The Galaxy S22 Ultra fails to excite this pro photographer. And that's a problem – CNET

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Samsung

Samsung’s new Galaxy S22 Extremely brings a spread of tweaks over its predecessor, most notably the addition of the S-Pen stylus from the now-discontinued Galaxy Be aware collection. However whereas the Extremely variations of the flagship Galaxy S collection have all the time targeted on bringing cutting-edge digital camera tech to the desk, the S22 Extremely barely appears to have any important digital camera upgrades in any respect. Because of this, it is left me, as an expert photographer and frequent cell shooter, feeling underwhelmed. 

The S22 Extremely’s headline digital camera specs embody a 108-megapixel predominant sensor, together with a 10x optical zoom and help for 8K video. Large numbers, positive, however they’re precisely the identical as we acquired from final 12 months’s S21 Extremely. And so they’re additionally the identical we had on the earlier 12 months’s S20 Extremely. Rumors for the S22 Extremely hinted at a 200-megapixel sensor, for even higher zoomed-in high quality, and an revolutionary steady zoom lens, quite than switching between fixed-zoom lenses. So the place are they? 

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Lots of the promised enhancements to nighttime pictures come from software program tweaks, quite than new {hardware}.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The picture sensors are the identical dimension on the S22 Extremely and S21 Extremely too, as are the apertures of the lenses — each of which might have allowed for clearer, brighter photographs with improved dynamic vary and higher low-light pictures. As an alternative, the promised enhancements to nighttime mode look like achieved solely on the software program aspect with “upgraded AI algorithms” and pixel binning, which merges 9 pixels into one bigger one for higher mild seize. And positive, this would possibly make nighttime photographs look a bit clearer, however it’s not precisely a function that is going to get Instagrammers and different cell fanatics’ hearts racing by itself. 

The opposite new digital camera upgrades supposedly embody higher portrait mode AI and a video perform that mechanically zooms out and in to get all your mates within the scene. Once more, it isn’t precisely a revolution for cell pictures. 

Then there’s the cloudy subject of computational uncooked. Apple launched its ProRaw perform on the iPhone 12 Professional, giving the telephone the flexibility to merge a number of exposures into one DNG uncooked file. This gave the higher dynamic vary you get from a merged picture, however with the modifying flexibility of a DNG uncooked file — that is an enormous deal for photographers, like me, who need to seize the very best pictures with their telephones. 

The press briefing I attended on the S22 Extremely prompt that the telephone is ready to take, and I quote, “excessive dynamic vary pictures in multi-frame uncooked format,” which does sound like Samsung’s model of ProRaw and can be a really welcome addition to the digital camera setup. Nonetheless, there’s little to no point out of this elsewhere in Samsung’s press releases and even after asking the corporate for clarification we’re nonetheless unsure if that is truly computational uncooked or if it is simply common 16-bit uncooked. 

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The iPhone 13 Professional has among the finest digital camera programs round on a telephone. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It is baffling why it might be hidden away like this. Extra baffling nonetheless although is the truth that this uncooked taking pictures is simply obtainable when utilizing a devoted Knowledgeable Uncooked app that it’s important to individually obtain from the Samsung Galaxy retailer. On the iPhone you merely faucet a button in the primary digital camera that claims “uncooked” to change ProRaw on, making it a wholly hassle-free manner of boosting your picture high quality if you’re taking pictures shortly. 

All of which implies that, on paper no less than, the S22 Extremely’s digital camera setup appears disappointingly just like the final two generations of this telephone. The largest upgrades are seen on the cheaper finish, with the bottom S22 and S22 Plus getting extra digital camera boosts over their earlier equivalents. However the Extremely is the flagship and as such it must be pushing the boundaries additional and giving folks a purpose to be excited in comparison with the competitors.

With each Apple and Google pushing arduous for unimaginable imagery on the iPhone 13 Professional and Pixel 6 Professional, Samsung wanted to up its providing this time spherical. As an alternative, its tired-feeling digital camera specs make it tough to be enthusiastic about this telephone, or to contemplate it a lot in the best way of an improve over earlier generations.

As such I am much more eager to get it in my hand to correctly put its cameras to the take a look at and see simply how far these software program upgrades go in bettering general picture high quality.

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