The Galaxy A53 5G basically carries forward the camera setup of its A52s 5G predecessor. A wide, ultrawide, macro and depth sensor setup is fairly standard these days. More and more phones have started adopting a 50MP Quad-Bayer main unit, which seems to be trendy. Samsung is sticking to last-gen but tried and true Quad-Bayers. In particular, it opted for the higher resolution 64MP one instead of 48MP, which is commendable. The same goes for the rest of its cameras, actually. All of them are high resolution relative to the alternatives, like a 12MP ultrawide, instead of 8MP and the two 5MP supplementary sensors, where many opt for 2MP units instead. And, of course, the 32MP selfie cam.
Still, we can't go overboard with the praise here. Even though this is a tried and tested camera setup, there are no upgrades compared to last-gen. After some poking around system files and paths, we unsurprisingly discovered that the A53 5G has the same list of supported sensors as its predecessor. The main camera (f/1.8, 0.8µm and around 1/1.7X" sensor size with PDAF and OIS) can either use a Samsung s5kgw1p sensor, commonly known as the GW1 or a Sony IMX682. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing which one our unit has. The same goes for the 32MP selfie (f.2,2, 0.8µm, 1/2.8", fixed focus), which can either be the Samsung s5kgd2 or the Sony IMX616.
We couldn't find any specific info on the ultrawide (f/2.2, 1.12µm, fixed focus), but since all of the other cameras match up, logic dictates it should be using the same Samsung s5k3l6 sensor as the Galaxy A52s 5G.
Just like the camera hardware itself, Samsung hasn't really changed anything with the camera app on the A53 5G. It is a familiar affair.
Samsung did not skimp on the available modes either. Samsung's signature SINGLE TAKE is here and so are FOOD MODE and AR DOODLE. Most of these originally debuted on flagships but have since made their way onto midrangers.
Fun Mode seems to be in a different location this time. It's a collaboration with Snapchat to have a constantly-rotating selection of its filters integrated into the main camera app. More of a gimmick than anything, but still fun to play around with.
The camera settings menu and the available options haven't changed either. It is worth noting that the options change depending on whether you enter settings from a photo or video come. The latter is where you will find a toggle for the always-on by default video stabilization in case you want to do some tripod shooting.
You get Pro mode for both photos and videos as well, with a similar, in-depth set of features. It offers adjustments for ISO from 50 to 4000, shutter speed from 1/6000 to 10 seconds, white balance from 2300K to 1000K, as well as exposure compensation and the ability to set different spot metering for the expose and autofocus. You also get manual focus with focus peaking.
One interesting and not-so-common addition to the Pro model is the separate Levels menu, which offers control over contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation and tint. These are parameters you typically find and tend to adjust in editors, but it's kind of nifty to have them separated as you capture the shots.
Seeing how the Galaxy A53 5G borrows its camera hardware from last year's A52s 5G, we're going to use it as a frame of reference. Logic would dictate that the two phones should capture pretty much identical photos, but likely due to the major chipset swap from Qualcomm to Samsung, that's not the case here.
16MP photos from the main camera are decent but distinctly different and honestly a bit overboard compared to those on the A52s 5G. Detail is good, and the colors could be to your liking if you prefer a bit more saturation and "pop". The A52s 5G has a noticeably more muted palette but is also more true-to-life.
There is practically no noise in uniform areas such as the sky, which was an issue on the A52s 5G. And textures on building facades seem to have a bit more detail than on the Dynamic range is decent for a midranger as well.
You can shoot in 64MP mode on the main camera. These shots gain a bit of finer detail, with the main benefit being much cleaner and less-blurry surfaces with more texture to them. Sharpening is also a bit more noticeable in these photos, though. In most other aspects, these look identical to the regular 16MP stills.
By the way, all of these samples were captured in the A53 5G's default state, which means Auto HDR and Scene optimizer were enabled. Both appear to be available in 64MP mode as well, and it only takes a second or two more to capture these high-res photos.
Before we move on, here's how the Galaxy A53 5G stacks up against the competition in our photo compare database. We made sure to include samples at both 16MP and 64MP. Pixel-peep away.
You can capture portraits using the main camera and additional data from the depth sensor. For some odd reason, these get saved in 12MP instead of 16MP. They look great, with plenty of detail, pleasant tones and good texture. Subject detection and separation are also nearly perfect. The bokeh effect looks pleasant and convincing.
The mode works well on non-human subjects too. It can take a bit more work to trial and error for the subject detection to kick in, though.
The Galaxy A53 5G lacks a dedicated telephoto camera. It can do zoomed crops from the main camera at up to 10x digital zoom, with presets at 2x, 4x and 10x in the camera app. At 2x, shots look as good as the 1x ones without any noticeable deterioration. There is plenty of detail, practically no noise and clean and sharp lines.
Even at higher zoom levels, these shots remain impressively usable. Of course, as the zoom level goes up, so do the effects of algorithmic processing, like sharpening and noise suppression.
Shots from the 12MP ultra-wide camera look decent but are nothing to phone home about. The most defining feature of these photos is their general softness all throughout the frame. It's not horrible, but definitely prevalent.
On a more positive note, the colors look much more natural than the main camera. We kind of like them more. Unfortunately, that also means that consistency across the two cameras is not great.
The 5MP macro camera can produce very nice close-up shots with plenty of detail and nice colors.
This camera has fixed-focus and a relatively narrow focal plane, so you do have to exercise patience and capture a few stills to get it right.
The Galaxy A53 5G has a 32MP selfies camera, which, just like the main cam, is a Quad Bayer module. Hence, it is meant to natively produce 8MP stills. And indeed, in its default mode, it shoots at 3264 x 2448 pixels, or right around 8MP.
However, the selfie cam has a narrow and wide mode in typical Samsung fashion. We wish this would become a thing of the past already. Anyway, in wide mode, selfies come out in 4000 x 3000 pixels or exactly 12MP. Presumably, there's some interpolation going on because a 32MP Quad Bayer camera should output 8MP photos. That being said, we can't notice any noteworthy difference in quality and detail between the two modes.
Overall, the selfie quality is solid, with plenty of detail in decent noise performance. Skin tones can be a bit inconsistent from time to time. Thankfully, both Auto HDR and Scene optimizer are available on the selfie.
FUN mode is available for selfies, and so is an extensive set of beauty filters, including the ability to create your own filters based on an existing image or photo and its overall color palette. You can also shoot 32MP selfies-a nifty idea.
The Galaxy A53 5G can capture up to 4K@30fps on its main and ultrawide cameras and the selfie. All of these get recorded in h.264 with an AVC video stream at around 48 Mbps and a stereo 48 kHz AAC audio feed inside an MP4 container. There is no option for HEVC (h.265) capture for videos. You can just do HEIF for photos if you choose so. We're only noting this since the Galaxy A52s 5G does offer HEVC video recording, which is yet another minus for the new Exynos 1280 chipset.
Videos from the main camera are solid overall, but far from perfect. Detail is great, and noise is non-existent. Dynamic range is reasonably wide. Colors are a bit saturated, just like with photos, which, again, is a departure from the overall natural color reproduction of the Galaxy A52s 5G. It's not necessarily a bad look, though. It depends on your preference.
You can capture zoomed videos as well, and at 2x, the clips look quite similar to 1x ones and hence perfectly decent.
The ultrawide camera captures very respectable 4K clips in its own right. Compared to the main camera, the ultrawide does leave behind a bit more noise.
Hardly enough to ruin the experience, though. The difference in color rendition between the two is also quite noticeable. Also, not a dealbreaker by any means. Just worth pointing out. There is a bit of softness around the edges of the frame, but that's to be expected as well and perfectly reasonable.
Video stabilization is available for both the main and the ultrawide cameras on the Galaxy A53 5G, but only at FullHD resolution. Actually, stabilization comes in two "stages", for lack of a better term. There is a toggle in the general camera settings menu, which is enabled by default. That would be the basic stabilization, which works on the ultrawide and main camera at every zoom level. It does a very decent job at smoothing-out jitters and handles pans well. Here is a sample showcasing the primary camera with and without the basic stabilization.
Then there is Super steady. It gets its video feed from the ultrawide camera and also only works at FullHD. The extra smoothness is there, but the step-up from the regular stabilization to Super steady isn't all that major. You just have to decide whether it is worth the extra crop of the field of view. Here is the ultrawide with just basic stabilization against Super steady.
Before we close off the video section, here are some screen grabs from the video samples to compare against our vast database in the video compare tool.
The Galaxy A53 5G is a competent low-light shooter. The main camera offers plenty of detail with relatively low noise. Samsung is noticeably applying some selective sharpening to the shots, but it's not too aggressive. Light sources are handled well, and so are shadows.
Since there are fewer colors in the frame as a whole, it is harder to notice the extra saturation the A53 5G is generally applying. Even so, we can't ignore that most lights just seem too yellow.
Zooming from the main camera on the A52s 5G results in very decent 2x shots, with just a bit more noise and sharpening artifacts, compared to 1x shots.
Low-light shots from the ultrawide camera are unfortunately quite messy. There is a lot of softness all throughout the frame. Dynamic range is limited, and shadows, in particular, are crushed more often than not. Light sources don't look too great either. And exposure, in general, tends to be too dark.
Overall, we feel like the Galaxy A52s 5G captures notably better low-light shots with this ultrawide hardware setup, making this another downgrade, if you've been keeping score.
The Galaxy A53 5G has automatic Night mode, which kicks in through its own volition via the Scene optimizer, so many of our general low-light shots already got some treatment. There is a manual dedicated Night mode beyond that, which is available for the main and ultrawide cameras and the selfie. It employs longer exposure times, more stacking and processing and is generally a bit on the slower side as far as modern Night modes go.
That would be perfectly acceptable if it made a major difference to the quality of the shots, but unfortunately, the mall benefits it provides in the dark areas of photos come with huge tradeoff in general sharpness. It's almost as if Night mode disables image sharpening - the photos are just too soft for their own good. We'd recommend against using it.
The situation with the dedicated Night mode in the ultrawide camera is quite the same as on the main one. It's as if enabling Night mode disables additional image processing which includes sharpening and you get photos, which are only marginally better in the tonal extremes, but a lot softer. The tradeoff is really not worth it.
The selfie camera struggles noticeably in low-light conditions. Not uncharacteristically so for a mid-ranger, but we've seen better. Faces come out looking quite soft and with little to no actual skin texture.
Selfie portraits work decently well in terms of subject detection and separation. Night mode is a bit more universally beneficial when it comes to selfies. Faces have more texture to them, and some extra detail is often salvaged from the background.
Finally, we have a playlist with some low-light video samples for you to check out. The Galaxy A53 5G captures very decent 4K videos from its main cam. There is some noise, and light sources are not as well-contained as on a recent flagship, but overall the detail is there. Even things like road surfaces look good. The same goes for 2x videos, with just a bit more noise thrown in.
The ultrawide camera is struggling quite a bit with low-light video as well. While still usable to an extent, these clips are noticeably darker and softer with a lot less detail, crushed dark areas, blown-out light sources and clipped highlights. Still, not necessarily throwaway footage.