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Samsung Galaxy S11 to have 108MP camera with 8K video? (Update: Another 8K claim)

Update: A new report has added fuel to claims that the Samsung Galaxy S11 series will offer 8K recording.

Published onDecember 5, 2019

Samsung Galaxy S10 Prism Back

Update, December 5 2019 (1:09AM ET): We first saw evidence of 8K recording in Samsung’s 2020 phones last month, when XDA-Developers dug into the Samsung Camera app.

Now, SamMobile has confirmed with its sources that the Galaxy S11 will indeed sport 8K video recording. This isn’t really surprising as both the Exynos 990 flagship processor and newly announced Snapdragon 865 chipset now support 8K recording. And the Galaxy S11 series is expected to use both of these processors in different regions.

Read: Here are all the brands confirmed to offer Snapdragon 865, 765 phones

History tells us that when both Qualcomm and Samsung’s high-end SoCs support a video standard, it gets implemented in Samsung’s flagships. We saw Samsung hold back 4K/60fps recording in 2017 even though its Exynos 8895 chipset supported it, as the Snapdragon 835 didn’t offer it. It then offered 4K/60fps in 2018 with the Galaxy S9 series and Galaxy Note 9. The Snapdragon 855 series doesn’t support 8K this year, but the Exynos 982X processors do offer this capability. And now that both chipsets support the feature, it makes sense to implement it.

8K recording requires a 33MP+ camera in theory (in the same way that 4K video requires an 8MP+ camera). So if the Galaxy S11 does indeed offer 8K, it’ll need a 33MP+ camera. But it’s believed Samsung is going even further and adopting a 108MP main sensor.

Original article, November 18 2019 (2:10AM ET): Samsung’s 2019 flagships are all out of the door, and that means we can expect more leaks regarding its 2020 models. Now, it looks like an upcoming flagship — presumably the Samsung Galaxy S11 — could be a camera beast thanks to the latest Samsung Camera app teardown.

XDA-Developers conducted a teardown of the Samsung Camera app in One UI 2.0 beta 4, and the two most prominent discoveries are references to 8K video recording and a 108MP camera.

As the outlet notes, an 8K video requires a camera sensor with a resolution of just over 33MP. This means that the phone offering 8K video recording won’t have a 12MP main sensor — unless Samsung offers 8K recording via a secondary camera instead.

Losing India would be a disaster for Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus back cameras and logo 1

News of 8K recording on a future Samsung flagship wouldn’t be too surprising, as the new Exynos 990 chipset supports the standard. In fact, the Exynos 982x series, which powers the Galaxy Note 10 and S10 series, also offers 8K recording. But the Snapdragon 855 chipset didn’t offer this feature, so Samsung presumably disabled this feature on its Exynos flagships for the sake of parity.

Meanwhile, the references to a 108MP camera add credence to early rumors that the Samsung Galaxy S11 series will indeed offer this sensor. It wouldn’t be the first phone with such a high resolution sensor, as we’ve already seen the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and Mi Mix Alpha sport this feature.

Aside from the resolvable detail in broad daylight, a 108MP sensor is also capable of spitting out 27MP pixel-binned shots in low light. Our own David Imel thought the Mi Note 10’s 108MP shooter fell apart when the sun went down, but hopefully Samsung is able to deliver better results.

What else is Samsung working on?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus cameras

Otherwise, XDA-Developers also found references to several intriguing camera options in the Samsung Camera app. One of the more interesting additions is a Director’s View mode, which lets you focus on a particular subject and “select who’s in the close-up.” This sounds like Samsung’s next phone will record video from multiple lenses, with a string also prompting users to tap on the thumbnails on the left to switch between lenses.

This is a cool feature in theory, and hopefully Samsung will retain the recorded streams from all the lenses. By doing this, you wouldn’t have to choose between one camera or the other before hitting the record button.

The second feature spotted by XDA is a Night Hyperlapse mode, with a string noting that the phone has to be kept still in this mode. Either way, we don’t really know anything else about this mode. But Samsung is presumably offering brighter results with reduced noise compared to a standard hyperlapse mode at night.

Ditching custom CPUs is the right call for Samsung's Exynos
samsung exynos 9825

A third feature uncovered in Samsung’s camera app is a so-called Single Take Photo option, and this sees users slowly panning their phone around a scene for upwards of 15 seconds. While you’re panning, the phone will automatically capture photos and videos, gathering them in one collection. This could be a great Samsung Galaxy S11 feature if the software is able to adequately recognize subjects and situations in this mode, such as smiling and pets.

Finally, the last two features spotted are Vertical Panoramas (rather self-explanatory) and Custom Filters. Vertical Panoramas will help you take pictures of skyscrapers and other tall subjects, while the latter feature will let you save a picture from your gallery as a filter for future snaps. So if you can’t quite find the ideal filter to replicate your favorite picture, you can just use that picture as a brand-new filter instead.

We’re glad to see Samsung steam ahead with such a variety of photo and video options, especially in the latter field. Apple’s iPhone 11 series is arguably the gold standard for video recording right now, but features like 8K recording and Director’s View mode could potentially help the Samsung S11 series steal the crown.

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