Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra diary: incredible zoom capabilities and other camera tricks

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra diary: incredible zoom capabilities and other camera tricks

Previously, I talked about three shooting modes on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra that I regularly use and which delight me. And now I want to share my impressions of other camera capabilities of this smartphone, which will also be useful for photography. First of all, this is a spectacular zoom, the possibilities of which in smartphones were impossible to imagine even 5 years ago (and 10 years ago I would not even dare to dream of them). My first digital camera had a 7x optical zoom and a 3-megapixel sensor, but if I wanted to, I couldn’t put it in my pocket. But cameras in modern smartphones are good not only for their size, representing ode to miniaturization.

Optical Zoom: Photo Sniper Weapon

Strictly speaking, changing the focal length when shooting is not some kind of separate mode, but looking at these amazing images, you understand how far cameras have come in modern smartphones. The first picture was taken with the main camera, the second – with a wide-angle (0.5x), the third – with a fivex optical zoom, the fourth – with a tenfold, where the optical zoom is added with a two-fold approximation in the matrix crop (remember that we are talking about a 108-megapixel main the camera from which the picture of size 4 was “cut out”000x2252 points). And here it is already clear that the quality starts to limp. Finally, the fifth picture was taken with the maximum possible 50x zoom and, to be honest, it is difficult to hold the camera at this focal length, to put it mildly, it turned out to catch the base station tower only the third time – it left the center of the frame.

The same pictures in real resolution (crop) look like this. Obviously, the maximum zoom will not give a high-quality picture and you can use it rather to demonstrate the capabilities and, if necessary, make out some details when you only have a smartphone at hand and no computer. Which still does not negate the impressive technical capabilities.

Optically, you can zoom in objects inaccessible to the photographer and see the details. For example, take a closer look at the forged weather vane on the tower of the castle of the Earl of Schönborn or look at the laying of tiles:

Or consider a close-up of the dial of an old tower clock:

With the help of the zoom, you can get closer to water lilies in a picturesque pond without having to climb into the water:

There are also reverse situations when you need not to bring the object closer, but, on the contrary, to move it away from the photographer. This is usually used for large group photos or when shooting in narrow streets, when it is physically impossible to move further from the subject. In this case, the ultra-wide lens comes to the rescue.

Manual focus: when a person is more capable of electronics

We’ve long been accustomed to relying on automation for exposure and focus. It really works great and I always shoot in fully automatic modes, without having to resort to manual settings or shooting in RAW format, which photography enthusiasts love (and professional photographers generally only work with it). When I studied photography (this was back in the last millennium, when even a semi-automatic camera was exotic, and everything was filmed on film, in which there were only 36 frames), cameras with automatic devices were contemptuously considered toys for monkeys unable to learn how to set exposure and aperture “by eye”. Now everything has changed, and there is rarely a need for manual settings. We already adjust the depth of field after shooting, and not before, as before. Auto white balance never fails, and tracking focus is now part of mobile photography. But there are situations when manual modes and the ability to handle them help to achieve the desired results where automation still fails.

For example, I wanted to remove the cobweb on the playground – in the picture below, it is barely visible in the right corner between the top bar. The automation that evaluates the entire frame as a whole does not want to focus on the web, as a result, it is practically invisible:

Macro photography does not help: the close-up spider web stubbornly does not want to get into focus:

In manual focus mode, when you can manually select the distance to the subject and force focus, the result is. True, the disabled automatics does not level the entire shooting scene, leaving too much light, but it is really possible to bring the focus, although the cobweb is too thin for the automatics to notice it and “catch” these threads with their attention.

Measuring distances with a camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra camera also has two additional sections: the Bixby camera and the AR Zone. The first one can and should be used to read QR codes, translate texts, and theoretically can be used to identify goods and wine labels, but in our conditions this is no longer so relevant and is designed for users of developed countries. The second is for games and experiments with augmented reality (AR). There is where to roam, but one AR tool can be useful in everyday life for measuring distances in a photo. True, for this you need to download the required AR plug-in, but the download is seamless, “without registrations and SMS”.

It works like this: select a point on the screen from which you want to measure. Then you choose the second one and now the result is right in front of you:

I remember that a couple of years ago, at the next Galaxy Note presentation, I wondered why a smartphone, whose target audience is businessmen related to IT, needs such AR toys. To which I received a simple, quite logical and natural, as I understand it now, answer: businessmen have children, and a smartphone is also a means to somehow occupy them and entertain them at the right time.

Finally, a few more shots taken with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to understand the situation. All images in real resolution can be viewed and downloaded for self-study here.

Three important things to know about the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s interesting camera modes:

  • This is a smartphone with three cameras: main, 108-megapixel, ultra-wide-angle and telephoto “periscope” lens, providing 5x optical zoom
  • In this smartphone, you can manually control the white balance, exposure, focus. For the enthusiast, there’s a RAW shooting mode
  • Sections camera Bixby and AR Zone can be useful not only for games: reading QR codes and measuring distance on a picture can come in handy at any time.

To be continued. If you have questions about the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra smartphone – leave them in the comments, I will try to answer.

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