Galaxy S5 Camera Problem: Samsung Eats Crow - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile // Mobile Devices
12:20 PM

Galaxy S5 Camera Problem: Samsung Eats Crow

Just one day after releasing an ad touting the GS5's camera over the iPhone's, Samsung must replace some devices due to faulty cameras.

8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

There's something to be said for karma. In a commercial on April 24, Samsung compared the iPhone's camera unfavorably to that of the Galaxy S5. On April 25, word broke that Galaxy S5 owners are being forced to return or exchange the GS5 due to camera problems. That's gotta sting, Samsung.

Most of the 60-second ad (below) boasts about the GS5's features, such as the 5.1-inch HD screen, water resistance, and, of course, the camera. Comparing two images side by side -- one taken with the GS5 and the other with the iPhone -- Samsung says the GS5 "snaps photos with twice the resolution of the iPhone." That is correct -- the GS5 features a 16-megapixel camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8-megapixel camera.

But, as most photographers will tell you, megapixels aren't everything when it comes to cameras. A multitude of factors play a role in creating a good image, including the sensor, the size of the pixels, focus, the lens elements, image processing, and so on. Samsung didn't lie in its commercial, but choosing only one aspect of the camera for comparison certainly isn't telling the whole story. (Technically, Samsung could say the GS5 takes photos with four times the resolution of the HTC One, which has a 4-Ultrapixel camera.)

[Want more on Samsung's latest smartphone? Read Samsung Galaxy S5: My First Week.]

Just 24 hours later, Samsung had egg on its face. Galaxy S5 owners are reporting problems with the camera. Support forums indicate users are seeing an error message, after which the camera crashes and cannot be reopened. The rest of the device functions fine, but once the error hits the camera app, it cannot be fixed. Restarting or resetting the Galaxy S5 does not resolve the problem.

"Samsung is committed to providing the best experience for customers," the company said in a statement issued Friday. "We have learned that a limited number of Galaxy S5 devices may have an issue that causes 'Camera Failure' pop-up error message. We ask that customers affected visit their carrier for service under Samsung's standard limited warranty." Owners of defective Galaxy S5s can exchange them for new handsets at their carrier store. The return/exchange should be fairly straightforward, since most units have been in the market for less than 30 days. The devices in question were distributed mostly in the US and Canada.

"We have discovered that the issue has been seen in a very limited portion of early production Galaxy S5 units," Samsung explained Monday, "and was caused by complications in the ROM (Read Only Memory) component which stores the information necessary to operate the camera." Samsung did not say how many units were involved, and it did its best to downplay the issue.

Have you experienced a problem with the GS5's camera? Let us know.

Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and we offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators. Read our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue today.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 3:10:06 PM
Re: Samsung nipped problem in the bud
This is yet another reminder not to be the first in line to buy a new product. Every hardware maker has issues at some point and they tend to surface when new models are introduced. Wait for v2.0 if you can or a least for a month or so.
Shane M. O'Neill
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 2:29:15 PM
Samsung nipped problem in the bud
I'm eyeballing the S5 as my next phone. But even though this is a significant camera glitch, it doesn't hold me back because Samsung came clean quickly and is offering trade-ins for defected phones.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

New Storage Trends Promise to Help Enterprises Handle a Data Avalanche
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  4/1/2021
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
How to Submit a Column to InformationWeek
InformationWeek Staff 4/9/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll