Samsung isn't messing around with the. From larger sensors and 30x (even 100x!) zoom to the ability to record 8K video, Samsung has made its cameras a priority among the . There's even a fancy new Single Take photography mode that takes all the guesswork out of when to take a picture or record a video.
CNET has been using all three Samsung's new camera claims. The company focussed on improving the camera as a way to encourage upgrades and, perhaps, convince iPhone ($699 at Apple) owners to make the switch. (Our might convince them.)models for a few weeks now, putting them through their paces and testing all of
Whether you already own a new Galaxy S20 or are just curious about Samsung's new bag of tricks, here's how the new cameras help up the game -- and how to make the most of each key feature.
Serious camera zoom from 10x to 30x to 100x
All three S20 models have a feature that Samsung calls Space Zoom. It's a fancy name for the S20's impressive hybrid optic zoom. The Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus can zoom up to 30x, while the Ultra can go up to 100x.
Use the different levels by opening the camera app and either using two fingers to pinch-to-zoom in the viewfinder or tapping on one of the buttons to switch between cameras. Different zoom levels will show up next to the shutter button, making it easy to pick how close you want the camera to get to your subject.
Any zoom level over 20x will show a viewfinder in the top corner of your phone's display, making it easier to tell exactly what part of the scene the camera is zoomed in on.
In my testing, going over 10x is when you'll begin to see the overall quality diminish. That's because the camera is only using digital zoom and not the hybrid optical setup used at 10x. The more aggressive zoom levels are handy for taking photos at a concert (or your kid's play) when you have a seat that's far away from the stage. In a pinch, you can even use it to read a sign a couple of blocks down the road.
Use Single Take to capture everything
Single Take is a new shooting mode in the camera app, and I can see myself using this to capture random moments with my kids so I don't have to think about whether to take a photo, record a video or mess around with any camera settings. I simply need to open the camera, switch to Single Take and press the shutter button.
With Single Take selected, the camera app will use AI to examine what's going on in the scene and grab up to 10 photos and four videos.
When it's done, your phone will automatically apply effects to the videos like fast forward, reverse or creating a loop. Photos can have a live focus effect, a filter or a smart crop applied to them.
Open the Gallery to view a Smart Take, which has a small dot inside a circle in the bottom corner of its thumbnail. Once you open it, you'll see all the videos and photos that were created.
Quickly record a video
Another new feature comes in handy for those times when you want to take a photo of a pet or your kids, but something funny or adorable starts to happen and you want to quickly capture a video instead. Instead of tapping and swiping to switch camera modes, get in the habit of long-pressing the shutter button.
Doing so will instantly begin recording, and save you the time it takes to switch from photo to video mode, so you don't miss the moment.
Capture burst photos or create a GIF
Holding the shutter button used to take several photos -- or burst shots -- that you could sort through to find the best shot. With that functionality now being used to capture video (by default), there's a new trick to capturing burst photos.
Instead of long-pressing on the shutter button, press and drag the shutter button to the edge of your screen. It took me a few tries to get the hang of it, but once I did, I now have confidence in quickly taking a photo, video or burst photo without having to give it much thought.
Bonus tip: In the Camera's settings you can change the behavior from taking a burst photo to creating an animated GIF, if that's what you'd prefer.
The selfie camera is smart
Using the selfie camera to take a group photo is convenient, but trying to cram everyone together can be frustrating. Thankfully, the S20's front-facing camera is smarter now. When using the front-facing camera to take a selfie, there are two zoom buttons near the shutter button. The button with two trees will zoom out, allowing more people to fit into the frame.
However, there's an option in the Camera's settings that will automatically zoom out whenever the phone detects more than one face. Open the Settings in the camera app (tap on the gear icon) and turn on Smart selfie angle. Now all you need to do is open the front camera and the phone will take care of the rest.
There's a lot more to Samsung's latest phones than the cameras. Make sure to check out our favorite , as well as our . If you're still on the fence about whether to upgrade, maybe our review will help.