Samsung Galaxy S22 introduces 'Nightography' for better photos in the dark

Nighttime phone pics are notoriously grainy and blurry. Can Samsung change that?

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read

Samsung boosted the camera hardware and photo software in all of the Galaxy S22 phones, it announced Wednesday, but don't think it saved the best frills only for the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The most important night photography improvements also extend down to the S22 and its larger sibling, the S22 Plus (here's how the three phones in the Galaxy S22 lineup compare).

On all the phones, the upgrades promise sharper photos for both daytime and nighttime shooting. The Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus have better main cameras that have grown from 12 megapixels to 50 megapixels, and the image sensor, which is 23% larger than those on last year's Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus, lets in more light. 

Samsung also added Night Portrait mode to the both front and rear cameras. Finally, you can take your stylish depth selfies even when it's dark, or snap a dramatic photo of your dog while out on midnight walks.

Watch this: Samsung Galaxy S22 first look: Hands-on with all 3 new phones

Samsung's 'Nightography' software advances

Behind the scenes, Samsung has made its night mode smarter, and it coined an appropriately gimmicky name for its advancements. "Nightography," as it's called, automatically chooses the ideal frame rate to capture as much light and detail as possible, meaning it's a more advanced version of what phone camera night modes already do.

The Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus also use adaptive pixel tech to augment the high-megapixel images with tetra-binning, which combines four pixels into one for sharper images in lower-light situations. 

The top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra does have some advantages over its more affordable siblings. Its 108-megapixel main camera can take sharper photos, it has nona-binning to combine nine pixels instead of four to capture more light, and soon after launch it'll get the Expert RAW mode for professional image control. 

The 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera remains unchanged from last year's phone. A curious downgrade is that the telephoto lens resolution is now 10 megapixels (the S21 had a 64-megapixel telephoto lens). While I don't expect to use zoom photography much at night anyway, I'll have to test the new phones to see if this changes how images come out. 

Read more: Where to buy Galaxy S22: Preorder deals for Samsung's newest phones