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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 tipped for big surprise camera upgrade

A render of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, showing two Z Folds partially open and arranged in an X pattern
(Image credit: Smartprix/OnLeaks)

Update: A 50MP main camera has also been tipped again for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which could give it a significant photography boost.

With the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung could address one of the weaknesses of its predecessor with big upgrades to the triple-camera array.

That's according to prominent tech leaker Ice Universe (opens in new tab), who claims the next-generation Galaxy Fold will feature a 50MP main camera and add an extra magnification to the optical zoom, taking it to 3x. 

Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 featured a trio of 12MP lenses and offered 2x optical zoom. These weren’t exactly poor performers, but felt a little under-powered on a $1,799 handset.

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On paper, that’s still some distance behind Samsung's flagship Galaxy S22 Ultra with its quad-camera array, led by a 108MP main sensor. But Ice Universe reckons that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has an ace up its sleeve. 

“Samsung's strongest 3x camera ever, stronger than the S22 Ultra,” he added in a follow-up tweet (opens in new tab)

If so, that would be quite a move by Samsung. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is positioned as the ultimate device in Samsung's smartphone lineup. It's actually equipped with two telephoto lenses, one that offers a 3x zoom and the other with a 10x zoom, which produces some of the best close-ups you'll find on a camera phone. It's hard to believe Samsung is going to top that with the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Could it be better?

With foldable phones, there’s a dual pressure not to go overboard with the camera specs. 

First off, Samsung is very likely keen to avoid making its foldable phones too expensive, and maxing out the cameras could add a premium to an already pricey handset. But perhaps more important is the added bulk that more serious camera hardware adds. Folding phones are already weighty, and are rather thick when closed because they’re essentially two phones back to back.

That, according to Ice Universe, is the reason Samsung is wary of going all out on cameras for its foldables. 

“Don't expect dramatic changes in camera hardware from this foldable phone at less than 260 grams, Samsung's philosophy is to make the fold thin and easy to use,” the leaker tweeted (opens in new tab). If 260g is the actual weight, that’s an incredible achievement, incidentally — it would only be 20g heavier than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It's also 21 grams lighter than the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

“The camera configuration is enough, and the rest depends on software optimization,” said Ice Universe. And while that may sound like a cop out, you can get a long way on software optimization. 

On paper, multiple generations of Google Pixel had distinctly average camera sensor specs. But thanks to impressive image processing, they routinely ended up in lists of the best camera phones around. 

Likely in response to to somewhat disappointed tweets, Ice Universe backed Samsung’s purported strategy. “You want everything, you want a big camera, a 10x lens, a 5000mAh battery, and an S Pen,” they tweeted (opens in new tab). “You can do it, but it weighs 350g and has a thickness of 18mm. Folding phones are meaningless.”

Naturally, that doesn’t seem to be Samsung’s strategy. Recently, alleged 360-degree renders gave us our first look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and it’s looking very promising indeed. We’ll likely know more in the second half of the year when it’s expected to launch alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and, perhaps, the Galaxy Watch 5.  

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.