Samsung Galaxy S20 blasted for camera issues, Samsung promises update

iPhone 12 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra
(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 range, upon first announcement, took great pains to show off its camera systems to the world. From the huge 108MP sensor and 100x space zoom feature on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, down to the still-impressive S20, all the phones use the same advanced autofocus technology.

The S20 lineup was designed to deliver the best camera phones on the market, but even before the phone is set to land on shelves, the range's camera software is receiving flack from many early reviews. 

For several outlets, the jumpy focus-finderis said to struggle to identify what it's looking at, sometimes failing to do so altogether. Meanwhile the image processing is said to be "aggressive" by publications such as The Verge, smoothing out skin to the point of oversaturation.

In a statement, Samsung wrote the following:

“The Galaxy S20 features a groundbreaking, advanced camera system. We are constantly working to optimize performance to deliver the best experience for consumers. As part of this ongoing effort, we are working on a future update to improve the camera experience.”

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra iPhone 11 Pro

How does the phone stack up against the iPhone 11 Pro? (Image credit: Future)

How bad is it? Well, it's bad enough that Samsung is already working on an update to the camera software before the phone is even on shelves. Oh dear. 

Although we did not encounter serious issues during our initial testing, we've been keeping an eye on the phone over the last few weeks, and we can confirm we have found some jumpiness compared to the S20 Ultra's chief rival, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Check out editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer's findings below:

When trying to focus on a mini arcade machine up close, the Galaxy S20 Ultra was definitely slower to focus than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Samsung phone focus was jumpy, while the iPhone’s focus was practically instant and smooth.

However, we didn’t notice an issue when trying to snap some photos of a colleague a couple of feet away. The Galaxy S20 Ultra seems to have more of a problem with close-up or macro shots. 

To test this, we've also got two shots to compare side-by-side in the same lighting conditions: one from the iPhone 11 Pro Max and another from the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. Check out our findings below:

You can see Samsung's jumpy focusing errors in the footage above, and the soft-focus background when comparing the two images side-by-side. As Samsung seems to be offering an update to fix the problem, we can determine it's obviously a software rather than a hardware issue. 

Unfortunately, we have not been given a timing on the patch. However, with Samsung's flagship taking on water, we can imagine its dev team is working hard to patch up these issues as soon as possible. Otherwise, Samsung could be in real trouble if these camera issues impact the sales of an otherwise excellent range of phones. 

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Matt Evans currently writes about health and fitness for Fit & Well, focusing on exercise and nutrition. Prior to that, he was a writer and editor at Tom's Guide, covering gaming, wearables, and phones. His work has also appeared on MSN, The Daily Mirror, Bandcamp Daily, Birmingham Business Journal, and more.