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



This guide will show you how to use the Galaxy S5 camera app to take better looking photos, how to use the many modes and other tips and tricks you need to know about the new camera app.

With the Samsung Galaxy S5 users have access to a range of photo options with the built-in camera app. Samsung delivers a new interface that makes the camera easier to use, but if you are upgrading from a Galaxy S3 or Galaxy S4 or coming from an iPhone the app can be a little confusing to use.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S5 Tips & Tricks

We’ll walk through the Galaxy S5 camera settings you need to know, a few tricks like using another Galaxy device as a remote viewfinder and how to access all of the camera modes, a few of which are not where you would expect to find them.

Learn how to use the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera to take better looking photos and use all the different modes.

Learn how to use the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera to take better looking photos and use all the different modes.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 16MP rear facing camera capable of taking photos faster than the other Galaxy smartphones thanks to a new fast autofocus that users will notice as soon as they open the camera app and aim at a subject. Users can also record 1080P video and 4k video with the Galaxy S5. 4K is a new higher resolution video format that is gaining a little traction on new HDTVs, but for the most part users will be fine shooting in 1080P.

Galaxy S5 Camera Tips & Tricks

Watch this four-minute Galaxy S5 camera video for a run through of various features and modes. In the sections below we will break out more on how to use each of these Galaxy S5 camera features.

Galaxy S5 Camera Basics & Features

When you open the Galaxy S5 Camera app you’ll see the following screen with a lot of different options. Here is an explanation of what each of these on-screen options does.

Learn the basics of using the Galaxy S5 Camera App.

Learn the basics of using the Galaxy S5 Camera App.

  1. Switch to the front facing camera.
  2. Turn on Selective Focus without going to settings. This allows you to take a photo and choose the focus later.
  3. Turn on HDR preview and HDR mode for richer colors.
  4. Access all of the Galaxy S5 camera settings.
  5. See what mode you are using at a glance.
  6. See if you have location, voice control or other options turned on.
  7. Switch to Video mode.
  8. Take a photo.
  9. Pick a new mode to use.
  10. See the photos you took in the gallery.

These are the ten basic functions of the Camera app, you can tap anywhere on-screen to focus there and to get the light reading from there. You can also pinch to zoom in on a photo, but it’s better to get closer if you can.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Camera Settings

There are many Galaxy S5 camera app settings to check  out and to change to customize the experience. Here is a quick rundown of the various settings and what you should change right away. Keep in mind that not all of these settings will be available for every mode, but most will work in Auto Mode.

Learn about the Galaxy S5 settings.

Learn about the Galaxy S5 settings.

  1. Picture Size – Select the Resolution of the Photos – Leave this at the highest setting unless you need to change it for a personal preference.
  2. Burst Shots – Turn this on to hold the shutter and take a burst of photos as long as you hold the shutter.
  3. Picture Stabilization – This can help deliver a clearer photo if you have shaky hands or are moving, but it can also slow down the focus. Leave this off until you need it if you want the Galaxy S5 to focus faster.
  4. Face Detection – With this on this can detect the faces in your photo to focus on them and take a better looking photo.
  5. ISO & Metering Mode – You can change to a custom ISO or Metering mode if you want to control more of the shot.
  6. Tap to Take Pics – Tap on the screen to focus and immediately take a picture
  7. Selective Focus – This should really be in Modes, but it lets you take a photo and then blue a background or foreground by picking where to focus after you take the photo.
  8. Video Size – Pick the resolution for your videos, 1920 x 1080 is standard HD or opt for 4K at UHD by tapping on this option, but keep in mind the larger resolution uses more storage.
  9. Recording Mode – Choose normal, slow motion, fast motion or smooth motion that is 60 frames per second.
  10. Video Stabilization – Turn this on to help stabilize your videos and remove shaking and motion.
  11. Audio Zoom – With this mode on when you zoom in during a video the Galaxy S5 will amplify audio at the source, and dampen surrounding noise.
  12. Effects – Put a live effect such as Vignette, faded color or others on your photo before you take it.
  13. Flash – Control when the flash will fire.
  14. Timer – Set a 2,5, or 10 second time to line up a photo you are in.
  15. HDR – HDR on will show a live preview of a HDR photo. This combines multiple photos into one for richer colors.
What the Galaxy S5 camera settings actually do.

What the Galaxy S5 camera settings actually do.

  1. Location Tags – Tag your photos with the location you take them.
  2. Storage – Choose to store photos and videos on the phone or on a Micro SD card.
  3. Review Pics/Videos – Turn this one to see your photo right after you take it.
  4. Remote Viewfinder – Link up to another Samsung device to use one phone to control the camera on another.
  5. Auto White Balance – Choose your white balance to suite your lighting.
  6. Exposure Value – Manually correct exposure with a plus or minus.
  7. Guide Lines – Turn on Grid lines on the Galaxy S5 camera app.
  8. Shutter Sound – If you don’t want others to know you are taking pictures turn off the shutter sound.
  9. Voice Control – Say Smile, Cheese, Capture or Shoot to take a photo and Record Video to start recording with your voice.
  10. Help & Reset – Help explains these modes and reset will change everything back to defaults.

If you use some of these more than others you can tap and hold to re-arrange the Galaxy S5 camera setting icons to put your favorite options at the top of the screen.

Galaxy S5 Camera Modes

Choose the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera mode to fit your photo.

Choose the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera mode to fit your photo.

Tap on the Mode button on the main Galaxy S5 camera to switch between modes. The best thing to do is leave this on auto until you know you need to use a specific setting. With auto the Galaxy S5 camera app will pick the right mode for your subject from night mode or landscape to others.

Beauty Face – This mode applies an airbrush effect to portraits to deliver a more flattering portrait.

When you use Shot & More you can pick the various modes after you take the photo.

When you use Shot & More you can pick the various modes after you take the photo.

Shot & More – This mode allows you to take a series of photos and then apply an effect right away or later in editing. It includes five modes.

  • Best Photo – Pick the best of seven photos.
  • Best face – Pick the best face for a subject or subjects so everyone is smiling with eyes open.
  • Eraser – Remove an unwanted person or object from a photo.
  • Drama shot – Show motion by picking several frames to put the subject in.
  • Panning shot – if something moves through the scene you can make the background look blurred to show motion.

Hold the camera still while taking the photo then you will see a list of the above options that it can apply based on what the camera detected. You can also access this from the gallery later by tapping on the Edit icon for any photo taken in this mode to see the various options. It’s a good idea to check this out right after you take a photo in case the photos don’t come out just as you want. Some modes like Eraser and Drama shot are finicky.

Panorama – Take a panoramic photo with a very wide view.

Virtual Tour – Create a panning and moving tour of a house or area by snapping photos that are then animated in the gallery.

Use dual-camera on the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera app to get in the photo.

Use dual-camera on the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera app to get in the photo.

Dual Camera – Use both cameras to put yourself in the photo. Slide up from the bottom edge to reveal other ways to frame the second camera and tap on frame to move around.

You can also download more modes like Animated photo, Sound & Shot, Sports and Surround Shot to do more with the camera by tapping on download all the way to the right. After downloading more modes you will see them in the mode listing and you can select and use them, just like the above options.



  1. Tavis Gilbert (Kalik)

    04/17/2014 at 2:34 pm

    No simple zoom in or out? That is all I am looking for (pictures). Usually on every camera I owned it would be the volume. The S5 is shooting burst shots with volume. I just want to zoom in a lil bit. dang

    • courtney Capers

      04/17/2014 at 4:01 pm

      That’s what I’m looking for Tavis!!!

    • Gage L

      04/17/2014 at 5:53 pm

      Use your fingers… Like when you zoom in on your phone while surfing the web.

    • Karen Novak

      04/19/2014 at 5:50 pm

      You can set the volume button as your zoom button in the settings

      • Courtney

        04/20/2014 at 5:32 am

        How & where?

        • Sim

          04/21/2014 at 6:22 am

          spread 2 fingers on the screen to zoom in, 2 fingers “sqeeze” the screen to zoom out, and no you can’t use the volume button as zoom in and out, i wish you could, i want to be able to use the volume contol as a zoom control as with all the other Galaxy S phones.

          • Wayne Clarke (@WayneAClarke)

            07/25/2014 at 3:27 am

            Go to settings and scroll down the settings list to “Volume key”. There you can set the volume control to adjust the zoom.

          • Carolyn Rogers

            08/09/2014 at 7:59 am

            I must be blind. lol I do not see setting of “Volume Key”. I looked under phone and camera settings. I did try the two finger listed and it only zooms 4x. It is my understanding this has more zoom then 4x.

            Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!!

    • bruce jefferson

      09/29/2017 at 7:05 am

      I went to numerous sites to get info on the operation of all the controls of this camera and no luck. Lots of tecknobabble generalites with no useable content for the first timer.

  2. wesley

    04/19/2014 at 2:20 am

    A munual focus is all im looking for. iv emailed samsung and apple ever since their first incarnations of their devices. i want to be in control of what i zoom in on (especially close-up shots) rather then the device trying to decide what “I” want!!

  3. Mike

    04/20/2014 at 5:22 am

    I haven’t found the option to use the volume for zoom. I had the s4. My S5 doesn’t have the shutter sound option. It’s missing !

  4. Leslie

    04/20/2014 at 7:11 am

    I don’t have some of these options on my phone. Location tag is missing and shutters sound is missing.

    • lozer

      04/25/2014 at 12:55 pm

      You have to scroll down, there are more options than you can see. Click the gearwheel then scroll. That’s where those options are hiding.

  5. Mike

    04/20/2014 at 7:29 am

    I noticed shutter sound is off if phone is muted. I never liked shutter sound on, hence the reason I wish it was an option to shut off. I had my phone up while reading this review/how to, and was missing shutter sound anywhere I looked on my phone. Frustrating !

  6. bruce

    04/20/2014 at 1:08 pm

    How come when I try to take a drama shot picture on the s5, in some shots it doesn’t give me the option to do drama shot? Anyone know why?

  7. james

    04/20/2014 at 2:52 pm

    Why doesn’t this camera come with a simple spot focus AND exposure feature like iOS? All these options are ridiculous on a camera phone, this is the only feature you need on a camera, so simple and straight forward to use….

  8. Stephen Densmore

    04/20/2014 at 3:38 pm

    Nevermind, I just found out that you have to turn image stabilization off to change the ISO.

    • Stephen Densmore

      04/20/2014 at 3:40 pm

      That was in response to my question that didn’t go through about the ISO being locked.

  9. Richa

    04/20/2014 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t get any of these options in my S5. No setting button anywhere? only 3 modes. What am I missing? what should I do to get all these options? All i have on my screen is mode, flash, HDR and a video button:(. Please help.

    • Valencia

      04/28/2014 at 3:24 pm

      Me either someone help!!!!

    • Rohan Jangam

      05/04/2014 at 2:39 am

      Hey Friends, I just Figured it out… Go to SETTINGS > PERSONALISATION > Turn On to STANDARD MODE instead of EASY MODE or Un-
      check the Camera in EASY MODE

      • Paul

        05/25/2014 at 4:53 pm

        Brilliant, I had the same problem as others here, going to standard mode solved the problem. Thankyou!

        • Shun

          05/25/2014 at 4:57 pm

          I thank you for posting because I somehow overlooked Rohan’s post, but I’m following the post on this article and this popped in my email. I switched from the iPhone and I must say this camera alone rocks and is bad a$$

      • Tamara

        06/05/2014 at 5:23 pm

        thank you, thank you, thank you. What a stupid thing to do. I got this phone because of the camera (grand-daughter) and I was about to throw it across the room before I took it back within my 14 day trial. I searched everywhere on trying to find the answer to this. Bless you.

      • Karen behrendorff

        04/03/2015 at 7:20 pm

        Thank you Rohan …plain and simple instructions that worked <3 :)

      • Arun

        05/23/2015 at 12:22 am

        Thanks for sharing

      • Sandy Fey

        06/16/2015 at 9:30 am

        Thank you so much Rohan for the info to change to standard mode. It works great!

      • leprecaun

        07/31/2016 at 10:54 am

        thank you…I had no idea how to get the options this guy showed us above…..

    • Tanya Smith

      09/25/2014 at 4:34 am

      THANK YOU to everyone who posted to change the mode! I have had mine for 6 months and couldn’t figure it out for the life of me:/ I think that is the STUPIDIST thing Samsung have ever done!! Now I can zoom, zoom, ZOOOOM!!!!

  10. kenned

    04/29/2014 at 7:11 am

    Richa, you have the same problem as mine, who can help?

  11. nora

    05/07/2014 at 1:47 pm

    i have the same problem also

  12. Amanda

    05/09/2014 at 6:51 am

    I also have the same problem with my camera. I have 3 settings. Flash/ Auto – HDR/ And rotating that Camera Screen at the top and when I press mode I only have Auto/ Beauty Face/ Panorama. There is no setting button at the bottom of the camera screen either. Also, when I go to my photo gallery I cannot edit my photos. The only Options I have when a photo is selected is Slideshow/ Rotate Left/ Rotate Right/ Crop/ Set as/ Rename.

    • Amanda

      05/09/2014 at 7:00 am

      Got it! Get the phone off of easy mode!!! Rohan Jangam was right. Settings. Device. Easy Mode. Standard.

  13. Alan

    05/14/2014 at 9:25 pm

    I just got my Sprint S5 and noticed the zoom “problem”,namely that when in camera mode or video and you wish to zoom and you push the volume button, it doesn’t zoom, but instead takes photos. I called customer service, they said it’s a defect and they would exchange it.

    I then went to a Sprint Corporate Store where they said the volume switch doesn’t control the zoom.

    I then went through the online Sprint Manual and on page 83 it clearly states, under both taking pictures and video, that by depressing the volume button you can zoom in and out or by squeezing your fingers on the screen.

    Also another missing feature is call duration , it displays the length of the call. My S2 had it as well as my S4, the Sprint S5 doesn’t, at least mine doesn’t, nor do the s5’s I tested at the Sprint store. How about yours?

  14. Jessica Ann

    05/14/2014 at 11:59 pm

    I can’t find any option to turn off the shutter sound and even with my phone on mute and ear phones in, though not in my ears, the sound comes out loud and clear. it’s really frustrating especially when i am trying to do something discreetly. any ideas?

    • Belle

      05/26/2014 at 7:27 pm

      Are you living in Australia?

    • melody

      07/08/2015 at 7:28 pm

      Click on gear mode. Scroll down to btm..2nd to last row of boxes on right..says shutter sound

  15. syed

    05/24/2014 at 7:31 pm

    did not see càmera shuter sound in my S5 why is that?????? i need it …. Urgent

  16. Shun

    05/25/2014 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t have the gear on mine and I only have 3 modes. Is this a defect or am I just not doing something right? Help please.

  17. roy

    05/25/2014 at 7:57 pm

    I had sound that I could attach to a still picture, on my new s5, I cannot find it.
    Or is it I cannot see it.
    Thank U…..

  18. x

    05/25/2014 at 8:49 pm
    Official google android camera app has photosphere and is a good alternative

  19. din

    05/28/2014 at 10:12 am

    Please help, I turned on the grid lines on my S5 camera, and now I don’t know how to turn it off. It’s annoying. Thanks.

  20. shon

    05/28/2014 at 6:46 pm

    Din, go to settings in camera and scroll down the guideline box is just found bc my daughters phone had the same thing

  21. Marcos

    05/28/2014 at 7:51 pm

    This Doesn’t Show you how to shoot in the different “Shoot&More” Modes. I Can’t select Drama Shot

    • [email protected] mingys

      07/15/2014 at 4:40 pm

      I have the same problem. It only offers best picture and I want drama shot. Anyone know what I am doing wrong. Shots of daughter swimming and running

  22. regi

    05/30/2014 at 1:12 pm

    Unlock the phone first, then try again. Don’t use the camera from the locked screen.

  23. ugo

    05/30/2014 at 11:38 pm

    I couldn’t find any standard mode on my device,i only saw easy mode and when I click on it nothing happens,pls help my camera is blurry

  24. wharda

    05/31/2014 at 10:36 am

    Hi, I’ve only got three modes on my s5: auto, beauty face and panorama.Was the other modes suppose to be on the phone as well, or must I download it?Also I can zoom, but then where do I go to take a picture in zoom mode?The camera icon disappears when I zoom in.I’ve tried to press the centre button but it goes back to my main screen.Also there is no difference in standard and easy mode.Please help!

  25. Brooke

    06/07/2014 at 4:07 am

    I was blown away by the quality of the pictures taken by my new s5, did not expect it and I am delighted!
    Thank you.

  26. Anita

    06/08/2014 at 11:54 pm

    Hi, anyone knows how to use the night mode? Cheers.

  27. Karen

    06/10/2014 at 9:18 am

    SELFIE I know it’s a horrible disease but at 47 I deserve to be silly with my kids. Any way, where are you suppose to focus your eyes when taking selfies so the pic actually looks like your looking at the person who will view it? I seem to always look like I’m cross eyed (and I’m not), or looking away, or looking down, or looking Also how can you send great video clips thru a text not email?

  28. Monique Rebeiro

    06/14/2014 at 6:10 pm

    thank you Rohan Jangam….I had the same problem and you found the solution…Go to SETTINGS > PERSONALISATION > Turn On to STANDARD MODE instead of EASY MODE or Un-
    check the Camera in EASY MODE

    Much appreciated!!

  29. dee

    06/15/2014 at 10:24 pm

    Scroll down in Mode…all the way down. See “download” go download extra mode features that pop up on following page. Their all pretty much self explanatory.

  30. dee Sh.

    06/15/2014 at 10:26 pm

    Scroll down in Mode…all the way down. See “download” go download extra mode features that pop up on following page. Their all pretty much self explanatory.

    • Co

      06/28/2014 at 10:33 am

      heya, i downloaded 2 or 3 of these Samsung App from the “download” button on my camera. But they don’t show up anywhere. I know they are dowloaded because it’s written “downloaded” but i can’t find these apps anywhere on my cellphone, even not if i scroll down in Mode menu. any idea ?

      • Co

        06/28/2014 at 10:43 am

        Never mind. I just found the solution to my problem (i couldn’t see the camera apps I downloaded from the Samsung Store for their camera).
        I only had to reset the camera.
        How ? tap on the gear icon on the top left corner of your screen, scroll down and tap on RESET.

  31. dee Sh.

    06/15/2014 at 10:29 pm

    Selfie focus…upper right corner at the camera!

  32. dee Sh.

    06/15/2014 at 10:38 pm

    Selfie focus…upper right corner at the camera! Sending Video thru text u can only send a 30 sec video thru teXT using the Message+ icon in share. Also there are tons of other things you can share in the text message mode by scrolling from west to east after touching the + sign. Where you see “postcard” “picture” “record” “glympse” slide that area to the left & there you will find “video” “location” “contact card” “audio”!

  33. jennifer gomez

    06/24/2014 at 8:01 pm

    Someone help me how can I turn on my flash while recording. Im trying to record in the dark amd dnt know how to turn the flash on

  34. Katie

    06/27/2014 at 12:25 pm

    I have all of these options except shutter sound. I NEED IT OFF NOW! Please help.

  35. Lauren

    07/02/2014 at 7:50 am

    I used the “burst” feature and had an awesome display of someone throwing a snowball. But, when I moved what I thought was the whole group of pictures (as 1) to a folder, it split the pictures and now the effect of viewing it as a slow motion mini movie is gone. Is it possible to get this back?

  36. Ab.

    07/07/2014 at 8:40 am

    my cam is soon blurred please help me out…when I checked my picture size in my cam setting..its only reaches 4m pixels instead of the usual 16MP…help out plssss!!!

    • Liz Peck

      07/16/2014 at 12:29 pm

      This is probably not it, but if your phone is new, make sure you have removed the plastic film from the camera lens.

  37. sara

    07/13/2014 at 5:45 am

    my mod of cammera is can I do?

  38. md. mamunur rashid

    07/15/2014 at 5:00 am

    I can’t zooming. The camera has only 3 modes and it has no camera settings option. What can I do now.very much s5 camera is totally useless.please help me please please please.

  39. Amy

    07/23/2014 at 2:19 am

    Can samsung galaxy s5 take fast shots? Like an object is moving, you can take the object stays where it was in the picture .

  40. Johannes Solli

    08/16/2014 at 10:08 am

    Is there any way to get sound on slowmtion videos?

  41. Nicole

    08/19/2014 at 2:50 am

    I get a horrible hissing background noise when I record videos, almost like wind sometimes, even when I’m indoors and it’s completely silent. Help me?

  42. lot

    09/04/2014 at 7:13 pm

    Hi! The camera is awesome but why is there no location tagged whenever i take pics, even if location is turned on. Do we have moments collections in samsung, just like in iphone? Please help. Thanks

  43. lot

    09/04/2014 at 7:40 pm

    Location tags, i mean. :)

  44. jana

    10/15/2014 at 7:31 am

    Just got my s5 and trying to figure out camera before I need it. When camera is on front camera (towards me) constantly says can’t auto focus in this mode. I’ve changed to different modes, and does the same thing. Any ideas???

  45. jumana

    12/16/2014 at 6:08 am

    Can’t zoom in !! And there is no sitting icon . When I use my finger for zooming it says can’t zoom out using this mode . Tried to change the mood but there are only 3 modes available. What can I do .. It worthless

    • melody

      07/08/2015 at 7:22 pm

      To use volume key to zoom. Click on gear in camera mode. Scroll down to the volume key. Last row of boxes it’s on the left…there is 3 options check the zoom option

  46. mush

    01/09/2015 at 7:52 am

    everytime i have a video call my front cam turns all white? how can i change the settings for this?

  47. bwildebeest2001

    08/21/2015 at 6:56 am

    How do I get normal colours when I take a photo? It just comes out blue and grey or black like a negative? Please let me know how.

  48. Deb

    08/24/2015 at 5:59 am

    How can I take the beauty face off when taking selfies?? It makes the photo look fuzzy…

  49. Curt

    02/06/2016 at 8:01 pm

    What settings should I have on when I want to make a snowboarding video? Taking into consideration the bright lights, speed and stabilization.

  50. Bonnie Tucker

    08/02/2016 at 6:37 pm

    How can I get the negative effect off my phone all pictures even contacts show up as a negative HELP

  51. Jordan Gomez

    12/03/2016 at 11:47 pm

    The HDR photo is an impressive feature to be honest. I haven’t tried it yet since am getting an Galaxy for replacement for my horrible iPhone 5s, which died so easily after putting it in water, I have yet to set my foot in the Galaxy Franchise.
    HDR setting would be perfect for my eBay selling business, me being dirt poor that is, especially coming from such a mitinal-score device that costs relatively cheap, especially on eBay (phones in General, not just the galaxy), that it’s probably more wiser to get a Phone than an actual camera nowadays, since the only difference it comes down to now, is the actual physical size of the lenses, which nowadays is completely useless since a lot of people want to exclude others around them in photos, or just in general. The photography business is dying and the only ones who still go to purchase their services just generally don’t know how to use a phone, lol.

    Anyways, really great article, Mr.Smith, I really appreciate the time you put into this, but yet again, your getting paid for it, so, ya.

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