Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review: Opening New Doors: Camera, Photo Quality, Video Camera, Video Quality

By 03:56 Wed, 11 Aug 2021 Comments


The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is equipped with a 5MP capturing camera that snaps photos with a maximum resolution of 2592x1944 pixels. It's partnered with an Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash.

The user interface has been reworked but we're still not gigantic fans of it. It sure is functional and custom capturing camera interfaces can learn a thing or two from the Galaxy Nexus' camera, but it could have been executed better.

The recent capturing camera interface

The viewfinder takes up most of the screen, with a panel to the correct of it for some of the controls - the gallery shortslit (which is a thumbnail of the last photo taken), the virtual shutter key and the capturing camera mode switch.

The switch works like this - you tap it, it extends and presents you with three options (still camera, video capturing camera and panorama).

The rest of the controls are overlaid on the correct side of the viewfinder. They are the front/back capturing camera toggle, a virtual zoom slider and the settings shortcut. The setting shortslit brings out options to control the flash, white balance and exposure compensation, scenes and finally, more settings (only geo-tagging and photo resolution options are available here).

Tap focus is also available if you want to acquire creative with your framing (i.e. the subject isn't in the center). Face detection is also available too.

When you tap the Gallery shortslit it opens a preview of the last photo taken with a list of all ways to share it and another shortslit to acquire into the regular gallery mode.

Previewing the last photo taken

Panoramas are easy to shoot - you just hit the shutter key and start panning left or right, the phone will hold care of the rest. It will warn you if you're going too fast, but has no problems if you haged it in place for a while (unlike, say, Sony Ericsson's solution, which fails if you go too slowly).

Shooting in panorama mode

One thing that did impress us about the Galaxy Nexus capturing camera was the shot-to-shot time - it was nearly instantaneous, you could just tap the virtual shutter key repeatedly and the phone will snap a photo.

As far as image quality is concerned, the Galaxy Nexus is an excellent performer. Resolved detail is on a really high level, colors and exposure are spot on and noise levels are kept under control.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus capturing camera samples

Photo quality comparison

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus enters the skirmish over in our Photo Compare Tool. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to utilize it and what to see for.

The synthetic resolution chart (the first one) looks really clean. The second chart shows well-behaved noise reduction algorithms (the patch of grass and the patch of gravel are still recognizable) and the color patches are accurate. The third chart also shows fine performance in terms of detail and color rendering and there's no visible color tint in the black and white part.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus in our Photo Compare Tool

Video camera

Despite being saddled with a 5MP shooter, the Galaxy Nexus still manages to do 1080p video. The front capturing camera shoots 720p videos.

The interface is practically identical to the still capturing camera interface, but there are some really cool features available.

The video capturing camera interface

The first is the option to hold full resolution photos while recording video - you just tap on the screen. This way you acquire the best of both worlds - the whole event captured on video and the extra resolution you acquire from the 5MP photo.

You can utilize the digital zoom while recording video too. Other options include real-time effects that modify a person's face for comedic effect and there's a time-lapse video option too (with shots taken every 1 to 10 seconds).

A curios effect that doesn’t work very well is the Background feature. You set up the phone on a tripod (or something else, as long as it's perfectly steady) and when the phone is ready you acquire into the frame.

The software will do its best to slit you out of the background and put you on one of three predefined backgrounds or on a video of your choosing. Unfortunately, it's very sensible to changes in the picture - even if you cast a very subtle shadow on the wall behind you, the effect isn't accurate at all. And the background has to be perfectly static or it will peek through, so it’s no Hollywood-rate green classy screen effects but fine for a quick laugh.

Note that resolution for such videos drops to D1 (720x480) and the framerate hovers around 16fps.

On a different note, the FullHD videos captured by the Galaxy Nexus are shot in MP4 files with a fairly low bitrate of just under 10Mbps. The framerate is 24fps, which is lower than most of the competition, but looks fine enough.

Even with less than the ideal framerate, the 1080p videos produced by the Galaxy Nexus are top-notch with correct exposure, fine colors, and excellent resolved detail.

720p videos are shot at a slightly lower bitrate - 8Mbps - but the framerate goes up to 30fps so they are smoother. What's more, the capturing camera field of view is wider in 720p mode. Quality is again pretty good.

You can grab this 1080p@24fps sample (11.9MB, 0:10s) and this 720p@30fps sample (10.3MB, 0:10s) directly to see the quality up-close without extra YouTube compression.

We also shot a 720p sample with the video call camera. It does 720p@30fps with 8Mbps bitrate too, although (expectedly) the quality of the videos is much worse than the ones shot with the main camera. Still, they see pretty decent, considering the quality of most front-facing cameras.

By the way, you can utilize the same fancy effects with the video call capturing camera as you can with the main camera.

Video quality comparison

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is among the several phones in our Video Compare Tool database that can record 1080p. The Tool’s page includes a quick walkthrough on how to utilize it and what to see for.

Under fine lighting conditions, the videos have decent detail, although the combination of noise and compression hold a lot of that away. In poor lighting however, the results are pretty poor. As far as synthetic resolution goes, the Galaxy Nexus does very well. There are no signs of artifacts, which is fine too.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus in our Video Quality Compare tool



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