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Explained: Everything that’s new in the Galaxy S21 cameras

By Prakhar Khanna January 22, 2021, 5:00 am
Galaxy S21 ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 series was announced recently. The new trio of Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra brings an all-new design to the table. These smartphones have a flagship processor, improved cameras, and battery capacities that are likely to last you an entire day. But let’s focus on the camera improvements. The Samsung Galaxy S21 cameras have received a slew of new features. Here’s a deep dive into what’s new.

Samsung Galaxy S21 cameras: Specifications

Galaxy S21Galaxy S21Galaxy S21 Ultra
12MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF
12MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF108 MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 79°, 24mm, 1/1.33″, 0.8µm (pre-nona-binning), OIS, PDAF, Laser AF
12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Fixed Focus12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Fixed Focus12 MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 13mm, 1/2.55″, 1.4 µm, Dual Pixel AF
64MP, telephoto lens, f/2.0, 1/1.76″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS64MP, telephoto lens, f/2.0, 1/1.76″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS10 MP, telephoto lens, f/2.4, 35°, 72mm, 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, OIS, 3x optical zoom, Dual Pixel AF
10 MP, telephoto lens, f/4.9, 10°, 240mm, 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, OIS, 10x optical zoom, Dual Pixel AF
Front: 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm, 80° FoV, Dual Pixel AFFront: 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm, 80° FoV, Dual Pixel AFFront: 40MP, f/2.2, 0.7µm, 80° FoV, PDAF

Enhanced Portrait Mode

Ever since the Portrait Mode feature was introduced on smartphones, it has been receiving refinements each year. This year, Samsung is using AI to emulate a professional camera. It is using  AI for three-dimensional depth, which senses to achieve a more natural-looking background blur. Further, the Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones are receiving several face-lighting effects in the portrait mode, similar to the stage lighting effects on iPhones.


New 108MP sensor

With the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung has announced its latest ISOCELL HM3 sensor. It is 1/1.33″ in size with pixels measuring 0.8μm. The numbers are similar to their predecessors. The sensor captures 12MP images by default as it uses 9-in-1 pixel binning. The company has improved color and exposure perception in the new Galaxy S21 Ultra camera. It allows you to capture 12-bit colors and widens the range for HDR photography with Smart ISO Pro.

Better 100X Space Zoom

Samsung introduced 100X Space Zoom with its Galaxy S20 series last year. However, it removed the feature from its Note flagship later in the year. The feature is now being reintroduced with refinements. The Galaxy S21 Ultra sports a more advanced 10x periscope camera. It can shoot better long-range images making it one of the best telephoto cameras in the market. Moreover, with the Ultra model, Samsung is using two telephoto cameras to allow you to set your shoot based on the level of the zoom or focal range 

Single Take 2.0

Samsung introduced its Single Take feature last year. It allowed users to record a short video clip of up to 10 seconds instead of just one single photo and pick what they like. It captured a mini-video, a black and white photo, and multiple other captures in a Single Take. Now, with the Galaxy S21 cameras, Samsung is improving the already-existing feature. Single Take 2.0 can capture more frames each second. It can now record the section as a slow-motion video clip.

12-bit RAW photography

Samsung allows users to capture photos with HDR and RAW shots in 12-bit with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. As for the numbers, the images capture 68 million colors, which is 64 times the colors in a 10-bit image, This, in turn, allows a finer transition between one color to another on a photograph by eliminating color noise to a great degree. 

Galaxy S21 Ultra cameras

Zoom Lock

The long focal range generally hampers users’ ability to pan and focus. To counter this, the Galaxy S21 Ultra cameras come with AI-backed stabilization to improve OIS, which is called Zoom Lock. The feature uses AI to add a slight delay while moving the smartphone to ensure the panning is smooth and non-jittery. As per the official claims, Zoom Lock provides “tripod-like stabilization.”

4K at 60FPS – both front and back

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can record hyper-smooth 60fps videos at 4K resolution on all the cameras, including front and back. It enhances the video recording capabilities on a mobile phone.

No cut-off timer for videos

At its Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung announced that it will no longer limit your videos. The company has revoked the automatic cut-off timer on the Galaxy S21 cameras so you can keep recording videos as long as you desire.

Director’s View

Video capabilities on the Galaxy S21 Ultra cameras are upped by Director’s View. The feature enables users to record a video using multiple cameras and from different viewpoints. You can use any of the cameras while also getting the liberty to switch between them mid-roll without having to stop or pause the video.

Multi-mic recording

Samsung introduced Video Pro mode late last year with the launch of its Note flagship. It allowed users to switch among different microphone modes while recording a video. With the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung is improving the feature by letting the phone owners use multiple microphones simultaneously. It will allow you to record audio with the microphones on the smartphone and the Buds Pro simultaneously.

Vlogger View

Vlogging is the talk of the town, and Samsung knows it. The Vlogger View allows users to use the front camera alongside the rear camera. It will enable bloggers to capture their reactions while also recording something from the rear camera.


Samsung Galaxy S21 series sport one of the best cameras in the segment. And, the Ultra variant is taking zoom capabilities to the next level. If you are considering buying one, you might want to check out the best Galaxy S21 Ultra cases for your new smartphone to protect that beautiful camera layout and the gorgeous design.


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