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Samsung Galaxy S5 camera tip: Turn off picture stabilization unless you really need it

If your camera is slow to take pictures this might be the reason why

Here's a quick pro tip for making the best of your new Samsung Galaxy S5 camera. We've seen a few threads appear in the Android Central Galaxy S5 forums claiming frustration that the camera is really, really slow to focus and take pictures. That's not always the case. If it is, you've probably got Picture Stabilization turned on as outlined by forums member atg284 and are shooting in lower light situations.

Picture Stabilization is a mode on the Galaxy S5 camera app that helps you take clearer and brighter pictures in low light situations without using the flash. As such you need to hold the phone still for longer to allow it to do its thing. In good lighting situations you really don't need this.

Picture Stabilization

If you're not sure where to find it, it's real easy. Tap the gear icon in the top or bottom left (depending on which orientation you're holding the phone) and you'll see a box on the top row, second in from the right. Make sure it's checked to off and you're golden. It's also worth turning off if you don't mind using the flash to illuminate.

Hopefully that helps explain any sluggishness you've been experiencing. It's perhaps not the best way to label this feature and could be a little misleading to folks who might mistake it for an OIS style software feature. We can't change that, but hopefully this little tip helps you take some better pictures!

For more, see our Galaxy S5 help page, and swing by our GS5 forums!

  • Had the same issue on my Note 3. Hope this post helps out some people :) Posted from my TARDIS!
  • Same here. We were super frustrated w my wife's Note 3 " processing" and pictures wouldn't even look that good compared to the ones without it. Sad part is that it took us a few months to figure that out, bc we thought that only HDR can cause such a delay. Posted via Android Central App
  • This is what happens when people whine instead of educating themselves about features.
  • Bit harsh on the normals that will just think their camera is slow out the box Posted via Android Central App
  • 700+- dollar premium phones that advertise premium features should ensure they work properly and don't have to be turned off to make something usable.
  • Various Camera features on phones slow down focus/shutter speed, nothing new it seems.
  • Thank goodness OIS is on the HTC One (M7). Too bad OIS was sacrificed on the HTC One (M8) due to the duel camera features although the focus and shoot is extremely fast as a result of the duel arrangement. Videos can be wobbly. The HTC One (M7) OIS stabilizes videos very nicely. Too bad there is no OIS on Samsung devices.
  • Absolutely agree with you. Lets wait for other news...
  • Well that kinda sucks when your going to need the stabilization feature, won't it? Then you will be sitting there waiting. How long does it really take with the feature on? Posted via Android Central App
  • You should only be using it in very low light situations really, as an alternative to the flash. It doesn't take forever, but you do have to hold it still for a couple seconds at least.
  • And not only do you have to hold the camera still, but whatever you are taking a picture of has to be still as well! Posted via Android Central App
  • Oh alright. So what feature do you use to catch motion photography? Posted via Android Central App
  • Even in the low light that "stabilization" doesn't make a significant difference. At least from my experience w note 3. Posted via Android Central App
  • honestly not that long, just not instantly.
  • The mode is pointless does not work good like the g2 camera Posted via Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • Last good Galaxy S. The 3, 4 and 5 are sliding down hill. Posted via Android Central App
  • Why even have all those features if you're only going to turn them off?
  • Hi! I also only read half of the small write up before commenting. We're so cool, aren't we? =)
  • Ok - this article is completely BS! Nothing is true. Richard should be ashamed to write something before checking the facts! FACTS:
    1. The stabilization mode only kicks in in lowlight - in normal light the focus speed is EXACTLY the same - activated or deactivated. 2. In lowlight, the stabilization mode does NOT slow down the focus time! What it does is, after you tapped to take a picture - it WAITS. On purpose! When you take a picture while holding the phone in your hand, you often get blurry pictured because your hand shakes a little up and down. So the S5 waits for a few moments till there is a split second where your hands are completely still - and EXACTLY THEN takes the picture! This is brilliant - but nothing new. 3rd party camera app have functions like that for years. But now it's integrated in the Samsung stock camera and that's a good thing. AGAIN - the setting "ON" means really "AUTO" - it has NO disadvantages in normal light, and it's best to keep it ON all the time! like I said - shame on Richard to write the article without BS checking! (But no hard feelings - I still love you bro.) FORKMAN OUT.
    Posted via Android Central App
  • can turn picture stabilization on or off and it changes the way the camera behaves in certain circumstances. So it's absolutely worth posting. But...I have tweaked a couple of the lines to make it hopefully a little clearer. Since I have a GS5 you can't really say I've not looked at it ;-)
  • Absolutely fine now. I never had a problem about the article itself - just with the wrong facts - and the tip to "turn it on only if you need it". Because: 95 percent of Users are better of with it turned on (especially it does no harm in normal light) - and it works really well. And the other 5 percent are camera freaks and already know what they are doing. Sorry I sounded a little harsh - but AC is the best andr-... no: TECH site in the world, and so the standards we expect are ridiculous high. Like a fisherman said: sorry for sounding like an asshole. Posted via Android Central App
  • Richard thinking of Alpha (same Sensor ,but 12megapixel) but reviews say bad in low light. I need to take interior shots some in medium low light. Ever tried Picture Stabilization with a Tripod or setting phone down and using Timer or Voice to take shot to minimize shake and lengthen exposure time without blur,?
  • OIS is far superior than software IS, they shouldn't even include software IS.
  • It IS strange that only LG is doing OIS. Sony, Samsung, now even HTC: no OIS. Is there a reason for that? I really thought OIS would be standard in every hero device... Posted via Android Central App
  • True Posted via Android Central App
  • I heard the same claims with the S4, how I'd you turn off image stabilization it shots normal.
    That S4 camera took a little longer than a second to focus no matter what you did to the settings. I'm not surprised the S5 is the same.
    There is literally nothing about a Galaxy S that stands out above other phones, most of it falls short. Posted via Android Central App
  • Please read my post above. Posted via Android Central App
  • Stabilization (anti-shake) turned ON for video on my S4 made the video lag when filming moving objects, like a car passing by. Turning it OFF got rid of the lag.
    Posted via Android Central App
  • Awesome, thank you! Just got my S5 tonight and was annoyed by the camera. This did the trick, thanks!
  • Thanx just sorted it out now
  • THANK YOU SO MUCH! I bought my Galaxy S5 earlier in the week and I have been contemplating returning it because the camera had such a lag. Glad I did a quick search to see if other people noticed the delay and found your article! Thanks again, will have to start visiting this website regularly!
  • samsung galaxy s5 worst phone.. i lost money camara not clarity .. blurring.. wost.. its like 2 megapixel camera. samsung said 16 megapixel.. worst camera. camera click sound horrible no option to stop that.. full of bugs.. samsung is going to down.. HTC is better then samsung mobile.. i lost money bcz sukking sumsung ...
  • +jagadish pasumarthi either you've no idea what you're doing or you made the whole thing up! I was always very happy with my Galaxy S4 camera (which beat the iPhone 5 camera in a professional camera test) and today my Galaxy S5 arrived and it's camera is amazing. It focuses much faster than the S4, focuses more accurately and as long as you keep the iso low there is little to no grain and the colours are very accurate. The HDR mode with live preview is incredible. This is the best phone camera I've ever used or seen, by far. I'm sure some of the Lumia phone cameras are probably better, but the S5 is still fantastic.
  • Anyone can help me please? I can't find the picture stabilisation :( I have the video stabilisation but not the other.
    It's so annoying that the camera is so slow :( I miss all the good moments :(
  • Nelli28, did you ever find resolution to this?? I have the same situation, there is no option to turn off picture stabilization, only video stabilization. Where the article shows the setting is, I have a setting of low light detection.
  • It has changed to Low-light detection. Turn that off and you are good to go,
  • Thanks for the tip, I do already have low light detection off and continue to have the focusing issue. It will focus when I tap on screen to take picture and then the picture captured is out of focus. So frustrating with a newborn baby just arriving. If you can think of anything else, please let me know. Thank you!