Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a hidden photography upgrade

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in front of bowl of lemons
(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra users looking for the best way to take and edit photos on their new phone will be delighted to hear that Lightroom-maker Adobe has announced its famous editing app will be the phone's default image editor.

With the Galaxy S23 Ultra's launch, the Lightroom mobile app is now integrated with ExpertRAW, Samsung's pro camera app that you can download for free on recent Galaxy S and Galaxy Z phones.

You could have downloaded Lightroom separately before now, and the ExpertRAW app would even have prompted you to do so. But having them joined together, as well as ExpertRAW being folded into the standard Galaxy Camera app, should make for a super-easy way to take and modify high-quality images.

ExpertRAW gives you much more control over camera settings than typical camera apps do, plus the option to capture images with those settings in the highest quality RAW format. Meanwhile, Lightroom offers RAW photo editing, not something you'd find in the Samsung Gallery app's built-in editing tools, which could mean you can finish up your photo without sending it off your phone if you wished.

If you want a larger display and a mouse and keyboard for your editing, you can instead set the ExpertRAW images to automatically transfer to the new Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, or one of Samsung's other new laptops.

Adobe and Samsung haven't mentioned if there's any cost to using Lightroom Mobile, an app with free and paid tiers. Hopefully, there's a free trial for new users like there was when the ExpertRAW app launched. Obviously, if you already have a Lightroom subscription, the mobile app's covered in that price. But having to pay $10 a month for the full range of tools may put off users taking their first step into advanced photography and image editing.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra's only just arrived, but with its new 200MP main and 12MP selfie cameras, as well as returning 12MP ultrawide and 10MP 3x and 10x zoom telephoto cameras, it's looking like a serious competitor for the top spot on our best camera phones guide. Samsung also touted the Galaxy S23 series' low-light photography upgrades, as well as new features like astro hyperlapse for taking long exposure images of the night sky.

As for the standard Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, you can still use ExpertRAW to take 50MP RAW images, although it doesn't sound like it'll get Lightroom integration like the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Their camera hardware, other than the same new 12MP selfie camera as the Ultra model, is the same as last year, but should still benefit from Samsung's software upgrades.

Our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review is in progress, so go check out what the phone can do. And you can bet on the fact we'll be taking deep dives into these phones' camera systems, including ExpertRAW and Lightroom editing.

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.