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This is how the Samsung Galaxy S20 could take zoom to the next level

At this point, almost everything about the Samsung Galaxy S20 series has been revealed from the design to its spec-sheet. When it comes to zooming, Samsung is looking at stealing the crown from Huawei which has been making epic telephoto cameras that offer up to 50x digital zoom. For the upcoming S20 and S20+, both devices are expected to come with a high-resolution 64MP camera which should capture better details than any other device.

According to serial leakster Ice Universe, the S20 and S20+ will be utilising a Samsung SK5GW2 sensor that can capture pure 64MP resolution without offering any pixel-binning capabilities. As a comparison, the current 64MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor (SK5GW1) is capable of capturing 64MP with a pixel size of 0.8-microns. However, in low-light situations, it can combine four nearby pixels to form a larger 1.6-micron pixel size but this results in a lower-resolution 16MP image.

8K video via a telephoto camera

The new Galaxy S20 series will support 8K video recording across the range and interestingly, it will use the telephoto camera instead of the main camera for video recording. Shooting 4K from the main 12MP camera is not an issue but to capture 8K, a larger sensor is definitely required. To use the 64MP sensor makes sense since 8K has a resolution of 7680 × 4320 pixels which is equivalent to 33.2MP. 4K video uses a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels which is equivalent to 8.3MP.

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However, this also means that the field of view for the 8K video is going to be narrow since it uses a camera that’s meant for zooming. The telephoto camera on the S20 and S20+ is expected to offer 3x optical zoom and up to 30x digital zoom. From the looks of it, you could be better off recording in 4K using the main camera.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Of course, Samsung’s top of the line is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra which will come with an epic quad-camera setup that uses a 108MP main camera. Instead of a 64MP unit, the S20 Ultra uses a lower resolution 48MP telephoto camera that is mounted on a periscope mechanism. For this device, 8K video recording will be handled by the main sensor while the telephoto unit is expected to offer up to 10x optical zoom and up to 100x “Space zoom”, which is likely to be a hybrid zoom feature that uses both main and telephoto cameras.

More details will be revealed on 11th February 2020 during the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco.


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Alexander Wong