Galaxy S10 Plus Camera Review: Is it Really That Good?

Galaxy S10 Plus is the 10th-anniversary gadget from the Korean giant. Samsung has equipped its latest flagship with some of the most amazing hardware we have ever seen in a smartphone. The infinity-O display combined with the bezel-less screen gives you a class-leading screen to body ratio.

The performance of the device is also not short of anything stellar, as we earlier told you in our initial review of the Galaxy S10 Plus. It packs an Exynos 9820 or a Snapdragon 855, depending upon which part of the world you live. Paired with the chipset is the RAM of 8GB along with either the 128GB or the 512GB internal storage.

We all know that no matter how expensive, no phone can be perfect and that’s exactly the case with Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Even then the phone performed quite great. Let’s move on to the review

Camera Specs

The Galaxy S10 Plus features the same rear shooter as its sibling, Galaxy S10 while the front camera specs are a bit different between the two. The big brother flashes a triple camera set up on the back while a dual punch hole camera on the front.

Galaxy S10 Plus front camera

The rear setup shows off a 12MP wide angle as the primary lens with a variable aperture of f/1.5-2.4, a 12MP Telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture and a 16MP ultra wide -angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, horizontally aligned just like we saw previously on the Galaxy Note 9.

On the front, you get a dual pixel 10MP main snapper with an 8MP depth sensing lens.

Camera Result

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Camera interface

So with all the huge specs and the sparkling show-offs, is the camera on the Galaxy S10 Plus really worthy of such an expensive flagship?

We took the phone out for a day through the cultural and historical Lahore city and tested its camera.

Though some of the pictures we captured are quite stunning, we found some shortcomings in the camera too. Here is the detailed camera result of the Galaxy S10 plus.

Galaxy S10+-Wide Angle Lens

Wide Angle Lens Shot

Let’s take a look at the standard mode or the auto mode first. The wide-angle lens pulls in more of the scene, and that’s what we like about the main snapper so that you can move up close to your subject.

The camera also captures impressive colors that are not too bright and look natural, but there is one noticeable thing that it does not manage to gather details. Look at the faces of the running kids and you’ll notice that it smoothens out the pictures a bit, leaving out some of the details.

Picture with wide angle lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Wide Angle lens Shot

The picture was taken just in auto mode, and we did not enable any live focus. Notice how the phone plays with the blur effect and gives you that beautifully focused picture, keeping all the details on the subject and maintaining the structure. It seems that the nearer the object, the better the details you can get. With farther objects, the camera starts to lose its mojo.

One of the many useful features of having a multiple camera smartphone is that you can enjoy different kinds of shooting modes, Galaxy S10 Plus has posed a serious competition in the market with its ultra wide-angle camera lens and the telephoto lens. The ultra wide angle has a great capability of presenting some very dramatic shots. The telephoto lens also gives you a great chance to get creative with outputs like the shot below.

Wazir Khan Mosque Shot with telephoto lens on samsung galaxy S10 plus

Telephoto Lens Shot

You can, however, observe that in this telephoto shot, the colors are a bit more saturated rather than being natural. The detail capturing however is a lot improved than the shots we saw with the wide-angle earlier.

We noticed that when switching to the ultra wide-angle camera, the detail preservation and even the color saturation is more accurate and eye catchy than the telephoto lens. It also manages to capture an amazingly wide shot. Here is an ultra wide angle shot from the same place as the picture above.

Wazir Khan Mosque Shot with ultra-wide angle lens on samsung galaxy S10 plus

Ultra Wide Angle Lens Shot

The telephoto lens enables you to take a picture with a 2X optical zoom, hence moving closer to the subject without compromising on the details. The Galaxy S10 Plus also reacts amazingly against the light but that’s inconsistent.

Picture with telephoto lens on samsung galaxy S10 plus

Telephoto Lens Shot

As we told earlier, the telephoto lens is very capable and though it takes amazing pictures with great contrast and dynamic range, the same cannot be said for the main lens.

Picture with wide-angle lens on samsung galaxy S10 plus

Wide Angle Lens Shot

The camera does not perform too well against the light and with dimly lit scenarios, the noise clearly starts creeping in.

We really were expecting a better zoom technology in the Galaxy S10 Plus since Huawei has been using the 2X  lossless zoom in the triple camera P20 Pro last year and now Oppo has notched it up a bit with the 10X lossless zoom technology. Huawei P30 Pro camera samples have also showcased the 10X lossless zoom whereas, in Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, you can clearly see the adverse effects of the absence of this tech.

Wazir Khan Mosque Picture with ultra-wide lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Ultra Wide Angle Lens Shot

Wazir Khan Mosque Picture with wide Angle lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Wide Angle Lens Shot

Wazir Khan Mosque Picture with telephoto lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Telephoto Lens Shot

Look at the clouds in the sky in the three pictures. You can notice that they are best kept in the ultra wide shot while shooting from a wide angle and the telephoto causes the phone to blow out the details in the sky.

As we earlier told you, the camera on the Galaxy S10 Plus tends to soften the image a little too much. There is a clear difference in details in the above three pictures. The more you zoom in, the more you compromise on the sharpness of the image.

Wazir Khan Mosque Picture with 5X Zoom on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

5X Zoom Shot

Though you can notice a considerable loss in details after zooming in 5 times. Look at the minaret of the mosque in the bottom right corner and you’ll notice that the colors are washed out as well and the cold hue in the picture has increased as compared to the earlier photos.

Wazir Khan Mosque Picture with 10X Zoom on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

10X Zoom Shot

We were not expecting much from the phone in 10X zoom and rightly so. It completely softens out the pictures and fails to retain the details. Look at the brick wall behind the blue building with a staircase. Notice how it is pixelated and blurry.

Old man Picture with live Focus Mode on samsung galaxy s10 plus

Live Focus Shot

The live focus on the Galaxy S10 Plus is really applaudable and you can’t spot a flaw even if you want to. The subject recognition is amazing and the blur effect does not look artificial or heavily imposed at all. It even managed to outline the grey hair in the portrait and didn’t merge it with the background blur which honestly blew us away.

Picture with Live Focus Mode on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Live Focus Mode

The live focus not only works well in portraits of people but also with objects. Just notice how it maintains a clear line between to the background and the foreground while keeping it all natural and sharp.

Selfies on the Galaxy S10 Plus are superb and full of details. It captures all natural colors and has many modes which you can utilize to make your pictures look more artistic and catchy too.

Selfie with Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Live Focus Selfie

Even with so much detail and true colors, the secondary depth sensor does not keep up with the lining of the subject to differentiate it from the background and often spreads patchy blur on the subject too. If you look at my ear in the right picture, you’ll notice that it’s been blurred out.

Low light photography with the Galaxy S10 Plus camera can be really disappointing at times. The noise really keeps kicking in and you don’t have to be a keen observer to notice the imminent loss of details in the night time.

There is also a night mode in Galaxy S10 Plus camera but you cannot turn it off or on manually. It automatically activates in extreme low light conditions but annoyingly I could not turn it on for the life of me, even in low light conditions.

Picture of Badshahi Mosque pillar with wide angle lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Wide Angle Lens Shot

The quality of the pictures in low light is, however, far behind than what we earlier saw in the previous flagships like Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the Google Pixel 3XL but with a well-lit subject, Galaxy S10 Plus captures great details in standard mode. Look at how the phone successfully contains light in this minaret picture.

Picture of Badshahi Mosque pillar withTelephoto lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Telephoto Lens Shot

The telephoto lens is a great way to capture your subject without being closer physically. While the image quality of the telephoto lens may not be as good as the main snapper, it captures a fair amount of detail. However, in night time scenarios, some grain and noise also start popping up in the pictures taken from the telephoto lens.

Picture at night with Wide Angle lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Wide Angle Lens Shot

Though the night time photography is not superb with the Galaxy S10 Plus camera, we still love the color reproduction of the phone. Look at the pictures for example. The deep blacks in the night sky look amazing while the colors on the building are also maintained properly.

Picture at night with Ultra-Wide Angle lens on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Ultra Wide Angle Lens Shot

Looking at the ultra wide angle shot you can notice that the saturation has enhanced a bit in this picture as compared to the one we took with the main wide angle lens.

Selfie with different modes on samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Selfie at night

Though selfies come out great in daylight and the front camera performs pretty great in the night with a well-lit subject and good lighting conditions. It, however, does not handle backlight correctly and also washes out the colors in a little bit dimly lit scenarios.

Also, don’t expect the live focus to work on-spot in such conditions as you can see in both the night selfies that it failed to capture good images.

Group Selfie in Galaxy S10+

Group Selfie

On the bright side, there is also a group selfie mode where the front camera takes a wider selfie so you can fit in more people in the picture and although it’s not that wide, there is a noticeable difference. However, it’s not because of the hardware, rather its a software gimmick from Samsung.

Picture at night with Pro mode on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Pro Mode

The Pro mode in the Galaxy S10 plus goes an extra mile and not only lets you tweak major settings like the ISO, white balance etc but also gives additional usability by letting you alter even the contrast, highlights, shadows in real time as well. If you really know how to control these settings you can get amazing pictures out of it that are miles ahead of what it can capture in auto mode.

Verdict

The Galaxy S10 is a feature-packed phone that has a very capable camera. This is the first triple camera S series flagship from Samsung and we all can agree that it takes pretty amazing shots. There are a few ups and downs in the picture quality that we really think shouldn’t have been there in a flagship with this price tag.

The low light photography still needs to improve a lot in the S10 Plus. Other than that Samsung should have included at least a 5X lossless zoom if not the 10X. Other than that, the way S10 Plus handles direct light sometimes is very disappointing.

All in all, while the camera experience was a delight, we really were hoping that it would something out of this world as the phone costs a massive price tag of Rs. 179,999 in Pakistan for the lowest variant. If you are spending that much money, you wouldn’t want anything to come close in terms of camera but sadly that’s not the case. Let’s see how it bodes for the phone when it’s pitched against the already prevailing flagships like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. The recent launch of Huawei P30 Pro has made a new standard in mobile cameras.

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