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I'm obsessed with the Galaxy S23 Ultra's camera — and these photos show why

Samsung is the global smartphone market leader, but it’s also known for its tongue-in-cheek ads. The company recently ran an ad campaign where everyone kept asking the protagonist to send them photos taken with the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Something similar happened to me last month when I was in India at a good friend’s wedding.

I took the Galaxy S23 Ultra to a wedding and then went on vacation, leaving all other cameras behind. Anyone who sees a picture of it immediately asks what model it is, blurting out, “It’s as good as a DSLR!” While that may sound like an exaggeration, I’m sure when you see the picture below, you’ll Overwhelmed by similar views.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, showing the camera lenses.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

This post highlights how I became obsessed with the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 3x telephoto camera because it Most of the portrait photos were taken during the trip. No, not the S23 Ultra’s one-of-a-kind 200MP camera, but one of its secondary telephoto cameras. I took over 3,000 photos over the course of two days at the wedding, and then spent a week exploring the wildlife sanctuaries of Assam, India, as well as Kolkata (also known as the “City of Joy”) ”) of the street. The stunning photos not only got all the attention on the phone, but also inspired me to reflect on whether I should replace my DSLR with the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Here is a curated selection of some unbelievably good images captured by mobile phones. Galaxy S23 Ultra won’t manipulate skin tone Indian weddings are known for their flamboyance and colour, I attended Weddings are no exception. I was determined to take some memorable photos, but the ones above exceeded my expectations. All of these were clicked from different distances, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra had no problem replicating details on skin or hair. The only potential issues I see are patches of skin on my wife’s (middle) and my face (right). Areas exposed to direct sunlight appear a bit washed out. But except for small areas, natural textures and skin tones are reproduced in perfect detail. In the next set of images, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is again doing great. Whether it’s the florist’s adorable smile, the innocence of kids trying to outwit other carom players, or the curious eyes of a bookseller, the smartphone proves to be an unrivaled tool for capturing moments. Once again, the details around the skin and hair appear to be near natural perfection. What’s really commendable is how the Galaxy S23 Ultra captures those details without any unreal filtering or forcing the face to adhere to the unrealistic beauty standards set by Chinese phone brands. Compared to the previous photos, the image above represents the opposite end of the human emotion spectrum. The Galaxy S23 Ultra captures these aspects very well — what I interpret as apathy, monotony, and hopelessness, respectively. Not only are the images full of personality, but (hopefully) they also serve to spark curiosity about each individual’s life story. Edge detection is near perfect More images back at the wedding, the comparison below shows the Galaxy Edge detection on the S23 Ultra is impressive, thanks to laser autofocus. Instead of carelessly blurring everything and everyone out of focus, the phone’s processing algorithm does a great job of carefully measuring distances and fine-tuning the bokeh so that the image looks like it was actually taken with a professional camera . Indian bride smiling and making a victory sign with her hand with groom in the background captured with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 3x telephoto portrait mode camera.

Indian bride smiling and making a victory sign with her hand with groom in the background captured with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 3x telephoto portrait mode camera.

Indian bride smiling and making a victory sign with her hand with groom in the background captured with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 3x telephoto portrait mode camera.

compared above , you can see how moving the focus from the bride to the groom adjusts the amount of blur in the image. This applies to the blurring of the couple’s faces in the image and the viewer in the background. The depth transition again calls into question whether the images were actually captured with a smartphone camera.

Captures the scene, not just the subject For me, 3x portrait on Galaxy S23 Ultra What really stands out about the camera is how well it preserves the entire scene. Whether it is the rustic door behind the wife in the first picture, the bustling market behind the person in the second picture, or the dilapidated warehouse of the sculptor in the third picture, Galaxy S23 Ultra keeps essence and perspective intact. The Galaxy S23 Ultra aggressively preserves the background color, which Samsung deserves credit for. Samsung phones have been blamed for overexposed images in the past, but the Galaxy S23 is not the case Extremists. Some people have also previously expressed reservations about clicking Samsung’s photos, which look better on the phone’s vibrant display but are otherwise lackluster. This does not appear to be the case for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, as the captured hues look very close to real life hues. Light In low light conditions, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s portrait camera seems to be less sharp dropped. Starting with this photo of the bride, we see that some details are lost in the artificial lighting. This is largely due to the 3x portrait camera’s smaller aperture (i.e., a smaller opening for the sensor to capture light) compared to the main 200MP camera, which causes it to recreate detail, artificially increasing exposure. Indian bride smiling and making a victory sign with her hand with groom in the background captured with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 3x telephoto portrait mode camera.

Galaxy S23 Ultra has a slight preference for face-like objects. Difficulty with movement Another challenge for the Galaxy S23 Ultra is capturing moving objects. In the image below, I focus on dancers performing folk dances native to the Indian state of Assam. Capture motion for Galaxy S23 coming Saying absolutely tricky Ultra, you can see some trajectories in the image below. However, it keeps the subject in focus without exaggerating background blur, making it look natural. It’s worth noting that Samsung gives you the option to speed up the shutter response using an app called Camera Assistant. While this is useful for capturing fast-moving subjects, it may result in some loss of quality. Therefore, I chose to keep the default settings. Kindness to Animals Finally, I tested the Galaxy S23 Ultra on some friendly creatures from the animal kingdom. The first set is for the pets of the homestay where I live. Galaxy S23 Ultra successfully created in In the first two images from left, there is a very subtle blur around the faces of the beautiful mother dog and the handsome kitten. In the third (right), the bokeh surrounds the stone wall and Mr. Cat is seen assessing the vastness of his kingdom. This makes the phone perfect for taking some memorable pet photos. I also took the Galaxy S23 Ultra for a spin on a safari in India’s Kaziranga National Park, the only place in the world where one-horned rhinos are found. I was lucky enough to catch a huge mother and a calf during an early morning visit. Due to our erratic ride, the image is slightly blurry and doesn’t contain any background blur/bokeh. On the other hand, the close-up shot of the friendly 40-year-old elephant we meet at the end of the safari really does use her captivating eyes to quietly convey its lived experience.

In the last set of camera samples for this article, you can see that the Galaxy S23 Ultra struggled to capture the shadows around the langur’s face (left ). The intermediate image, taken without direct sunlight, darkened the shadows, reducing visibility around the fur and faces of the two langurs. In the third image, the phone brilliantly captures the sparkle in the heartbreaking puppy eyes. Again, the phone captures these images with realistic blur, though the lack of sharpness makes them less appealing than the image above. Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best in its class The Galaxy S23 Ultra's camera module.Andy Boxall/DigitalTrendsA picture is worth a thousand words. However, the impact of the story it tells can vary widely depending on factors such as the setting and its quality. Thankfully, the advanced features of modern smartphone cameras take much of this burden off the user and dramatically improve photo quality. It’s even leading my fellow Digital Trends writers to replace their elaborate DLSR cameras with smartphones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro. The main reason to replace your DSLR with one of these amazing camera smartphones is that the smart processing reduces the need to try and retouch your photos after clicking them. This image processing simulates the same camera results as dedicated camera hardware, but only using software, making the phone more portable. Even if you want to add a professional touch to your photos, you can click them in RAW mode and realize your vision while editing. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is undoubtedly one of the best tools in pursuit of this goal, its camera can provide a life-changing experience for users who want to capture fascinating moments. As we can see in the image above, its 3x telephoto setup is a worthy addition to its camera package. The camera is not perfect and will appear garbled in scenes related to low light, moving objects or hand shake. But it manages to push the final image towards a very realistic DSLR-like bokeh effect. As far as I’m concerned, everyone who sees these images is fascinated by the quality and asks me to share their photos with them. It’s safe to say that the Galaxy S23 Ultra has an excellent camera package — even if you don’t use Samsung’s much-hyped 200MP camera.

    Finally, thanks to my dear friend Suhani for allowing me to use the wedding!

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