Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Samsung S22 Ultra: Camera Hype vs. Reality

I've had a Galaxy S22 Ultra for about a month and a half. About the only downside to the phone is its weight: it's like carrying around a brick.

Fortunately, the phone's performance outweighs this annoyance. The S-Pen has been the biggest surprise, with quality and features surpassing anything I expected.

The phone's marketing material promised a 10x zoom. Between that and other stats on on camera, I had my expectations set fairly high. Does the S22 meet them? More audaciously, can I finally retire my heavy DSLR relying solely on the S22?

To answer the first question, consider these 'wildlife' pics I captured around my neighborhood using my new S22:

These photos all take advantage of the 10x zoom. In short, I'm impressed. I simply couldn't have captured these shots using past phones. Using a cheap add-on lens I may have gotten similar framing to these pictures, but then the quality would be nowhere near as crisp*. Additionally, the external lens takes time to find and mount. By the then, my subject easily could have moved on.

To me, the 10x zoom is far more than just a marketing gimmick. It really does make a class of otherwise impossible shots possible. My verdict: the s22 does find a way to step up the cell phone camera game, and meets my high expectations.

So, can I retire my DSLR? Hold that thought, I'll cover that in my next post.

*Of course, another way to look at this scenario is that my Galaxy S10+ and a $4.99 plastic lens can at least get into the neighborhood of what the Galaxy S22 Ultra can produce, all at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps that's higher praise for the lens than it is for the S22.

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