Samsung’s S20 series promised to ‘change photography’ – these are the best (and worst) snaps the S20 Ultra gave me

At S$1,898, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is the most expensive model in the latest S20 series.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Samsung said in various commercials and marketing copy that its new S20 Ultra 5G will “change photography”.

The most expensive in the new Galaxy S20 series, the phone boasts a 40MP Selfie Camera with Phase Detection Autofocus.

On its back, there are four cameras, including a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 108MP wide-angle camera, a 48MP telephoto camera with 100x Super Resolution Zoom, and a DepthVision Camera.

Read also: The Galaxy S20 is already one of the fastest phones out there — this one easy trick makes the screen work even faster and smoother

Available camera modes on the S20 Ultra 5G are:

  • Single Take
  • Photo
  • Video
  • Pro
  • Panorama
  • Food
  • Night
  • Live focus
  • Live focus Video
  • Pro Video
  • Super Slow-mo
  • Slow motion
  • Hyperlapse

Read also: Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus smartphone has an impressive camera and top-of-the-line specs, but it’s too expensive to recommend for most people

I took the S$1,898 phone out for a spin – these were my favourite and least favourite shots.


Here’s a wide-angle photo of Singapore’s stunning skyline taken during sunset.

caption
No filter needed.
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Here’s a photo taken on the auto-settings of the phone’s normal camera mode in daylight…

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

… versus a similar photo taken in wide-angle format.

caption
The wide angle shots provided a nice depth to my photos, and I really enjoyed using it in scenic settings.
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

This photo of a cabin on the Singapore flyer was taken with the 100x zoom.

caption
The resulting image was very blurry, but the zoom feature was easy to use, thanks to an in-screen guide that shows you where your lens is pointing at.
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

This is how far away I was from the flyer.

caption
 Can you even spot the spinning landmark in this photo?
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

One of the most unique features on the S20 Ultra 5G’s camera system is the Single Take feature, which allows the system to select the best shots from a short video captured.

The system will render these shots in various formats, such as a hyperlapse video, a monochrome photo or a live focus photo (similar to portrait mode on other phones).

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

In its marketing material, Samsung promised high-quality 8K video so good that you can extract high-definition photos just by taking a screen capture.

I found this to be true, and was very impressed by how crisp the details were in each screen capture.

caption
That’s not a photo, it’s a screen capture from a video.
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

This is the video the screen capture was taken from:

 


Even the slow-motion videos had incredible clarity.

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

There were 2 things about Samsung’s blockbuster camera which left me disappointed though. One of these was food photography.

The Food mode on its camera left me underwhelmed, especially when used in restaurants that were not brightly lit.

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Initially, I thought the lacklustre photos were solely a result of my amateur photography skills. But I continued to struggle with getting an ideal food photo in different restaurant settings, with focus being the largest difficulty.

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

After some time, I realised that perhaps the colour rendering on Samsung’s S20 Ultra 5G for food photos just was not my cup of tea. This can be easily fixed if you adjust the camera settings manually, but since I’m lazy, I prefer taking the easy way out and relying on letting the system do its thing instead.

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

The other difficulty I faced with the phone’s camera was its Night mode. I found it hard to make the camera focus in low light settings, something which I rarely experience on other flagship phones.

caption
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Perhaps my hands were a lot shakier on this particular day? I’m not entirely sure, but I continued to have difficulty with low light shots even when I took photos with the camera stably rested on a platform.

caption
Disclosure: Other reviews have said that the phone takes incredible low light videos, but I did not try this feature out.
source
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

 

Read also: