The Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge will feature an autofocus system that has never before been used on a smartphone. Dual pixel autofocus is a Canon-developed technology that the Japanese imaging company uses in some of its digital SLRs and digital cine cameras.
When shooting stills, dual pixel autofocus is able to lock onto a subject quickly and offers a smooth focussing performance when used in video mode.
Manufacturers are struggling to differentiate their offerings as capable smartphones become more widespread, but Samsung is hoping that the camera on its new flagship devices will help set it apart.
And dual pixel autofocus is not the only major change that is seen on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge cameras, as the South Korean manufacturer provides a further indication that the megapixel race is now over.
HTC attempted to end the megapixel race in 2013 with its much-hyped UltraPixel camera on the original HTC One. But the performance of HTC’s shooter did not live up to expectations and the company has reverted to more traditional sensor solutions for its more recent smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge feature a 12 megapixel sensor – a lower resolution than the 16 megapixel camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6. But the change means that the individual pixels are larger on Samsung’s new flagship.
Offering a lower resolution than some of the competition, offset by a larger pixel size, is a trend that is starting to develop in the industry – last year both the Google Nexus 5X and Google Nexus 6P followed this path.
The benefit offered by increasing the pixel size is a reduction in noise. This is particularly evident when shooting in low light.
Another factor that will help the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge’s camera, when lighting conditions are less than optimal, is the introduction of an f/1.7 aperture lens. This will let in 25 percent more light than the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6, which featured an f/1.9 aperture lens.