Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Samsung Galaxy S7 - A Photographers Perspective

Greetings folks!
It's been quite awhile hasn't it. I admit, I have neglected my photoblog some and in later posts I will touch on why that has happened.

Today though I want to talk about something I never really thought I'd be talking about. Let's face it. Cell phones and cameras have both a stigmata and a stereotype about them. The whole "look mom, a hipster!" is one of those, the other is that the photos coming out of them generally as a rule of thumb are worse quality than a compact point and shoot camera. The latter I generally agree with.

I dropped a wad of cash on my phone. In all honesty, it's rather amazing how much these devices can and do cost. I'm prepaid so it was 100% out of pocket but I waited for a long time, a few years, for something like the Samsung Galaxy S7 to arrive on the scene. I knew it was just a matter of time until it did and I wanted something which would add to my arsenal of camera gear. Something which really would work and something that had the features I really wanted. One of the biggies of course was the ability to shoot RAW. The S7 does that in the form of DNG.

This past summer, myself and someone who I hold very near and dear to me, did a 7,800 mile photography trip that covered 4 states and hit several national parks. I had just received my S7 weeks before leaving for my trip and it was a great opportunity to really give the S7 a workout.

"Evening At Dead Horse Point" 

The one thing I noticed right away about the Samsung Galaxy S7 was how sharp the RAW files were. This honestly caught me off guard because I was not expecting that. The amount of detail pulled in from the camera is truly stunning and in some ways actually rivals that of my Sony A77. Not only that but the images are sharp all the way through. The only thing I have found is that in super high contrast situations, especially those involving trees, there does tend to be some colored noise at times which is easily adjusted inside Nik's Dfine 2 which I use for noise reduction. Or a simply mask inside Photoshop using an adjustment layer of hue/saturation works as well. That doesn't happen often but it is there once in a blue moon.

"A Bed Of Wildflowers"-- Kebler Pass outside Crested Butte, Colorado.

I started processing my photos inside Lightroom & Photoshop which is my regular apps for my workflow. Considering that the images are only 12MP, things flew by. That is one thing I enjoyed, it's fast and easy. I also have bought a cheap little tripod to help me steady the camera but I mostly wanted it for video which the S7 does wonderfully. The focus points while in "Pro Mode" are rather incredible and remind me a lot of my DSLR.

"Rolling Thunder" - Arches National Park, Utah

So what are my thoughts on it all?
Well, in all honesty I do believe that the time has come and is here now to where our phones no longer take really bad photos but are a legitimate camera in its own right. Does it have limitations? Sure it does, I wouldn't try taking wildlife photos with it or astro shots but in terms of landscapes? Yeah, it certainly serves its purpose and does so that left me pretty darn floored. It used to be that cell phone shots needed all these "Instagram-esque" filters applied to them just to make them look half way decent. I can say that with the S7 that is no longer the case. In fact, it is now my second camera and I find myself being just as serious behind the lens of it as I am with my regular gear. That my friends says a lot.

If you're honestly thinking of ways to step outside the box and add to your arsenal as a photographer, then I have to say go give the S7 a good look. It's a very solid investment and one which will only put a smile on your face.