The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) camera department is built much like that of the excellent Galaxy S6.
It starts off with a downgrade - the sensor has 13MP resolution (and it's 4:3 instead of 16:9). Other than that, the camera boasts the same bright f/1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization. And like on the S6 you can just double tap the Home key to quickly launch the camera.
The A7 offers Pro mode, but it's nothing like the one on the S6. It only gives you White balance, ISO and Exposure compensation. Essentially, the settings most phones have, but in a more accessible arrangement.
HDR is split off into a separate mode instead of a toggle on the viewfinder like on the S6 (this means no HDR Auto mode).
A rare Anti-fog option corrects the reduced contrast you get in misty weather.
The 28mm field-of-view of the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) camera isn't as wide as the Galaxy S6 camera, but it does give some extra vertical room.
The dynamic range is surprisingly good but processing differs from the S6 and detail in the shadows and in the highlights is harder to see. There's a bit more noise, but photos are rich in detail. At 100% magnification, you can see more detail in S6 photos than in the Galaxy A7 (2016) photos.
Shot-to-shot time is okay, but when taking multiple photos in quick succession the A7 feels a bit sluggish.
A 5MP camera with f/1.9 aperture rivals the S6 for selfies. The Galaxy A7 (2016) selfies have some noise, which reduced the resolved detail, but the quality is better (marginally) than what the S6 produced. Part of that is that the focus point is more appropriate for selfies - photos from the S6 camera were slightly soft at an arm-length distance for some unknown reason.
A wide selfie mode is available when your friends are with you. It's essentially a panorama for selfies.
Here are the HDR samples.
There's a regular Panorama mode too, though it proved disappointing. The images came out with a vertical resolution of around 1,200px, while the Galaxy S6 goes up to 3,000px. The stitching looks good, but the Galaxy A7 (2016) panorama shots just don't have enough resolution.
While both phones have bright f/1.9 apertures, the bigger sensor handles the dark noticeably better. It's not a matter of resolution, really, and even the noise levels are quite similar. Still, by the time the noise reduction has done its job, the Galaxy A7 (2016) photos have lost much of their detail and sharpness, especially compared to the Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy A7 (2016) continues the head-to-head comparison over at our Photo quality comparison tool, where conditions are better controlled.
The resolution drop for photos isn't a big deal, even the Galaxy S7 is rumored to go back to 12MP. It's videos where the lack of resolution is felt more. Even if you don't shoot 4K (don't have a UHD TV or just for storage considerations), you will miss the 1080p @ 60fps option when you shoot a fast-paced scene.
In terms of resolved detail and sharpness, the Galaxy A7 (2016) is slightly behind the S6. The advantage in resolved detail only grows bigger when you flip to 4K mode. We noticed the A7 refocuses quite often, even when there's no need for it.
Anyway, white balance of the A7 tends towards a warm yellow. Dynamic range is essentially equal.
Even for selfies, the Galaxy A7 (2016) is behind on video resolution - the S6 camera can do QHD (1440p) while the A7 tops out at 1080p again.
You can download a Galaxy A7 video sample - 0:16, 32MB - and find additional samples of the A7 camera and compare it against others in our Video quality comparison tool.