Samsung Galaxy S5 Adds Phase Detect AF and 4K Video

Samsung Galaxy S5

Yesterday, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S5 as the annual entry of its flagship smartphone. The Galaxy S4 was a huge success for Samsung and the S5 looks to keep up that trend. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 Back

Rather than a radical departure from what works, Samsung stuck with the S4 molds and tweaked the specs and features to ensure that the Galaxy S5 remains on the leading edge of smartphone tech in 2014. Based on what we know about the camera, this is good news for non-iPhone carrying photographers.

The Galaxy S5 camera offers a 16MP sensor and 4K video capture at 30fps. Samsung claims the world’s fastest AF speed for a smartphone at 0.3 seconds thanks to a new phase detect AF sensor. Additionally, the S5 offers real-time HDR and HDR video capture.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Camera

The camera software also allows users to enable a Selective Focus feature, which will blur the background while focusing on a specific area of an object. Presumably, this is possible due to the distance measuring function of phase detection autofocus. What isn’t clear from Samsung’s release details is whether the camera is creating a depth map of the frame on the fly (which would be very unique and perhaps very cool) or if it is just identifying a particular object (which could be clunky and inconsistent in actual practice).

Unfortunately, the Galaxy S5 didn’t add optical image stabilization as had been previously rumored. This is a disappointment and a feature that is needed in smartphones. I haven’t seen specs on the lens aperture; however, unless it’s f/1.8 of f/2, I see the lack of OIS being the biggest shortcoming of the Galaxy S5’s camera.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Front

The Galaxy S5 is waterproof and dustproof, adding a little more ability to handle life to your handset. It can handle being submerged to 3 feet for up to 30 minutes.

There are a handful of other tweaks and features, such as a heart rate monitor and a fingerprint scanner. Overall, the Galaxy S5 is built to be a faster and better handset than the S4. And, aside from the lack of optical image stabilization, the camera looks to be a compelling feature of the new handset.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 should be available in April. Samsung has not yet released pricing info.