The camera is one of the areas where Samsung did some cut-backs in terms of hardware on the Galaxy A22 5G. Compared to the vanilla A22, the 5G variant is missing OIS on its main camera, has a lower-resolution 5MP ultrawide and is also missing a macro camera. The A22 5G looks slightly downgraded in this department compared to the Galaxy A32 5G. The two do have very similar setups on paper, based around a main 48MP camera. Once again, the Galaxy A22 5G drops the macro camera and, compared to the A32 5G, also gets a lower-res 5MP ultrawide. The selfie is also bumped down to 8MP. A pretty hard downgrade over an already arguably downgraded camera setup, compared to the vanilla Galaxy A32 and its 64MP main snapper.
The 'arguable' part mostly coming down to the fact that the A32 5G can capture 4K video, whereas the vanilla A32 is capped at 1080p, and the Galaxy A22 5G can go up to an unconventional 1152p. But, more on that in a bit.
Unfortunately, unlike the Galaxy A32 5G, which was pretty open in sharing all of its camera hardware identifiers, we didn't manage to extract nearly the same amount of info from the Galaxy A22 5G. Still, we are fairly certain that its main snapper is based around the same Samsung S5KGM2 sensor, as found on the Galaxy A32 5G. It is also known as the ISOCELL Bright GM. It's a Tetrapixel design (used to be called Tetracell in Samsung speak, Sony calls them Quad Bayer), with 0.8µm individual pixels and a total sensor size of 1/2.0". It works in the traditional Quad-Bayer manner, using 4-to-1 binning to produce brighter 12MP photos, by default.
Alternatively, it can use remosaicing algorithms to shoot in the full 48MP resolution for more detail. The S5KGM2 has phase detection autofocus. In particular, it uses something Samsung calls "Super-PD", which is a high-performance variant of the phase. There is no OIS. The GM2, as it is colloquially known, is actually a popular sensor, found in many other Samsung devices, as well as Xiaomi ones, and we feel pretty confident in its abilities.
The ultrawide camera is not particularly impressive in any way. Its resolution is just 5MP, with a fairly-dark f/2.2 aperture, fairly small 1/5.0" sensor, with 1.12µm pixels and a not particularly wide 115-degree field of view. Nothing to phone home about. Same goes for the 2MP, f/2.4 supplementary depth camera.
The selfie cam loses some points for its 8MP resolution, down from 13MP on the Galaxy A32 5G and 20MP on the vanilla Galaxy A32. Then again, it does have a slightly brighter f/2.0 lens. So, there's that.
The camera app on the A32 5G is the latest one you get with One UI 3.1, the biggest improvement being the relocation of the video resolution to the viewfinder. Other than that, it's the same as on any other Samsung pre-One UI 3.1, which is a good thing since it's straightforward and easy to use.
The basics are as usual - swiping left and right will switch between available modes, and there's an option to re-arrange, add or remove some of the modes from the viewfinder. Vertical swipes in either direction will switch between front and rear cameras.
The familiar tree designation for zoom control is here too, and with no telephoto on board, you get three trees for ultra-wide and two trees for the main cam. You could zoom in with a pinch gesture, at which point additional preset zoom levels appear at 2x, 4x, and 10x.
The viewfinder has the standard set of icons with the settings cog wheel located in the upper left corner of the screen. The usual stuff like grid lines, location data, etc., can be found in the menu.
There's a Pro mode, but it's the very basic implementation that only lets you pick ISO (100-800) and white balance (by light temperature with icons for common light sources), as well as dial in exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 0.1EV increments). A metering mode selector also made the cut (center-weighted, matrix and spot). There's no manual focusing option, sadly. The Galaxy A72 and A52 have more Pro controls at their disposal, but the ones one the A22 5G are about on par with the A32 5G.
Speaking of missing things, Pro video also didn't make the cut. Neither did FUN MODE - Samsung's current collaboration with Snapchat that brings a rotating selection of Snapchat filters right into the default camera app. We can't say we miss it sorely, but still felt we should mention its absence, since it was such a big part of the marketing for the A72, A52 and A32.
You do still get some stamps on the Galaxy A22 5G, under a mode called Deco Pic. Stamps, as well as facial masks. Some animated, and some even with sound. Trendy stuff.
Still shots from the main camera are very good overall. Like we said, the Samsung GM2 sensor has proven its worth time and time again, and it definitely does not disappoint when paired with Samsung's solid processing. The detail in the 12MP shots is plenty, and everything looks nice and sharp. Well, perhaps with the exception of the far corners of the frame, which can be slightly softer on occasion.
Colors are nice and vibrant, without being oversaturated. That is great to see since Samsung has been known to crank colors up in the past. We appreciate the more "mature" processing here. There are no weird color casts. Dynamic range, too, is respectable, though not quite as wide as on higher-end models.
These particular shots were captured using the default settings on the Galaxy A22 5G, which is to say with Scene optimizer and Auto HDR enabled. Both kick in consistently and are clearly pulling their own weight, as you can see from this set of shots without scene optimizer.
You can also get a pretty good idea of just how much of a difference the extra computational processing is making by looking at shots captured in 48MP mode. Neither Auto HDR nor Scene optimizer are available in this mode, and it shows, especially in scenes with more complicated lighting. You can clearly see highlights and shadows look a lot better in the default 12MP auto mode in general. There are also noticeable chromatic aberrations, particularly with fine patterns.
48MP shots, however, definitely offer more resolved detail. If that is a priority for you and individual files of over 20MB in size are not a problem, then go for it. You do have to live with a bit more noise, as well.
The Galaxy A22 5G lacks any dedicated telephoto or other hardware zoom. Still, you do get crops from the main 48MP sensor. You can pinch to start zooming, after which you can choose a zoom level that way up to 10x or use one of the convenient buttons for 2x, 4x and 10x.
The 2x shots are definitely good enough for social sharing and overall have most of the same properties as 1x regular shots. Pixel-peeping does reveal some oversharpening artifacts here and there, as well as aliasing issues for diagonal lines and reduced per-pixel detail. Nothing major in terms of overall quality, though.
Sharpening artifacts are much more noticeable with higher zoom levels. The max 10x one is not what we would consider usable. Still, we've seen a lot worse out of digital zoom.
The dedicated portrait mode works surprisingly well on the A22 5G and produces very competent shots for a budget device. The background bokeh effect is particularly nice. You can adjust its intensity via a slider in the camera UI.
Subject detection and separation are good but could be better. Stray hairs and busier backgrounds can trip it up. Plus, you often need to get a few shots in just to be sure that the subject will actually be properly in focus since autofocus tends to be a bit sticky in this mode. That being said, the dedicated 2MP depth sensor seems to be pulling its own weight here, so we can't complain too much. Auto HDR is available in portrait mode.
There is no dedicated macro camera on the A22 5G. The main camera can't really focus at a particularly close distance. Here are some shots of about as close as we manage to get to the subject.
Before we move past the main camera, here are our standardized posted shots from it in both its default 12MP and full-res 48MP modes.
The 5MP ultrawide camera on the A22 5G is definitely the weakest link here. It is clearly a downgrade, even when compared to the 8MP ultrawide snapper on something like the Galaxy A32 5G, which is not a particularly high bar, to begin with.
Shots lack detail and are pretty noisy. Dynamic range is narrow and colors look noticeably colder compared to the main camera. That last one is not necessarily a universally bad thing, since you might prefer the colder look. However, the lack of consistency in processing is still worth pointing out as a negative.
To be fair, however, processing can only do so much for this particular hardware. Here are the same shots with Scene optimizer turned off to make a point.
There is no software distortion correction for the ultrawide. To be fair, the distortion itself isn't all that bad, mostly since the field of view of the particular ultrawide isn't that wide either.
Here is a set of shots of the same scene at various zoom levels, as well as from the ultrawide for easier comparison purposes.
The Galaxy A22 5G has an 8MP selfie camera. Once again, a downgrade from the 13MP unit on the Galaxy A32 5G, though it is worth noting that the lens is a bit brighter on the A22 5G - f/2.0. Other than that, nothing fancy, just a fixed-focus snapper with no extra features. You don't even get Scene Optimizer for it.
Considering the hardware at hand, we have to say that selfies still look quite decent. The focus plane is wide and forgiving, resolved detail is adequate, and even colors come out looking decent under moderate and favorable lighting conditions.
Narrow dynamic range is one of the biggest issues with the selfie cam. A bit of extra sunlight in the frame, and everything gets blown out.
In typical Samsung fashion, the selfie cam has a narrow and wide mode. Unlike the Galaxy A32 5G, which toggles between two different resolution outputs for the two modes, on the Galaxy A22 5G selfies always come out at 8MP.
We appreciate that the option is there, but would still prefer if Samsung made wide selfies the default, out of the box. At least you can set the camera app to remember your last selection and restore it when opening the camera app, which is something.
Thins get a bit weird with the Galaxy A22 5G in the video recording department. While we are used to either seeing 4K or 1080p as the resolution cap, the A22 5G can shoot at 720p@30fps, 1080p@30fps or 1152p@30fps (2048 x 1152 pixels), which Samsung refers to as 2K. This oddity appears to be due to the encored resolution limit of the Dimensity 700 chipset. There is no 60fps mode available, and the ultrawide can only capture 1080p@30fps.
While we are on the topic of resolutions and chipsets, it should be noted that thanks to its Dimensity 720 chipset, the Galaxy A32 5G is capable of capturing 4K, something that even the vanilla A32 can't pull off. This might actually be a valid enough reason for some prospective buyers out there to consider the A32 5G over the otherwise arguably better A22 5G, since both cost roughly the same.
You get the usual choice between h.264 and h.265 (HEVC) encoding on the Galaxy A22 5G. The latter saves some space at the expense of some quality. The former results in MP4 files with a solid FullHD AVC video stream of around 17 Mbps and stereo, 48kHz AAC audio. Not too shabby at all.
So, then 1152p should look better and offer more detail then, right? Well, unfortunately, despite the increase in resolution, the Galaxy A22 5G still encodes these videos at roughly the same bitrate. So, at 1:1 zoom 1152p frames either have the same amount of detail as FullHD ones or at the worst even look softer.
You can do zoomed videos, with 2x, 4x and 10x presets available in the UI, just like for stills. The footage quickly becomes soft as the zoom level goes up, though. We would say that 2x is usable, but anything past that is more "artist rendition", courtesy of the algorithm than actual footage.
We did, of course, try 1152p at higher zoom levels, with mixed results. At 2x, it almost seems like 1152p improves detail a bit over 1080p. Though, the difference is marginal at best. Higher zoom levels already have so many other issues that a bit of extra resolution without any extra bitrate doesn't really make an appreciable difference.
Videos from the ultrawide camera look rough. Especially in comparison. The maximum resolution here is 1080p@30fps, as is typical of ultrawides. Even for FullHD, though, the level of detail here is low. Plus, there is a general softness all around the frame. Dynamic range is quite visibly limited, with shadows suffering in particular.
At least colors don't look too bad. We would even go as far as to say that color consistency across the main and ultrawide is better in video capture than with stills. But that's about all of the positives we can see. We would shy away from using the ultrawide for any sort of video.
The Galaxy A22 5G lacks OIS, but can still do electronic stabilization at 1080p for both the main and the ultrawide camera. You can check both in the following playlist.
Overall, the stabilization itself works surprisingly well. It smooths out small bumps and shivers with ease and doesn't actually take away too much from the viewfinder. There are some issues, though. For one, it seems that the bitrate in these stabilized videos is lower than with EIS turned off, which leads to a softer image. With the main camera, in particular, using EIS seems to trigger some focus hunting. It's not too bad, though.
Selfie videos are quite shaky, with pretty limited dynamic range, just like stills. Colors are pretty dull as well.
Here is how the Galaxy A22 5G stacks up against competitors in our extensive video compare database. You can pixel-peep away.
There is no doubt that the Galaxy A22 5G struggles in low-light conditions. Its main camera is quite unimpressive, though still quite decent for a budget device. Shots are generally soft and noisy, and dynamic range is narrow. Detail in shadows gets crushed more often than not, and light sources are often clipped.
To be fair, we've seen worse, even from other Samsung devices. You can get plenty of resolved detail, especially if you are patient and persistent enough and get a few shots in.
Going for 48MP shots in low-light can offer a small boost in resolved detail, just like in good lighting. However, 48MP shots still suffer from all of the issues regular low-light shots do, like noise, limited dynamic range and poor shadow and highlight handling. On top of that you don't get Auto HDR and Scene optimizer while shooting in this mode. In our view, 48MP mode in low-light makes little sense.
Zooming with the main camera quickly degrades overall sharpness and level of detail. We would say that past 2x, shots are more of a painting, courtesy of the sharpening and noise suppression systems than anything else.
The ultrawide camera is barely usable in low-light conditions. It is a blurry and noisy mess, especially soft near the corners. Dynamic range is really showing its limitations in both shadows and highlights. Light sources are blown out pretty much every time.
There is a Night mode on the Galaxy A22 5G, but only for the main camera. Still, its effect on shots is massive and kind of game-changing. Night mode photos are sharper all around with much better-defined fine detail. Shadows and highlights both get noticeable improvements, though they still aren't quite perfect, just a whole lot better.
It is really encouraging to se that Samsung has managed to successfully fix its Night mode algorithm since the vanilla Galaxy A32, which had plenty of issues back when we reviewed it. Given that night mode on the A22 5G is not terribly slow, as well, and never actually managed to make a shot worse for us, we can't ask much more of it.
The selfie cam holds up reasonably well in low-light conditions, though shots are quite soft and noisy overall.
Night mode has a profound effect on selfies, as well. There is every reason to use it.
Finally, we went out and captured a few low-light videos with the Galaxy A22 5G, as well. The main camera holds up quite well. There is plenty of detail at 1080p and noise is well kept at bay. Of course, dynamic range is far from ideal, and both shadows and highlights suffer. All low-light samples are in the following playlist.
Shooting in 2K (1152p) results in quite similar results, though perhaps just a tiny bit sharper. It could be just a false perception on our end, though. You can check the sample out for yourself.
Naturally, quality quickly deteriorates as you zoom. 2x low-light videos still look very usable overall. Anything beyond that, though, we would avoid.