Galaxy S9 Camera Could Leapfrog Everything with This

When the Galaxy S9 ships next year, Samsung's future phone is expected to follow the lead of the Galaxy Note 8 by adding a dual-camera setup to at least one model. But Samsung may have something else up its sleeve that would jazz up its flagship phone's rear shooter — a camera with a variable aperture.

The Note 8's cameras hint at what Samsung's planning for the Galaxy S9. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: The Note 8's cameras hint at what Samsung's planning for the Galaxy S9. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

That's according to a report out of China from a site called Vtechgraphy, which contends that the Galaxy S9 will adjust the aperture, increasing the size to let in more light in dark settings. The report seems to suggest that the adjustment will happen automatically, though there may be a setting that will give users manual control over the aperture.

The report, picked up and translated by Neowin, claims that the Galaxy S9 will have a single lens while the S9 Plus will get the dual rear lens treatment. The S9's camera would have an aperture of f/1.5 — significant since the widest aperture on an smartphone is currently f/1.6, as seen in phones like the LG V30 and (soon) the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. The second lens on the S9 Plus would have an aperture of f/2.4, according to the report.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S9 Rumors: Everything We Know So Far

Presumably, a variable aperture would allow the S9's lens to adjust between the f/1.5 and f/2.4 sizes depending on the lighting.

A camera phone offering a variable aperture is not as out-there a concept as a single rumor report on the Internet might have you conclude. In fact, Samsung already introduced such a phone last week.

That would be the W2018, a flip phone that's part of the high-end W series Samsung sells in China. As reported by GizmoChina, the phone's specs include such features as a metal-and-glass body, a dual display and... a camera with an f/1.5 aperture. When there's enough light, the report says, the W2018 switches to an f/2.4 aperture.

Samsung's W2018 flip phone features a camera with an adjustable aperture. (Credit: Samsung)

(Image credit: Samsung's W2018 flip phone features a camera with an adjustable aperture. (Credit: Samsung))

The W2018 sounds like a limited edition phone, so it's unclear if Samsung could produce that camera on a scale needed for its flagship S9 lineup or whether that component is too costly for a mass-market device. Samsung could simply upgrade the S9's camera to match what it did with the Note 8 and call that an upgrade over this year's S8 lineup.

We could find out within a month just what Samsung has planned for the Galaxy S9. The company will reportedly preview the new phone at January's CES trade show before launching it in early 2018.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.