A closeup look at the Galaxy S10 Plus' five cameras

Samsung is hoping that more cameras is the winning formula for its newest flagship.

Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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  • Shortlisted for British Photography Awards 2022, Commended in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022
Andrew Lanxon
3 min read
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The Galaxy S10 Plus is Samsung's latest superphone, hoping to outdo the likes of the iPhone XS , the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the OnePlus 6T by virtue of its slick design and cutting-edge tech. You can read all about the phone's screen, design, battery and whatnot on this page, but here I want to talk all about its five -- that's right, five -- cameras.

We'll start on the back. While last year's Galaxy S9 Plus had two camera units on the back, the Galaxy S10 Plus adds a third into the mix in the form of a 16-megapixel super wide-angle lens. 

Watch this: Getting to know the Galaxy S10 Plus camera and features

You'll still have your normal view, and a zoomed-in, telephoto view as before, but this extra lens zooms right out and captures a huge scene in front of you.

We've seen super-wide lenses already in phones from LG and Huawei and I really like it. It's easy to toggle between the different views in Samsung's camera app and it's great for landscapes, cityscapes or any scene where there's a massive view you want to take in in its entirety. 

The standard 12-megapixel lens maintains the dual aperture we saw on the previous S9 Plus, which uses a wider aperture to let in more light, thereby hopefully resulting in better photos when the sun goes down. 

But if you need even more help in low light, Samsung's AI-powered "Shot Suggestions" may be of use. It analyses the scene in front of it to work out what's being photographed -- a person, a dog, some food or a dark-night time scene -- and changes the settings accordingly. Again, this is something we've seen before on various phones, but the S10 Plus takes it a step further by actually guiding you in how to get a better shots.

In an example I saw when taking a photo of a person, the Shot Suggestion mode recognised a person was in shot and brought up yellow guide lines on screen to help me line up my photo for a better composition -- or at least, what the phone thinks is a better composition. You can probably expect guidelines to pop up when it recognises a landscape to help you keep your horizon nice and level. And hopefully there's a prompt to tell you to take your photo of your lovely cupcake before you take that first huge bite. Just me? OK.

The AI will also switch on a Bright Night mode that performs various software tricks to help get the best possible image in low-light situations, without all that nasty image noise or shaky-hand blur. All phones tend to boast about their prowess in low-light situations, but it's really only the Huawei P20 Pro that has ever really impressed me. I'm looking forward to seeing how the S10 Plus compares here.

Speaking of blur, the phone shoots video in 4K resolution and not only does it use HDR10 for punchier colours, but it uses optical image stabilisation to help you get really smooth video. 

But what about the front camera for those selfie obsessives among you? (And me.)

Well, there's two of those on the front: a standard 12-megapixel sensor and a second 8-megapixel one that captures depth information, to hopefully help give your self-portraits that attractive background blur.

It's also the front camera that lets you use Samsung's AR Emoji and various AR stickers, although whether they're much better with the addition of this second lens remains to be seen.

Overall I have high hopes for photography on Samsung's phone. Having that wide lens could open up some cool creative possibilities, although it will of course all come down to image quality -- and we won't know what that's like until we do our full testing. 

Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, S10E: Every camera lens and curve

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