The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus introduce a new kind of mobile camera, one that automatically switches apertures when you take it into low light situations.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
1
of 52

Samsung's Galaxy S9 Plus adds a second camera lens to the back, which makes depth-of-field portrait photos happen.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
2
of 52

We took scores of photos with the Galaxy S9 phones' 12-megapixel camera in a variety of lighting scenarios, from stunning vistas to dimly-lit restaurants, to nighttime scenes.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
3
of 52

Unless otherwise noted, the pictures were snapped in automatic mode, though there are tons of filters and a Pro mode for overriding settings like ISO and white balance.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
4
of 52

Outdoor pictures are especially pretty taken with natural light, and contrast is high.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
5
of 52

Here's a sweeping view of Barcelona's Arc de Triomf.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Disclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
6
of 52

The Galaxy S9's selfie mode has a "skin tone" slider that replaces "beauty mode" to smooth over blemishes.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
7
of 52

More gorgeous mountain scenery.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Disclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
8
of 52

A surfer braves the waves.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
9
of 52

This is what Barcelona's famous Park Guell looks like on an overcast day.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
10
of 52

Tricky lighting can be a mobile camera's arch rival.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
11
of 52

Compared to the real life scene, colors are overly saturated, contrast is poor, and the photo loses a lot of texture and detail.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
12
of 52

Portrait mode taken with the Galaxy S9 Plus' second camera can make for some dramatic shots.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
13
of 52

But if you're not careful, and you set blur to maximum levels, you may wind up focusing on the wrong thing. Luckily, you can adjust the intensity after the fact, which is helpful.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
14
of 52

This shot is taken looking in to the Boqueria, Barcelona's famous food hall.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
15
of 52

Colors popped in this half indoor/half outdoor light.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
16
of 52

When the camera detects a brightness level of 100 lux, it automatically drops into its low light setting with an F1.5 aperture, which increases brightness and reduces noise.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
17
of 52

Details are generally crisp with the Galaxy S9's cameras.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
18
of 52

However, the lower aperture, combined with slower shutter speeds, blurs movement.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
19
of 52

Hypnotic avocados make for a great wallpaper.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
20
of 52

Most smartphone cameras would struggle with this lighting on an overcast day. 

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
21
of 52

Inside a metro, we're a little yellowed, but the Galaxy S9 captured the scene on a moving train.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
22
of 52

I call it: lunch.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
23
of 52

Portrait mode isn't just good for people. I also used it to highlight biscotti, and their price tag.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
24
of 52

This photo, taken inside a cafe near a window, stayed in the F2.4 aperture for daylight photos.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
25
of 52

Next up, we're going to take the Galaxy S9 into the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona's famed, unfinished Catholic church.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
26
of 52

The S9 definitely brightened the facade and concrete figures on this grey day. Photos are nice, but not particularly faithful to the mood. Manual settings would fix that.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
27
of 52

Just inside the door, the camera can't take in the vaulted ceiling, but neither could any other.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
28
of 52

The church is filled with beautiful stained glass windows. The Galaxy S9 chose the F2.4 daylight setting for this shot...

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
29
of 52

...and the low light F1.5 setting for this one, to capture the light streaming through the windows. P.S. The colors look richer on the Galaxy S9's high-contrast AMOLED display.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
30
of 52

Yuck. Overly bright, with scattered lighting. 

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
31
of 52

The iPhone X creates a more faithful representation of the color and readability of the neon sign.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
32
of 52

This cocktail, taken with the S9 Plus, is bright and detailed - you can see the bubbles in the froth and the edges of the rose petal garnish. However, it misses the texture of the table.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
33
of 52

Google's Pixel 2 created the best shot overall, with excellent contrast and detail in the rose petals and surrounding table, and a bright frothy topping with visible bubbles.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
34
of 52

Here it is on the iPhone X, with colors that mirrored the dark bar.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
35
of 52

Fully indoors, the Galaxy S9 did great with this colorful room.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
36
of 52

With the low light aperture engaged, the Galaxy S9 overly brightened these ceiling coverings. It's a really nice shot, but not realistic.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
37
of 52

This close up is much truer to life.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
38
of 52

A very low light bar.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
39
of 52

Quick movements in low light would be tough to capture anyway, but the Galaxy S9 makes blurring more susceptible. Just look at the server's hands.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
40
of 52

Sneaky! This was taken from across the table in a dark restaurant.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
41
of 52

Another shot down the table.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Disclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
42
of 52

A Barcelona street scene at night takes advantage of the low light mode.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
43
of 52

Silhouettes on a rain night at Barcelona's Magic Fountain.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
44
of 52

Postcard-perfect.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
45
of 52

Fast-moving water would be hard for most cameras to capture, and the Galaxy S9 can't do this colorful, massive, constantly-moving fountain justice. You'd need a DSLR, a tripod and lots of patience.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
46
of 52

Another try.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
47
of 52

Look what happens when I try to take a selfie. The camera overcorrects to brighten my face and overexposes the fountain. Flip back to the previous photo to remind yourself how dark it is.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
48
of 52

More night shots.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
49
of 52

I was hoping for a little more contrast and clarity taking this photos of the lit-up museum behind us. 

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Jessica Dolcourt/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
50
of 52

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus take excellent photos, with lots of options to choose from. We'll continue our deep dive testing against rival phones.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
51
of 52

For now, read our full Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus reviews.

$240 at Walmart
Read Full Review
Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
52
of 52
Up Next

Best iPhone XR cases