Whether we’re soaking in the scenery in a place we’ve always wanted to visit, or watching our child take her first steps, in these unforgettable moments, the first thing we reach for is our camera. You may be wondering, however, which type of camera would be best for each situation – from capturing vast landscapes in frame to focusing on specific objects.
While DSLRs have long been viewed as some of the best cameras for taking high-quality photos, even their staunchest fans would admit that there are some downsides. DSLRs can be bulky and heavy, and they require a variety of lenses – from wide angle to telephoto – to capture various scenes. It’s important to keep that in mind when using a DSLR because the scene you’re capturing will look different depending on the angle of your lens.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camera combines four different lenses – Ultra Wide, Wide-angle, and 3x and 10x telephoto zoom – into one powerful, highly portable package. How does the smartphone’s feature-packed shooter compare to a DSLR? To answer that question, Samsung Newsroom enlisted the help of a professional photographer. Read on to find out how the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s landscape photos compared to those taken with both full-frame and APS-C crop sensor DSLRs.
Picking the Perfect Lens for the Scene
As mentioned above, even when photographing the same subject, different lenses can produce completely different results. If you understand the characteristics and field of view of each lens and utilize them appropriately, it becomes easy to get the photos you want. By combining four of the most frequently used lenses out there, the Galaxy S21 Ultra adds new levels of ease and convenience to mobile photography.
Once you launch the smartphone’s camera, you’ll see four tree-themed lens icons at the bottom of the screen. The one on the far left is the 13mm Ultra Wide lens. It features a 120-degree field of view, which places an exceptionally large area in the camera’s frame. To its right is the default 24mm Wide-angle lens, which is great for capturing vast landscapes and wide objects.
Next up are the camera’s telephoto lenses, which are perfect for capturing subjects that are far away. With a narrower field of view than their wide-angle counterparts, they allow you to zoom in on subjects and snap stunning shots. The 3x telephoto lens is ideal for focusing on a specific part of a given scene, while the 10x telephoto lens captures a level of detail that highlights objects in the scene that you may not have noticed before.
The Ultra Wide Lens: Fit Everything Into a Single Shot
To test out the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Ultra Wide lens, the photographer chose to photograph a merry-go-round in a local park. The lens allowed them to fit the entire ride in one shot – from its elaborate gold decorations to its majestic white horses.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Ultra Wide lens easily captured the periphery of the space with a field of view that was comparable to a DSLR.
Ultra-wide-angle lenses allow us to capture images that offer a fuller view of a scene without looking cramped. Whereas photos taken with conventional ultra-wide-angle lenses often feature distortion at their edges, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s lens addresses this issue with a function that automatically reduces distortion to ensure a high-quality photo.
▲ The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Ultra Wide lens (left) captures more area than its wide-angle lens (right).
The Wide-Angle Lens: Capture the Scene as You See It
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Wide-angle lens is optimized to capture spacious scenes with minimal distortion.
▲ A comparison of photos taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Wide-angle lens, a full-frame DSLR, and a crop-sensor DSLR with a wide-angle (24-70mm) lens.
As you can see in the images above, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Wide-angle lens offers a field of view that’s as wide as a DSLR. Its 108MP sensor allowed the photographer to snap a sharper, more detailed image. It’s an image that captures this ride’s true colors thanks to the camera’s ability to optimize key settings like exposure and light sensitivity.
Speaking of optimizing settings, the Galaxy S21 Ultra also makes it easy to find the best possible composition for your scene with convenient features like ‘Shot suggestions’. When you turn on the function, a circle indicating the optimal point upon which to center your photo instantly appears on the screen to help you snap the perfect picture.
▲ A comparison of photos taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Ultra Wide (left) and Wide-angle lenses.
3x and 10x Telephoto Lenses: Crystal Clear Close-Ups
Wide-angle lenses widen the camera’s field of view to capture more aspects of a given scene. Telephoto lenses, on the other hand, do the opposite – narrowing the camera’s field of view to make faraway objects appear closer.
▲ A comparison of photos taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 3x telephoto lens, a full-frame DSLR, and a crop-sensor DSLR with a telephoto (70-200mm) lens.
How did the Galaxy S21 Ultra stack up when photographing subjects that were farther away? Once its angle was adjusted to focus on the subject, the smartphone’s 3x telephoto lens produced a photo that boasted considerably more depth than those that were taken with the DSLRs. The fact that the 3x telephoto lens featured a deeper depth of field than the other cameras enabled it to fully focus on its subject. This allowed the lens to capture the colors of the park in a way that was crisp and clear.
▲ A comparison of photos taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 10x telephoto lens, a full-frame DSLR camera, and a crop-sensor DSLR with a telephoto (200mm) lens.
The photographer found that the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 10x telephoto lens was perfect for capturing the quiet beauty of these colorful steps. Both the writing on the steps and the cracks in the rocks were captured in exquisite detail. The 10x lens features a narrower field of view than its 3x counterpart, which allows you to photograph small, distant subjects as if they were right in front of you.
▲ (From left) Photos taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s telephoto lens, both with and without a tripod.
If you’ve tried taking photos with a telephoto lens on a DSLR, you’ll know that the higher the magnification of your telephoto lens, the more unstable it becomes as you zoom in. A tripod can help address this issue, but if you don’t have one, your pictures are likely to come out blurry. With the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s telephoto lenses, you don’t need a tripod to snap a stable shot. That’s because the lenses feature a built-in image stabilization function that ensures that images remain sharp when photographing faraway objects.
A remarkable camera – including four lenses, a 108MP sensor, 10x optical zoom, and image stabilization – is but one of the many innovations that make the Galaxy S21 Ultra a phone worth falling for. Click here to learn everything you need to know about the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the other devices in the Galaxy S21 series.