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Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras: What can we expect?

200MP is only the start...
By
16 hours ago

Samsung typically reserves its photography A-game for the Galaxy S series, and we expect no different for the upcoming Galaxy S23. Of course, we won’t know all the specs until Galaxy Unpacked on February 1, but at this point, that’s right around the corner. Until then, all we can do is bring you what we know — or think we know.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S23 release date — When will the phones be announced?

We’re basing our information on leaks, official announcements, and assumptions from past models, so our information might not be perfect. Let’s look into the crystal ball and find out what to expect from the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras specs

Samsung Galaxy S23Samsung Galaxy S23 PlusSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Primary camera
Samsung Galaxy S23
50MP
f/1.8
1/1.56-inch sensor
1.0μm pixels
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
50MP
f/1.8
1/1.56-inch sensor
1.0μm pixels
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
200MP
f/1.7
1/1.3-inch sensor
0.60μm pixels
Ultrawide camera
Samsung Galaxy S23
12MP
f/2.2
1/2.55-inch sensor
1.40μm pixels
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
12MP
f/2.2
1/2.55-inch sensor
1.40μm pixels
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
12MP
f/2.2
1/2.55-inch sensor
1.40μm pixels
3x Telephoto camera
Samsung Galaxy S23
10MP
f/2.4
1/3.52-inch sensor
1.12μm pixels
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
10MP
f/2.4
1/3.52-inch sensor
1.12μm pixels
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
10MP
f/2.4
1/3.52-inch sensor
1.12μm pixels
10x Periscope camera
Samsung Galaxy S23
N/A
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
N/A
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
10MP
f/4.9
1/3.52-inch sensor
1.12μm pixels
Selfie camera
Samsung Galaxy S23
12MP
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
12MP
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
12MP
Video capabilities
Samsung Galaxy S23
Up to 8K at 30fps
4K at 120fps
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Up to 8K at 30fps
4K at 120fps
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Up to 8K at 30fps
4K at 120fps

What to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras

samsung galaxy s22 standing by fern close up
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

As mentioned above, we have to take everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras with a grain of salt. We can’t make any guarantees ahead of Galaxy Unpacked, but Samsung has begun to trickle some teasers ahead of the event. So far, they’ve been focused on two things: megapixels and night photography. Neither topic comes as too much of a surprise, as both lean into rumors that have been swirling for months.

Let’s start with the megapixels. Right now, all signs point to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra leaving its 108MP primary sensor behind in favor of a new 200MP shooter. We originally expected Samsung to use its ISOCELL HP1 or HP3, but it introduced a new HP2 sensor just a few days back that seems like the new favorite. It would be the first significant change to the Ultra’s primary camera in a few years, after rolling with a 108MP sensor since 2019.

We thought the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus might be in line for upgrades, too, adopting the S22 Ultra’s 108MP lens. Unfortunately, this appears not to be the case, as a new leak points towards another year of the 50MP sensor holding down the fort.

Megapixels and night photography are Samsung's words of the year, so we expect the Galaxy S23 series to go big.

Outside of the primary cameras, we’re not expecting too many changes on the back. Samsung will likely stick to its tried and true 12MP ultrawide sensor and 10MP 3x telephoto for another year, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra should hang onto its 10MP 10x periscope to complete the setup.

As for the cameras’ design, it sounds like the Contour Cut bump might be headed for the bin. Early renders suggest that the lenses might sit directly on the back of the phone, almost like the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s existing setup. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, however, will continue with its existing design.

Now, on to night photography. Reports suggest that the massive 200MP sensor will be even better at what Samsung calls Nightography, as backward as that sounds. Normally, you’d expect larger, lower-megapixel sensors to offer the best low-light performance, so we estimate that pixel binning is here to stay. Samsung’s Expert RAW gave the current Galaxy S22 lineup a boost in low-light scenarios, so you may have to practice with the exposure triangle for the best results.

Read next: Galaxy S23 battery life — What to expect?

We’ve also heard rumblings of improved video capabilities, including 8K resolution at 30fps. The current Galaxy S22 series is already able to shoot 8K at 24fps, but the upgrade offers a little more flexibility and slightly smoother video. Of course, if you’re not worried about 8K, the Galaxy S23 series should be able to handle 4K with no issue. The current models are capable of up to 4K at 60fps, so we may see that shift to 120fps as well.

Samsung’s (expected) use of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset isn’t directly tied to the camera, but it will play an important role. Qualcomm’s latest flagship chipset features a new Cognitive ISP, allowing faster semantic segmentation — identifying objects within your image. Qualcomm also previously revealed that it’s working with Samsung to get the best results from its high-megapixel sensors, lending further support to the 200MP claim.

We expect that Samsung has a few software tricks up its sleeve, too, but we don’t know too much about them at the moment.

Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras vs the competition

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Pixel 7 Pro close up
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Guessing at Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S23 camera hardware becomes even more challenging when you compare it to the competition. We’ve already tabbed the Galaxy S22 Ultra as one of the best camera phones you can buy, so it seems safe to expect the Galaxy S23 Ultra to follow suit. After all, small improvements are probably all it takes to keep the premium flagship at the top.

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 should hang onto its edge in terms of flexibility, offering three rear lenses to the two you get from the Google Pixel 7 and Apple iPhone 14. While the primary and ultrawide sensors might not provide much difference, the Galaxy S23’s telephoto lens should give a little extra punch in terms of zoom. Likewise, the Galaxy S23 Ultra outnumbers the competition with four lenses to the three you’ll find on most flagships.

Samsung's Galaxy S cameras are already some of the best, so it won't take much to keep them there.

While advanced hardware can carry you pretty far, software and post-processing are equally important. The Google Pixel might hold onto the crown in terms of processing and special features, but the Galaxy’s manual controls are some of the best around. You should be able to control everything from your exposure to your ISO to fine-tune your images.

We’ll also have to wait and see how Samsung’s night photography upgrades stack up against the competition. Google’s Pixel 7 is once again a juggernaut in the arena, but the pixel binning on a 200MP sensor might offer just enough hardware muscle to seal the deal. Right now, the Pixel 7 tends to deliver a brighter night mode shot thanks to some post-processing magic, but brighter isn’t always better. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 was more capable of delivering accurate lighting, so the increased sensor size may bring a bit more detail into the equation. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how pixel-binning fares on the new sensor. The Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7 will likely remain the best Android devices for night photography, it’s just a matter of if Samsung can overtake the Pixel’s crown.

Read next: Samsung Galaxy S23 specs — here’s what you need to know

Scene detection is increasingly important on smartphone cameras, especially as lenses take on extra duties. Many flagship ultrawide cameras double as macro shooters and take over automatically when they sense an object is close to the lens. We’ll have to wait and see how the Galaxy S23 compares to the Pixel and the iPhone in terms of macro switching, but we expect the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to play a key role. It should factor into identifying low-light scenes, too, somewhere that the Galaxy S22 already excels when compared to the iPhone.

None of this is official until Galaxy Unpacked on February 1, but we’ll be sure to get you the latest information on all things Samsung Galaxy S23. In the meantime, you can always reserve your chance to grab the latest Galaxy flagship below.

Frequently asked questions

We expect that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will stick with four cameras — a primary camera, an ultrawide, a telephoto, and a periscope telephoto.

We are not expecting an under-display camera at this time. Right now, that’s restricted to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 while it catches up to traditional punch hole cameras.

We expect that the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus will offer 50MP primary cameras while the Galaxy S23 Ultra will likely come with a 200MP camera.

Despite its increased megapixel count, we’re not sure if the Galaxy S23 Ultra will offer longer zoom or not.