While the 16MP camera of the Galaxy Note 4 is mostly what we would expect, Samsung has really changed things up with the addition of OIS. Outside of this addition and the Sony IMX240 sensor, there’s really not a lot of change when it comes to the Galaxy Note 4. This means that we see the same 31mm equivalent focal length and F/2.27 aperture. At this point, it seems that OIS has finally reached mainstream adoption as both Samsung and Apple are shipping OIS solutions on their phones. The front facing camera is noticeably different though, with a Samsung S5K6D1YX sensor that I haven't seen elsewhere.

However, before we get into the proper image quality analysis I wanted to first cover shot to shot latency and focus/AE latency, as both are critical to a good image capture experience. Even if it’s possible to get amazing photos from a camera, it doesn’t really matter if the moment is missed. In order to test this, we look at the ideal case, which is when the phone is pointed at the ISO chart with bright lighting to maximize contrast.

Camera Shot Latency (Shooting ISO 12233 Target)

Camera Focus Latency (Shooting ISO 12233 Target)

As one can see in the graphs above, capture latency and focus latency are quite competitive with on the Note 4. However, there is one crucial detail that the focus latency graph misses, which is that Samsung doesn’t have continuous auto-focus in preview with the Note 4. As a result, there’s realistically an additional latency period before the auto-focus begins to run. The result is that the total time from out of focus to in focus is realistically closer to 800ms, but if one immediately taps the display to begin an AF run it’s possible to achieve the lower bound value, which is just south of 300ms.

Still Image Performance

While I'm still working on moving towards a better test for cameras, for now we have our standard photo comparisons that should give a good idea of what to expect from a smartphone camera in comparison to other cameras. Our first test is the standard ISO chart, which allows for a good test of maximum resolution.

For this first test, it seems that Samsung hasn't really changed much when it comes to maximum resolution, and in general the Note 4 produces similar output to the Galaxy S5. To verify this and a test of dynamic range, we'll look at a landscape shot next.

In this test, we see that the Galaxy Note 4 generally does well with detail and dynamic range as the landscape is generally well-detailed, although there's quite a bit of detail that seems to be smudged away on the grass as it seems to be a flat green texture for the most part. There's also noticeable color artifacting on the bleachers in the distance. We'll look at the same scene in low light to get a better idea for what the Note 4 really brings to the table.

Here, in low light we see significant improvements in image quality when comparing the Galaxy S5 to the Galaxy Note 4. The iPhone 6 Plus and Note 4 are quite close in overal quality, but looking at the brick building on the right of the image shows that the iPhone 6 Plus is maintaining a higher level of detail in this scene.

In the case of HDR, Samsung continues to do a great job with their implementation. For the most part this feature is successfully implemented with no real halos or other artifacts even when there are moving objects in the shot. This is likely to be implemented through on-sensor HDR rather than image combination.

Display Video Performance
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  • BPB - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Where are the final comments?
  • JoshHo - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Apologies, things were a bit hectic in order to meet the embargo. The conclusion is done but some aspects are still incomplete. I should be finished within the next hour.
  • Try-Catch-Me - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Anand would never allow this.
  • CoreDuo - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Except it did happen even when Anand was around. In a few GPU reviews by Ryan Smith and when Brian Klug wrote the smartphone reviews, they did on occasion go up incomplete when there was not enough time between when they got the products to review and the embargo date. They have always been finished within 24 hours of publication though.
  • Try-Catch-Me - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Relax. I'm just making a joke like how people kept saying "Steve would never allow that".
  • kron123456789 - Thursday, October 16, 2014 - link

    LoL. Turns out, that New Exynos 7 Octa and Exynos 5433 in Note 4 are the same SoC))
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, October 17, 2014 - link

    They just decided to market the 5433 as a Exynos 7 series, however there are more in the 7 series (7420) coming out as pointed out in my article.
  • noelbonner - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - link

    There are a number of higher rated phones, I recommend seeing among others.
  • windycity23 - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    Or better yet, check out one of these - quick and easy to read.
  • Ramon Zarat - Monday, October 20, 2014 - link

    A joke you say? Don't quit your day job just yet to become a comedian because I don't see any joke here as I failed to get the humor and I'm not laughing either. Next time, put a smiley or something so we can decipher your cryptic intentions: ;)

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