First Look: Photo Samples From the 200MP Samsung Galaxy S23


Samsung hopes the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 200MP camera makes it stand out from the competition. But while the phone’s new ISOCELL HP2(Opens in a new window) sensor might give it more megapixels than most other phones on the market, it takes a lot more than pixels to produce good photos. Does it measure up?

We’re still working on our full review of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but here where sharing some of the first photos we’ve captured with the phone to give you an idea of what to expect in certain conditions and with select shooting modes.

Galaxy S23 Ultra Camera Specs

First, let’s quickly go over the basics of the S23 Ultra’s camera system. The 200MP HP2 sensor is an upgrade from the 108MP HP1 that Samsung used in last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. The 200 million pixels measure 0.6μm each in size and sit on a 1/1.3-inch sensor. The camera can capture photos with all 200MP, 50MP (binned down by a factor of four), or 12.5MP (binned down by a factor of 16). That last one is the standard shooting mode.

The lens has an aperture of f/1.7, which means it can capture plenty of light. The camera relies on a laser autofocusing system and features widened optical image stabilization (the sensor has more room to move around to compensate for jitters).

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with camera module

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

There are four more cameras on the S23 Ultra, including a 12MP ultra-wide shooter at f/2.2, a basic 10MP 3x optical telephoto lens with OIS at f/2.4, a periscopic 10MP 10x optical zoom camera at f/4.9, and a 12MP selfie camera with phase-detect autofocus at f/2.2.

The redesigned image signal processor of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip manages all of that hardware and produces the best possible result by performing a huge number of calculations in an instant to assess light, color, shadows, textures, the subject, and more.

Galaxy S23 Ultra Photo Samples

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample daylight

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

This first photo is a basic daylight image I captured with the main camera. There’s plenty of shadow and highlight detail and everything looks to have a proper exposure. The color is accurate, as is the white balance. It’s a fine photo.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample tree in the shadows

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

I took this sample at the same time of day in the shadow of a large tree. The amount of detail in the tree bark is impressive and I like the way focus sharpens up on the branch to the right. Again, the exposure and color look good.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample 3x telephoto

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

Here’s a more challenging one. I took this shot in the dimly lit, underground environs of the NYC subway system. This is zoomed in with the 3x telephoto, so it’s a little noisier than the daytime shots, but still not bad.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample portrait mode in low light

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

This is another photo shot in the subway system, this time with the portrait camera and a stationary subject. The foreground is in good focus while the background blur is smooth. The exposure and white balance are accurate as well.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample low light street scene

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

Now, this is a really challenging setting. I took this image at night with only ambient light to create the scene. Here, the S23 Ultra does a fantastic job of capturing exactly what my eyes saw. If anything, the photo is more compelling than what I saw, as it benefits from an extra bit of depth.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample concert

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

If there’s any place that’s difficult to take a photo, it’s at a concert. In this sample, the S23 Ultra perfectly matches the real scene, handling the strong backlight while still allowing the subject detail to come through.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample selfie portrait

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

And, of course, a selfie. Everything in this photo has a proper level of exposure, though the white balance is perhaps a bit yellow. The phone does a very good job of keeping me sharp while blurring the background.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra photo sample 10x zoom

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

Last, but not least, here’s a photo I took with the 10x telephoto. Yes, it’s every New Yorker’s favorite subject, the Empire State Building. This photo shows plenty of detail of the landmark’s spire without much noise. It’s also exactly correct in terms of exposure and color.

What do you think? Impressed? Nonplussed? We’ll have lots more analysis and photo samples in our full review on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so make sure to check back soon.

Until then, check out everything Samsung announced at Unpacked and our story on finding the best deals on a Galaxy S23.

PCMag Logo Everything you missed from Samsung’s 2023 event in 8 Minutes

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Brian Jones

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