We’re finally approaching the much-anticipated release window for Samsung’s next flagship phones, the Samsung Galaxy S20 series. Breaking the naming convention this year, the S20 series hopes to be synonymous with the year that it is released in to eradicate any generational naming confusions.
Apart from the names though, basically everything about the new upcoming flagship phones has been leaked. We know exactly what the phones look like with Samsung’s new design language at the forefront of a new direction. With four cameras at the back in a rather strange configuration, the S20 phones will emulate the Galaxy A51 from the back.
We’re thrown back into familiar territory at the front though with a Note 10 styled camera cutout in the display. The internals have been nailed down by the leaks as well with the standard 2020 flagship specs coming to the phone including a Snapdragon 865 and a high-refresh rate display.
However, one area that has remained rather inconspicuous is the internal specifications for the camera system. While we do know the basic resolution and sensor sizes for the cameras, there are still some questions that need to be answered about this new camera setup. Thankfully though, a new leak has pointed us towards some fascinating revelations about the cameras on the Galaxy S20 series.
No optical zoom but Samsung hopes to achieve the same result by cropping a high-res image
This year, Samsung is hoping to release 3 Samsung Galaxy S20 devices. However, unlike last year, there won’t be a cheaper ‘E’ variant. Instead, the two standard models will act as the cheaper variants with the S20 Ultra being the top-of-the-line flagship.
We’ve already seen leaked specs for all three of these phones including their cameras, displays, batteries and processors. However, if you are still unaware of what’s coming, here’s a handy spec sheet for you:
As you can see, the Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with a 108 MP main camera sensor while the normal variants have 12 MP sensors. The S20 Ultra, with its high megapixel count will be able to achieve some serious zoom levels. Furthermore, the S20 Ultra is also rumored to have a periscope zoom lens to achieve those ridiculous 100x zoom results.
While the other two variants won’t come with such flashy hardware inside, don’t count them out just yet. According to a new leak, the second 64 MP ‘telephoto’ sensor will be playing a much bigger role in the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus.
The new leak comes from Ice Universe according to whom, the 64 MP sensor on the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 plus is a specialised sensor and will not be used for usual camera tricks like pixel-binning 4 images into 1 to produce 16 mp images. Instead, the sensor will be used for zooming purposes.
The telephoto sensor S5KGW2 of the S20 / S20+ is a special pure 64MP camera. It cannot be 4 in 1 combined into 16MP. It will be used for pixel cropping zoom and 8K video.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) January 29, 2020
As a 64 MP sensor has a pretty high resolution, this means cropped and zoomed images that will be almost identical to otherwise optically zoomed images. What this means is that while this is not exactly a zoom lens, it would be able to produce images that are just as crisp and detailed thanks to its ‘lossless zooming’.
8K video capture also possible on the Galaxy S20 series
The camera magic on the Galaxy S20 does not just end there though. According to Max Weinbach, the phones will also be capable of recording 8K video footage just like the Galaxy S20 Ultra. However, the Galaxy Ultra will be using its overpowered 108 MP sensor for 8K video capture. For 8K video capture, you need a camera with a resolution higher than 33 MP.
So, how will the other two S20 phones capture 8K with their 12 MP main sensors? They won’t. Instead, they’ll use the 64 MP camera sensor once again for video recording purposes as well. This way, all three Samsung Galaxy S20 phones will be capable of recording 8K video footage at 30 FPS.
The one thing I didn't go into detail about was the 64MP zoom camera. It's not optical zoom. Instead, it's just cropping in a bunch because it has a bunch of extra pixels. Will you notice the difference? Probably not.
It also means 8K won't look wonky out of a telephoto lens.
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) January 28, 2020
In some ways, you could say that the secondary 64 MP sensor is actually more important than the main 12 MP sensor on the Samsung Galaxy S20 and the S20 Plus.
Overall though, the Galaxy S20 series seems to be well on its way towards smartphone greatness. With 120 Hz displays, massive batteries, and a pretty innovative camera solution, the Galaxy S20 could prove to be the best all-round phone for 2020.
The Galaxy S20 series will be revealed at the Galaxy Unpacked event happening on February 11. According to rumors, a foldable device called Galaxy Z Flip will also be revealed at the event alongside the new Galaxy Buds Plus and the Galaxy Watch 2.