Samsung Galaxy S9 camera: judge for yourself

By | 3rd March 2018

With Mobile World Congress over, we have had a couple days to play with the Galaxy S9 out in Barcelona, one of the most picturesque places in Europe. Here, you will be seeing some of the photos we have so far from the trip, but we’ll save our full  analysis of the Galaxy S9 camera for the review. Also, our review unit is the S9 Plus which has the telephoto zoom lens on top of the enhanced main camera that sports the new dual aperture. For now, take a look through what we’ve got here and let us know what you think so far!

Let’s start with ourselves in this shoot – selfies are a big deal to just about everyone, but of course it matters if the portrait mode helps separate the person from the background, resulting in a much better photo. The Galaxy S9 does come with a Selfie Focus mode this time around, which is Samsung’s take on the front facing portrait mode of the Pixel 2. So far, it does a decent job but we haven’t put the two phones up against one another just yet. The front facing 8 MP camera is the same as more recent Samsung devices so you might already know what to expect.

Selfie camera and beauty mode:

Of course, there are AR Emojis but we will share more of those very soon. For now, we would just like to share a quick photo of Joshua Vergara with a ton of makeup on. Yes, the front facing camera uses Bixby’s AR capabilities for adding makeup in the camera app too, so that you can digitally get done up. Josh looks fabulous.

Anyway, back to the rear camera. We’ve run around with the Galaxy S9 in a number of situations that helped us get to know the different modes. You would already be aware of the Super Slow Motion capture but for now we wanted to focus on the zoom lens and see if the multi-frame processing is really doing its job.

Zoom vs standard:

So far, we are pretty happy with what we see coming out of the S9, especially when the dual aperture is taken into consideration. The f/1.5 aperture is already a feat, providing a ton of light into the sensor so that low light shots get a noticeable boost. There are a few shots in this set of a night out that show it can still pull a pretty sharp photo out of a less-than-ideal situation.

Mixed and low light:

A food mode helps really make the colors pop in any dish you might be shooting for Instagram. We have one example here with churros that were later dipped in chocolate – it’s easy to see that the mode mainly boosts the saturation, perhaps to a somewhat egregious extent.

Food mode:

Live focus is the rear camera version of the portrait mode, though it is a mode that is only available on the S9 Plus because the telephoto lens helps make it happen. This is different from the Selective Focus found on the S9 that is more software based. We don’t have samples of the Selective Focus to put side by side with our Live Focus example (the shot of Isa in the alleyway above), but take our word for it – the zoom lens really makes all the difference. Selective Focus has a rough time stitching out the subject accurately.

Overall, we’re having a pretty great time with the Galaxy S9 and its cameras but this is just a snippet of an overall testing story that is still happening in Barcelona and will continue on until we post our full review. We wanted to share these and invite you to give us your thoughts before we provide our own – believe us, we have plenty to say about these cameras. Stick around and look forward to our full review coming soon!