The new Samsung Galaxy S22 family includes the Galaxy S22 and S22+, but if you’re serious about photography and video, nothing beats the Galaxy S22 Ultra, a new standard for mobile imaging.
Confirming the rumors from recent weeks, the new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra merges the best Galaxy features of the Note and S series. The device now has the unrivaled power of the Note series and the pro-grade camera and performance of the S series – to set a new standard for premium smartphones. Featuring a built-in S Pen, Advanced Nightography and video capabilities, and battery life that lasts over a day, Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most powerful Ultra device Samsung has ever created.
“At Samsung, we constantly push ourselves to raise the bar on our most premium devices,” said TM Roh, President and Head of Samsung Electronics’ MX (Mobile eXperience) Business. “Galaxy S22 Ultra takes the beloved functionality of the Galaxy Note and the most celebrated aspects of the S series and merges them for a truly unique mobile experience. This is a leap forward for mobile technology, setting a new standard for what a smartphone can be.”
While the smartphone is, as expected, a step forward in terms of all the technology commonly seen in these devices, it’s the imaging part of the Galaxy S22 Ultra that ProVideo Coalition readers want to know about. The Galaxy S22 Ultra features, as expected, a 108MP f/1.8 main camera as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, although an upgraded one, with a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera and two telephoto cameras – 10MP f/2.4 3x and 10MP f/4.9 10x periscope – which seem like those offered by the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Meet the Advanced Nightography
What sets the Galaxy S22 Ultra apart are the advances in computational photography that allow this model to work better with low-light conditions. Samsung says that with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, “you can capture footage that’s instantly post-worthy – in any lighting conditions”, adding that “Advanced Nightography features available on the entire S22 family of devices allow you to snap crisp, clear videos on both the front and back cameras, whether you’re recording during the day or night.”
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is built with a 2.4um pixel sensor – Samsung’s largest pixel sensor ever, already present in the S21 Ultra, enabling its camera lenses to capture more light and data, optimizing the lighting and detail of your video clips. Plus, S22 Ultra’s advanced Super Clear Glass lens helps you take smoother and clearer nighttime videos without flares. Meanwhile, video Auto Framing ensures your camera always captures exactly who you want, whether that’s one person or ten.
It should be noted that Auto Framing is only available in Video mode, and it must be enabled before recording. Also, certain resolutions and ratios may not be supported. Certain functions may not be available when Auto Framing is on, as well. Only people can be recognized, and there is a limit to how many people may be recognized. Available on Samsung Camera, BlueJeans, Google Duo, Meta Messenger, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Meet and Zoom. Auto-framing available on select lenses.
A 10x optical zoom in a smartphone
Samsung continues to state that the zooming capabilities of the Galaxy S22 Ultra will get you 100x closer to the action, only to add, in the foot notes, that “zooming in past 10x may cause some image deterioration”… so, let me add, its really better to forget about the “100X Space Zoom includes 10x Optical Zoom and 10x digital zoom with AI Super Resolution technology” that the marketing department continues to talk about.
Having a 10x optical zoom in a smartphone is already impressive, so it would be better if Samsung promoted that, and… made the same type of telephoto (because it’s not a zoom) available in other models, which are limited, like the S21+, to a 3x telephoto. The +/- 230mm telephoto in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, paired with the new advancements in imaging technology makes this a very desirable device, but the price range makes the S22 Ultra not very tempting if you’re after a new camera. One day smartphone companies may decide to offer more affordable models with longer lenses.
Another aspect of the new Galaxy S22 Ultra that puzzles me is the fact that the device does not offer the option to expand internal storage space, meaning if you buy the 128GB version you’re limited to that, which may be a problem if you follow Samsung’s advice and decided to use the Expert RAW app, which features a comprehensive suite of in-camera editing tools that deliver a DSLR-like experience and let you enjoy more creative control.
Nothing beats the S22 Ultra cameras
Having the ability to save photos in RAW format up to 16bit, you can take more control over your edits with more of your images’ data. And just like a DSLR camera, you can brighten or darken your photos with ISO settings and shutter speed, adjust white balance to make your photo more warm or cool, and manually focus on your desired subject to get your images looking exactly the way you want.
The problem of using RAW is that it will eat storage space at a fast pace, and while I know Samsung also offers 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models with 8GB RAM, having the option to use a MicroSD memory card with the Galaxy S22 Ultra would make absolute sense. For many users it may be the reason why they will skip this model and look elsewhere. Although, to be fair, when it comes to camera options, nothing seems to beat the quad camera solution used by Samsung in the Galaxy S22 Ultra.