Early Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

Today, Samsung took the wraps off its latest line of premium flagship smartphones: the Samsung Galaxy S24 series. In this lineup, the most powerful phone is the mighty Ultra variant. With five lenses on the back — including a newly upgraded 50MP periscope telephoto lens — this is clearly designed for folks who care a lot about camera phones. But how good is it? Well, here are some Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples for you to see for yourself.

To be clear, this shouldn’t be seen as an in-depth camera analysis for this phone. Instead, view these as an early sample of an average person wandering around San Jose and using the camera in various situations. In other words, I didn’t try to push the limits — I just did some point-and-shoot experiments.

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If you want to view the full-resolution, unedited samples I captured, check out our public Drive. The samples shown on this page have been heavily compressed, so don’t bother pixel-peeping them.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples: Selfies

The selfie camera hardware on the Galaxy S24 Ultra is exactly the same as we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, so these results shouldn’t be surprising. As one would expect, the outdoors photo looks best, while the one shot indoors in a low-light situation looks mushy and undefined.

One thing I immediately noticed, though, is that you need to be careful with the phone’s display. Samsung bumped the peak brightness to an astonishing 2,600 nits, so it now is like a miniature sun when you’re taking a selfie. Be sure to use adaptive brightness or manually turn it down when you’re in a low-light situation, or you’ll see some abysmal results.

Portrait mode

Samsung’s portrait mode has always been a market leader, and it doesn’t look like much has changed here. The artificial bokeh around the statues is uniform and even gets into places you’d think it would miss, such as the gaps between the arms and the bodies.

Ultrawide

Once again, since Samsung didn’t change anything about the ultrawide lens on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, we see predictably terrific results here. With ultrawide lenses, photos of real-world straight lines can look wonky because of the curve of the lens, but Samsung’s post-processing has no issue with these roof panels.

Zoom

I did two sessions here because this is where Samsung made significant changes. As a quick recap, the Galaxy S22 Ultra and S23 Ultra had 10x optical periscope zoom on a 10MP sensor. The Galaxy S24 Ultra, though, has 5x optical periscope zoom on a 50MP sensor — so a much better sensor, but less room for the preservation of visual fidelity.

In the example above, you can see that cropping, typical smartphone image enhancement, and Samsung’s new Galaxy AI tricks can do a pretty decent job beyond the 5x mark. While I wouldn’t say the 30x shot is spectacular, the 10x shot looks terrific when you understand that that’s not an optical capture.

Let’s look at another example where things take a bit of a turn:

Once again, the 10x zoom shot here is pretty great for a non-optical shot. Likewise, the 30x shot looks crystal clear, with all the text being completely legible from very far away.

The 100x shot is a bit wonky, though. Samsung’s sharpening/processing went too far and made the text legible by making it look artificial. Of course, going beyond 30x on a smartphone is not advisable in the first place, but if you were hoping for AI-powered magic for 100x zoom, there’s still a lot of work left to do.

Color, macro, and more

These final shots show off some of the typical things you might face while taking photos. The shot with harsh sunlight, in particular, is something most folks will need to deal with at some point.

The flower shot is a bit intense. Samsung loves to make photos really pop with color, despite how unrealistic it might look. It doesn’t appear that’s changed with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, as this flower was bright, sure, but not that bright.

I do love the macro photo of the tree bark. The texture looks fantastic, and there’s so much detail. The fountain photo is a bit underwhelming, but to Samsung’s credit, it was moving very fast.

Don’t forget to check out our public Drive for high-resolution versions of all these photos.


Stay tuned for much more in-depth examinations of the Galaxy S24 series, including a full review. In the meantime, what do you think of these photos? Do they make you more/less likely to buy a Galaxy S24 Ultra or leave you unfazed? Let us know in the comments.

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