Samsung’s Galaxy S9 features a number of notable improvements over the Galaxy S8, including a tweaked design, improved software, and AR emoji. But the headlining feature is the camera, which now features a variable aperture.
Samsung talked a big game when the Galaxy S9 was released, so does the camera live up to the hype? We aren’t making any definitive judgements just yet, but we did want to get some quick impressions. So, we took the device for a quick spin around our office—you can see the results in the gallery above.
Note: We used the Galaxy S9 Plus to take these pictures
When we say the S9 features a variable aperture, we mean the device can switch between apertures of f/1.5 and f/2.4. The new feature, according to Samsung, will allow the company’s devices to produce better images in low light without all the noise and artifacts.
With a wider f/1.5 aperture, the S9 will let more light onto the sensor. The smaller f/2.4 aperture is meant more for everyday shooting when outside and generally out and about. The S9’s auto mode will dynamically switch between the two depending on the amount of light available, whether you’re inside a dimly lit bar or at the beach.
The functionality is akin to more dedicated cameras with interchangeable lens systems. If you’re well versed in basic photography principals, the S9’s variable aperture will be an exciting inclusion. For most people, however, it just means that photos in low light should look better.
The Galaxy S9 Plus also features a Live Focus feature designed to take more professional-looking portrait photos. We first saw Samsung toy with this feature in last year’s Note 8 and it’s seeing the benefits of updates in the S9 Plus. We include many examples in the gallery above.
Samsung includes a few other improvements to the camera, like Super Slow Motion, but we haven’t delved too deeply into what the feature can do. In our short experience, Super Slow Motion looks fun when replayed on the phone but it’s a different story when watching the footage on a computer.
We’re going to spend a few more days using the Galaxy S9 as we formulate more thoughts about what the device can do. As one of the device’s most important features, we wanted to give you guys a quick glimpse at some camera samples.
Do they best the cameras of the iPhone X and Pixel 2? Let us know what you think in the comments below.