Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review: Galaxy Reboot: Still And Video Camera

By 01:07 Sun, 15 Aug 2021 Comments


The Samsung Galaxy Alpha comes with a 12MP camera. Samsung hasn't had a 12MP shooter in its lineup for ages so the Alpha isn't just borrowing the capturing camera of another Galaxy. The image sensor has 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning it shoots wideclassy screen photos natively.

The interface has been lifted directly from the Galaxy S5. The correct column holds the essential keys - still and video shutter keys, the Mode button and the gallery shortcut. The left column has the front/back capturing camera toggle, selective focus, HDR and settings shortcut.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha capturing camera interface

The middle two shortcuts are customizable, the top and bottom ones are not. The Mode button is the other place you can quickly access shooting modes, including Panorama, Shot & more, Virtual tour, Dual Camera and Beauty face.

Shot & more combines Best photo, Best face, Drama shot, Eraser and Panning shot. Dual Camera takes a photo with both front and back cameras simultaneously.

Virtual tour shot is similar to panoramas except you can go forward, turn left or right, go some more. Selective Focus takes two shots and processes them so you can photograph a close-up subject and blur the background or blur the object and haged the background in focus. The third option is everything in focus, here's how those options look.

Near focus • far focus • all in focus

You can download recent capturing camera modes from the Galaxy App store (like Surround shot, a spherical panorama mode).

The image quality of the photos is very impressive. Noise is kept low and the amount of fine detail is in abundance. Samsung's traditional oversharpening has been toned down but images are still sharp. Colors are slightly oversaturated by otherwise accurate.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha capturing camera samples

The capturing camera tends to underexpose shadows but you can enable HDR mode to assist with high-contrast scenes. The mode brightens shadowy areas and to a lesser extent reigns in colorful areas. The overall effect doesn't come on too strong.

HDR off and on

The panorama mode creates images around 3,000px tall if you hrecent the phone vertically and around 1,700px if you hrecent it horizontally. In either case it will go the full 360° circle for very high resolution results. The stitching is very good, barring the usual problems with moving objects.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha panorama sample

Photo quality comparison

There aren't a lot of recent 12MP shooters but the capturing camera on the Galaxy Alpha has a 16:9 sensor making it more suitable for showing off photos on widescreens. Note that we took 4:3 photos to create the comparison with other phones easier.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Video camera

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha joins the elite club of 2160p shooters. It can also capture 1080p video at both 30fps and 60fps and slow motion is available at 720p resolution. Note that the slowest option (8x) drops the framerate of the resulting video to 15fps, utilize 4x if you want to haged it at 30fps.

Options for the video capturing camera on the Galaxy Alpha

For 2160p videos the Alpha capturing camera records at 48Mbps bitrate, matching the Galaxy S5. Interestingly, audio recording is done at 256Kbps, double the bitrate the S5 uses and matching the venerable Nokia Lumia 1020.

Total bitrates go down from there - 28Mbps for 1080p @ 60fps and 17Mbps for 1080p @ 30fps. The audio bitrate remains unchanged.

An vital thing to note is that switching to 2160p video mode puts an upper limit on video length - 4 minutes (instead of the usual 5) - and disables certain features like Dual Camera, HDR, video effects, taking photos during video capture and video effects.

The quality of 2160p videos is remarkable with no noise and plenty of detail. Compression does tdiscontinue to hold away detail in places though. Colors are (again) oversaturated but there are no other noticeable issues. The quality of 1080p videos is identical though of course you only acquire a quarter of the pixels.

The continuous autofocus can acquire a small trigger excited at times so you can just tap on the part of the frame to lock the focus on it. An AF button appears to re-enable continuous autofocus.

Video quality comparison

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is among the 2160p-capable flagships (something minis including the Xperia Z1 Compact and Galaxy S5 mini miss out on).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

And here it is in 1080p mode, which for now is more practical (especially if you don't have a 4K TV).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha



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