Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 miss the latest Android camera features, but why?

Samsung Galaxy S6
The Samsung Galaxy S6 rear camera.

When Android 5.0 Lollipop appeared in the wild, it brought with it some new photo features in its Camera2 API. Trouble is, the two biggest flagship phones of 2015 aren't going to support them.

The capabilities in question include the option to take photos in RAW format (DNG) and to manually control shutter speeds. If you're serious about your mobile photography then they can be very handy indeed.

However, the folks over at SpectraStudy put the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and HTC One M9 through their paces and found that these tools weren't accessed by the camera app that comes pre-installed.

Camera cutbacks

RAW DNG capture and shutter speed were missing on the Samsung handsets, although there is the possibility they could be accessed by third-party camera apps or enabled by a future upgrade pushed out by Samsung. Advanced colour processing capabilities were also unavailable.

It's an even worse story on the HTC One M9, which makes very limited use of the Camera2 API. As well as the features mentioned above, some additional image adjustment options and shooting modes aren't enabled.

SpectraStudy says the HTC One M9 only has "legacy" functionality - in other words it just uses the previous Camera API from Android 4.4 KitKat.

If you've been salivating over the thought of getting to grips with the new camera features of Lollipop then you might want to do some more research before picking up a new phone. Right now, only the Nexus line gives you a guarantee of all the new features being enabled in the hardware and software.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.