". I answered that with my research and shared the results with everybody else.

You are very welcome to run your own tests and share the results with us. Additionally if you are going to ask others to go on wild goose chases for you, perhaps you should attempt to meet them halfway. I am assuming that you have the same T-Mobile phone as I, you can parse the dmesg as well as anybody else. Tell us what screen we are using. And we'll go from there.



And how did you connect mDNIe to the front facing camera? I am not saying that it is not relevant, but I am curious to know if you have any real information connecting the two or if you are spouting nonsense again.

You seem mad. You should calm down. Let me explain it to you. A chipset switch means different devices . Qualcomm and exynos the camera rendering is different on each device. Exynos chipset and qualcomm chipset are different.

The phones are nothing alike except in name. Its like taking a amd processor and comparing it to an i7 the way they work is totally different. Have you looked at the source code. I don't think so because if you did you know we have most of our drivers largely reworked for our processor.

Very little in common with our other variants. A sprint galaxy s2 is closely related to the original galaxy s2. Because it has the same chipset as the galaxy s2. The source even has similar drivers.

The only way to fix it is to have Samsung A) rework the drivers to make it the best they can it they haven't already did that yet. or B) recall all products and switch out processors. Either one is probably most likely not going to happen. Telus did the right thing by naming it Samsung galaxy x2 because that what it is. It is not a galaxy s2 in performance or anything except in name.

DNie -DNIe offers better detail than conventional televisions by using four proprietary processes that optimize and enhance image quality and sound: a Motion Optimizer that is a noise processing technology used to eliminate blurring and noise in moving images; a Contrast Enhancer that offers rich details and image quality; a Detail Enhancer that automatically analyzes the picture signal and reproduces images that result in lifelike video; a Color Optimizer that analyzes the video signals being generated so that the quantities of reds, greens, and blues are calculated to provide natural, realistic colors. The M part stands for mobile.
 
Last edited:

cheema

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2009
223
49
Portland, OR
The phones are nothing alike except in name. Its like taking a amd processor and comparing it to an i7 the way they work is totally different. Have you looked at the source code. I don't think so because if you did you know we have most of our drivers reworked for our processor.

The processors are different. We all understand that. But the camera hardware is the same and the display hardware is the same.

Going by your example, If I had two PCs, sitting side by side, one had an AMD processor and the other had an Intel one, but everything else, including the monitor and the Logitech webcam attached were the same. Would I be so wrong to complain if the Logitech camera on one PC produced pictures that were much worse?

I think the problem is in the software and T-Mobile / Samsung rushed a product out the door, that was not quite ready for release.

People who paid good money for this product, deserve better. In the meantime I will try to help them find these problems that they seem to have overlooked.

If you think these manufacturers do not overlook problems when they ship products, I point you to Samsung Vibrant and its GPS problems as an example.
 
K

Killbynature

Guest
The processors are different. We all understand that. But the camera hardware is the same and the display hardware is the same.

Going by your example, If I had two PCs, sitting side by side, one had an AMD processor and the other had an Intel one, but everything else, including the monitor and the Logitech webcam attached were the same. Would I be so wrong to complain if the Logitech camera on one PC produced pictures that were much worse?

I think the problem is in the software and T-Mobile / Samsung rushed a product out the door, that was not quite ready for release.

People who paid good money for this product, deserve better. In the meantime I will try to help them find these problems that they seem to have overlooked.

If you think these manufacturers do not overlook problems when they ship products, I point you to Samsung Vibrant and its GPS problems as an example.

That chip is a big problem for us because that causing everything to look bad. If we had lets say a super lcd screen. We have the drivers to calibrate it correctly. The Qualcomm chips have the correct drivers for it. As i see in most galaxy 2 we are missing the part where we can calibrate the screen are self. A setting under display.

I not a big fan of samsung but the qualcomm chip is much weaker than the chipset in exynos.So is the gpu. It maybe samsung couldn't sacrifice performance trying to emulate precisely. So be wary of what we get because the update might make the phones performance worst. If you compared it to the amaze 4g since they have similar chipsets. The amaze takes great pictures back and front. Since HTC has optimized their device sensors and such for the drivers.

You can't really compare two computers like you do phones. Phones different so much from each other. It's not even funny. More like cars if i get the fastest Cadillac with the most powerful engine and then buy a Cadillac with a different engine then expect them to have the same horsepower and performance. Besides computers have a good integration phones do not. Yes i do feel things were rushed though.

Keep in mind our drivers are largely different. The MDNie chip is largely where our problem is if you read about the Dnie: "DNIe generally improves images are made sharper with DNIe, contrast is improved, and color accuracy is enhanced in many ways.That was from Samsung site. We have a hacked emulated one. You should talk to Samsung through online chat to show them the issues on our devices. Because on the phone i got people who had no idea of the problem. After 20 minutes waiting.
 

huggosz

Senior Member
Sep 11, 2008
104
27
I think the OP got a defective tmobile phone! either that or he works for sprint and he's trying to convince us that their SGS2 version is better so we should switch. I've compared my phone side by side with the sprint one and there's no difference on the screen whatsoever, I tried different angles, different brightness, etc. Our phones are actually faster in my experience!
 

cheema

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2009
223
49
Portland, OR
I think the OP got a defective tmobile phone! either that or he works for sprint and he's trying to convince us that their SGS2 version is better so we should switch. I've compared my phone side by side with the sprint one and there's no difference on the screen whatsoever, I tried different angles, different brightness, etc. Our phones are actually faster in my experience!

1. I have been through 3 T-Mobile phones. They all show the same symptoms. And there are plenty of other people who were complaining about the displays before I decided to get a little more scientific about it.

2. I do not work for Sprint. Otherwise I would not be hosting the pictures on my own website. My motivation is that I want the problems fixed. Is that really that hard to understand?

3. Plenty of people have said that they have done the comparison. Some find issues, others do not. Those who do not, have not actually put up any data to support their claims. I suspect most of these people are testing/comparing under bright lights where the T-Mobile display and camera problems are less obvious.
 

kosnarf

Member
Oct 14, 2011
41
5
I have noticed this, while comparing my phone with my friend's S2. Honestly the factory settings are junk. I usually, at minimum, change the ISO setting to 200, to get decent pictures. -.-
 

cheema

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2009
223
49
Portland, OR
I have noticed this, while comparing my phone with my friend's S2. Honestly the factory settings are junk. I usually, at minimum, change the ISO setting to 200, to get decent pictures. -.-

You cannot change the ISO when using the front camera.

Anyway, the user visible settings in the test are the same. Including the ISO. This can be verified by looking at the EXIF data in the photos.

The pictures produced by the cameras with the same exact settings should be equal in quality. They are not in this case. T-Mobile phones produced noticeably lower quality pictures every time.
 

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    First of all let me say that my only reason for conducting these tests is to bring attention to any issues I find, so that they can be addressed by Samsung and T-Mobile. I am just the messenger, don't shoot.

    If you have not seen the results of my display tests for this phone, I encourage to you to check them out here:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1320942

    I conducted the following tests with 4 phones. 2 Sprint Galaxy S II phones and 2 T-Mobile Galaxy S II phones. Now let's see how our phone compares with the Sprint phone when it comes to the front camera.

    1. Front camera test using DSLR

    For this test I borrowed some data from my earlier display test. All 4 phones were switched to front camera and the camera settings were reset to default. I then put the phones down on a table and took a picture with my Canon 60D.



    Needless to say, this looks really really bad for T-Mobile sets. This is the test that gave me the idea that something else was going on here in addition to the well known screen problems of the T-Mobile/Telus phone. As we will shortly see, the T-Mobile phone is suffering from a double whammy of screen and camera problems in this test.


    2. Low light test

    For this test I lined up some random objects on the floor and took pictures using all 4 phones. The room was lit by one CFL bulb, pointed in the opposite direction of the objects being photographed. The camera settings were reset to factory settings. I used the 2-second timer to take pictures from the front camera. The EXIF data on all the pictures is identical. Please keep in mind that this test used jpeg data from the phone camera. And the screen defects played no role. Full size, un-edited pictures are available if you click on an image below.

    Camera maker : SAMSUNG
    Camera model : Sprint: SPH-D710 T-Mobile: SGH-T989
    F-stop : f/2.8
    Exposure time: 1/8 sec.
    ISO speed : ISO-400









    3. High light test

    For this test I repeated test 2 above. But opened up the curtains to let the light in from outside and pointed the CFL bulb towards the objects being photographed.










    Conclusion

    And the parade of tears continues. Like the display, the front camera loses the battle badly. The hardware is supposed to be identical. Why does the T-Mobile continue to perform poorly? Was the QA team sleeping at the wheel?

    The low light test probably needs no analysis. It is easy to see that the pictures from the T-Mobile phone are just plain dark. In the bright light test, if one is not paying attention it would be easy to overlook the washed out colors in the pictures produced by the T-Mobile camera.

    I'll continue to update this post as additional data on the performance of front facing camera becomes available.
    2
    99% of the people owning this phone could care less, and are quite happy with its screen and camera, or don't have the problems as your trying to portray it.
    I have none of the problems shown on my screen (low brightness lines) and the ffc serves its purpose ( occasional video chat) just fine. Whats next? The tolerances of the solder connections :)

    The phone does what it is suppose to do be a multimedia device. If you don't like the device just take it back to t-mobile and get a sprint device.

    What are you threadcrappers even doing in this thread if you feel that way? It's easy enough to just not click on threads that don't interest you.

    cheema is doing the community a service by demonstrating very clearly areas where the phone seems to be performing below its capabilities, and is attempting to rally like-minded people to convince Samsung to improve the capabilities.

    You guys are just talking **** to him and doing absolutely nothing constructive. Okay, so your screen is fine, and you don't care about the quality of the camera, then cheema's threads are not applicable to you.

    He doesn't want to take the phone back to T-Mobile and get a Sprint device, he wants to find like-minded people and convince Samsung to improve the phone for everyone. Maybe it's a longshot but at least he's trying to do something for the community unlike the naysayers.
    1
    Dont forget to thank this guy for his hard work WOW. Still trying to get someone with some followers to voice a concern about this.
    1
    I've done some video chat over Skype in the last few days and this has been the best front facing camera that I have ever used. People have noticed a much clearer and smoother image from the SGS2 FFC than from the 3 different PC webcams that I use. I don't know much about the Sprint version, but I've been very happy with ours.
    1
    We can either have samsung have a total recall and swap out a chip set or have them emulate the software better.

    99% of the people owning this phone could care less, and are quite happy with its screen and camera, or don't have the problems as your trying to portray it.
    I have none of the problems shown on my screen (low brightness lines) and the ffc serves its purpose ( occasional video chat) just fine. Whats next? The tolerances of the solder connections :)