Samsung Swaps 10x for 5x Zoom: Is Galaxy S24 Ultra Camera Ruined?


Samsung is always the talk of the town, both before and after the release of its flagship devices. This time, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is in the top trending controversy due to its camera upgrade.

Samsung has this time attached a 5x optical zoom to the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Since the brand has debuted the Galaxy S24 Ultra as a successor to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it is pretty obvious to compare both devices. So as compared to the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s camera specs with the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera, it is known that the previous model has 10x optical zoom and the latest model has 5x optical zoom only.

Here’s the question: is dropping down the optical zoom from 10x to 5x pretty fine?

The answer is that counting is just a number for Samsung. The number of optical zooms doesn’t matter, but the quality does.

Noticeably, the primary camera of both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a similar sensor. So if one can take images here at 1x that are at a focal length of 25 mm at 200 MP and that are spread over an area of around 9.9 x 7.3 mm, the quality does not even get any better than this.

Moving on to the ‘2x’, then the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S24 Ultra will have to zoom into the image sensor, as per the lack of a real 2x lens. To achieve a focal length of 50mm, the smartphones cut a section from the center of the image sensor that corresponds to half the sensor size in both height and width. This leaves 50MP on an area of around 5.0 x 3.6 mm, which is still satisfying for pretty good image quality.

Although the trouble arrives with the camera configuration of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, in that scenario, the primary camera is perfectly fine, but the rest of the two telephoto cameras, along with 3x and 10x optical magnification, are the culprits. Both of the cameras only deliver 10 MP resolution on a sensor area of around 4 x 3 mm. It is important to note that this is six times less as compared to the primary camera drivers.

At the same instant, the two mini cameras not only have to bridge from 1x to 2x, similar to the first calculation example, but also from 3x to 10x. At 6x, just 2.5 MP remains on 2 x 1.5 mm. Whereas at 9x, the image processing must result in a usable image from 1.15 MP at around 1.5 x 1 mm. At the end, at 10x, results instantly get much better with another 10 MP on 4 x 3 mm.

Moving towards the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Samsung uses the same primary camera (23mm) and a similar 3x telephoto sensor (69mm) that are already housed in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Although the small telephoto sensor does not have to work as hard as others, From 5x, which is 115mm, the next sensor already takes over, and coupled with 50 megapixels, it also has a remarkably higher resolution along with roughly twice the sensor area.

So, at the end, it came to be known that the new sensor in the Galaxy S24 Ultra can result in a zoom range of naturally up to and including 9x, which is far better as compared to the previous smartphone. Only from the 10x mark (230mm) onward does the Galaxy S23 Ultra offer, to a certain extent, better image quality. However, the 5x sensor of the Galaxy S24 Ultra has more available MP at 10x.

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