Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Camera Review

A full camera review of Galaxy's latest flagship model that offers great zoom and excellent selfie opportunities — at a fairly high price point.

Galaxy S20 - The phone in ominous lighting on a backpack.
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Galaxy S20 Ultra Camera Review

Samsung's latest flagship offers hecka zoom and excellent selfie opportunities — at a fairly high price point.

Shooting with the phone, rain or shine.

Looking good!

To Know:

Galaxy’s innovative design and top-tier materials make their latest flagship a winning product and photographing machine. It can be used for various means of creative pursuits, such as: timelapse images, portraits, landscapes, and even tele shots with that mega-monster 100x zoom. With three cameras to choose from, the S20 Ultra phone encourages many photographers from different backgrounds to create with ease. Featuring a low aperture of f/1.8, 40MP selfie camera, 8K video and 5x optical zoom — what’s not to love?

On the downside, however, we’ve noticed that many of its colors seem to feel unnatural and saturated, almost as if the unedited version is "edited”. We prefer the iPhone 11’s color theory more, but can certainly still pull something together with what Galaxy offers.

What We Love:

  1. The Quality: 40-megapixels for selfie cameras, 108-megapixel on the wide (standard) lens, 8K video, and 5x optical zoom.
  2. Hybrid Zoom: A special lens with 10x "hybrid" optical zooming and up to 100x with optical and digital zooming for better than ever zoomed shots. It’s passable at 30x, high quality at 10x, yet premium at 5x.
  3. Buttery Portraits: A depth-sensing lens for enhanced portrait mode shots to increase the bokeh behind your subject for en even more DSLR-like look and feel.

The Details:

Brand: Samsung

Price: $1,399.00

Camera Type: Phone

Best For: The mobile creative, on-the-go travels, fun with friends, selfies, time-lapses, and wide architecture shots.

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Vibrant colors and large megapixels makes for a technically perfect shot, but is it enough to qualify it as a forward-leaping camera?

The question still stands for whether or not Samsung is genuinely leaping towards groundbreaking smartphone camera technology, like the iPhone 11 Pro. Yet, with diligent practice and testing with this phone, we find it to be true. The S20 Ultra is doing something remarkably interesting with its megapixel engineering, but that’s not the only exciting feature to be gawking about. While the phone’s primary specs are identical to that of the Galaxy S20 line-up, the Ultra differentiates itself by going above and beyond with 108 whooping megapixels. That’s a near million more pixels to capture an impossibly sharp image that you can crop and later hang on a wall in your home. The zoom, too, has an impressive 100x option. It begins with a 10x Hybrid Optic Zoom button to enable a revolutionary folding lens with a high-resolution image sensor. Samsung’s AI just got sexier!

We were also incredibly impressed by how well the low-light camera can labor in darker environments. Typically, smartphone low light sensitivity is too hard to work with, but we beg to differ with this bad boy.

What becomes equally important are the camera’s dissection of color science, image processing, autofocus, and lens quality. We found our images to be highly saturated (a common theme amongst most Galaxy camera phones) and an inconsistent HDR implementation. Some images would display excellent dynamic range with the HDR technology, while others would feel crummy and “muddy” the shadows. Consistency is key with fast-shooting scenarios, so be aware of this when shooting your shot.

  • 100x zoom and 5x optical zoom.
  • 3 total cameras; ultra wide f/2.2, wide f/1.8, and a tele f/3.5.
  • 8K video at 24FPS, 4K video at 60FPS.
  • 40MP selfie camera and 108MP wide camera.

Lovely portrait taken on the standard lens.

Sharp black and white.

Using the hybrid zoom in Seattle.

What It Captures Best

We’re photographers and filmmakers here at Moment, so we know cameras. The best pocket-sized camera you can take with you is your phone, no doubt. Galaxy’s S20 Ultra is a great testament to the incredible work you can produce on a hand-sized device, but there might be even better options out there. Nonetheless, with excellent AI advances and an improved megapixel count, you can count on creating stunning imagery to bless your Instagram feed.

Due to the wonderful zoom technology and 8K capable video recording, you’re destined to be the next national Geographic wildlife photographer or Bong Joon-ho. Well, maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but you get the point. What we found best were:

  • Portrait Mode Portraits
  • Sharp Tele Compositions
  • Detailed Landscape Shots
  • Wide Angle Low Light
  • Excellent Video Resolution at 8K
  • Single Take Shot

Women walking on the street with slight motion blur.

A portrait of Levi Allen in Portrait Mode. Loving that AI blur!

A brief example of what low light can capture. Stunning! The detail.

In Detail

This camera phone is simple, yet complex for the people who need it to be. It can be used for various means of creative pursuits from those by all walks of life. The phone’s technical design is what some might call “out of the world”. Ha, hense… “Galaxy”. We get you there! With three cameras to choose from, the S20 Ultra encourages many photographers from different backgrounds to create with ease. Also, don't forget the single shot feature! It might seem gimmicky, but we found it to be quite useful.

Using that sweet ultra-wide.

Using that 5x optical zoom.

What It Has:

  • 108MP f/1.8 main camera (with 0.8-micron pixels)
  • 48MP f/3.5 telephoto camera (0.8 microns)
  • 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera (1.4 microns)
  • DepthVision Camera

What It Captures:

  • Crispy 8K Video
  • 4K at 60FPS
  • Crisp 5X Optical Zoom
  • 100X Zoom
  • Smooth Portrait Mode
  • 40MP Selfie Camera
  • Live Focus Video
  • Life Focus Shots
  • HDR Mode
  • Hyper-lapse

Specs:

  • 6.9" Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Display
  • 8K video recording at 24 fps (7680x4320)
  • 4K UHD video recording at 60 fps (3840x2160)
  • Slow motion 1080p video support at 240 fps
  • 5000mAh Battery
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Up to 512GB of internal storage
  • 120Hz refresh rate support
  • 108MP Wide Camera

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