Which Takes Better Photos, S22 Ultra Or S21 Ultra?


Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s cameras are basically the same as the S21 Ultra, yet refined processing and a more powerful chip brought massive upgrades.

Samsung’s latest and greatest smartphone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, has camera specifications that are remarkably similar to last year’s Galaxy S21 Ultra. So, naturally, that leads to questions about which is better or if there is any noticeable difference at all. Thankfully, a few early photo samples have appeared to help sort that out.

In 2021, Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 Ultra, a game-changing smartphone that moved beyond the hype of the 100 times Space Zoom of the Galaxy S20 Ultra to provide an optical telephoto lens that offers ten times zoom. The digital zoom capability improved as well, and the 20 to 30 times zoom proved helpful sometimes, but those images are softer than the optical zoom. In addition, the Macro and Night Mode, along with the expected solid performance in good lighting, make the Galaxy S21 Ultra one of the best smartphones for photography.


Related: Does Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Have The Brightest Smartphone Display?

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S22 Ultra, it was a bit disappointing to see that the camera specs for the new model would be essentially the same as the S21 Ultra. Rumors suggested that somehow photography would be significantly improved despite the lack of notable camera hardware upgrades, implying significant image processing refinements. Recently, a couple of head-to-head challenges revealed the truth, with photos from the older Galaxy S21 Ultra appearing right beside those of the S22 Ultra. Noted Samsung leaker Ice universe tweeted a great series of pictures showing how much the hybrid zoom has improved with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It provides a generally sharper image, even capturing fine details of branches and brickwork that the Galaxy S21 Ultra blurs and distorts at that zoom level. A video from Danny Winget’s YouTube channel demonstrates an overall improvement that is more noticeable in certain situations.

Galaxy S22 Ultra Camera Vs. S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in white

The most dramatic improvements appear in zoom photos, with much greater detail apparent in the shots from the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Even the 100 times zoom is usable sometimes, and 20 to 30 times zoom rivals the quality of optical telephoto shots. Nighttime photos are better even without using Night Mode, and lens flares are reduced as well as noise. Samsung has been accused of over-processing images, but the latest examples show natural-looking scenes. It’s very impressive.

It’s as if Samsung took the year to improve its software rather than devoting the entire budget to enhancing the image sensor. Perhaps the Galaxy S22 Ultra has borrowed a page from Google’s Pixel playbook, keeping essentially the same cameras while improving photography with better and more advanced software capabilities driven by a higher performance processor. How the photo quality is achieved doesn’t matter to the end-user, as long as the result looks as good in the picture as it does in real life. Samsung seems to have found a perfect balance this year with the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Next: Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Has Already Been Tortured And Drowned

Source: Ice universe/Twitter, Danny Winger/YouTube

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