I’ve been using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for nearly a year — 5 camera upgrades the Galaxy S24 Ultra needs

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra render
(Image credit: Technizo Concept/YouTube)

I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra since its release earlier this year. Through that span of time, I’ve been able to test other flagships to see how their cameras compare — but none of them have yet to convince me they’re any better.

That’s why our Galaxy S23 Ultra review declared that Samsung's premiere flagship was best camera phone around, and nothing's changed to alter our opinion. For starters, the S23 Ultra is one of the few phones with true manual controls not only for photos, but also for video. Secondly, the quality from all of its cameras is outstanding — proving it’s great at telephoto and low light photography. 

All of this means great news for the forthcoming Galaxy S24 Ultra. Samsung will presumably upgrade the cameras in next year's Galaxy S24 Ultra in a substantial way, but it can also learn from what its rivals have done with their respective phones. 

In the past year, Google showed us how the power of editing could elevate how we produce photos on the Pixel 8 Pro, while phones like the iPhone 15 and OnePlus Open were able to leverage their own interpretations of lossless zoom to achieve greater results with their telephoto cameras.

I have high expectations for the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, so I think there are ways Samsung could make it a better camera phone. Here’s what I think Samsung should do.

Incorporating AI-assisted editing tools

GIF animation of Best Take.

(Image credit: Google)

I have to admit that Google made the biggest advancements in what can be achieved in post — you know, the stuff you can do after taking a photo or video. All of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera rumors point at a hearty upgrade with the hardware, but there’s little around camera specific features.

That’s why I’d love to see more in-camera editing options with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. There are basic photo and editing tools with the native gallery app on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it would help immensely if Samsung could introduce features assisted by artificial intelligence. I’m not saying to rip off the Best Take or Magic Editor features that found in Google's Pixel 8 phones, but I think implementing a set of AI-assisted features unique to Samsung would strengthen the S24 Ultra's claim as a premier camera phone for enthusiasts.

Simultaneous recording on all cameras

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera tips and tricks.

(Image credit: Future)

Most people don’t appreciate all that’s going on behind the scenes when a phone captures a photo or video, but having used the Galaxy S23 Ultra as a backup camera for video shoots, I would love for the Galaxy S24 Ultra to gain the ability to capture photos or video simultaneously on all rear cameras.

As a videographer, having multiple camera angles to choose from helps when stitching video. However, recording at 4K resolution is taxing on a phone, so I hope that it’s something that the Galaxy S24 Ultra could do no matter what chipset ends up powering that phone — a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip or Samsung’s own homebrewed Exynos 2400.

Currently, there’s a director’s view mode on Galaxy S23 Ultra that lets you simultaneously record video with the front-facing camera and any one of the rear cameras — but not the option to record on all of them at the same time.

In addition to giving video editors more angles to choose from in post, Samsung could also incorporate some kind of multi-cam editing tool that could stitch together a video from the clips it captures from all the cameras.

Flatter color profile

This one’s not really new, as many camera phones released after the Galaxy S23 Ultra have the option to shoot video at a lower contrast. However, I think a flatter color profile option for shooting video would certainly add to the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s credentials.

I religiously use the Pro Video mode of the Galaxy S23 Ultra to tone down the contrast of the videos I capture, but I'm never able to achieve that flatter look that V-Log offers with my Panasonic Lumix S5 mirrorless camera. By enabling the Galaxy S24 Ultra to record video at a flatter color profile, it would give me more control over color correcting the footage in post.

Telephoto astrophotography

Very recently, I’ve been dabbling in astrophotography and cannot tell you how much more detail I’m able to see from dedicated telescopes with zoom lenses. There’s no comparison against the astrophotographs I capture with some of today’s flagship cameras. Just look at the gallery above between the Pixel 8 Pro and Dwarf II smart telescope.

However, you can bet that Samsung intends on continuing to be the telephoto king. Even though the rumors hint to Samsung scaling the Galaxy S24 Ultra down to a 5x optical zoom, it sounds like the phone maker be leveraging its own pixel binning recipe to still match (or even improve) the 10x optical zoom. Rather than simply capturing speckled stars in the night sky, it would be better if Samsung leverages the zoom camera to capture whole galaxies and nebulas in the night sky.

Clearer audio recording with Bluetooth earbuds

Our reviewer testing the Google Pixel Buds Pro's active noise cancellation in his child's playroom

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

One of the coolest features that I discovered in my GoPro Hero12 Black review was that action camera's ability to record clearer audio by leveraging the microphones on my wireless earbuds. If you vlog a lot on a phone, the audio still manages to sound clear — but if you move farther away, it tends to sound distorted and distant.

It would be awesome if the Galaxy S24 Ultra could somehow pair with a pair of Bluetooth earbuds and record clearer audio through the built-in mics of the earbuds. This would eliminate the need to buy a dedicated wireless microphone system if you intend on using the phone a lot for video.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.

  • mhartman.art
    I completely agree on the LOG profile. When Samsung released its own cameras, like the NX line, (since discontinued) it offered users to essentially dial in a flatter LOG-type profile, but it never offered a dedicated Samsung LOG profile that could be recognized in editing software like Vlog, Slog, Clog, etc.

    What this tells me is that while Samsung is capable of and already understands the use of flat profiles and how some users definitely do desire that in their workflow, it historically has never been a focus point for the imaging sector of their company, even when they produced pro-level DSLMs, that at the time were a force to reckon with. Then again, this was some years back, 2013-16, and since the reigns of the division have new blood at the helm. And obviously the technology and demand evolves over time. So who knows?

    One thing I have noticed is that if you bring in your S23U HDR-10 footage into DaVinci Resolve, it does in fact come in with a "flat" profile, reminding me of the Gen 4 film curve from BMD cams. So the videos you're watching on your S23U that you shot on your S23U in HDR10 are getting a viewable Rec709 (or Rec2020) conversion LUT automatically applied to them so you're not viewing the natively flat version, but it appears to be baked with a flat profile of sorts.

    I also shoot pro video. I've been impressed with Samsung's native "Pro Mode" photo and video features. The app gives you a ton of manual control, a histogram, focus peaking, composition guides and a level. That's impressive for a native camera app.

    I do agree Samsung needs to take the next logical step and offer a dedicated LOG profile to compete with iPhone's prores/LOG via the new BMD's camera app and obviously Filmic Pro. The color bit depth is there. Just develop and enable it. It's a little nerve racking. Samsung has the goods and smarts to compete here, I'm just not sure they have the will, especially judging from past indicators. This is not a mainstream feature many people would even know to want. General users would see the flat profile image and think their camera is "broken".
  • sonopil
    While I agree with your article, I would prefer some more QoL upgrades for the Samsung cameras. One thing that I've seen Apple do really well is switching inbetween cameras while recording video. I have noticed that on my S23U, once I start recording in 1x zoom in the native camera app, I am basically locked into using that sensor without the phone being able to switch between them (e.g. going from 1x to 0.6x).
    While it is entirely possible that there is a option for this buried somewhere in the settings, I would prefer that it could do it innately, with an option to disable this.
    Interestingly enough, Snapchat and such media apps have this feature integrated, where I can record a video and visibly see the image shift as it goes from the 1x sensor to the 3x and subsequently the 10x while zooming.