There's something to be said for karma. In a commercial on April 24, Samsung compared the iPhone's camera unfavorably to that of the Galaxy S5. On April 25, word broke that Galaxy S5 owners are being forced to return or exchange the GS5 due to camera problems. That's gotta sting, Samsung.
Most of the 60-second ad (below) boasts about the GS5's features, such as the 5.1-inch HD screen, water resistance, and, of course, the camera. Comparing two images side by side -- one taken with the GS5 and the other with the iPhone -- Samsung says the GS5 "snaps photos with twice the resolution of the iPhone." That is correct -- the GS5 features a 16-megapixel camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8-megapixel camera.
But, as most photographers will tell you, megapixels aren't everything when it comes to cameras. A multitude of factors play a role in creating a good image, including the sensor, the size of the pixels, focus, the lens elements, image processing, and so on. Samsung didn't lie in its commercial, but choosing only one aspect of the camera for comparison certainly isn't telling the whole story. (Technically, Samsung could say the GS5 takes photos with four times the resolution of the HTC One, which has a 4-Ultrapixel camera.)
Also the anti-shake matters. Reviewing phone cameras with a classic camera mindset (on a tripod) is not going to get it right, because they are different in use and somewhat different in purpose. The phone camera's job is to be all purpose, always competent, always there, need no accessories, and be forgotten in your pocket.
It is amazing how much cellcams have improved. Last year I took both an Olympus 4/3 kit and a Nokia 1020 on vacation. There were a few cases where the kit cam was useful, but most of the time the 1020 delivered fine, detailed and vibrant images. It worked in low light, it gave my zoom lenses good competition. Using the 1020 you come to realize that the design is holistic. The pixel detail makes sense not only because they have diffraction limited optics, but because the stabilization (where they stabilize the whole module, like a miniature steadycam) means that you get full use without a tripod. Even in the dark: when I looked at the information I found I had some shots inside a cave at 1/4 sec. You don't get the 40Mpix of course, but still good captures of the moment.
There are still things that can improve, and they will. Phone cams will set a baseline for imaging everywhere, all the time, which is tough to beat.
@Bert, my sister bougth an S5 and her complaint is that in lower light conditions it takes forever before you can take a picture. That would certainly annoy me. If I have a snpshot camera I want to be able to take snapshots quickly before the moment is past.
Resolution is already way better than needed for a camera IMO.
IF the sensor is the limiting factor, then increasing sensor resolution gives you better pictures. But I assume in a smartphone camera other things limit the resolution; the lens, the aperture (causing flare), etc.
I would rather have larger pixels that can accumulate more charge and therehy offer less noise & more dynamic range.
So, its a bug that went unnoticed. This is for sure not good for Galaxy overall as sales are dropping and Apple is pushing iPhones by giving exchange coupons on old smartphones and cashback for the purchase of latest 5c.
But I would hardly call this "egg on their face." I was expecting to read that the camera which is better than the iPhone's was infringing on some other supposed patent, or that the pixel count was actually less than the iPhone's, but no. This is a bug, and they've isued a recall.
This is yet another case of marketing and engineering having different definitions for the same word. Unfortunately, we can't go to the lawyers to arbitrate this difference of option because they use yet another understanding of the word. A fine mess that would make...
I wonder, would it look more like Abbott & Costello, or the Marx Brothers?