Features & Controls
The primary (front-facing) camera captures 16-Megapixel images using a 1/2.6" image sensor. The fixed f/1.9 lens offers an equivalent focal view of 28mm. Next to it sits the tiny flash (above left, in this photo), as well as the AF-assist lamp, at right. In the middle is the novel "heart-rate sensor." You place your finger over it to trigger the shutter while using the rear-facing lens to take "selfies".
Picture size menu:
- 16M (5312x2988)
- 12M (3984x2988)
- 8.9M (2976x2976)
- 8M (3264x2448)
- 6M (3264x1836)
- 2.4M (2048x1152)
On the top of the S6 (left to right) are the microphone and infrared port.
On the bottom are the (left to right) earphone jack, USB/multiuse port, microphone and speaker.
You can use the left button (volume up) as the shutter-release. Rather than having to select a continuous shooting mode, you simply hold this down to capture a burst of up to 30 full-resolution 16M images. However, you may see a message pop up on-screen to notify you that burst shooting is disabled when shooting in very low light.
After you tap the screen to select the autofocus area, an AF/AE circle appears on screen. You then drag your finger to another area to set the expose (if you choose). I did not find this feature very helpful. Although the dragging motion did change the exposure, it did not do so consistently and accurately for the area I had dragged my finger to. It just seemed a little random whether the exposure compensation would go up or down. For such scenarios, I would probably opt to turn on the camera's HDR feature.
As for the display, you can tap on an arrow icon at top left to get rid of the left column of settings icons. And, in the settings menu (see the gear icon at bottom left), you can turn off the grid lines.
Camera settings menu:
- Picture Size
- Video Size
- Tracking AF: On, off
- Grid lines: On, off
- Location tags: On, off
- Review pictures: On, off
- Quick launch: On, off
- Voice control: On, off
- Volume keys function: Take pictures, record video, zoom
- Shutter sound: On, off
The S6 keeps it simple when it comes to shooting modes. There is just one screen's worth (shown here). Note that two of them are video modes (slow and fast motion). For avid photographers, the best news here is the Pro mode, which lets you adjust a number of settings manually.
The download selection is for adding filters. There are many to choose from.
Pro shooting mode adjustable settings:
- Exposure compensation (+/- 2 steps)
- ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800
- White Balance: Auto, daylight, cloudy, incandescent, fluorescent
- Focus: Auto, macro to infinity
There are six filters in shooting mode, and two customizable positions for storing the color temperature, tint, contrast, saturation, highlight and shadow levels of your choosing.
Filters in shooting mode:
- Tone 2
- Tone 1
- Faded color
- Download (for adding more effects)
The S6 can record video at up to UHD resolution. The default, however, is FHD (1920x1080). Shown here is video recording using the vignette effect. If you have selected one of these effects, it will be used for both still image shooting and video recording.
Video size menu:
- UHD (3840x2160)
- QHD (2560x1440)
- FHD (60fps, 1920x1080)
- FHD (1920x1080)
- HD (1280x720)
- VGA (640x480)
You use the "More" button at top right to launch the photo editor, share files, create an album, play a slideshow or enter the help menu. It is probably best to organize by album before your files get numerous and unwieldy: The S6 does not have any sort functions (by date, file type, GPS location, etc.) other than its automatically created albums: camera, photo editor, and video editor. At least not that I could find. If you enter playback of your most recent image via its small thumbnail at top right of the camera screen, you can swipe through individual photos, but pinching your fingers does not launch an index view (it only zooms out if you've zoomed in). To see an index view, you have to navigate to the Gallery app.
Still image edit effects:
- Light Flare
- Light Streak
- Blue Wash
- Soft Glow
- Yellow Glow
- Dawn Cast
- Pop Art
- Gothic Noir
- Magic Pen
Similarly, you can apply one of 23 effects to videos. That selection varies slightly, offering animated video-specific effects such as rainfall and Autumn leaves.
Video playback on the S6 is as enjoyable as looking at photographs. Sharp details and rich colors give your videos top-shelf treatment.
For a smartphone, the S6 offers a sophisticated video editor. Here, you can trim your footage, apply one of 23 effects, add music, add text, and adjust play speed to 2X or half-speed. If varied speed is your favorite video trick, you'll like that two of the main shooting modes are for just that: Slow motion and fast motion allow you adjust the section of video that is slowed or sped up. After you've finalized your edit selection in the gallery, you can export it.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.