Since the introduction of its Expert RAW app offering more control over photography, Samsung has added new features to the software, and the newest option is a powerful Astrophotography feature.
When announcing the recent update to Nikon’s Z 9 camera, I noted how software updates have changed the way cameras work, allowing them to gain new features, something that was impossible before computers were added to the devices. Now it’s time to look at the other end of the scale, and show how the same happens with smartphones, in this case the Samsung S22 family.
Although we tend to assume that smartphones are always upgradeable, the extent to which some companies take that plight is impressive. Samsung has added update after update to its S22 family of smartphones since it was introduced, last year, but it’s not just about updates to correct bugs and enhance some functions. New features were introduced that expand the creative options for photographers and videographers, giving them more control over the cameras in their smartphones.
Expert RAW, a photography app that offers professional level control over the S22 cameras has been one of the most updated pieces of software launched by Samsung, and after some updates that introduced new options and enhanced functions, Samsung announces an update that opens the doors for astrophotography. The Galaxy S22 series introduced the pro-grade smartphone camera with advanced Nightography features earlier this year, but now the company takes night photography to a whole new level.
Update your smartphone to use this feature
“This brand-new feature lets star gazers and outdoor enthusiasts take clear and beautiful photos of constellations and dark sky activity” says Samsung, adding that you “simply turn on the Sky guide to pinpoint the location of constellations, solar systems, groups of stars and nebula. Your camera will use advanced AI segmentation technology and multi-frame processing based on the movements of a celestial body to snap photos over a set time period. As a result, you’ll capture stunning shots of stars that look like they were taken with top-grade professional equipment.”
While I have yet to try the feature, having installed the update yesterday, the interface clearly shows that not only the Astrophotography options are all present, but it also indicates that the app now includes a Sky guide that helps to point the camera in the right direction. No conventional cameras, as far as I know, offer this option… and this is a smartphone’s camera.
The upgraded Expert RAW app that includes the Astrophotography function is currently available on the Galaxy S22 series running One UI 5 or later versions. Timing of availability may vary by market, model and network provider, according to Samsung. Check your version before trying to update the Expert RAW app from the Galaxy Store.
A guide to the constellations
While users could already photograph the night sky with their smartphones using either the Pro mode in the Camera app or through the Expert RAW, the new Astrophotography option makes for a faster and more reliable workflow, according to Samsung… and that makes sense. To photograph the stars users must go through an entire process, from searching the target of their photo to capturing the images and finally editing the result.
Samsung claims that “Astrophotography will provide all of this as a software” and that means including a guide to the constellations, which, according to the interface, you can either show or hide. For those who want to edit their photos, the astrophotography of Expert RAW is also freely edited by providing 16bit computational RAW as before.
One final note regarding astrophotography: to access the beta version of Astrophoto go to the Special Photo options in the Settings menu of Expert RAW and activate it.
The second new function added to the Samsung Galaxy S22 family of smartphones is Multiple Exposures. Samsung says that “if you love to explore your artistic side, you can take advantage of the Multiple exposures feature to shoot several images at once and then use Overlay modes to combine them into one standout shot. You can also unleash your creativity and experiment by superimposing several images on top of each other to create incredible abstract shots.”
Multiple Exposures is in beta
Again, this is a feature that needs some exploration, but the concept is similar to what photographers tried to achieve even with analog cameras, although the process there was more complex, as those who have tried may remember. Note that Multiple Exposures, as Astrophoto, is still in beta, and Samsung will adjust and adapt according to feedback from users. So, the more people try and share their experiences, the better Samsung can optimize the new functions added to the S22 family.
Multiple Exposures offers two recording methods – Continuous and Manual – and four composite methods – Additional, Average, Bright and Dark – and a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 9 pictures can be recorded. The first impression about the app is “hey, I can see the images as I superimpose them” – when shooting in manual, what makes sense – and that’s a good thing when you try to define which areas of the frame each new photo fills.
Although having multiple exposures as a function is good, one must be aware that an old truth -“garbage in, garbage out” applies here. So, while I believe it’s a creative option to explore, it’s not just a gimmick that produces great photos whatever you do. I am curious to see what users will make of it. Here is a first essay, with my “always willing to work” model. I am tempted to see what else I can come up with.