Samsung absolutely rules the foldable smartphone market right now. It has been the only brand selling foldable phones globally over the past few years, and it single-handedly made the foldable market mainstream. However, market dynamics are changing rapidly now, and it feels like the company is getting complacent now, especially regarding cameras.
There is no doubt that Samsung offers the best UI/UX design for foldable phones, but the company isn't giving enough attention to the camera hardware specifications. And it is getting too long in the tooth now.
Over the past four years, Samsung upgraded its zoom camera just once. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 brought a 10MP telephoto camera with 3x zoom compared to a 12MP telephoto camera with 2x zoom. The zoom range improved slightly, but it came at the expense of camera resolution. In comparison, newer foldable phones like the Google Pixel Fold and Huawei Mate X3 offer telephoto cameras with up to 5x optical zoom.
It doesn't look like Galaxy Z Fold 5 will bring a major camera upgrade, either
Going by recent leaks, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 won't bring camera hardware improvements. Rumors claim that the upcoming foldable phone will continue to use a 50MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and 10MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. In comparison, the $1,200 Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 200MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and two 10MP telephoto cameras (3x and 10x).
With a price tag as high as $1,799, Samsung needs to offer better camera specifications if it wants to convert some Galaxy S series users to Galaxy Z Fold series devices. A similar upgrade needs to happen with Galaxy Z Flip series phones. While Samsung has limited cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip lineup to 12MP, rivals like OPPO and Vivo have used 50MP primary cameras on their flip phones.
Granted, foldable phones from rival brands don't outright defeat Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold in camera quality, but Samsung needs to hold onto its supremacy by regularly upgrading camera hardware and combining it with its superior image processing.
The competition will only increase in the foldable segment in the future, and Samsung shouldn't rest on its laurels. And when Apple launches its first foldable iPhone a few years from now, Samsung needs to be at its absolute best to stand a chance to compete with it. Ideally, the company should offer Galaxy S Ultra-like cameras on the Galaxy Z Fold and base Galaxy S-like cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip lineup.