Samsung’s new S20 phones look conventional, but they pack incredibly beefy cameras and are filled with new AI-powered features. The company even claims that its Unpacked event was filmed on an S20 device. But what does that mean? What are the Galaxy S20’s camera specs, and what special things can you do with them?
First, Let’s Talk Megapixels and 8K
Each phone in the Galaxy S20 lineup sports a set of incredibly high-resolution cameras. The two cheaper devices, the S20 and S20+, have 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide lenses, alongside a 64-megapixel telephoto lens and a 10-megapixel selfie camera.
But the Galaxy S20 Ultra takes things a step further. It sports the same 4-camera array as the standard S20, but its wide-angle lens is upgraded from 12-megapixels to 108-megapixels. Samsung claims that this sensor also has a 12-megapixel mode—in case you want to save some of your local storage.
As you might expect, these wild cameras can take high-res photos in any situation. But they’re also capable of shooting 8K video. And since each phone in the S20 series is built for 5G, you shouldn’t have any trouble uploading your 8K videos directly to YouTube with a mobile connection. Samsung even suggests that you watch your 8K videos on Samsung-branded QLED TVs—a good idea, considering the fact that the S20 lineup uses WQHD+ (4K-ish) displays.
These high-res photos and 8K videos will take up a ton of local storage. But don’t worry, the S20 lineup can max out at 1.5TBs of storage when paired with a 1TB MicroSD card, and the phone’s 5G capabilities should ensure fast cloud backups.
Zoom Zoom Zoom!
Samsung’s really proud of its groundbreaking “Space Zoom” technology. It’s a neat blend of AI-powered digital zoom and old-fashioned optical zoom that allows you to zoom in on any subject without a serious loss in quality.
The Galaxy S20 and S20+ allow for up to 30X zoom, and the S20 Ultra allows for up to 100X zoom. For reference, the Galaxy S10 could only zoom up to 10X. This is a massive upgrade that should change the way people shoot photos and videos. Just think of how these increased zoom rates could improve videos of sports events, concerts, or a trip to the beach. They could even amp up the intensity of your next hiking trip, so long as you aren’t afraid of breaking your fancy new phone.
Of course, digital zoom is never perfect. We’ll have to judge the S20 and S20 Ultra’s zoom rates when we have a chance to try them out in person.
Action Camera Stabilization and the Single Take Mode
With their 8K cameras and ridiculous zoom rates, it only makes sense for the S20 series to feature cutting-edge image stabilization. According to Samsung, the new Super Steady AI makes videos look like they were shot “with an action cam.” It removes camera shake and bumps from videos without creating any watery stabilization effects. Technically speaking, you could use an S20 phone to record videos while biking or skating, and these stabilization effects could make the S20 a fantastic (albeit expensive) dashcam.
But this AI isn’t just for sports videos, it’s also an integral part of the Single Take camera mode—a new take on burst photography. With Single Take, your phones grabs 10 seconds of content from each rear camera. It then parses that content out into photos, ultra-wide photos, small clips, or even Boomerangs.
This saves you from having to choose which kind of photo or video to take. Just grab a shot in Single Take mode and decide what you like later. With Single Shot mode, it should be easier to capture fast-paced memories on the fly. Of course, Samsung also claims that you can pull high-res photos from any 8K video that you take on an S20 device, but these still frames aren’t as strong or versatile as Single Take shots.
The S20 series sets a new standard for phone cameras. They sport incredible high megapixel sensors, and their AI-powered image stabilization, digital zoom, and Single Take features are one of a kind. Hopefully these cameras are as nice in person as they look on paper.