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The Galaxy S24 Ultra could get a polarizing camera change (Update: No change)

Update: The 3x camera may not get replaced.

Published onJune 2, 2023

samsung galaxy s23 ultra hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Samsung may not give the Galaxy S24 Ultra a 5x zoom camera.
  • It’s suggested that the current 3x camera will stay.
  • The 10x sensor could see minor improvements.

Update, June 2, 2023 (1:04 PM ET): The 3x camera may be staying after all. According to the tipster Revegnus on Twitter, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra may not feature a 5x telephoto camera and will keep the previous 3x shooter. Reportedly, the only change to the camera setup will be an upgrade to the 10x zoom sensor, which will see minor improvements.

Original, June 1, 2023 (7:40 AM ET): Samsung has long offered two 10MP zoom cameras on its Ultra phones, namely a 3x camera and a 10x shooter. However, it looks like things could change with next year’s Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Galaxy Club reports that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will gain a 5x zoom camera next year, citing “new information.”

The outlet thinks Samsung will swap the current 3x zoom camera for the 5x shooter, leaving the 10x periscope camera intact. There’s no word on a resolution for this new camera, though, but we hope the company opts for more megapixels. After all, the likes of Google, HUAWEI, and others have delivered great results with high-resolution 3.5x or 5x cameras.

Is this the best solution?

In saying so, there are downsides to losing the 10MP 3x telephoto camera. For one, we thought the 3x camera was a great focal length for portraits compared to a 5x shooter.

Adopting a 5x periscope camera in lieu of a 3x telephoto sensor also means that short-range interstitial zoom (between 1x and 5x) will suffer. This is because there’d be a giant gap between the native 1x and 5x cameras that would need to be covered by lower-quality hybrid zoom.

Then again, there are benefits on paper to swapping out the 3x camera for a 5x shooter. The biggest benefit is that mid-range zoom (i.e. 4x to 7x) would get a much-needed boost. This is arguably the Ultra line’s Achilles Heel right now in terms of zoom capabilities, as it only has short-range and long-range zoom cameras to cover this gap. Our own testing shows that the Pixel 7 Pro is able to beat the Galaxy S23 Ultra at medium range. Check out a comparison below.

A 5x camera might also help deliver even better long-range zoom capabilities, even with a dedicated 10x lens. The company could theoretically combine image data from both of these cameras for improved results past 10x.

Do you want the S24 Ultra to switch from a 3x to 5x camera?

638 votes

Then again, a Twitter tipster claimed earlier this year that Samsung would kill the 3x camera in favor of a 3x to 10x variable zoom camera. This could be the best option here, delivering true optical zoom with consistent image quality. But Galaxy Club says it wasn’t able to ascertain whether this would indeed be coming to the S24 Ultra.

However, another Twitter leaker has claimed that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will see major image quality improvements primarily via better software. This suggests that there might not be significant hardware changes next year.

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