The cameras of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra were outstanding, allowing me to capture stunning images no matter how close or how far I was from my subject, be it a little bird or a vast landscape.
Perhaps just my third phone test has left me eager to explore the globe and take pictures of what’s there in front of me. Until now, I’ve only felt this way about the Huawei P30 and Xiaomi Mi Note 10.
Despite this, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra needs to take a radically different approach to its predecessor. If the S23 Ultra is anything like the S22 Ultra, it won’t even come close to our ranking of the best camera phones.
A history of unimprovement
This Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x zoom lens, which has a gorgeous depth-of-field effect thanks to the telephoto lens, was one of my favourites to use during my testing.
Because of my position as a reviewer, I must also deal with two key issues. As a starting point, it’s worth noting that this item costs a hefty sum.
When looking at a phone for value, we aren’t talking about how much it costs versus what it offers; we are talking about how much it costs compared to how much it offers.
There is a phone with equal cameras, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, that is actually a better value for money than the S22 Ultra.
As far as cameras go, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s cameras are similar to the S21 Ultra, but for the modifications and algorithmic changes Samsung has made to its software.
A year ago, the S21 Ultra was cheaper than its newer sister. This is especially true during Amazon Prime Day, when the S21 Ultra is frequently on sale for a lower price.
If you don’t require the S22 Ultra’s built-in pen, the S21 Ultra is certainly a better option, especially if you can acquire it at a substantial discount. In terms of value for money, the S21 Ultra is a better option than S22 Ultra, but the S22 Ultra is fine.
The S23 Ultra needs newer cameras
Newer cameras are a must-have for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to stand out from its two predecessors. A difficult task: how can you beat the greatest Android camera phone in terms of quality? But there are ways to get around it.
My first wish for this new camera is that it has a greater focal length than most smartphones’ primary cameras, which are typically 23mm. This is the same focal length used by the S22 Ultra, which has a 108MP main sensor, and it has a wide enough field of view and no distortion.
With the rise of ultra-wide lenses in smartphones, I’ve come to enjoy larger focal lengths and the depth of field they bring, rather than using 23mm or 24mm lenses in my personal photography. So perhaps Samsung can begin with a main camera of 32mm or greater.
The Xperia 1 IV’s continuous optical zoom provides you a lot of options for telephoto shots, therefore I’d love to see Samsung implement this feature as well. Sony was the first firm to adopt this technology and only began using it in mid-2022, so that’s not something I expect, but hey, a person can dream, right?
Finally, I’d want to see higher-resolution sensors on the back cameras; while zoom cameras made it easy to go close for most images, the 10MP or 12MP sensors on those cameras meant that information was soon lost when using digital zoom to get even closer.
This is a good thing, since while Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra has already pushed the boundaries of mobile photography, the S23 Ultra has a lot more room to go. If the rumours of a Google Pixel 7 Ultra are real, this is much more true.