Samsung s22 ultra camera review part II

Before reading this part make sure you read the previous post
You can find that one here.

Ok so now that you are up to date let’s continue.

a new day a new try
As mentioned in the previous part loads of manufacturers claim to have killed the pro camera many times over and every generation it’s that time….. yeah just like this is our best phone ever…. Imagine someone going on stage and saying “yeah, we had to release something so we decided to make it less fast, take away some ports and it’s also slower…. Oh and one more thing… it’s more expensive “ no one would ever buy that one right?

so always take such claims with a huge mountain of salt because it’s never true in my experience. This is also how I approach the review of the camera system of the ultra 22.

For a huge chunk of money you get an awesome and fast phone (although the iPhone is faster) with a gorgeous screen and the s-pen. When I ordered I also got the Samsung galaxy buds pro which have become my favorite buds in just a few days. So the total package is very expensive but for a device I work on every day it’s worth it for me, but if you don’t use it like a sort of offline office it’s horrendously expensive.

Now in my case I always upgrade for one reason only… the camera system
Although I know it will never replace a real camera I do use the cameras a lot, during MTB rides, walking the dog, or simply when I don’t want to bring a normal camera, so my demands for the camera system are pretty high,  but I do know where to put my expectations 🙂 and that’s important for the next part.

108MP is rubbish
One of the main attractions is of course the 108MP sensor, insane details, crop till you drop etc. I’ve read all these claims, now let’s be clear if you zoom in on your phone the 108MP censor looks pretty good, you can see some problems but it’s more than decent. When looking at a properly calibrated monitor it’s really really bad. Now I have to be honest that I am not holding back when testing a camera, so also today I chose a situation with loads of small details, and man the Samsung really falls flat down on its face there with the 108MP sensor. It doesn’t matter if you use detail enhancer (seems to be a sort of slight HDR) or not the images look great without zooming in but as soon as you zoom in to 100% images can look pretty good when the subject is close by like a shot of my bike but as soon as the focus falls off the image changes from ok sharp to almost a painting and in detail mode anything that just moves a little bit in the wind gets a very obvious ghosting effect.

I’ll try some more 108MP shots in the coming weeks but for now I think the label “only in certain situations” is a good one, or just don’t use it if you’re in doubt.

12/10MP a different story
Now when we look at the binned options and other sensors the story does change A LOT

when you disarm the 108MP option the story really clears up to the positive side. Now don’t expect results anywhere near a modern or few years old budget SRL but that being said for a phone…. Wow I’m really impressed.

detail is clear, colors are not completely off the board (can be corrected with a colorchecker passport for example) and dynamic range is adéquate for most situations. And indeed lens flare on the main sensor is a lot less than on other cameras. I can actually say with confidence that from what I have worked with the Samsung does set a new standard in quality for the photos.

I still prefer the whole layout from my sony camera with the UI and shutterbutton but on 12MP it’s clear that as soon the light gets a bit more difficult the ultra 22 does win pretty easily. But…. It does come at a cost. The sony files are pretty clean and I would label them as RAW. Somehow I feel that the Samsung files are still processed. There is some ringing in small details and sometimes paintery areas can be found.  But hey it’s a phone.

This time I included a gallery with processed images like I normally post them on social media and I think it’s pretty clear that for social media the ultra 22 is just insane, four usable censors and I love the 3 and 10x zoom.

Also the software Samsung delivers is impressive with loads of extra options in portrait mode, Resampler etc. It’s not a replacement for Lightroom but it’s very clear Samsung is covering all the bases for social media posters. Add to this the impressive video performance and options to use a generous amount of external microphones and audio level meters and Samsung (like sony) knows what we need to create everything from text, photos to 8K video all on one device.

I strongly feel Samsung hit the nail on the head for influencers and social media enthousiasts and delivered an all in package that is very hard to beat. It’s a far cry from professional results but for what it is I never saw something that comes close. (Do remember I’m incredibly picky with images and shoot with both medium format as the a7riv from sony so my reference level is pretty extreme)

for walk around this is an amazing camera that can also make phone calls and more, the addition of the s-pen is genius and is used here almost daily to sign documents, assist with photo reviews and of course editing images quickly.

I do want to add some things
First of all its a bit of a let down that none of our chargers supports ultra fast charging on the ultra22. Even when connecting a MacBookpro powersupply the phone charges at fast which takes a long time, even my older phones always switched to max charging when using the more powerful chargers. Meaning my phone takes 2 hours to go from 15% to 100%. Also battery life is promised to be a full day but for me that means that at around 15:00 I’m already ready for the first top up. Which does last me the rest of the day. We did order the 45W Samsung charger and that one (as expected) does immediately switch on the super fast charging, we did order this charger because I wanted to make sure the phone wasn’t defective seeing we tried every charger in our house hold and none activated the max charging speed.

Also I’m seeing stripes when using the fingerprint sensor when starting the phone on all resolutions, luckily it’s only there so I hope it will be solved soon.

And finally
I love high resolution shots but prefer a good shot to a messy one. This is also why I was eager to test the 108mp censor. I do most editing on a 4K screen and 10/12 mp doesn’t really give you enough data to zoom in to see details. I would love to have 20-24MP on next generations (raw). Also not including the option for an extra SD card is a mistake I think. The cameras are capable of a lot but also eat up room. I opted for the 256GB version while I only need 128GB and use Lightroom all the time for storage. So I can imagine going away a week it will probably run into serious storage issues. I did see Samsung created some small USBc memory sticks but I don’t have one of those to test. But I think they would be a nice fit.

If you like to play with the originals you can download them here.