Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra rumor tips big camera upgrade

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera leak
(Image credit: Future)

Update: The Scene Optimizer camera mode is now so good in the Galaxy S22 Ultra that you can keep it on.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is on the way early next year, and Samsung is going to have to bring its A-game if its cameras are going to compete with the likes of the Google Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The latest Galaxy S22 rumor says Samsung's plan this time is to push the Ultra's talent at taking highly detailed images.

A new Twitter post from leaker IceUniverse claims that Samsung is making improvements to the 108MP camera mode on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. They mention this again in a reply to fellow leaker FrontTron, saying that there's apparently an "enhanced detail mode".

While Samsung has used 108MP cameras in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the Galaxy S20 Ultra, most of these phones' photos won't be taken at 108MP. These cameras default to taking 12MP images via a process called "pixel binning", which creates larger virtual pixels by grouping together the actual pixels. This process tends to result in better-lit images, although it can come at the expense of detail.

If Samsung is reworking this part of its camera, then it could point to a renewed focus on getting the ultimate detail out of photos taken on the S22 Ultra. It could be a smart direction to take, since rival phones tend to use lower resolution sensors. The iPhone 13 Pro Max for example, our current No. 1 pick of our best camera phones choices, uses 12MP sensors for all its cameras, while the new Google Pixel 6 Pro's most detailed sensor is its 50MP main sensor, which itself uses pixel binning to take 12.5MP images.

We have heard several other camera rumors for the S22 range, too. Apparently coming in a new waterdrop camera block design on the Ultra, the sensors are rumored to remain the same as the current Galaxy S21 Ultra in terms of resolution. That would be a 108MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide and two 10MP telephoto cameras with 3x and 10x magnification, respectively. These cameras are tipped to be using larger pixels and better sensors though.

As for the vanilla Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus (also possibly called the Galaxy S22 Pro), the cameras are tipped to be a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 12MP 3x zoom telephoto camera. The debate on whether any of the phones in the range will use under-display cameras like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 remains open, but it's seemingly unlikely.

In terms of actually seeing these phones launch, we had expected them to materialize at some point in January. However with the cheaper Samsung Galaxy S21 FE still yet to launch, a new rumor has suggested that the FE will take Samsung's January launch event, with the Galaxy S22 getting pushed back to February.

Update: a new Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus leak reveals all about the cameras.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.