The Galaxy S10 family offers a whole lot of smartphone, but unlike previous years, Samsung didn't spend too much time on stage promoting its cameras. Yet, the Galaxy S10 does have a few features that Samsung highlighted: the third lens on the rear is an ultra-wide-angle lens and the front facing camera now captures 4K video.
We've been using the Galaxy S10+ for 24 hours now, and while we're still a week away from the Buffalo's final verdict, we wanted to share some interesting insights into the camera.
The ultra-wide-angle lens
We've all been there – you want to take an image of a something and you have to take 10 steps back just to fit it into the scene. Thankfully, ultra-wide-angle lenses mean you can capture even more details.
Testing the ultra-wide-angle lens in San Francisco, you can see just how much wider the field of view is. Take the three images below – you can see the difference between the ultra-wide-angle lens (left), the standard lens (middle) and the telephoto lens (right).
We're not going to pixel peep the images – we've got something incredible planned to dive further into the camera – but it's nice to see that Samsung has caught up with LG and Huawei who both offer this lens. The ultra-wide-angle lens makes it really easy to take some very interesting images, like these:
Live Focus mode
While the third camera is a highlight on paper, the real MVP is the Live focus mode. You can take some fantastic images with some very creative effects. Live Focus on the Galaxy S10+ adds a few new effects: previously, you could only add the blur effect, but with the Galaxy S10+, you can also add spin, zoom and color point effects. The spin adds a radial effect to the background of images, while zoom enlarges the background to give it a "zoom" effect.
By far, my favorite is the Color Point effect. Similar to the effect available in Google Photos, this allows you to capture a picture and it applies a grayscale effect to the background. Color point means you can be really creative and take some outstanding photos.
These live focus options are also available in selfies, and on the Galaxy S10+, it uses the wide angle and 10MP front facing cameras for the same effect. The selfie images are a little soft, but the effect is great if you're taking selfies to share on social.
The effect is imperfect however, as there's a couple of key things that need to be tweaked and fixed. First, the effect you see in the viewfinder isn't always the same as the final result after post-processing, so while you may think you have the perfect shot, it doesn't always turn out to be case. Second, sometimes in a group shot one face is in color but the other is grayscale and adjusting the camera even a couple of degrees fixes this, but the opposite is also true.
Granted we're using pre-release software and isn't fully indicative of the experience you'll get when the phone goes on sale, so these may change, and we'll update in our full review of the phone and camera.
Live focus makes taking photos fun, and it's nice to see Samsung build the effects directly into the camera. It's not perfect, and it'll be improved in the update, but it's fun nonetheless.
The new camera UI is nicely laid out and features a level of customization not seen before One UI. Specifically, the ability to turn off certain camera modes and/or change the order of the modes in the interface allows you to customize the camera experience to make it your own.
The toggle to switch between camera modes is also quite nice, although if you happen to be cradling your phone between your palm and lower finger like I do, it'll register multiple touches and instead of switching between lenses, it'll start zooming in a granular way.
Everything else on the camera is standard fare, and after just 48 hours running pre-release software, we're holding our final verdict. Stay tuned for our full impressions, and in the meantime, here's some more camera samples to feast your eyes upon.
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