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We took some zoom pics with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, check them out!


Last updated: January 19th, 2021 at 12:24 UTC+02:00

The Galaxy S20 Ultra was one of Samsung’s most highly-specced flagships ever when it launched early last year (some weeks before the pandemic took hold), and its 100x Space Zoom camera was one of its more insane features. As everyone had expected, pictures taken at 100x magnification were more or less good only for boasting rights, which is perhaps why Samsung went with a more humble 50x maximum zoom with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

100x zoom is back with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but this time around, there’s a second telephoto camera that’s responsible for zoom levels of 10x to 100x. Short-range zoom at 3x-10x is handled by a different telephoto lens, and this is, on paper, a more ideal setup compared to what we got with last year’s Ultra flagships. And in the short time we’ve had to play with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, we have to say we’re impressed by what the phone’s telephoto cameras can do.

For one, you now have much better quality at 3x, as there’s a dedicated 3x telephoto lens instead of a 108MP image from the main camera being cropped, as was the case with the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra. And thanks to the 10x lens, the quality of photos at higher zoom levels like 30x is pretty good as well. There’s a rather heavy watercolor effect once you reach maximum magnification (100x), but Samsung could easily fix this by modifying the post-processing algorithm with a software update.

Here’s a scene captured at 1x, 3x, 4x, 10x, 30x, and 100x:

And here’s one of the moon at 30x:

Oh, and the Zoom Lock feature is very, very useful once you move past 30x. When you’re zooming in on something, you can tap the preview on the top left corner of the viewfinder to lock the frame in place, and that means you can take fairly stable photos at even 100x zoom with the phone in your hands, something that is insanely hard on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Zoom Lock could come to the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra with the One UI 3.1 update, but right now, it gives the Galaxy S21 Ultra the upper hand for long-range zoom.

Are the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s cameras better than the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s? That’s something we will tell you in our full review. For now, check out some more S21 Ultra camera samples of scenes captured at 1x, 3x, 4x, 10x, 30x, and 100x magnification in the gallery below.

CameraPhone Galaxy S21Galaxy S21 Ultra
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