Samsung Galaxy S4: "Chasseur d'Images" review

By Chasseur d'Images - Wednesday July 24 2013

Mobile Review
Introduction | Android boosted by Samsung | Getting started & ergonomics | A plethora of ways to explore | Field Impressions | Measurements | Conclusion

The Galaxy S4 is user-friendly and is always ready to photograph or film video with its continuous autofocus system. The presence of symbols on the screen, however, indicates additional opportunities, and the user who decides to explore will be astonished by the impressive number of modes and functions.

Press the Mode button, and 12 different program modes are offered: Night, Sports, Panorama, Eraser (removing loops or object movement!), HDR, Animated Photo (possibility of merging items to a still image), Drama Shot (merging moving subjects in a single image, like a strobe), Sound & Shot (9 seconds of audio added to a photo), Best Photo, Best Face (selection of the best image among five successive views), Beauty Face (smoothing portraits) and Full Auto.


On paper it all seems both attractive and scary but, thanks to a number of guided tours it’s easy to avoid any confusion. The results themselves are variable and depend on the user. If you've  used a Panorama mode now present on many digital devices, you know that the quality images depends of the consistency of the sweep. We find the usual limitations with moving subjects which result in a fairly random mix successes and failures. It’s easy to forget that these modes require technology, skill ... and a bit of luck!

Although discreet, an arrow in bottom of the screen is a short-cut to special effects (sepia, vintage, shade ...) to transform their photos in real-time. It's a pity the pictures are saved as a "new" image, instead of being able to apply these effects later, and retaining the original.

Experts menus, meanwhile, allow the set-up of the advanced settings S4: picture size, burst mode, metering, and recording GPS data, etc.