Samsung’s camera makes taking pictures fun

Jump5 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereIn the entire two years I owned my HTC EVO 4G, I took somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 to 400 pictures. I know this, because they were all in my camera uploads folder in my Dropbox. Of those pictures, I would say that about 25% of them were for this site. That leaves around 250 personal pictures taken by a device that I carried with me every day. I’m sure there are some people that take less than that with their smartphones, but that averages out to one picture every three days.

Since I have activated my Samsung Galaxy Note II, I have taken 1,154 pictures. At the time of me writing this article, that is an average of just over 41 pictures taken every day. How did I go from taking one picture every third day to averaging over 41 a day? The short answer is because Samsung made their camera app so much fun to use.

I’m going to add a disclaimer in here now and say that I didn’t explore any third party camera apps at all on my previous phone. I barely explored the options in the default camera app that came with my EVO 4G. There is quite possibly an app or setting that could have fixed what I wanted it to, but the issue here is that out of the box, the camera and app on the Note II is miles ahead of what my EVO 4G camera and app were. Now, this of course makes a lot of sense as there was over two years of advancements in between the time they came out. What I’m referring to now has to do with how the stock app and camera work without changing any significant settings.

My EVO 4G had a pretty decent camera, but the camera app itself was nothing fancy. The most annoying  thing was how long it actually took to take a single photo. The whole process of focusing, activating the flash, actually capturing the picture, and then being ready to take another shot took anywhere from three to five seconds on average. For taking pictures of still objects, it was perfectly fine. To try and capture any kind of action shot at all was almost impossible.

For example, my wife likes to do jumping photos. That’s what she calls them, and she absolutely loves them. With my EVO 4G, when she wanted to take some jumping photos, it took some very careful counting and timing to get the shot captured. I would count to three, and she knew that she had to jump on three. But I knew that in order to give my camera enough time to focus and capture the image I had to push the shutter button when I said two, and even then there was a good chance I would miss it. It would normally take us at least five or six tries just to get one usable picture.

All that has changed with my Note II. There are a few ways I can easily take these jumping photos now. The first way is simply by tapping the shutter button repeatedly. After the initial focusing the camera just keeps those settings and lets me take as many pictures in a row as I want. I can keep hitting that shutter button and my phone will keep taking pictures. So instead of taking one picture every jump, I can take four to five pictures in a row of the same jump and am guaranteed to get one that she will be happy with.

The other way I can capture these jumping photos is by using burst mode. Burst mode lets me hold down the shutter button and take a rapid fire group of 20 pictures. Again, I’m almost guaranteed that somewhere in those 20 photos will be one that my wife is happy with.

The third way of capturing jumping photos is by using the camcorder part of the app. Wait, what? Use the camcorder to capture photos? I’m sure almost everyone has seen the commercial of the sheep kicking a guy’s backpack off a cliff while his buddy records it and snaps a picture of it to upload to his favorite social media site. That’s exactly how it works on the Note II.

You can take pictures while recording with the camcorder simply by tapping the camera icon in the corner of the screen. If you have already recorded a video, you can pull a still image out of it as well. While viewing a video you already shot, you will see there is a camera icon in the top middle of your screen. Tap that icon and a still image of that frame will be saved to your gallery.

So there are the three ways that I can make sure I have a jumping photo that my wife will be happy with. Usually the ones that she is happiest with are the ones where she is highest in the air, legs kicked off to the side, hands up in the air, and big smile on her face. Below you can see the progression of the jump from lift-off to landing in the four photos I took.

There are a lot of options on Samsung’s camera app. You have all the different camera options that most people don’t even know what they do like white balance, ISO, metering, and exposure. Then you have a bunch of options that you could only use with a camera on a smartphone – things like GPS tagging, auto-sharing, and one of my favorites, the ability to take pictures using your voice. That’s right, simply enable this mode and you can take a picture by saying something like “capture” or “shoot.”

However the one option that is missing is the one that most companies don’t include, and I don’t understand why. That is the option to not have a shutter sound. The shutter sound is the most annoying thing about the camera to me. The only way to get it to not play is if your phone is in silent mode. Most stand alone cameras have the ability to shut off the shutter sound, so why would smartphone cameras not have that option?

I would love to hear what you think about the camera on your Samsung phone. Does it make you want to take pictures like it makes me want to take pictures?

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

17 thoughts on “Samsung’s camera makes taking pictures fun

  • Avatar of Samson
    January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm
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    That’s one thing about my EVO 4G LTE that bugs me. I can get some great quality photos, but your heart beat is enough to make it have to refocus. just the motion from touching your screen or pressing the button can throw it off.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Paul M
    January 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm
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    Privacy laws have meant that in some countries a camera MUST make a sound.

    I turned the shutter sound off on my GNote2, if it’s rooted you can tweak a system file which enables the option to control camera sound.

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2033894

    I do make good use of root, for the above as well as to have a full debian arm image on uSDHC card, and I chroot into it and get access to a full linux environment.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner
      January 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm
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      Yeah I kind of understand some of the reasons why it has to make a sound, but it is so easy to get around it if it really matters to someone to not make a sound. Simply silence the phone, or root it and remove it.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Paul E King
        January 21, 2013 at 7:52 am
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        setting a phone on mute, turning the volume down, etc do not matter. Always makes a loud snapping sound so you can wake your baby up with a shock…

        Anyone using for nefarious purposes can disable the speaker using a finger, a q-tip, or a pin.

        Reply
        • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner
          January 21, 2013 at 8:30 am
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          My Note II won’t play the shutter sound if the phone is muted. Are you saying that your phone plays a sound regardless of volume settings?

          Reply
          • Avatar of Paul king
            January 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm
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            Yup, :/ updates made shutter unmutable

  • Avatar of Paul M
    January 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm
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    P.S. I am very pleased too with the camera on my note, it’s quite good for a phone camera. I intend to do set up some static test shots to compare it with my previous phone, an HTC Doubleshot (aka T-M MyTouch4GSlide), my wife’s Sensation, my Panasonic G5, and wife’s Nikon compact S9100.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Stringfellow
    January 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm
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    If privacy laws, why no noise sound when I shoot video? Just saying.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner
      January 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm
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      Yeah good point. If it is because of privacy laws there are just too many ways to get around it.

      Reply
  • Avatar of ed a
    January 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm
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    I myself came from the evo 4g and the evo 3d. As far as the evo 4g it did take some great shots, but nothing fancy there. With the evo 3d lower resolution, not a big hindrance,and much later with added apps like stich,burst camera and Photoshop an it being 3d already I was taking a lot of shots. And like you I now own the note 2 this has replaced the burden of multiple apps with the ease of a well packaged camera and a very useful spen.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Joe
    January 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm
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    If you want perfect photography, hire a professional – no matter how well you know your phone, you still don’t have an understanding of all the features, no matter how many they include.

    Do some phones take moderately better pictures given the same situations? Sure. High-end phones also make the common user suddenly think they’re professional photographers. Using a phone for a quick shot of something on vacation, sure, but I wouldn’t hire someone with even the best phone camera to tape my wedding.

    In order to get a truly professional camera in a phone, it would have a very high price tag, and the difference between it and a current-gen camera on the higher-end phones wouldn’t sway many buyers. There’s just not a market for it when people upload hundreds of photos that no one cares about on Facebook.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Vlad
    January 20, 2013 at 8:20 am
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    I appreciate being informed of all the great features of the camera in the Galaxy Note 2 because I truly did not know them. However, it would have been best to out the apples to oranges comparison. I clearly understand the perspective of comparing your old phone to your new one but these two phones are really not comparable – the Note 2 is more recent, and it is a Phablet. When comparing phones from two different manufactures I think it is important to make sure the phones are comparable. I have an original EVO and the LTE. Comparing it to the EVO LTE would have been a closer comparison, although I understand you don’t own one. Based on your article, it might very well be that the Note’s focusing might edge out the great camera in the EVO LTE. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner
      January 20, 2013 at 11:48 am
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      I understand what you are saying, but the only thing I have to compare the Note II’s camera to is my old EVO. That’s why I didn’t do any actual comparisons, but rather just used my experience with my EVO as a frame of reference.

      I have noticed that I have the tendency to compare the Note II to my EVO, and I need to watch how much I do that. It’s just too easy since the difference between the two phones is so huge.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Paul E King
        January 21, 2013 at 7:56 am
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        Set up a series of tests at a set time of day – I’ll do them on my 4G LTE, you do them on your Note 2.

        IE blade of grass one inch from lens, item behind at 5 inches, focus put on second item.

        Throw change in the air and use burst mode to capture it. Etc. Might make for an interesting thing, just have to define time, shooting into the sun or away from it, etc.

        Reply
        • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner
          January 21, 2013 at 8:31 am
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          I like this idea, we might have to set it up. Only problem with the grass idea is that all the grass here is buried under snow :)

          Reply
      • Avatar of Vlad
        January 21, 2013 at 9:13 pm
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        Hi Brian, glad you took my comments in stride. I’ve really been thinking of switching over to the Note 2. I like HTC but I am a bit disappointed in the EVO LTE.

        I like Paul’s idea. Would like to join in on the shoot-a-thon but this time of year any good blade of grass is buried under snow :-)

        Reply
  • Avatar of Stringfellow
    January 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm
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    Your disclaimer was enough, you were not doing a side by side comparison.

    I had the OG Evo, skipped the 3D Evo, own the LTE(less) Evo. My wife now owns a Note 2 (TMo!). OG camera was/is horrible when compared to LTE or Note2. I have not done a side by side comoarison, but camera functions on BOTH LTE and Note 2 are very similar.

    Initial difference is in “editing” photos. S Pen actually lets you cut out pic precisely and save cut out…very cool.

    Reply

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