More Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra zoom camera details surface

13 January 2021
Light needs less refractions to reach the sensor, making this the smartest periscope around.

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Nick Tagataka, 20 Jan 2021I see, so basically there's less light hitting the sen... moreYes, something like that. Actually, it's more that Samsung used a larger sensor, but did not compensate enough by using a much larger aperture.

For example, 150 units of light could fit through a hole of a specified size. After traveling the focal length and moving through a few refractions, only 100 units of light can hit the sensor of 100 sensor sites. Now Samsung increased the sensor sites to 186, there is STILL only 100 units of light. To match the previous equivalent focal length, the actual focal length has to increase, and now only 80 units of light can hit the 186 sensor sites.

This would be where Samsung hit a technical block. Increasing the hole size by 86% would need the creation of a new lens assembly, something that takes an established camera manufacturer years to make. Not to mention, it would significantly increase the size and weight, AND the cost of the lens assembly.

That's where they decided to cut corners: Increase the actual aperture a little bit, reduce the loss of light along the focal length (fewer elements/refraction), and pray that no one will notice uneven sharpness in the images and the software can kill most of the chromatic aberration.

This is why I'm very skeptical about the performance of the telephoto lens. Under poorer light, the 10x digital zoom of the main camera sensor may end up with better images than the optical zoom.

mooox, 17 Jan 2021Mate 40 Pro+ 8 MP sensor, 240 mm-equivalent f/4.4-aperture... moreI see, so basically there's less light hitting the sensor per area on S21 Ultra due to aperture being not large enough, and Samsung compensated for it by using a lot larger sensor. I stand corrected for the part where I said S21 Ultra "takes in more light" as it was inaccurate way of describing things from a technical standpoint, thanks for pointing it out.

  • Arte

DXOMark4Lyfe, 13 Jan 2021S21 Ultra will be the most powerful chip ever BUT only for ... moreNo it won't, you can root and bypass it.

Nick Tagataka, 17 Jan 2021I just did some calculations to verify whatever the claim t... morejust to add on to my earlier comment:
in all formulas, we are always talking about true focal length, not the equivalent.

equivalent focal length camera = (Diagonal distance of image area in the 35 mm camera (43.27 mm) / Diagonal distance of image area on the image sensor) × focal length of the lens assembly

you can use the above formula to calculate if you're that interested.

As you can see, if you increase the sensor size by 86%, you actually need to increase the actual focal length of the lens assembly by 86% to maintain parity... If you're curious, they use refraction etc to reduce the length of the lens assembly.

Nick Tagataka, 17 Jan 2021I just did some calculations to verify whatever the claim t... moreMate 40 Pro+
8 MP sensor, 240 mm-equivalent f/4.4-aperture lens

S21U
12 MP sensor, 240 mm-equivalent f/4.9-aperture lens

Notice, neither is a real 240mm, but "equivalent".
Read more here:
https://photographylife.com/equivalent-focal-length-and-field-of-view

When you have a larger sensor, you need a longer focal length, to reach the "equivalent" of a specified focal length.

f/stop = focal length / diameter of effective aperture

As someone calculated, S21U has a 86% larger sensor size (I did not verify). Simplying things, S21U basically something like (est) 30% longer focal length for its lens assembly.

The longer the lens assembly, the more light is lost. You need a much larger hole to provide the same amount of light that will eventually account for the light loss and hit the entire sensor.

For the S21, the actual aperture needs to be at least (est) 30% larger than than the Mate 40 Pro+ for it to match the amount of light that can be gathered. By your measurements, the S21U's actual aperture area is 31.17mm2 vs Mate 40 Pro+ 25.25mm2, or about 23% larger. Since it is not a large enough increase, there still won't be enough light hitting the sensor, as a result yes it points to the smaller aperture of F4.9

Hence you have indirectly confirmed that S21U is significantly worse at gathering light than Mate 40 Pro+.

mooox, 17 Jan 2021> Do you even understand that f stop only indicates an a... moreI just did some calculations to verify whatever the claim the anonymous user was making and I got the aperture diameters of 6.30mm and 5.67mm for S21U and Mate 40 Pro+'s 10x tele lens respectively. I see that you have a good knowledge of this topic (I'm not being sarcastic), could you enlighten me about why you say the aperture is SMALLER on S21 Ultra?

mooox, 17 Jan 2021> Do you even understand that f stop only indicates an a... moreActually let me correct myself a bit:
aperture is measured by f-numbers or f-stops, which is the ratio of the lens’ focal length divided by the effective aperture diameter. It is NOT a ratio calculated in relation to the sensor size.

Nick Tagataka, 13 Jan 2021S21 will feature a 86% larger sensor than P40 Pro+ (14.9mm2... moreYou are mistaken.
A camera system consists of the sensor + the lens assembly (which includes the aperture).
Even if Samsung increased the sensor site by 86%, they did not increase the aperture size, and let it drop by almost 100% (comparing to the sensor size).
Which is why in comparison, S21 ultra captures the same amount of light if not less than S20 ultra.

Anonymous, 14 Jan 2021Do you even understand that f stop only indicates an apertu... more> Do you even understand that f stop only indicates an aperture of a lens relative to the sensor size? Assuming both lenses capture the same horizontal field of view, a f4.9 lens sitting in front of 1/3.2" image sensor has a larger opening than a f4.4 lens in front of 1/4", therefore is capable of letting in more light. Samsung engineers aren't stupid, bruh.

Bruh, it's precisely in relation, that it tells you how bad the thing is. It tells you that the sensor site is bigger, but the aperture is small and it cannot supply enough light to light the sensor, hence it's rated at F4.9. Basically they are using a better sensor + OIS to compensate for smaller aperture. You won't get a much better image from the new phone (except in bright light), because the improvements have all been pulled back by the smaller aperture.

They are not stupid, but the marketing has convinced the stupid people out there that it is acceptable.

  • AnonD-973296

DXOMark4Lyfe, 14 Jan 2021you're the only one here embarassing yourself dude.. ... moreur claim is based on you?? the new king of stupidity has arrived people! and here he is

DXOMark4Lyfe, 14 Jan 2021meStop trolling please.

Anonymous, 14 Jan 2021Do you even understand that f stop only indicates an apertu... moreAmen to that, F stop only shows the ratio between the focal length and the diameter of the pupil. On top of that, many smartphone manufacturers seem to use "increase in sensor light sensitivity" and "increase in the amount of gathered light" interchangeably (e.g. Apple's product description page for iPhone 12 Pro Max).

  • Anonymous

Anonymous, 14 Jan 2021Do you even understand that f stop only indicates an apertu... moreWrong.
Aperture, is simply the diameter of the diaphragm. Your aperture is written as focal length divided by the ratio of focal length to aperture. So if you have a focal length of 50mm, and an aperture of f2, you can use these 2 pieces of information to work out the exact aperture in millimeters. 50/2 =25mm. Because of the severe crop factor of phones, phones (even zoomed in) have a focal length of around 4-10mm depending on the sensor size, the diameter of a wide angle lens will let in more light at the same diameter as a telephoto lens. So, a 10mm f4 lens needs a 2.5mm aperture, whereas a wider 4mm lens will need only a 1mm diameter for the same f4 aperture. I don't know the exact focal lengths and crop factors on phones, but I DO know that sensor size is irrelivant to your aperture (in focal length ratio aka f/stop) an f4 lens will always leave in the same amount of light (assuming identical perfect conditions) as an f4 lens. You will never be able to make an f4, and an f5.6 lens match in light transmission (again, in the same perfect conditions) assuming you don't use nd filters or light blocking coatings on the glass. I used different numbers to you here, but the same maths applies.

AnonD-973296, 14 Jan 2021ur already making claims before anyone has even tested it a... moreyou're the only one here embarassing yourself dude..

i know im right, everyone knows it, you do too. E2100 will be the new thermal throttle king in 2021.

sustained performance will be the worst on any exynos chip, ever.

Nick Tagataka, 14 Jan 2021And your claim is based on?me

  • Anonymous

mooox, 14 Jan 2021Do you know anything about photography? Did you get your kn... moreDo you even understand that f stop only indicates an aperture of a lens relative to the sensor size? Assuming both lenses capture the same horizontal field of view, a f4.9 lens sitting in front of 1/3.2" image sensor has a larger opening than a f4.4 lens in front of 1/4", therefore is capable of letting in more light. Samsung engineers aren't stupid, bruh.

Anonymous, 13 Jan 2021the note 20 ultra is 5 months old, not sure where you think... moreCalm down buddy. I never said anything about the Note 10+ as I have never had any desire for it. Simply stating what I read about the positive reviews, not that I've read everything ever published about every thing ever invented.
Yeah, I embellished the newness of the phone, but it is still within the 1 year of warranty so why not utilize it instead of complain?
And for you being this amazing photographer, that's awesome and I wish you the best of luck and what not, but don't tell me what my eye's perceive as better pictures.

NAND-roid, 13 Jan 2021Blablablablabla Gsmarena is full of tech engineers bashing... moreI used to defend Samsung when engineers built their phones. These days, it looks like marketing and finance team tells the engineer what to do instead.

Artificially limiting technological developments so there is something new to be introduced the next 3 years. For these big companies, they have at least a 3 year road map of what they are going to do or sell. 80% of phone features are planned 2 to 3 years in advance. It is very obvious that Samsung now operate on a "do not exceed $X in costs for each phone" model rather than "innovate the XXXX out of the phone at all costs".

Nick Tagataka, 14 Jan 2021Nope, P40 Pro+ captures LESS light in this case because the... moreDo you know anything about photography? Did you get your knowledge from the vegetable counter in Walmart?

Larger sensor does not capture more light in a camera system. The amount of light hitting the sensor is limited purely by the aperture. A larger sensor cannot capture what does not exist.

What a large sensor can provide for, is more accurate light information without distortion (commonly seen as noise in photos). When there is less perceivable noise, the software can boost sensor sensitivity to the light.

Small apertures in a phone camera system will have diffraction limitation issues. The entire science is explained online. Hence, the smaller the aperture, the worse the photo quality. There is no way around it. Its the physics of light.

Boosting sensitivity while reducing aperture is what a money grubbing company would do, since it significantly reduces the costs of building larger aperture systems.

Whoever designing the first Huawei phone camera systems is definitely a photographer with extremely in depth scientific knowledge. They actually focused on increasing sensor size while keeping aperture big.

  • Anonymous

TheLastOracle, 13 Jan 2021You're incorrect. It is actually a Zoom lens, and that... moreYou managed to make yourself sound like a fool with your first 10 words.

The industry does not call it a "zoom". Marketing does.

The camera has a fixed telephoto lens. That's a fact.
But, software provides the interpolation to give the zoom impression.

S21 Ultra has a 240mm equivalent telephoto but a 11mm wide angle. In theory, it can provide a 21x magnification. Why don't they call it so?

Hint: they still follow photography convention. Hence, I'm not sure where you read about phones having zoom, you may want to stop reading those rubbish sites.