Huge Samsung Galaxy Note 20 leak reveals cameras for both phones

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Plus render
(Image credit: OnLeaks/Pigtou)

The Galaxy Note 20 Plus is getting a camera upgrade and should improve upon the Galaxy S20 Ultra's ambitious shooter. The S20 Ultra's 108MP main sensor could capture extraordinary detail, but often struggled to focus on objects close up. Fortunately, not only is that optic rumored to be returning for the Galaxy Note 20 Plus, but the company may have a solution in store for that pesky focusing issue.

Camera details for both the Note 20 and Note 20 Plus have been uncovered by Twitter user @Kuma_Sleepy, via NotebookCheck. According to the tweet, the standard Note 20 will merely repeat the trio of optics used in the S20 and S20 Plus, sans the time-of-flight sensor. That translates to a 12MP (ƒ/1.8) primary lens, 64MP (ƒ/2.0) telephoto lens with 3x lossless zoom, and a 12MP (ƒ/2.2) ultrawide lens.

The Note 20 Plus, though, could be different. For that model, @Kuma_Sleepy suggests Samsung will carry over the S20 Ultra's main 108MP (ƒ/1.8) shooter, as well as the same 12MP ultrawide camera found in all S20 variants.

However, the S20 Ultra's 48MP telephoto won't make the jump to the range-topping phablet. Instead, the rumor is that the Note 20 Plus will receive a 12MP sensor behind its telephoto instead, alongside a laser autofocus system to assist that 108MP sensor in locking onto near subjects.

On paper, that 12MP telephoto might seem a lot less impressive than the 48MP offering in the S20 Ultra. Yet, in practice, high megapixel counts only get you so far, especially when most smartphone camera sensors bin image sensor pixels together to let in more light regardless. Under normal circumstances, the S20 Ultra's 108MP camera merges every 9 pixels into one which produces — wait for it — a 12MP image.

That's not to say it isn't handy to have the ability to capture such a high-resolution shot when the situation calls for it. With the S20 Ultra's main sensor tuned to 108MP mode, you can keep cropping into the center of an image seemingly forever before you begin to notice any blurriness. The results are impressive, yet on the flip side, you miss out on most of the phone's post-processing abilities, because it's not repurposing that wealth of information collected to selectively improve portions of the frame; it's simply spitting out what it sees, with minor alterations.

Overall, the Note 20's camera repertoire won't be massively different from that of the S20 family, and that's keeping in tradition with the strategy Samsung has taken for years now. The Note series is known for taking camera technologies introduced in the Galaxy S range and tweaking them for a modest improvement. Given that the S20's camera exhibited a lot of promise but struggled to deliver in every instance, the upcoming Note devices might just be able to finally realize that potential.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.