Update: The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus might also come with an improved 12MP camera — here's what we've heard
Samsung has shown off the potential for its 200-megapixel camera to capture super-sharp images, hinting at a big camera upgrade for the likes of the Galaxy S23.
Samsung posted a short video (opens in new tab) showcasing its 200MP ISOCELL HP1 camera sensor by snapping a photo of a cat and then blowing up that image to fit a 28 x 22-meter canvas that was hung off the side of a building.
Now we need to take into account that we’re seeing this through a YouTube video and not in person, but the image looked impressive. Details appear to be very crisp, with individual cat hairs picked out. This is something even cameras on some of the best phones can struggle with due to their lower megapixel counts.
So if the next flagship Galaxy S-series phone has this sensor then we could be seeing richly detailed shots that could enable Samsung to top our best camera phones list. After all, people do like snapping photos of their pets. But a big sensor is also beneficial for capturing more detail of pretty much any subject and can help with low-light photography.
However, it’s been common knowledge that in smartphones camera megapixel counts are far from the be-all and end-all. Rather image signal processing and computational photography are key in taking shots and rendering them in the best way possible. This means the likes of the Google Pixel 6 Pro with its 50MP main camera can deliver photos that beat the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 108MP sensor. And the same is true for Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max, which can deliver some fantastic photos from a 12MP main camera.
But it would appear the phone world is approaching a point where smart processing and algorithms can only do so much, and more information is needed to take smartphone photography to the next level.
Samsung's video definitely suggests that a 200MP main camera could be the key to unlocking more out of its Galaxy phone photography. And with rumours that the iPhone 14 Pro could use a 48MP main camera, it looks like megapixels now matter again.
For someone who has spent some time obsessing over smartphone cameras and getting to the point where I’m seeing diminishing returns generation to generation, it’s actually exciting to feel that a decent and distinct step forward in phone camera quality could be on the horizon.
I’m particularly interested to see what Samsung does. Traditionally, it’s tended to overcook color saturation for my tastes, meaning its Galaxy flagships would come in third place behind Google’s Pixel phones and iPhones.
But with the Galaxy S21 range and now the Galaxy S22 phones, Samsung has been more restrained in the image processing and the likes of the Galaxy S22 Ultra can deliver class-leading photos; it’s also a great gaming phone, but that’s another story.
With a 200MP sensor to potentially bring to the party, Samsung’s Galaxy S23 already has me excited for early 2023.