The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has one of the best camera systems on a smartphone. That’s thanks to its excellent versatility. The phone offers a 3X telephoto and 10X telephoto, and the 3X focal length is really for portraits and general close-ups.
The primary 200MP sensor is very rich in detail, and since it’s a large 1/1.3″ 200MP sensor, a 2X crop is near-lossless. The S23 Ultra also takes the best videos from the Android world, and the camera app is feature-packed.
There are plenty of fun and professional tools to play around with. Samsung adds a layer of extra customization with Expert RAW and Goodlock Camera Modules to personalize and tailor your camera system to your needs. What could Samsung improve from here? They could address some inherent issues with the S23 Ultra’s camera system versus the competition.
Galaxy S24 Ultra camera details leaked
The primary camera is still the 1/1.3″ 200MP HP2 sensor, and there are no upgrades to the sensor size. Earlier leaks suggested that Samsung would use the full version of the HP2 sensor for the S24 Ultra. Due to cost reasons, that has allegedly been postponed to the Galaxy S25 Ultra.
This way, Samsung can stagger the HP2 into three years, and the S25 Ultra will get the best version of it. We saw something similar with the HM3 sensor. The S20 Ultra had the worst version of it with poor performance, and the S22 Ultra has the best-performing HM3.
The problems with the HP2 on the S23 Ultra are mostly with noise control. Zooming slightly reveals that the noise reduction algorithm cannot compensate for the amount of digital noise in the pixels. Since Samsung uses a 200MP sensor and effectively binning to club 16 small pixels into one larger pixel, it’s putting out 12.5MP images by default. You can also choose quad binning and get 50MP photos, but this isn’t on by default.
Since the organic pixel size is now small, this results in digital noise. There are also other problems with long capture times that blur motion and over-sharpening in low light with unnatural rendition of colors and poor texture-noise tradeoff. The new version of the HP2 sensor could address these issues to some extent if Samsung also makes the software better.
Samsung currently has two telephoto cameras- one of them at 3X magnification, and the other is a periscope zoom camera at 10X. They use the same 1/3.52″ Sony IMX 754 sensor, and they’re both only 10MP sensors- this is not really good hardware.
Samsung could take two different paths with the S24 Ultra. Most rumors from credible leakers say that Samsung is dropping the 10X optical zoom lens and moving to a 5X lens with a larger sensor.
There were reports from Ice Universe that Samsung would use a 1/2.52″ sensor for the 3X lens. However, new reports claim that Samsung uses it for 5X magnification and not 3X.
The 3X will probably remain at 10MP, with the IMX 754- underwhelming for 2024. Since the phone will apparently not have a 10X periscope anymore, it can switch between all lenses during 4K 60 FPS video recording. According to other leaks, Samsung might use a large 1/2.52″ 3X telephoto and keep the 10X. However, this is unlikely.
The ultra-wide might not get any significant improvements, and the S24 Ultra will most likely use the same 12MP front camera as the S23 Ultra, which is already industry-leading.
- Improvements to the existing HP2 sensor include better RAW capture and HDR, possibly less digital noise, and better Pixel Binning. Possible 50MP default output.
- New 1/2.52″ 50MP 5X periscope zoom camera with up to 100X zoom support.
- No changes to the front camera and ultra-wide.
- Same 10MP 3X telephoto camera.
From the leaks, we can conclude that Samsung is experimenting with the S24 Ultra. The 10X periscope is a signature feature and is a key selling point for Samsung’s Ultra flagships. However, they’re taking a bold route and cutting the magnification in half in favor of a larger sensor. This might improve the zoom performance if they have some exceptionally trained software algorithms.
We cannot rule this out either since AI is the focus of the Exynos 2400 and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. The aperture value for the new 5X is still unknown. If you recall, this takes Samsung’s flagships back to the Note 20 Ultra era- that phone had a 1/3.4″ 120mm 5X periscope, too. However, the sensor size is much larger this time at around 1/2.52″ and the resolution is higher at 50MP.