Samsung Galaxy S9 Camera Review: Best Smartphone Camera?

Samsung Galaxy S9Samsung's Galaxy S9 is a great phone with a ton of features. But one of it's most prominent ones is it's new dual aperture camera. The 12 mega pixel image sensor is new and improved with better image processing. But the major change is found in the lens. Which can now physically switch between a very bright f/1.5 aperture and a smaller f/2.4 aperture similar to how larger cameras work. The Galaxy S9+ model gains a second camera for zooming and portrait mode effects much like Samsung released with the Note8 last year. In this episode I give you a run down of the Samsung Galaxy S9 camera to find out if it's worth all the hype.

What's going an Tech Squad. Andru Edwards here. Editor in Chief of GearLive.com. If this is your first time here, this channel's all about tech, gadgets, and gaming. So if you're into that kind of stuff, feel free to hit the subscribe button down below along with the bell notification icon so you don't miss any future videos. As I mentioned, today we are taking a look at this. The brand new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. And in particular this video is focusing on the camera system. Brand new camera on back of the device. Pretty much the same camera on the front of the device.

We're gonna go through all of it. So let's jump into it right now. But before we get started, just so you know. All of the images and video clips that you see in this episode are pulled directly off of the Galaxy S9 or an S9+ and dropped directly into this video without any retouching, any recoloring, or anything else. So anything that you see here in this video is a direct result of the camera with no post processing other than of course exporting this video and then whatever processing YouTube is gonna do to the video file itself. Alright, now I did mention the 12 mega pixel image sensor which is new and improved with better image processing found on the S9 and S9+.

You should also know that the Galaxy S9+ in particular features a dual camera system which works similar to what you'd find on an iPhone 8 or iPhone X. If you're familiar with iOS or if you're familiar with the Galaxy Note Y, they have a dual camera system on the latest Galaxy Note8. That's pretty much the same dual camera system that you're gonna find here on the S9+. On that dual lens setup, one of the cameras has a standard wide angled lens like you'll find on any other smartphone. While the other provides a short telephoto option, they get you a little bit close to your subject. Both cameras have optical image stabilization which will provide better images and videos when compared to phones that don't have this feature.

So again, the S9's rear cameras are both listed as having 12 mega pixel sensors with optically stabilized lenses. But that's where the similarities end. The wider angled camera has a higher quality sensor with larger pixels and dual pixel auto focus which is not found on the telephoto lens. The wide lens also features what may be the biggest camera upgrade on this year's devices. And that is the dual aperture lens. This is the first time that I've seen this feature on any smartphone that I can remember. The camera automatically chooses whether it should shoot in f/2.4 aperture or at f/1.5 depending on how much light is needed to take your image.

It will default to f/2.4 in all conditions unless it detects less than 100 lumens of light in your frame. And then it will automatically shift over to shooting at f/1.5. If you'd rather control the aperture yourself just swipe on over the the Pro mode and you can switch it on the fly at any time. Not only can the wide angled camera's lens let in more light, it's larger pixels can capture that light with more detail and better dynamic range than the telephoto camera on the Galaxy S9+. The real world differences between the two in auto focus speed and image quality, especially in low light is very obvious. In addition to letting you zoom in a little, the dual camera system also lets you take images with an artificially blurred background to mimic what's possible with a DSLR and a bright lens.

This mode, which Samsung calls Live Focus, also debuted on the Note8 last year as well. This can produce some cool looking images in good lighting. But indoors or in poor light image quality gets pretty bad with lots of noise and blur and little in terms of detail. Even in good light there were times where it struggled. While other times the Live Focus results were great. The effect can easily make your subject look like a cardboard cutout and it struggles to maintain fine detail around hair which is pretty important for a portrait. Now Samsung's version of this does feel a little better than what you get with the iPhone X.

Cause at least with Samsung's Live Portrait mode you can actually go in after the fact and adjust just how much of the blur effect you think the photo needs. So if you think the blur is too strong or fake looking, you can simply dial it back. I found the best results were when I had the blur slider rolled back a tad from it's maximum. In addition Samsung does not require a face to be in the frame to trigger the effect so I was able to use it on inanimate objects such as flowers or cups of coffee. Moving on to the front of the device you do have an 8 mega pixel camera up there. That is an 8 mega pixel selfie camera similar to the 8 mega pixel camera that you found on the Galaxy S8.

And by the way, speaking of those cameras a big shout out to Soomz for sponsoring this video. If you're looking for an easy way to protect your privacy that looks better than a piece of tape, Soomz makes these camera and webcam covers that come in a variety of styles, colors and materials. The best part is that they're pretty inexpensive at just over $10 for a set of three plain ones. Or if you prefer ones with a design on them, it's roughly $10 for a pair. As you can see, they easily stick right onto your device whether it's a laptop or smartphone. And then you simply move the cover out of the way when you want to actually use your camera.

And then cover it back up when you don't. If you want an easy way to protect your privacy you can grab a Soomz webcam cover at Soomz.io. I've got the link down in the description below. Now one nice thing about the front camera on the Galaxy S9 and S8 is that this supports auto focus which I don't see any other front cameras doing regardless of which manufacturer we're talking about. Samsung seems to have a strong grip on auto focusing features for the front camera itself. And it is very nice because if you're taking a selfie you just hold it out, it finds your face, and you can snap the photo without having to tap on your own face.

That said, the Portrait mode and image quality aren't as good as what you'll find on Google's Pixel 2. And some may even prefer the results that you get from an iPhone X instead. By default the selfie camera applies a lot of image smoothing and other effects to try to beautify the photo. But they just make it look out of focus and unrealistic at least to my eyes. The Galaxy S9+ also has the ability to save both a wide angle and telephoto image at the same time. If the portrait quality sucks you can fall back to the wide angle camera which has a higher quality sensor and brighter lens. I've seen some say that this is just a safety net to make up for the poor quality of the telephoto camera. But I'm glad it's there and I love being able to capture both images at once.

The downside of course is that it will eat up more of your storage with each shot you take. So you probably want to use a micro SD card to store your images if you use this feature a bunch. Thankfully the Galaxy S9 and S9+ now support micro SD cards at up to 400GB in size. Now let's switch over and talk about video. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ can shoot 4K video at up to 60 frames per second or 1080p slow motion at 240 frames per second. Which catches it up with what the iPhone can do. Both modes produce a very nice quality video. But you have to make sure you have plenty of light for the Slow Motion mode or you'll see a lot of image noise.

Now aside from the regular slow motion there's also Super Slow Motion. Which is a feature Samsung has been heavily touting on the Galaxy S9. Super Slow-mo records in 720p at 960 frames per second. It's an impressive trick but has limitations that make it feel frustrating. It'll only capture 0.2 seconds of footage at 960 frames per second. Slowing that amount of time down to 6 seconds of video. Unless you're in a bright environment the videos look grainy. Now don't get me wrong, 960 frames per second is an impressive feat. Especially for a smartphone.

And the Galaxy S9 series is only the second smartphone to do this. With the original being Sony last year. That said, I just wish the quality wasn't so poor. Especially if you're not in the perfect lighting conditions. All that said, the wide angled camera is where most of the action is at. It's fast focusing, has a first of it's kind dual aperture, and takes really great photos. It's one of the best phone cameras you can buy today. Just be aware that when in f/1.5, you may struggle to get a nice sharp image, but at least you'll be able to see your subject.

My only disappointment is that the telephoto camera doesn't match up to the same standard. That would be absolutely killer. And now has me wondering and curious about what we'll see with the Galaxy Note9. So there you have it guys. That was your look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ camera system. Again, very impressive. One of the top, if not the top camera systems you can get today. Personally for me, I think I still give that title to the Google Pixel 2. However that is really a matter of preference. Some people love the iPhone photos, some people love the Pixel 2. And of course some people are gonna really love what Samsung's doing here with their camera as well.

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