The twin 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto lenses can take fancy portrait mode shots, but also capture rich, detailed photos without any extra adornment.
A portrait shot, called Live Focus, blurs the background.
In the Gallery app, you can swap between the close-up mode and the wide-angle view that also takes in the background.
There's also an 8-megapixel camera on the front.
Landscape scenery like Lake Tahoe here is what Live Focus was made for.
Weirdly, I snapped these photos twice in a row without changing my stance or adjusting a single setting. The first came out well but this one's totally blown out.
Live Message lets you draw all over a photo you took, and turn it into a GIF. It's frivolous fun.
Photos taken in natural daylight tend to come out very clear.
I turned the tables on CNET photographer Josh Miller.
I couldn't decide which picture I liked most, so I grabbed them both.
I took this using automatic mode, but the Note 8 also has a dedicated food mood, and plenty of filters.
One feature is 2X optical zoom, which automatically brings you in closer. The photos can come out well, but not as well as walking up a few steps yourself.
There's also 10x digital zoom, which did surprisingly well capturing this fast-moving peacock several feet away from me.
2X optical zoom.
The regular, unassisted camera.
Late afternoon surfers and sun.
Another example of Live Message.
It took four blurry tries to get Live Focus (aka portrait mode) to capture this indoor shot without blur.
Rows of pies in a low-lit room.
Winter is coming.
Automatic mode was artificially bright, so I lowered the brightness. This challenging nighttime is extremely grainy and noisy.
I couldn't get enough of the water channeling through this rock.
The Note 8's camera refused to take this in portrait mode. Luckily, the shot is beautiful on its own.
This needs no embellishment.
And neither does this.
The most difficult thing about this photo was trying to view the screen afterwards, in the overpowering sun.
There's some nice detail on this tree bark and sign.
Because apparently I can't resist Live Message.
Who doesn't crave popcorn at dusk?
I tried out Live Focus on this boule of sparkling wine.
A darkly lit interior made my wedding table place setting pretty dark, too.
Lighting conditions weren't right to trigger portrait mode. Granted, it's quite dark out.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 made these fairy lights look distinct, not floaty.