The phone carries a dual-camera setup consisting of a 16MP main snapper with f/1.7 and a secondary ultra wide-angle 5MP f/2.2 lens. And on the front, we find a 25MP snapper with f/2.0 and Samsung claims the selfies are one of the best in the class.
But before we dive into the pixel peeping and see how the three cameras perform in different lighting situations, let's take a look at the options and menus.
The default camera app has the same UI as the rest of the Samsung phones with One UI. Swiping to left and right will switch between different camera modes while a button in the viewfinder switches between the normal and the ultra wide-angle camera. The scene optimizer toggle is in there as well.
The additional settings menu can be found in the upper-left corner of the screen giving you a bit more control over the stills and videos. The settings are pretty standard, though.
The Pro mode is rather limited and you can only play around with the ISO, white balance and exposure.
During the day, the phone can capture pretty good stills with enough detail, good dynamic range, punchy colors, and nice contrast. Highlights can be a bit clipped in some cases. HDR, on the other hand, was rarely triggered even though it was set to Auto.
While we didn't find any deal-breakers, we noticed that the left part of each image looks a bit fuzzy while the right side stays sharp. We suspect it's just an unit-specific issue and we're willing to reevaluate camera performance if Samsung sends us another unit.
But all in all, the phone's camera isn't outstanding but it's not bad either. It's on par with most of its competitors for the asking price and even slightly above average in some aspects. Oh, and don't bother turning on or off the Scene optimizer - it doesn't do anything and we hardly found any differences between the normal photos and those with Scene optimizer.
Night photos turned out to be decent with little noise in the shadows. Turning on the Scene optimizer once again didn't do a great deal but it did bring a bit more contrast and made colors look a bit juicier. Unfortunately, once again due to the lens' defect, the left side of the images turned out to be fuzzy and with less detail. You can clearly see the problem at hand in the light sources in the photos below.
Once you are done with the real-life scenarios, take a look at the how the Galaxy A40's 16MP camera stacks against some of the competition.
Historically, ultra wide-a angle cameras are no match for the standard ones in terms of sharpness and overall image quality and in this case where the wide-angle unit is just 5MP and doesn't have autofocus, you can't expect the top-notch performance. But during the day, snapping a photo or two from the right distance can lead to some decent results. The clipped highlights are still an issue, though, and detail is lacking.
When there's no sufficient light, we recommend using the main camera instead as photos appear smudgy and with plenty of grain.
As pointed out in previous reviews, the ultra wide-angle camera isn't used for depth information so the software does all the heavy lifting and does the edge separation on its own. The results aren't mind-blowing but it works well enough. You can adjust the strength of the bokeh in real time or later on in the gallery with the slider below.
We were particularly impressed by the selfies - they are quite sharp with plenty of detail, good color reproduction, and wide dynamic range. Portrait edge separation isn't all that impressive, though.
Also, if you want to shoot in native 25MP resolution, you should tap on the "3:4H" icon found on top of the viewfinder otherwise, photos come out in 12MP Portrait shots, on the other hand, are saved in 8MP.
The main camera can only record up to Full HD (1080p) at 30fps and the same goes for the wide-angle unit. But if you 4K video recording, you can always download Open Camera or another third-party camera app from Play Store and enjoy 2160p recording.
When recording with the main camera, you can expect sharp videos with punchy colors and little to no noise. But we can't recommend shooting with the wide-angle lens as the trade-off is a huge loss of detail and dynamic range.
Here's how the Galaxy A40's video recording skills compare to some of its competitors in a more controlled environment.