If you look at Samsung’s marketing for the Galaxy S23 series, it’s clear that the company is focusing on the camera experience. Like all Galaxy S flagships, Samsung is clearly putting all efforts into the top-end model, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which will be the first Samsung phone with a 200MP rear camera.
That crazy high megapixel count will certainly have its benefits, like the ability to zoom into photos more but with lower noise than you could with, say, Samsung’s 108MP cameras. That said, those two zoom cameras on the Galaxy S23 Ultra will no doubt still be the ones doing the heavylifting when you’re trying to capture something from far away, and that makes me wonder why Samsung is using camera zoom as a highlight in Galaxy S23 marketing.
Zoom on flagship Galaxy phones is already great, so why is it suddenly in the spotlight?
Because, let’s face it, if the leaked specs are to be believed, the Galaxy S23 and S23+ are not getting any rear camera upgrades and it’s the Ultra model that will bring in the limelight with that 200MP camera. But zoom will still be handled by the zoom cameras.
200MP photos may allow higher noise-free magnification than anything that’s been possible before, but the default shooting mode will like produce 12MP photos or, at best, 50MP photos, using pixel binning, and we know most customers shoot at the default settings.
So Samsung will have to make sure the zoom cameras do better this time around, either with the help of artificial intelligence or better underlying algoriths. If that doesn’t happen and we get similar performance from the dedicated optical zoom cameras on the Galaxy S23 Ultra or the single optical telephoto lens on the other models, then all this teasing over camera zoom could just turn out to be giving false hope to the customer.
Now, I know that misleading advertising — or advertising that oversells a particular feature — is a common thing that happens in any industry. But considering Samusng’s Ultra flagships were also amazing at zoom photography the last three years, it’s unclear what Samsung means here. Perhaps it is targeting magnification between 4x and 10x, which is where the 10MP 3x telephoto camera has to pull the weight right now and doesn’t exactly do a good job, but how much improvement can Samsung achieve with the 3x camera?
I guess we will have to wait for the answer just a little while longer. Samsung is set to unveil the Galaxy S23 series on February 1, which is not that far away, so stay tuned for details on all the features the new flagship lineup will offer and how much each device will cost (as the rumors go, the price might increase in most markets outside the US).