Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra just a got a weird camera downgrade

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra back in green showing cameras
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best camera phone you can buy right now, thanks to a fantastic combination of hardware and software that enables a huge range of camera-centric capabilities. One of those capabilities was the ability to shoot 8K video at 30fps, and it’s just been revealed that this particular feature has been silently downgraded.

Users on Reddit have noticed that the Galaxy S23 Ultra has suddenly lost the option that enabled high bitrate videos. That toggle was there to bump the video’s bitrate up to 100 Mbit/s, and allow even better quality in the process. Following the July security update, which comes with a bunch more camera-centric updates, it appears users are stuck recording 8K video at 80 Mbit/s.

Samsung hasn’t officially announced this change, but Android Police speculates that the high bitrate option could have been disabled for technical reasons. Apparently turning the toggle on could lead to some stuttering and jerkiness in the final video — which isn’t great for a phone lauded for its camera capabilities. 

Plus, considering how rare affordable 8K TVs are, it’s unlikely very many people are recording video in 8K in the first place. High bitrate 4K video recording is still possible, and at a boosted framerate of 60fps.

'Ridiculous' removal 

Then again, it’s not a great look for Samsung to pull a feature without explanation, even if it isn’t particularly popular. Some people do use it, as shown by how quickly the loss was noticed, and suddenly being stripped of that ability isn’t going to go down well. 

In fact, it hasn’t, and users on Reddit aren’t pleased about it. The move has been labeled “ridiculous," while one user noted that 8K video mode is the only way to bypass Samsung’s “horrible” over sharpening in 4K mode. Considering this change has happened without explanation just makes the pain sting even harder.

That’s especially true given how hard Samsung pushed the S23 Ultra’s 8K video capabilities in its marketing. Sure, it can still record in 8K, but without the extra quality boost afforded by the higher bitrate.

If technical problems are the explanation, then Samsung needs to come out and say so — and offer a timeline on when the stuttering issues may be resolved. In the meantime, unless a feature is causing catastrophic problems, it’s good practice to leave it where it is. Maybe add a warning about the potential downsides, so users can make an informed decision.

If you haven’t upgraded to Samsung’s July security patch, make sure you know what you’re getting in for. If you have, and are lamenting the loss of high bitrate 8K, then there’s not very much you can do about it. The most you can really do is hope Samsung sees some sense and restores that option in the next patch, or as part of the future One UI 6 upgrade.

More from Tom's Guide

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.