High-res sensors up camera ante in new Samsung smartphone

Samsung S20 Ultra smartphone
Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S20 Ultra smartphone boasts no less than four high-resolution cameras, featuring a 108-megapixel main camera. (Samsung)

While Samsung’s new Galaxy Z foldable smartphone captured many of the headlines yesterday, the company also revealed several other new phones, including the Galaxy S20 Ultra. According to a report on the TheVerge.com, one of the new smartphone’s notable features is a combined optical and digital zoom of 100x. Samsung reportedly attained the high-resolution zoom using a combination of optical zooming hardware, image processing, and a high-resolution sensor.

Smartphone makers continue to up the ante in incorporating high-end cameras, thanks to advances in high-resolution image sensors. A check of Samsung’s published specs for the Galaxy S20 Ultra shows no less than three high-resolution cameras on the rear of the phone. There’s a 12-megapixel ultrawide angle camera, a 108 megapixel wide angle camera that is the main camera, and a 48 megapixel telephoto camera with folded optics.

The front of the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 40 megapixel front-facing camera.

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According to the article on TheVerge.Com, Samsung achieves low-level zoom by relying on a “folded” 4x telephoto lens behind the hole in the back of the phone, combining with the 48-megapixel telephoto sensor. Between 4x and 10x zoom, the phone reportedly offers a “lossless hybrid optic” zoom, which combines sensor cropping and binning where multiple pixels are combined into one big pixel. Between 10x and 100x zoom, the phone uses similar methods to produce a digital zoom that will inevitably mean less detail as the zoom increases.

The S20’s 108-megapixel main camera sensor eclipses the 40-megapixel main camera sensor on Huawei’s Mate 30 smartphone. The combination of the 48-megapixel and 108-megapixel sensor could capture more data and thus more detailed images.

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