Samsung Galaxy S9 And S9+ Hands-on Review: Camera, Wrap-up

By 09:10 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ share the same main capturing camera - a 12MP sensor with variable aperture - f/1.5-2.4. The positions are fixed though, you can either opt for f/1.5 or f/2.4 and nothing in-between.

The sensor is optically stabilized, as usual, and supports dual-pixel phase-detection autofocus. There is a single Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash, nothing has changed in this matter since the Galaxy S2.

The Galaxy S9+ adds a secondary 12MP sensor with telephoto lens on the back, and it's the same capturing camera we saw on the Galaxy Note8. OIS and dual-pixel AF are present as well.

The capturing camera on both devices support image stacking and is capable of recent noise-reduction procedure with 4-frame stacking. Samsung promises 30% less noise on all images, which is an impressive achievement correct there. Reducing the noise would mean less artificial noise reduction and should allow for keeping more fine detail in the low-light images. And the colorful f/1.5 aperture should be of massive help, too.

Both Galaxy S9 and S9+ support 4K video recording at 60fps, captured in the recent HEVC format. But there is something else to steal the spotlight - 720p slow-mo capturing at 960fps.

Yes, Sony had that since last year, so Samsung can't claim first. The Koreans probably krecent that, so they decided to create it a lot better than Sony's implementation.

Just like the Xperias, the recent Galaxies can do 0.2s of slow-mo capturing at 960 fps. But Samsung has lowered the time between those captures down to 2 seconds. Between those timeouts the capturing camera continues to shoot at 30fps. That's the first improvement.

The second upgrade is what matters the most, and it's game changing. The Xperia phones had a steep learning curve for hitting the button at the correct time. We missed a lot of balloon pops and it took us numerous attempts across a few days until we got the know-how.

Samsung does it automatically.

Yes, the phone begins the slow-mo sequence automatically thanks to a recent clever AI algorithm and you don't have to learn how and when to turn it on. And that's not just PR talk - we tried it and we didn't miss a single balloon pop out of 20 or so takes. How about that?!

There is a manual switch, don't you worry, so the advanced users aren't ignored either.

Finally, there is one more thing Samsung did better than Sony - an easy edit over the captured clip. After you are done shooting, you acquire a very intuitive preview with all the slow-mo moments clearly visible and easily editable. You can acquire rid of some or add sound to the ones you choose to keep.

And here is the kicker - in addition to those edits, you can also export the slow-mo parts as gifs, correct there from the preview. Upon exportin you can choose one from three effects - loop, reverse, or swing.

Indeed, it's obvious Samsung has worked a lot on bringing a meaningful slow-mo experience to its users, not just the tech and a raw footage. And that could mean the world for the mainstream user.

We snapped a few samples after the event, but we'll haged the quality comments for when the retail units arrive at our office.

Galaxy S9+ 12MP samples F/1.5 • F/2.4 • F/1.5 • F/2.4

Galaxy S9+ 12MP telephoto samples • Selective focus • Selective focus

Galaxy S9+ 8MP selfies • Portrait selfie • Portrait selfie

And these are the official capturing camera samples for the Galaxy S9 and S9+, all taken with the Galaxy S9+.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ official capturing camera samples at F/1.5

Samsung Galaxy S9+ official capturing camera samples at F/2.4

Samsung Galaxy S9+ official selfie samples

Samsung Galaxy S9+ wallpapers taken with its cameras

This is a short 4K video sample at 60fps we shot at at the official event.

These are some official 1080p samples shot with the Galaxy S9+.

And here are the official slow-mo videos.


So, that was our first encounter with the Galaxy S9 pair. Looks can be deceiving and that's exactly the case here. While the S9 and S9+ may see like their S8 counterparts, the duo is more powerful, features a brand-recent capturing camera experience, and allows for immersive sound through its loudspeaker system. There is a lot more to explore, of course, and we can't wait for those review units to arrive.



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