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Galaxy S9 User Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos

How to Use Optical Zoom on the Galaxy S9+

Among Samsung’s latest smartphones, the Galaxy S9+ features dual cameras, a feature it shares with the Note 8. The two rear shooters enable some useful photography features such as Live Focus (Samsung’s take on the portrait modes in other smartphones) and 2x optical zoom.

Like many competing dual-camera devices, the rear camera on the Galaxy S9+ pair doesn’t technically zoom. Rather, to scale up to 2x, the phone switches from the standard lens to a telephoto with a closer perspective. Think two lenses with fixed but different focal lengths.

MORE: Galaxy S9 Camera Guide: How to Use All the New Features

Fortunately, it’s very easy to use optical zoom on the Galaxy S9+. All it takes is a tap.—Adam Ismail

1. Open the camera.

2. Tap the 2x button in the bottom right of the viewfinder. The S9+ camera defaults to no zoom, but pressing this button changes to the telephoto lens, which has 2x the optical zoom of the standard lens.

3. Press the same button to return to the normal perspective. The button will change to 1x when you are in 2x mode.

4. If you’d like to digitally zoom between 1x and 2x, or past 2x up to 10x, make an expanding motion with two fingers on the viewfinder. A slider will appear toward the bottom of the screen that will show you how far you’ve zoomed in, and you can pinch to reverse the effect.

Note that the final step is not optical zoom, like changing between 1x and 2x. The cameras on the S9+ do not support variable zoom, so when changing to any value beyond 2x, the camera will digitally expand the image, as any single-lens camera any other phone would. This helps you pull in closer, though you will sacrifice fidelity the further you zoom.