Samsung’s biggest and best device so far in the year 2021 is here, and it should come as no surprise that it’s got an amazing screen, great battery, and awesome new design. Samsung is great at making big phones, but what really makes this device ULTRA is the camera system.
What you get.
So a quick look at the sensors and lenses, up the top we get a 12MP ultrawide, 108MP wide-angle main sensor and then 2 10MP telephoto lenses, one at 3x optical and another at 10x.
I think this is the sweet spot for optical zoom, on my personal phone (Galaxy Zfold 2) I get 1x and 2x, but I find that 2x just isn’t quite close enough so I don’t end up using it much and just stick to the main lens. However 3x is noticeably closer, and clear, and then 10x optical is amazing, I was able to get really clear close shots and see things I just wouldn’t be able to with my eyes.
This is a mobile phone, with not only amazing clear zoom capabilities, but due to the OIS, it was stable too. I also had a play with slow motion in low light, and it was also very impressive, due to how fast every frame is being captured there’s not much time to capture a lot of light, yet this phone did an amazing job where usually it would just be pitch black.
If you’re looking for a phone with outstanding video capabilities the S21 ultra has you covered, it would be a great vlogging phone especially with Samsung’s new director mode which lets you record from 2 lenses at once while swapping between focal distances during the recording. You could have a face cam, and you can even move it around in real-time, all while showing someone a subject in front of you and zooming in and out. I thought this was a really cool addition and shows off the processing power of taking in multiple streams of 4k at 60fps.
There is also 8k Video, which is pretty crazy. It's capped at 24fps, which if you didn't know is actually the frame rate of film. Some people choose to shoot video in 24fps to get a film-like effect, this is a super impressive sensor on a mobile device, however, I'm not sure I would use this very often until it's able to hit 60fps. Which I know is a massive ask.
8K does give you the option to zoom in digitally on a 1080p frame up to 4x without losing quality which can be very handy in the editing process and Samsung has built-in a cool feature that does this automatically by pulling out clear stills from your 8k video files. It’s cool and shows the massive step forward for Samsung’s sensor abilities but probably not the reason you will be getting this device. The reason you want this device is for its amazing 4k 60 hdr videos and probably more importantly its outstanding still photos.
Samsung's Best Still-Camera Yet.
The photos are another massive step forward, Samsung new system for capturing HDR comes off really natural, vibrant, and detailed. By capturing multiple images at different ISO’s and stitching together the clearest and most detailed pixels of each, the photos come out looking outstanding, and all you need to do is point, and shoot.
We get a new autofocus system that is a massive step up from last year. And I found that all my shots came out clear and in focus.
The night mode also delivers some amazing-looking shots, and is just able to capture sooo much light. Of course there is still some softening that comes in when there’s not enough light but the s21 ultra handled these environments very well.
The S21 Ultra also has a new portrait mode which is among the best I’ve ever seen on a phone, the edge detection and background separation are pretty flawless this time around and with a few new effects, you have a lot of control with getting that DSLR look.
The ultra-wide lens is still noticeably lower res than the main sensor of course, but this year it's able to use that new Auto Focus system to get some amazing close macro shots which look really cool.
The Bottom Line.
Basically at the end of the day, This phone really is ULTRA cool. Samsung has always had impressive image quality but the S21 Ultra is another stepping stone forward. They say the best camera is the one you have on you, and if you’re carrying one of these in your pocket, you are set up to capture great images and video in practically any condition you find yourself in. This camera system has blown me away and is a very compelling reason to jump ship. We have S21 Ultras on display in most of our stores, so come on down, have a play and see for yourself how cool these things are.