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Samsung’s Galaxy S10 has up to six cameras: here’s what they all do

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 has up to six cameras: here’s what they all do

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Making sense of Samsung’s many cameras

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Not only is Samsung increasing the number of phones it’s releasing with the new Galaxy S10 lineup, it’s also adding more cameras to these devices than in years past. Every Galaxy S10 model will feature at least three: you’ll get both a standard camera and an ultra-wide angle camera on the back, plus a selfie camera up front. The S10 and S10 Plus offer a portrait camera, but the S10E doesn’t. And the upcoming 5G model has six cameras in all. It seems a bit silly, but having so many different, specialized lenses will allow for a ton of creative flexibility.

So if you’re constantly taking photos and video with your phone, it’s important to pick the S10 that best aligns with your shooting style. Here’s a breakdown of the number of cameras each Galaxy S10 has and when you’ll want to use them.

The Galaxy S10E has three cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)

Note that the S10E lacks a tele / portrait camera, with Samsung opting to go ultra-wide instead. This is a departure from the company’s previous dual-camera systems on flagship devices, which had a regular / tele combo.

The Galaxy S10 has four cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Telephoto / portrait rear camera (12MP, f/2.4, optical image stabilization, phase-detect autofocus)
  4. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)

The Galaxy S10 Plus has five cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Telephoto / portrait rear camera (12MP, f/2.4, optical image stabilization, phase-detect autofocus)
  4. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)
  5. Front-facing RGB depth camera (8MP, f/2.2, autofocus)

The Galaxy S10 5G has six cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Telephoto / portrait rear camera (12MP, f/2.4, optical image stabilization, phase-detect autofocus)
  4. 3D Depth time-of-flight rear camera
  5. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)
  6. Front-facing 3D Depth time-of-flight camera
The Galaxy S10 5G has four rear cameras.
The Galaxy S10 5G has four rear cameras.

Regular camera: It’s your basic, everyday camera with a focal length appropriate for a wide variety of situations. Samsung’s primary rear camera will also have the best low-light performance of all cameras on Galaxy S10 phones.

Ultra-wide camera: A longtime LG specialty — among phone makers, that is — is now making its way to Samsung flagships. An ultra-wide angle camera can get more of your surroundings in the frame. It’s a fantastic tool to have when traveling and is great for capturing architecture, landscapes, or big group shots. Samsung’s ultra-wide camera offers a 123-degree field of view compared to the standard camera’s 77 degrees.

A sample image of the S10 regular (left) and ultra-wide (right) cameras.
A sample image of the S10 regular (left) and ultra-wide (right) cameras.
Image: Samsung

Telephoto / portrait camera: The telephoto camera is what you’ll use for portraits of people (or close-ups of objects) if you want to add background blur or other effects to make the image look as though it came from a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

Selfie camera: Self-explanatory.

RGB depth camera: The S10 Plus has a second front-facing lens, as evidenced by the wider hole-punch cutout in its display. Samsung says that this RGB camera helps capture better depth data and should make AR effects and filters look more realistic when taking selfies or recording front-facing video. Samsung is also adding a new artistic live focus mode with new blur / bokeh effects. Note that these will also be available on the smaller S10 and S10E, but those phones will use software and Samsung’s neural engine to achieve the effect.

3D Depth camera: The S10 5G has two cameras that none of the standard models offer. Both of them use the same time-of-flight technology to capture a realistic 3D depth map of what they’re pointed at. This only works up to a certain distance, but it has the potential to improve AR gaming experiences, further refine portrait blur / bokeh on the front camera, and many other possibilities. A few manufacturers are already building ToF sensors into their devices, and it’s expected that LG’s upcoming G8 ThinQ will also have one.

Here you can see the Galaxy S10 5G’s time-of-flight camera in between the other two.
Here you can see the Galaxy S10 5G’s time-of-flight camera in between the other two.

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