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Old May 8th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default S4 Camera tips thread

I thought it would be handy to have a thread all about the camera.

For starters here is one of the more thorough run-downs of all the features of the camera being tested:

Galaxy S4 Camera Impressions: Samsung finally nails photos | Digital Trends

It notes that the Auto and HDR modes gave them the best results, and also commented on my own pet peeve, the generally slow shutter speed:

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Our next stop was a luxury showcase, a great place to find very photogenic items sitting under very unflattering lights. Switching between Auto and HDR, we managed to snap a few good images with interesting composition and color. At this point we came across the S4 camera’s biggest weakness: shutter speed. A few images lacked crispness because we couldn’t always hold our hands steady and the shutter isn’t lightning quick. Compared to the HTC One, which is super fast, the S4 is about a half second slower.

...we experimented with using Voice Control. With this on, all you have to do is say ‘Smile’ or ‘Cheese’ or ‘Capture’ to snap a picture. It cut down on that last second shakiness that comes from tapping the screen. In Settings, you can also make the volume button a shutter trigger – another way to keep the phone steadier.
I took some decent photos with the S4 so far but would agree that the shutter lag is aggravating. If anyone has any better tips about reducing shutter lag, please post them!

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Old May 8th, 2013, 02:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have one tip. I'm probably the only one stupid enough to do this, but I took several pictures and could not get a single clear in focus shot. I was shooting an event and wanted to use the GS4 for quick uploads of some shots to the server and was getting really frustrated at the quality of the shots. Then I realized that there was a clear plastic film over the lens to protect it during shipping. Now I have crystal clear shots. The tip? Remove all the packaging first!
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Old May 8th, 2013, 02:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AdmSuvvuk View Post
Then I realized that there was a clear plastic film over the lens to protect it during shipping. Now I have crystal clear shots. The tip? Remove all the packaging first!
Adm, did it completely cover the lens? My phone was shipped from sprint, and has a fairly rigid square film with a circular cutout over the lens glass. The film cover the lens glass that is already opaque (painted black) while allowing the lens to "see". I'm just wondering if (unlike mine) your protective film covered the lens entirely?
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Old May 8th, 2013, 03:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Adm, did it completely cover the lens? My phone was shipped from sprint, and has a fairly rigid square film with a circular cutout over the lens glass. The film cover the lens glass that is already opaque (painted black) while allowing the lens to "see". I'm just wondering if (unlike mine) your protective film covered the lens entirely?
Yes. Mine is also a sprint model, and it came with the rigid plastic that was somewhat like a cling screen protector on both the front and the back. Mine had an additional flexible plastic circular square -- rounded corners (similar in feel to a zagg screen protector) that fit directly over the lens inside the boundaries of the silver bezel around the lens. It was clear, and the camera could see through it but it affected the focusing sensors. I had to pick at the edges a bit to get it to lift up, then it just peeled off.
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Old May 8th, 2013, 03:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes. Mine is also a sprint model, and it came with the rigid plastic that was somewhat like a cling screen protector on both the front and the back. Mine had an additional flexible plastic circular square -- rounded corners (similar in feel to a zagg screen protector) that fit directly over the lens inside the boundaries of the silver bezel around the lens. It was clear, and the camera could see through it but it affected the focusing sensors. I had to pick at the edges a bit to get it to lift up, then it just peeled off.
I see what you're saying. I removed the thin cling-wrap style film but left the rigid protector on for now. Pictures seem decent.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 02:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I know this seems dumb but ya never know. Has anyone tested whether the plastic covering (with a cutout for the lens) affects photo quality?

My at&t phone came with the same one and I removed it briefly but replaced it. I'm oddly hesitant to keep it off.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 08:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I forgot to take the plastic off of mine and yes there is a difference if its on. Pics arent as clear.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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And was your plastic piece covering the lens at all?
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Old May 9th, 2013, 11:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I too have the plastic piece on my camera lens with a small circular hole cutout for the lens itself to see through. The piece of plastic doesn't want to come off very easily, but certainly doesn't look like it belongs on the phone. I noticed some GS4s have this plastic piece, and some don't. Anybody have any info on what the purpose of this piece of plastic is? Can we remove it safely?

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*edit: my photos seem fine so far but I haven't experimented all that much
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Old May 9th, 2013, 12:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Anybody have any info on what the purpose of this piece of plastic is? Can we remove it safely?
I'm live-chatting with Samsung support right now. They indicate that it is simply a protective lens cover to prevent scratching. (I'll post the whole transcript when I'm done.)

To be honest it's actually hard to see the cover at first -- it's not applied like removable shipping protectors are normally applied, where the protector is very clearly there and applied in such a way as to make removal obvious and easy. To remove the lens cover you need to get a fingernail right there at the outer edge of the silver bezel until you feel the rigid plastic square lift off.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 01:25 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I just want to make sure the plastic piece isn't covering anything that would affect the camera. I know my camera looked washed out compared to an S3, but I don't know if that was due to the screen issues these phones have or my brightness.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 01:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My pictures seem fine. It's just odd that some phones have this piece of plastic, and others don't. I work for a cellphone retailer and I've seen a TON of GS4s come through our doors. Half have this piece of plastic, and another half don't. It's sorta strange.

My other issue is the fact it looks tacky and ugly.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 01:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Samsung: lens cover may be removed but might endanger lens

The full transcript is below, but here is the executive summary:

1) There is a rigid plastic lens protector on the back lens of the S4.

2) It's just there to protect the lens from scratches it might gather from day-to-day use.

3) Samsung recommends you leave it on for protection, but removing the lens cover will not void your manufacturer's warranty.

4) Some users report better photo quality with the cover removed, but this hasn't been proven with careful testing.

Transcript below. Note that the CSR initially misunderstands me and thinks I'm asking about removing the lens itself, when I meant the lens cover only.

Please wait for a Samsung Agent to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Sophee'. There will be a brief survey at the end of our chat to share feedback on my performance today.
Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK11179020773X


Sophee: Hi, thank you for contacting Samsung Technical Support. How may I help you today?


Visitor: I have a question about the S4's camera lens.


Sophee: Sure, please go ahead with your query.


Visitor: There is a square piece of adhesive film on the lens.


Visitor: That film has a circular cut-out to allow the lens to see through it without harming image quality.


Visitor: Some users have removed that square lens protector (it's made of a rigid clear plastic) and found that their pictures improved.


Sophee: Please give me 3 minutes while i go through the inquiry.


Visitor: My question is whether or not that lens-protecting plastic square can be safely removed, or if it should be left in place? It peels away easily enough but I was reluctant to remove it if it is not recommended.


Sophee: Thank you for holding.


Sophee: I do understand your concern. I will be glad to assist you by providing you with the information.


Visitor: Great, thanks.


Sophee: I would like to inform you that the protective lens cover is to protect the lens from scratches.


Visitor: So I can remove that cover as long as I am willing to take the risk that the lens might be more easily scratched without it?


Sophee: I am sorry for the delay.


Visitor: That's OK.


Sophee: Please do not remove the cover as it protects from the scratches.


Visitor: Will removing the protective lens cover void the Samsung warranty?


Sophee: I will surely help you with this.


Sophee: Yes, please do not remove the cover.


Visitor: Will that void the warranty or not?


Sophee: I do understand your concern.


Sophee: I will guide you in this regard.


Sophee: Limited Warranty is conditioned upon proper use of the Product. This Limited Warranty does not cover if / when defects or damage resulting from the use of Product in conjunction or connection with accessories, products, or ancillary/peripheral equipment not furnished or approved by SAMSUNG. Also, defects or damage resulting from improper testing, operation, maintenance, installation, service, or adjustment not furnished or approved by SAMSUNG.


Visitor: OK, that seems to be the official language of the warranty, and I assume you mean that removing the lens cover would constitute "...improper testing, operation, maintenance..." and so removing the lens cover WOULD void the warranty. Correct?


Sophee: No, it would void the warranty of the phone.


Visitor: OK, I appreciate your help. It sounds like Samsung recommends that we leave the lens cover on our S4, and if we remove it the warranty is voided.


Visitor: Is that right?


Sophee: Yes, it is correct.


Sophee: I would like to inform you that removing the protective cover on the lens will not void the warranty but removing the lens voids the warranty.


Visitor: Oh, that makes a big difference! Thank you for clarifying. I don't think anyone would remove the Lens. I was only curious about the lens cover. If we can remove the lens cover without voiding the warranty I think many users would consider doing that.


Sophee: I do understand your concern.


Sophee: Have I answered your query?


Visitor: Yes, and thanks again.


Sophee: You're welcome.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 01:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My other issue is the fact it looks tacky and ugly.
The phone, or the lens cover?

I'll probably leave it on. I can already see the lens cover has absorbed some scratches that otherwise might have dinged the black glass around the lens. If someone posts a really conclusive comparison of photos with and without the cover demonstrating that going without it improves image quality, I'll reevaluate.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 03:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bls View Post
I thought it would be handy to have a thread all about the camera.

For starters here is one of the more thorough run-downs of all the features of the camera being tested:

Galaxy S4 Camera Impressions: Samsung finally nails photos | Digital Trends

It notes that the Auto and HDR modes gave them the best results, and also commented on my own pet peeve, the generally slow shutter speed:

I took some decent photos with the S4 so far but would agree that the shutter lag is aggravating. If anyone has any better tips about reducing shutter lag, please post them!

Thank you for the tip on voice commands for shooting pics! It is one of the biggest drawbacks of moving from the HTC EVO 3D and LTE. They both have a camera button. I've always found it inconvenient and UN steady to tap the screen to shoot a pic.
Now I can take pics with one hand again! :-)
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Old May 9th, 2013, 03:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlphnfn View Post
Thank you for the tip on voice commands for shooting pics! It is one of the biggest drawbacks of moving from the HTC EVO 3D and LTE. They both have a camera button. I've always found it inconvenient and UN steady to tap the screen to shoot a pic.
Now I can take pics with one hand again! :-)
Yeah, I hate tapping the screen too. The phone takes a great picture only if you can hold it perfectly still! Note also that in settings you can change the volume control from a zoom button to a shutter button. I find that taking the photo with a physical button helps me hold everything more still.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 03:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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hey thanks for posting that


but it sounds like she said it WILL void the warranty, but then she said it WOULDN'T void the warranty.. so, um... what does everybody else gather from that?

Sophee sounds like a robot lol
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Old May 9th, 2013, 03:48 PM   #18 (permalink)
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hey thanks for posting that


but it sounds like she said it WILL void the warranty, but then she said it WOULDN'T void the warranty.. so, um... what does everybody else gather from that?

Sophee sounds like a robot lol
She initially thought I was talking about removing the actual lens of the camera, which certainly would have voided the warranty. But then she made that very clear statement which I put in bold, above. I think she had a manager helping her out who advised her to correct the misstatement.

And yes, there seemed to be some language issues. No worries, she tried hard to help and I appreciated it.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 03:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Until I read this I hadn't noticed the little plastic cover. It has a hole where the lens is so I don't see how it could possibly affect picture quality. Nevertheless, I've removed mine since it looked like a bit of packaging.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 04:21 PM   #20 (permalink)
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hey thanks for all that BLS

hope you enjoy the phone
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Old May 10th, 2013, 02:51 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlphnfn View Post
Thank you for the tip on voice commands for shooting pics! It is one of the biggest drawbacks of moving from the HTC EVO 3D and LTE. They both have a camera button. I've always found it inconvenient and UN steady to tap the screen to shoot a pic.
Now I can take pics with one hand again! :-)
You can make the volume button the capture/shutter button in the settings for the camera, its better than voice commands IMO.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 09:20 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Good call on the zoom button, but its on the wrong side from the lens for me. I can't hold the phone and press the volume button without covering the lens. I'm currently using the voice commands which seem to be working quite well.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 09:34 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Hmm, I pulled the lens cover off when unboxing with the all the other bits of sticky plastic stuck to the phone.

Didn't give it a second thought to be honest, until reading comments here.
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