This guide explains Galaxy Note 4 camera modes and, how and when to use the 17 camera modes to get some amazing photos.
What are Galaxy Note 4 camera modes?
By default, Galaxy Note 4 camera can take nice photos out of the box. The Auto mode in Galaxy Note 4 works amazingly well. You just point and shoot.
Samsung actually incorporates several camera modes in the old phones into the Auto mode. For example, when Galaxy Note 4 detects the lighting condition is not good, the auto mode will automatically enable the night mode and adjust settings accordingly.
This is a big improvement in the camera app. Nobody wants to fiddle around the settings and figure out the proper settings.
But sometimes, Auto mode may be not sufficient. For example, you want to take some photos for your kids in a basketball match.
Until now, it is still impossible to make all camera setting automatic. Some sorts of manual control may be needed in certain situations.
So, Samsung provides some camera modes in Galaxy Note 4 for you to take some special photos.
How to access and select Galaxy Note 4 camera modes?
To access Galaxy Note 4 camera modes, you need start the Camera app.
By default, the Galaxy Note 4 camera starts with the Auto mode.
In Camera app (if you are not familiar with the camera app interface, please check this guide), tap Mode icon as shown below.
In the bottom of the screen, you will be able to find the available Galaxy Note 4 camera modes.
In most regions, there are 12 pre-installed Galaxy Note 4 camera modes for the main camera. 8 of them are activated and you can tap to select immediately.
For the other 4 camera modes, you need tap Manage modes to activate them.
In addition to the 12 pre-installed Galaxy Note 4 camera modes, you can also download and install more camera modes for Galaxy Note 4. Please check this guide on how to manage and install more camera modes for Galaxy Note 4.
Once the camera mode is selected, your camera will use this mode for photos taken in this session.
Please note, Galaxy Note 4 camera mode setting is not persistent: it is valid for current session only. Once you close the camera app, Auto mode will be automatically used. You need change the camera mode for each session.
What’s the meaning of Galaxy Note 4 camera modes and how to use them?
Now, let’s explore the 17 Galaxy Note 4 camera modes (2 of them are for front camera only).
1. Auto mode
Auto mode represents Samsung’s latest technology depth in smartphone camera. We all know it is not an easy job to make something automatic with nods from most users.
In Galaxy Note 4, the Auto mode works surprisingly well. It seems Samsung finally learnt the lesson from packing half-baked features in Galaxy S4.
By default, whenever you start the Camera app in Galaxy Note 4, Auto mode is waiting for you. You can further change the settings, for example, ISO, white balance, HDR, and almost all other settings when Auto mode is used.
For most users, you don’t need do anything, just tap the camera icon to take a photo. Of course you can also use voice control to take photos or record videos( please check this guide if you want to know how to use voice commands for Galaxy Note 4 camera).
The Auto mode, as suggested by its name, is able to adjust the settings according to environment conditions (e.g., lighting conditions) and even the object (e.g., a face).
So, just point and shoot in Auto mode. You can get a decent photo most of the time.
2. Sports mode
Galaxy Note 4 Sports mode is designed for fast moving objects. You can take nice pictures even the object is moving quite fast.
Normally, you will easily get a blurry photo if the object is moving fast because of the slow shutter speed.
In Sports mode, Galaxy Note 4 uses a faster shutter speed to freeze the motion. And therefore, you can get a clear picture with frozen moving objects.
Of course, when Sports mode is enabled, Galaxy Note 4 not only increases the shutter speed, but also adjust the ISO and many other settings.
The good thing is that everything will be done automatically by Galaxy Note 4 camera. What you need to do is selecting the Sports mode and tap the camera button (shutter) to take photos.
Of course, this is different from DSLRs, with which you get many manual settings. For smartphones, Samsung has to make the camera app simpler than point-and-shoot cameras.
When you check the EXIF data of the photo taken with Galaxy Note 4 Sports mode, you can find that Galaxy Note 4 adjusts many settings for Sports mode.
Please note, most camera settings are disabled when Sports mode is selected. Galaxy Note 4 will adjust the settings for you.
3. Sound & Shot mode
Sound & Shot mode was first introduced in Galaxy S4. Samsung further polished this feature in Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5.
Galaxy Note 4 Sound & Shot mode adds audio to the photo. The audio will be recorded immediately after or before, the photo is taken. The duration of the audio recording is up to nine seconds.
Photos taken with the Sound & Shot mode can be viewed with Samsung Gallery apps in compatible Samsung Galaxy devices. You can safely share these photos through WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth. The audio will be preserved and you can listen to them in compatible devices.
But if you view the photo taken with the Sound & Shot mode on a PC or with other apps, you will not get the sound. You will only get the normal photo. This is due to the way of embedding audios. There are no widely-accepted standards to do this yet, Samsung chooses its own way. So, only Samsung Gallery app knows it.
Also, if you share photos taken with Sound & Shot mode through MMS, email or any apps, the audio will be removed and you will get the normal photos only.
How to use Sound & Shot mode?
After starting the camera app, tap Mode icon, choose Sound & Shot. Then you are ready to use this mode.
By default, auto recording is taken after you take the photo (post-shot). You can stop the audio recording by tapping the stop button before it reaches 9 seconds as shown below.
You can also configure the Galaxy Note 4 Sound & Shot mode as pre-shot. In other words, you can record up to 9 seconds of audio before tapping the camera button to take the photo.
In the Sound & Shot mode, tap the arrow button (^) in the bottom of the screen as shown below.
Now, you have the option to choose Pre-shot or Post-shot for the Sound & Shot mode.
Please note, although the camera mode selection in Galaxy Note 4 is not persistent (it will be defaulted to Auto when you start Camera app nexty time), the sound recording setting in the Sound & Shot mode is persistent. It will be used automatically when you use the Sound & Shot mode again next time. It is not necessary to set it every time.
4. Animated photo mode
Animated photo mode was also first introduced in Galaxy S4.
When Animated photo mode is selected, Galaxy Note 4 will take a sequence of photos up to 5 seconds and then make an GIF animation.
In addition to simply animating the photo sequence, Galaxy Note 4 Animated photo mode can even freeze or animate specific part. In other words, you can specify (draw) an area for animation or for freezing. This can be found only in some professional GIF tools.
The advantages of using Animated photo mode over video recording include:
- Smaller file size;
- Easy to use on website. Almost all browsers support GIF animation.
- Higher quality image.
Animated photo mode may be not enabled by default. If you cannot find the Animated photo mode in your Galaxy Note 4, please follow this guide to enable it.
Please note, you need review the photo taken with Animated photo mode and explicitly tap the Save icon (disk) to save the photo, even if you turn off review pics/videos.
5. Beauty face mode
Beauty face mode applies airbrushed effects to all faces detected by Galaxy Note 4 camera. So, you can get a smooth and shiny skin in the photo just like many Hollywood celebrities.
In a nutshell, Galaxy Note 4 edits the photo on the fly when the Beauty face mode is selected. And therefore, you can get a live preview of how it looks.
How to use Beauty face mode?
In camera pp, tap Mode, then tap Beauty face mode to use it. Galaxy Note 4 will do the rest.
You can also set how much effects will be applied by tapping the head icon as shown below.
By default, the level 4 is used. You can drag the circle up and down to increase or decrease the level of editing.
In Beauty face mode, higher level means more artificial effects will be applied.
Please note, Beauty face mode works best when the person is not too close (and not too far) to the camera and when the lighting condition is good.
When the Beauty face mode is selected, you are not allowed to use flash or to adjust white balance. But you can adjust the ISO value and exposure.
6. Rear-cam selfie mode
Rear-cam selfie mode is a new feature in Galaxy Note 4 camera. It allows you to take a nice selfie without checking the screen (because you cannot).
I believe you know you can use the rear camera to take a photo for yourself with any smartphones.
But the Galaxy Note 4 Rear-cam selfie mode can do three more things for you:
- Recognizing faces on the viewfinder.
- Focusing on faces detected automatically.
- Taking photos automatically in 2 seconds once there is one or more faces are recognized.
So, when Rear-cam selfie mode is used, it is not necessary to find the camera button or use voice commands to take photo. Your face is guaranteed to be in the photo and are in focus.
How to use Galaxy Note 4 Rear-cam selfie mode?
In Galaxy Note 4, once Rear-cam selfie mode is selected, you will be given a box to decide where your face should be as shown below. You can move and/or re-size the box.
Galaxy Note 4 camera will try to recognize the faces in the box only and focus on the faces in the box. By default, the box is in the center occupying about 1/4 of the area.
Now, let the main camera facing you. You will hear the beep from Galaxy Note 4 once your face is detected in the box. It will then take a picture for you after 2 seconds. So, do not move once you hear the beep (followed by the timer sound).
Please note, when Rear-cam selfie mode is used you are not allowed to use flash.
Voice command is also not working with the Rear-cam selfie mode because photos taking will be controlled by Galaxy Note 4 camera automatically.
7. Selective focus mode
Selective focus mode was first introduced in Galaxy S5. It allows you to choose the focus of the image at any time: foreground (near focus), background (far focus), or focus evenly across the image (pan focus).
For many DSLRs, Selective focus is a basic feature. But for smartphone cameras, Selective focus mode is quite new and interesting.
Unlike HTC M8 (which has dual rear cameras), Galaxy Note 4 use one rear camera to achieve the selective focus.
For photos taken with Selective focus mode, you can edit it later to change the focus again whenever you want. But this works only with Samsung Gallery app, not any other photo edit apps.
When you share the photo taken with Selective focus mode through email or MMS, the photo will become a normal photo and you will lose the feature of selective focus for that photo.
Using Selective focus mode can be frustrating for new owners because you may get the selective focus failed message often. You need some patience to make Selctive focus mode work for you.
For the detailed guide on how to use Selective focus mode, you may check this page.
8. Panorama mode
Panorama mode creates a linear panorama by taking pictures in either a horizontal or vertical direction.
You can find Panorama mode in almost all Android phones, not just Galaxy Note 4. This is a basic and interesting feature of cameras in Android phones.
In Galaxy Note 4, when Panorama mode is selected, the final photo is limited to 6MP resolution. You are not allowed to use flash or set any exposure or white balance settings. Galaxy Note 4 will do these for you.
When taking photos in Panorama mode, you need tap the camera button (or use Galaxy Note 4 camera voice control), then move the phone in one direction.
Galaxy Note 4 will stitch and process the photos to one final photo without artificial traces.
9. Food mode
Food mode is a special camera mode in Galaxy Note 4.
As suggested by its name, Galaxy Note 4 Food mode is specially designed for taking photos for your food. The settings are automatically applied to emphasis the vivid colors of the object (usually food).
Please note, photos taken with Food mode currently can only be saved into the phone memory, not the SD card, even if you set the picture storage location as memory card (SD card). This probably is a software bug.
Galaxy Note 4 provides a color balance slider to the Food mode as shown below for you to correct the color. You can make it warmer by moving it up. This is very useful if you are taking food photos under fluorescent lighting.
In most regions, Food mode is not pre-installed in Galaxy Note 4. You need download and install Food mode from Galaxy apps. Please follow this guide to install Galaxy Note 4 camera modes.
10. Sequence shot mode
Sequence shot mode allows you to capture the fast moving objects continuously (up to 5 seconds) and saves the photo as a GIF animation.
So, you can think Sequence shot mode is a combination of Sports mode and Animated photo mode.
Sequence shot mode takes photos at a fixed resolution of 1280×720. This is higher than that of Animated photo mode.
But Sequence shot mode does not allow you to specify frozen or animated regions. It works like video recording with GIF output.
The photos taken in the Sequence shot mode are always saved in the internal phone storage, not the SD card, regardless your settings of the storage location.. This is not a software bug. In Sequence shot mode, Galaxy Note 4 camera has to work in burst mode and therefore it is safe to save photo in internal storage to guarantee certain frame rate.
11. Surround shot mode
Surround shot mode creates a spherical panorama of the surroundings by combining the pictures. It can give you a spherical 360-degree panoramic photo.
So, the major difference between Surround shot mode and Panorama mode is whether it is linear or spherical when combing the pictures.
To take a picture with the Surround shot mode, you need initially put the object in the center of a sphere. Then moving camera in any directions. Pictures will be taken automatically when the circle turns blue.
Tap the camera button to finish the photo.
You can also undo a picture during the photo taking process.
When you view the albums, the photo taken with Surround shot mode will have a 360 degrees sign indicating the Surround shot mode was used for this photo.
12. Dual camera mode
Dual camera mode was first introduced in Galaxy S4. It is one of the successful camera features in Samsung devices.
What dual camera mode does is combining your front and main camera photos into one photo. You get the live-preview to see the effects.
Galaxy Note 4 also gives you the full control on how the two camera photos are overlapped with several combing effects.
You can adjust the size and location of the overlapping photo as well.
How to set combing effects in Dual camera mode?
By default, the overlapping photo is combined like a stamp. But you may not know Galaxy Note 4 actually gives you 9 different combing effects:
- Oval Blur
- Instant Pic
- Heart Shape
To set the combining effects in dual camera mode, tap the arrow key (^) in the bottom if these effects are not displayed. Tap arrow down button to hide them as shown below.
How to re-size the overlapping photo in dual camera mode?
You can tap and hold the overlapping photo to get the box as shown below.
You can then move and position it to any location.
You can also re-size this box by moving through one of the 4 corners as shown below. The maximum size of the overlapping photo is about less than 25% of the final photo. The only exception is 50% when you choose split as combining effects.
How to switch main and overlapping photos in Dual camera mode?
By default, in dual camera mode, the main photo is from the rear camera and the overlapping photo is from front camera.
You can switch rear and front camera photos, i.e., you can set the front camera photo as the main photo and the photo from rear camera is overlapping.
Do NOT use the switch camera button! It does not work for dual camera mode.
If you tap switch camera button, front camera is used, and dual camera mode is NOT available for front camera.
So, to switch the rear and front camera photos in dual camera mode, you need double tap the overlapping photo. This will switch two photos. Double tap again to switch back.
13 Virtual tour mode
Virtual tour mode allows you to create interactive virtual tours of your surroundings. It takes photos of a space by moving the device and shooting from different angles and applying a 3D-effect to them.
Virtual tour mode creates a stereoscopic image. For most apps, it is just the first part of your image. But if you view it in Galley app in Galaxy Note 4, you get the pictures in all direction with smooth transition. Actually, you need tap the play button to view it.
The photo taking process is similar to that of Surround shot mode.
14. Selfie mode (front camera)
By default, when you switch Galaxy Note 4 camera to the front one, Selfie mode is activated.
So, this Slefie mode is similar to Auto mode for the rear camera. You can access most of the settings in this mode.
When Selfie mode is selected, you have many ways to take a photo:
- tap the camera/shutter button on the screen.
- use voice command (see Galaxy Note 4 camera voice control).
- place your finger on the heart rate sensor at the back of Galaxy Note 4, and then lift it to take a photo.
For photos taken in Selfie mode, you can also choose to save the photo as flipped in Settings–More.
In Selfie mode, beauty face is applied automatically. You can adjust the levels of beautifying or disable it.
Another mode that works with Selfie is the Sound & Shot mode.
15. Wide selfie mode (front camera)
Wide selfie mode allows you to take a wide-angle selfie shot so that you can fit more people in the photo.
The normal Selfie mode takes photo with a view angle of 90 degrees. Wide selfie mode extends this angle to about 120 degrees.
Once in Wide selfie mode, tap the camera button (shutter). The on-screen guide will tell you to move the camera to left side then to the right side. If Galaxy Note 4 fail to understand the direction, it will beep.
Please note, in Wide selfie mode, the photos are taken with a resolution of 2.1M only, not 3.7 M. You cannot change it.
16. Burst mode
Burst mode allows you to take photos successively in a short period of time.
In Galaxy Note 4, burst mode is not listed as an individual mode. It woks with some other modes as well.
To take photos in burst mode in Galaxy Note 4, tap and hold the camera (shutter) button. For more details on how to use Galaxy Notye 4 burst mode, please check this guide: How to use Galaxy Note 4 camera burst mode?
17. HDR mode
In Galaxy Note 4, HDR is no longer a camera mode. It is a camera feature.
So, HDR mode can be enabled in Auto mode and Selective focus mode. In other modes, HDR is not available.
Do you know how to use, and when to use, Galaxy Note 4 camera modes?
If you have any problems or questions on Galaxy Note 4 camera modes, please post them in the comment box below.
We will try to help you find a solution.
More how-to guides , tips and tricks for using Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are available at Galaxy Note 4 how-to guides page.