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How to Fix Slow Galaxy S5 Camera Performance

The all-new Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced and released earlier this year to tons of excitement, and so far it’s one of the best smartphones for 2014. While we’ve shared plenty of how to’s on the Galaxy S5 already, one question regarding the camera continues to arrive.

On board the Galaxy S5 is a 16 megapixel camera that was supposed to be one of the most important and impressive specs of the device. A brand new technology to allow for an extremely quick auto-focus and shutter, better low-light photography, and just an excellent overall camera experience. However, there’s moments where the Galaxy S5 camera is extremely slow, and very frustrating.

Read: How to Use the Galaxy S5 Camera Flash for Notifications

Users that have purchased the Galaxy S5 have flooded a few message boards and our inbox about the camera performing excellent in some situations, and extremely slow in others. Surely you’ve tried to snap a photo only to have your Galaxy S5 say “Hold the device steady until it finishes taking the picture” with a circle that takes forever. This is actually a “feature” and one that’s been causing a lot of owner complaints.

How to use the Galaxy S5 Camera

There are so many different features packed into the Samsung Galaxy S5 that sometimes they can be confusing, especially to beginners or someone moving over from the iPhone. A friend recently bought the Galaxy S5 for the bigger display and talks of an excellent camera, and was extremely disappointed with the slow performance and usually blurry results, as he didn’t hold the device steady long enough.

In general the 16 megapixel camera in the new Galaxy S5 works extremely well. Especially in a well-lit situation. However, if you’re inside or have a low-light situation you’ve probably seen the popup shown in the screenshot below. If so, here’s how to prevent this from happening, speed up the Galaxy S5 camera, and get better pictures.

Screenshot_2014-05-19-14-44-54

What you see above is one of the many features of the Galaxy S5 camera aimed at improving photos while indoors or in a low light environment. The feature is actually called “picture stabilization” and it’s Samsung’s attempt to have some sort of image stabilization on the smartphone. While the LG G2 and upcoming G3 has a hardware and software solution, much like bigger cameras, the Galaxy S5 software is causing a lot of issues.

If you’ve been plagued by the “hold device steady” popup which usually leads to fuzzy photos on the Galaxy S5, here’s how to fix it.

Instructions:

Oddly enough picture stabilization is a feature designed for night-time on the Galaxy S5, but it’s enabled by default and is causing many owners a lot of grief. If you’re in a dark situation you may want to enable it (or the night mode) but for most other camera moments having picture stabilization off will actually improve the shutter speed, which will result in crisp and clear photos without the blurring and fuzzy problems from before.

Read: How to Use the Galaxy S5 Camera: Everything You Need to Know

Launch the camera app and simply head into settings. This can be done by hitting the gear-shaped icon on the lower left while the camera app is opened. This brings up a plethora of options and settings, and near the top right tap to disable “picture stabilization” and that’s it. You’re all done. Try using the Galaxy S5 camera now and it will be extremely fast, accurate, and likely produce better results in most cases.

Screenshot_2014-05-19-14-46-12

Picture Stabilization on the Galaxy S5 helps you take clearer and brighter photos when in a low light situation by keeping the shutter open longer to gather more light and details. As a result, you’ll need to be extremely steady-handed while waiting. The smallest movement by your hand, or the subject, will cause the photo to have some blurry lines.

Below is Samsung explaining it best, and the feature works great when it’s truly needed. That being said, it’s appearing way too often for most Samsung Galaxy S5 owners even when it probably shouldn’t, and as a result many are getting less than stellar results from the camera.

Screenshot_2014-05-19-14-45-49

As you can see from the screenshot above, the Galaxy S5 should automatically detect low light levels and adjust accordingly, but we’re finding this happening way more often than it should, and older devices like the Galaxy S4 or even the Galaxy S3 are often times producing better photos as a result.

Hopefully the few images above will explain the slow camera results many have been experiencing since picking up the Galaxy S5, and the steps above should also correct it.

Read: 5 Best Wallet Cases for the Samsung Galaxy S5

This same issue appears as “processing” on the Galaxy Note 3, which we’ve heard countless complaints about as well. The settings menu may be slightly different, but turning it off will yield similar results. If the Galaxy S5 or Note 3 camera is too slow in some medium-light situations be sure and disable this, and only enable when it’s really really needed.

Recently some software updates have arrived for the Galaxy S5 that improves the camera and gallery opening speed, and it’s possible other updates will arrive to correct this problem. In the meantime give the steps above a try, and enjoy that 16 megapixel camera.

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19 Comments

  1. Odisej Wolff

    05/20/2014 at 6:53 am

    Another misleading title, Cory. This is an option that would let you take a picture that you otherwise couldn’t without flash. Just more power to the people–most understand that.

    Dave

    Reply

    • Mike Kozdron

      07/07/2014 at 2:42 am

      i know im late to this party but when the phone takes forever on EVERY photo i take i would rather just use the flash. its quite literally was the most annoying thing ever. i would try to take photos of stuff for ebay it would just take to long. oh and my photos still come out just fine with this dumb feature off.

      Reply

  2. Cory Gunther

    05/20/2014 at 9:21 am

    Would you like it to read “How to disable the hold steady and wait camera popup on the Galaxy S5” instead.

    And sadly most people don’t understand this feature. Enthusiasts yes, but average users don’t. I’ve had to help three friends with this issue the last week, one which is my rather techie-minded brother. This was to inform the average user. Thanks though Dave

    Reply

    • Mike Kozdron

      07/07/2014 at 2:43 am

      my question would be why would a enthusiast want to use thier phone as thier primary camera? would a enthusiast have a DLSR?

      Reply

  3. Loren

    12/15/2014 at 10:29 am

    I bought this phone expecting better picture results along with the new technology. I an extremely disappointed in the slow camera. Most of my pics are taken indoors and require flash. By the time the shutter snaps the object of the photo has moved and the pic is blurred and the shot is missed. There needs to be some update to repair this. This is a huge issue for me and my family. Maybe we should rethink and return the S5 for an iphone!!!! My daughters Iphone takes awesome pics weather using flash or not and does not require holding still for 5 seconds.

    Reply

    • Cory Gunther

      12/15/2014 at 11:33 am

      this problem is the “picture stabilization” feature. Turn it off in settings.
      http://www.gottabemobile.com/2014/05/19/how-to-galaxy-s5-camera/

      Reply

      • James

        12/27/2014 at 9:39 pm

        I’ve had that feature turned off for months, and the camera is still slow. It flashes once as though it’s using a light meter, then finally flashes again several seconds later for the actual picture. By that time, the subject of the photo has moved on.

        Reply

  4. raymond

    12/20/2014 at 9:21 am

    Sorry but it’s not about picture stabilization
    Even without it 80% of pictures became unfocused
    or focused on the wrong object

    Reply

  5. Barbara Stevenson

    01/03/2015 at 8:52 pm

    We purchased these phones because of the camera’s also, hoping that we would not have to carry camera’s along with our phone on our guide trips. Very disappointed! Have had clients with real cheap phones take better pics than ours. Have always had Galaxy phones, but probably will be changing.
    I have over 200 people in my boat every year and take lots of pics of bass, and this phone is an embarrassment. Have started carrying a cheap Kodak that works great.

    Reply

  6. chelsea

    02/22/2015 at 3:58 pm

    Ya im extremely disappointed in the camera i can5 take a clear picture im going back to the s4

    Reply

  7. asif

    02/27/2015 at 10:42 am

    let me tell you a solution. Put the camera on. See on the creen as to how much the image is coming; if u think its not very sharp, then tap (slap) the phone twice-thrice on its upper backside where rer camera is situated. Then see the difference in picture sharpness on scree. TAKE a snap and see if the problem is solved.
    My S5 had similar issues of blurred pictures. I tried this trick by chances and it worked. I was doubtful on Lens due to the focussing issue so i sold it off.

    Reply

  8. Scott

    07/19/2015 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you for this. My Galaxy S5’s camera didn’t have the “Picture Stabilization” setting but it did have “Low light detection” and turning that off seems to have done the same thing. When I found this article, I was looking for a way to get rid of the constant low light level detection pop-up that the developers seem to think I need to see EVERY TIME I use the camera. Following this tip got rid of that and makes my camera faster.

    Reply

  9. Samantha

    12/16/2015 at 5:19 pm

    Absolutely disappointed with the camera on this phone. With the low light detection on it functions so slow and with it turned off the pictures are blurry. Will definitely be switching back to an iPhone.

    Reply

  10. Carola

    12/31/2015 at 6:41 pm

    My Samsung S5 is only about 6 weeks old and the camera was also extremely slow. It doesn’t have “picture stabilisation” or “low light detection” as mentioned above. Instead mine has “auto night detection” which, when I turned it off, has fixed the problem. Very happy. Thanks for bouncing the ideas around. :)

    Reply

  11. Linda

    03/11/2016 at 7:46 am

    Ive done everything, still blurry, i find that i have to tilt my phone at an angle in order to focus it

    Reply

  12. martin4065

    04/01/2016 at 9:11 am

    I have replacement the camera and the lens… I also cleaned the camera application… pictures are still crap blurry… I am selling the phone!

    Reply

  13. Robert Allen

    05/25/2016 at 7:18 am

    I’ve had the phone for well over year. Can’t take a clear picture since day one. It focuses fine. But when you try to snap the pic, it takes forever for the shutter to activate & complete its cycle. Screen goes black and doesn’t reappear until shutter cycle is complete. (1-3 seconds) By that time, it’s already out of focus. Now if you can remain perfectly still for 3-4 seconds after you click (and your subject must be still, also) you have a chance.Totally unacceptable for a phone that’s biggest selling point WAS the camera. I’ve tried every SETTING FIX recommended on a multitude of blogs & sites. No luck. What I DO find odd is that apps like Banking and a CS Scanner take better images than the camera app, leading me to believe it is a Software, not a Hardware issue.
    Can anybody recommend a good Camera App to try for this phone? Maybe that is the answer?

    Reply

  14. Robert Allen

    05/25/2016 at 8:18 am

    Just downloaded the App “OPEN CAMERA”. (free on Google Play) Much better than Samsung’s default camera app. Not perfect but a marked improvement. Makes the camera usable again. With a little practice it should be our fix.

    Reply

  15. Young

    09/09/2016 at 6:05 pm

    ok guys i had the same problem as u guys with the low light blurriness of pics. and the fix is quite simple actually. what you do is turn on the burst mode and take 5-10 pics(holding the camera icon). the shutter speed is reduced and the images come out crisp. and when outside u can take normal pics or burst ones or whatever then the difference isnt as much. but indoors take burst mode pictures and u guys will be happy with the results. dont bother with open camera or any other app they dont work. if u have a really steady hand and if ur object isnt moving then use the low light/ stabilization mode. that mode produces the best pictures but not feasible in many situations. so do try the burst mode. the problem is i think how the camera processes pictures. its not a bad sensor just not optimized well. hope this helps some of you out there.

    Reply

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