The camera interface combines still and video photography, though if you're shooting full-resolution photos (13MP with 4:3 aspect ratio) framing videos before you hit record may be a bit tricky.
The right side of the screen holds the major controls - the two on-screen shutter keys (for stills and videos), the mode switcher and the gallery shortcut. On the left you'll find additional controls, including the front/back camera toggle. You can drag two shortcuts here for the two settings you change most often.
The Galaxy A5 comes preloaded with the usual camera modes like panorama and continuous shooting but interestingly HDR didn't come by default.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 produces characteristic images for its maker. They are sharp with vibrant colors and good white balance. One thing that isn't up to the high Samsung standards is the dynamic range - usually Samsung phones produce images with higher dynamic range without resorting to HDR.
The Galaxy A5 handles shooting nicely and is quick to lock onto focus and snap an image.
The level of detail is on a satisfactory level, though admittedly, we've seen better. The photos are quite pleasing overall and things don't look as oversharpened as we've come to expect from Samsung. The processing is quite mature but we again, we've seen even better.
Getting up close and personal with objects is easy with the Galaxy A5. It will focus without issues from close up and produce detailed images. However the separation between background and foreground isn't as pronounced as we'd like. A blurred background would require you to shoot from an even closer distance.
The comparatively limited dynamic range of small sensor cameras can be remedied with the use of High Dynamic Range (HDR) or Ritchtone as Samsung calls it. It didn't came preinstalled on the Galaxy A5 but was a simple download away from getting the job done. HDR can work in different ways - either snapping multiple images with different exposures or capturing a normal image and optimize the shadow and highlight area for better exposure.
Samsung seems to have gone with the second option here and the final results are overall good but not as pronounced as we've seen from other Galaxy smartphones. Highlights end up mostly the same but the shadow areas of images get brightened up.
Overall, Ritchtone does its job and allows you to capture images with higher dynamic range in harsh light.
Panorama mode captures a series of images and stitches them into one. The software is pretty straightforward and friendly, guiding your movement so that you don't lose the perfect path.
The panoramas of the Samsung Galaxy A5 have good detail and perfect stitching but lack resolution. At little over 3,000px wide and 2,000px tall there just isn't enough resolution to display what you're capturing well.
Finally here's a sample captured with the 5MP front-facing camera. It doesn't shine with exceptional detail but images come out clear and the field of view at 5MP ensures you'll get more than just your face into the shot. However the front-facing camera is noisy so you'd better take your selfies in good light.
Below you can pixel-peep on Galaxy A5 studio samples in our photo quality comparison tool where you'll be able to compare them to our entire collection of phones good, great or bad.
While we have seen better cameras come out of Samsung's imaging lab, we've seen very few that can compete with this one in the midrange market, aside from HTC's good 13MP snappers. In good light you can rest assured that the Galaxy A5 will capture a detailed and sharp image and will manage to capture it fast.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 can capture videos at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080px at 30fps. There's no smooth or slow motion videos at 60fps or 120fps even at lower resolutions but some might argue that FullHD is enough.
The videos of the Samsung Galaxy A5 are very good. Things are smooth at 29-30fps and everything in the images is sharp - about as sharp as 1080p can get. The white balance and colors have carried over from the stills camera and are equally great.
The only thing worth noting is the less than great dynamic range we saw in the stills camera but it really isn't worth frowning at on cameraphones.
You can download an untouched 1080p (00:12s, 24.3MB) sample straight off the device.
Finally, you can have a look at our dedicated video comparison tool below.