The Galaxy S20’s telephoto camera is missing a key feature (report)

Galaxy S10e
The Samsung Galaxy S10e. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Of the cameras rumored to be present on the Galaxy S20 series, the 3x 64MP telephoto sensor has been overshadowed by the 100x “Space Zoom” sensor believed to be on the S20 Ultra. However, the telephoto sensor is making the rumor rounds again, and could have a unique quirk that may divide photography fans.

Ice Universe, a prominent and reliable leaker, posted the tweet below, which states that unlike many modern smartphone cameras, the 64MP camera on the standard S20 and S20 Plus cannot be used to photography at smaller resolutions.

Lots of cameras use what’s called “pixel binning” to combine multiple pixels together to capture a single larger pixel. This is useful for photography of poorly-lit subjects as it captures more of the available light, and also allows you take take a greater number of lower quality images more easily without filling up your phone’s storage.

But this system apparently isn’t present on the 64MP camera Samsung is fitting on two out of three S20 series phones. Which is a shame for people who plan to use the 3x optical zoom telephoto mode since the only way to zoom in on a specific part of an image at maximum optical magnification will be to crop the image.

Joining the 64MP camera (at least according to multiple rumors and leaks) is a 12MP main wide sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, and a time-of-flight sensor on the S20 Plus only. The S20 Ultra gets far better 108MP main and 44MP ultra-wide sensors, but its telephoto camera, although apparently capable of 10x optical zoom, is only 48MP instead.

If there’s more you want to know about the next Galaxy S phone, then have a read of our Galaxy S20 hub, which has all the news, rumors and leaks we’ve heard so far about these devices.

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.