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Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera review: 108MP and 100X zoom

By Koh Wanzi - 8 Mar 2020


Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung's best camera yet

At the end of the day, the Galaxy S20 Ultra produces photos with that distinct Samsung look, which is to say it gives saturated colours and really blue skies. This is neither good nor bad, and when you're comparing the camera performance of flagship smartphones today, it generally comes down to a matter of taste. Maybe you like vivid, Instagram-ready shots that look like they're ready to go. Or maybe you prefer something a little more natural and life-like. Whatever the case, there's no doubt toward which end the S20 Ultra leans, and you'll find colours in your photos that really pop. 

One downside of the camera is that it ends to flatten details in the shadows, so certain photos may not appear particularly well-balanced. Samsung can over do its HDR processing at times too, blowing out highlights and making complicated scenes with a lot of colours appear almost overwhelming.

Low-light performance is pretty good, thanks to the large 108MP sensor. Night mode makes an obvious difference too, sweeping away shadows with ease, but its tendency to create the impression that the scene is flooded with white light can make photos appear a little too harsh at times. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Fortunately, the headlining 108MP sensor and 100X Space Zoom are more than just big numbers on paper. You'll only want to shoot at 108MP when the lighting is good, but it'll let you crop in closer to far away objects without losing too much detail. This is probably not something that the average person will use every day, but it's potentially useful, and you never know when you might need it. 

Similarly, you're not going to be constantly trying to take pictures at 100X zoom all that often either, but when you need to take a picture of that thing that's really, really far away, you know the feature is there. Granted, pictures taken beyond 30X zoom are not worth sharing in any way, and anything you capture will probably just be for your own consumption. There is just enough resolution to make out the details of whatever it is you're after, such as the lettering on a building far away, or maybe the vague features of a famous person on the street (not that I'm encouraging stalking, no).

To cap things off, there's of course the ultra-wide lens, which is capable of taking some beautiful shots that are almost painfully dramatic. I'm quite enamoured with the wide-angle pictures the S20 Ultra produces, but the obvious distortion that is still present may not be to everyone's taste.

Ultimately, the S20 Ultra's camera is quite a comprehensive package that will make most folks pretty happy. Unlike the Pixel 4 XL, there are no glaring omissions, and the only thing you can really find fault with is Samsung's post-processing, which is mostly a matter of preference and opinion. Samsung has checked all the right boxes, and the super high resolution sensor and long zoom will help it stand out from the crowd.

Read Next (1): Our full performance review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra!

Read Next (2): The best telco price plans with the Samsung Galaxy S20 series