We expect to see the Samsung Galaxy S23 appear around February, bringing with it a series of camera updates – updates that are shown in what could be the first image captured by the phone we’ve seen.
This photo comes from well-known informant Ice Universe on the Chinese social media site weibo (opens in new tab) (through Galaxy Club (opens in new tab) and GSMArena (opens in new tab)). It’s hard to say what it’s portraying, but what we do know is that it was taken at 16x magnification and then cropped.
The photo taken with a 200MP camera sensor (tipped to appear on the Galaxy S23 Ultra) is compared to a photo taken with a 108MP camera sensor (which we know is installed on the Galaxy S22 Ultra) – and you can clearly see the the sharper the 200MP version is.
This needs to be done in the context of some tweets we saw from Ice Universe yesterday, which detailed improvements to low-light shooting and increased telephoto capabilities that are supposed to come with the Galaxy S23 Ultra phone next year.
Add this image and it seems likely that the informant has managed to obtain a prototype unit, or at least is talking to someone who has. the verdict is that this is “the biggest improvement to Samsung’s flagship mobile phone in five years” – in terms of camera features, anyway.
However, we may not get such a promising update on the standard Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus handsets. From what we’ve heard so far, the rear cameras on these phones are likely to match those on current models.
Analysis: the numbers game
Based on this admittedly very limited view of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera capabilities, it looks like it goes above and beyond what the Galaxy S22 Ultra can do – and the current phone is already pretty impressive when it comes to the images and videos it can capture. .
If indeed the Galaxy S23 Ultra makes the leap to a 200MP main camera sensor, as rumored, that will be welcome. As we’ve written before, the number of megapixels is far from the only factor to consider when evaluating the quality of a smartphone camera.
The size of these pixels – how much light they can let in – is also crucial, as is the AI processing applied to the captured images and clips (Ice Universe says AI processing was turned off for the image posted to Weibo).
Google Pixel phones are known to excel at image processing – remember the Google Pixel 7 ‘only’ has a 50MP main camera sensor, but it still manages to take excellent photos. In other words, wait until you see real-world footage and video samples before evaluating a specific phone’s camera performance.