Samsung Galaxy S22 camera rumor looks like a downgrade — here’s why it’s not

Samsung Galaxy S22 camera
(Image credit: (Image credit: Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital))

It’s easy to assume that extra resolution means a better camera, but that’s not always the case. Fortunately it doesn’t sound like Samsung will be falling into that trap if this Galaxy S22 rumor is to be believed.

According to rumor-monger @FrontTron, the Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are going to come with a 50MP main camera lens, plus 12MP telephoto (3x zoom) and ultrawide lenses on the side. Though, Tron does note that the rumor should be taken with a grain of salt.

Compare that to the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus, which have 12MP main and ultrawide lenses, plus a 64MP telephoto shooter. If this rumor holds true, some could assume that the S22’s camera has been “downgraded”, so to speak, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Samsung already has a 50MP ISOCELL GN2 camera sensor that utilizes larger 1.4μm-sized pixels. Larger pixels means more light, and the opportunity for better overall quality — particularly in low-light conditions. 

That sensor was revealed back in February, so it’s not clear whether it will be the one used in the Galaxy S22 range. That’s assuming the rumor is true, and both phones really will come packing these specific camera specs.

We also have to consider the growing use of computational photography, which uses specialized software to process an image in the fractions of a second between you hitting the shutter button and it being saved. 

It's been used to great effect on both iPhones and Google Pixels, both of which have seemingly-unimpressive hardware compared to the likes of Samsung. Lowering camera resolution, if that is indeed the case, could be the first step in Samsung taking computational photography more seriously.

Of course we’re only talking about the S22 and S22 Plus here, not the S22 Ultra. Presumably the S22 Ultra will come packing an entirely different camera array, one that may have extra lenses and features like the Galaxy S21 Ultra that was released earlier this year.

It’s not clear what that camera would involve, but if the S22 rumor is anything to go by, then the S22 Ultra might not have the most straightforward upgrade. Though I do hope Samsung keeps the quad-lens camera setup, complete with the two optical telephoto lenses.

In any case, should this rumor prove true, it shows that Samsung isn’t just playing a numbers game with its phones. There have been rumors Samsung would be doing this, with extreme numbers like 200MP and 150MP thrown about the rumor mill. But so far the most we’ve seen in a Galaxy S is the 108MP lens featured in the Galaxy S21 Ultra and S20 Ultra.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but hopefully Samsung has figured out that big numbers don’t always work out. After all, in our testing we found that the best camera phone is the iPhone 12 Pro Max — a phone that limits its camera resolution to a seemingly-tiny 12MP.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.