Samsung camera test: Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 108-megapixel camera, 100x zoom photos

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is all concerning the digital camera.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Of Samsung’s three new telephones, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is the one most full of digital camera goodies. While Samsung redesigned your entire digital camera system — the corporate says the S20’s sensors are thrice bigger than the Galaxy S10’s — it is the 108-megapixel sensor and 100x AI-assisted zoom that make the most important splash. Part of my job throughout my ongoing Galaxy S20 Ultra review is to guage if the photograph expertise helps justify the Ultra’s $1,400 worth. 

I’ve already shot dozens of pictures, peering at them intently from my computer display screen and on the phone. It’d be overkill (and doubtless break your browser) if I shared all of them right here, so take into account these the highlights. In the approaching weeks, my colleagues and I’ll snap and analyze a whole lot of pictures and scores of movies to drill down into precisely the place the S20 Ultra’s digital camera stands, particularly in opposition to prime competitors just like the iPhone 11 Pro Max, Google’s Pixel 4 and Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro

These pictures are not touched up or edited in any approach until acknowledged. But be aware that they’ve been processed by CNET’s content material picture software — you will not see each pixel, however you will hopefully see sufficient to offer you an early thought of the S20 Ultra’s digital camera efficiency. I’m additionally testing the video digital camera in common and 8K modes, however these information are large and tougher to share right here. There might be loads of footage within the remaining evaluate, although.

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Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 100x zoom makes snooping simpler



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Galaxy S20 Ultra cameras

  • 108-megapixel fundamental digital camera: You want to pick out the 108-megapixel fast setting to take a brilliant high-resolution photograph, in any other case photos resolve to 12 megapixels utilizing nona-binning, which basically creates one tremendous pixel out of 9 particular person pixels. Part of the advantage of such a high-resolution picture is to get extra element while you crop right into a shot.
  • 12-megapixel wide-angle lens: Samsung enlarged the sensor, so this is not the identical digital camera as on the Galaxy Note 10 or S10 telephones although it makes use of the identical megapixels. The objective is to let in additional gentle, for higher picture high quality, particularly in low gentle.
  • 48-megapixel telephoto digital camera: This will get you as much as 100x “space zoom,” a characteristic that makes use of AI algorithms to take photographs at excessive distance. The greater the zoom, the shakier your photograph might be (a monopod or tripod is essential).
  • DepthVision digital camera: I did not exit of my method to take a look at this but, nevertheless it’s meant to help with numerous digital camera modes. You cannot take particular person pictures from it.
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This was taken with the principle digital camera at normal decision.


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What I feel up to now

In plentiful lighting eventualities, the S20 Ultra’s pictures look incredible: crisp and shiny, with loads of element. Low-light photographs get a typical Samsung increase of brightness that you could be love or discover a bit overly cheerful, however that comes right down to your temper. Selfies look good, and there is even a brand new characteristic to pick out a hotter or darker picture tone than the default (to use to the scene, to not pores and skin).

At this early stage in my testing, the 2 marquee options confuse me. In a few of my photographs utilizing the 108-megapixel digital camera choice versus the principle digital camera’s 12-megapixel decision, the advantages of utilizing 108 are clear. Cropping in or zooming in on the picture, the superior element virtually punches you within the face. In others, I do not see a lot distinction. In others nonetheless, zooming in on the phone display screen or in a full-screen picture on the computer reveals mushier edges and extra noise than the 12-megapixel counterpart.

I’m going to maintain testing that.

The digital camera’s 100x zoom characteristic completely works, however at such distance, photos are intensely blurry, and to me, pretty unusable past exhibiting off the phone’s technological functionality. I’m simply undecided why Samsung did not cease at a very good 30x zoom, aside from one-upping rivals. I’m open to being satisfied as I proceed to be taught concerning the characteristic and use it within the wild.

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Main digital camera, normal decision.


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Ultrawide-angle shot.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Main digital camera, normal decision.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Main digital camera, normal decision.


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*The 108-megapixel decision model of this picture was too giant to load.

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Crop from normal decision picture.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Crop from 108-megapixel decision picture.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Main digital camera, normal decision.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, utilizing no zoom.


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At 10x zoom.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Now at 30x zoom.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Here we’re at 100x zoom.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Obligatory backlit selfie.

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Shot on computerized mode with fundamental digital camera, low gentle situations.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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This crop in of the 108-megapixel model is impressively detailed.


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Shot in computerized mode in low gentle situations.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

This story might be up to date typically with new pictures. Keep checking again for extra!

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