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Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is available to buy now along with the rest of the Galaxy S21 lineup, represents the top of what the corporate can supply in a cellphone, with its highly effective processor, huge vibrant display and 5G connectivity. But it surely’s the digital camera setup I am notably keen on, and it is right here that the S21 Extremely pushes the boat out. There are 4 lenses on the again: a normal zoom, an ultrawide lens, a 3x optical zoom and a 10x optical zoom. Along with the large 108-megapixel decision of the principle digital camera, the cellphone can obtain an enormous 30x zoom. (Listed below are all of the new Galaxy S21 Ultra camera features and how one can use them.)

TL;DR: It is that zoom that’s the hero right here. Whereas outcomes at 30x are nonetheless fairly poor, the cellphone’s potential to take photographs at 10x optical zoom means it might take photos which can be merely not attainable on rival flagships such because the iPhone 12 Pro or OnePlus 8T

Whereas I’d have appreciated extra headline features for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, what’s right here remains to be spectacular. And I set out throughout Edinburgh to see what the cellphone can do. 

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I started within the lovely Dean Village, with this traditional view wanting down the river. Taken with the usual digital camera, the cellphone has captured a wealthy and vibrant scene, with loads of element within the admittedly very shadowy foreground. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, super-wide lens.


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Zooming out to the super-wide view, there’s little noticeable shift in colours, past a little bit of magenta tinge within the high proper nook. It is a well-balanced shot and there is loads of element all through. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 3x zoom.


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At 3x zoom, the clock tower seems pin-sharp and vibrant.

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Galaxy S21, 10x zoom.


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At 10x zoom, the picture remains to be completely detailed, with pretty distinction and no shift in colours. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 30x zoom.


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At 30x zoom issues do not look so good. Sure, it is completely clear what the photograph is of, however there’s an general lack of definition. It is troublesome to get your shot lined up when zoomed in up to now, however Samsung has a intelligent stabilization mode that helped me preserve the entire clock face in body.

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 100x zoom. 


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At its most 100x zoom, these particulars are much more mushy, leading to a picture that is solely actually good as proof of one thing you have seen, akin to uncommon wildlife. Sure, it is a novel function that may be enjoyable to strive, however for most individuals, the standard is not ok for an Instagram submit, for instance.

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 10x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The 10x zoom is the candy spot for me and it is my favourite function of the S21 Extremely’s digital camera. It lets you seize photographic compositions that may require an enormous telephoto zoom lens with a DSLR. By zooming in on this seashore, I used to be in a position to present the curving water, the concrete breakers stretching throughout the scene and clearly present the walkers, who add great scale to the picture. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 10x zoom.


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And right here I used to be in a position to fill the body rather more with the dramatic sight of Fettes Faculty.

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, normal lens.


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Taken with the usual zoom lens, this shot overlooking a golf course is not notably thrilling.

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 10x zoom.


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However activating the 10x zoom means altering the view fully, focusing as an alternative on the skyline of Edinburgh, with the monuments on Calton Hill clearly seen.

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 10x zoom, 100% crop.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Zooming in to 100% on the 10x zoom picture, it is clear that there is not a number of element captured. Realistically, photos taken with the 10x zoom usually are not going to be of adequate high quality for printing — pristine-quality zooming will stay the territory of a DSLR with a telephoto lens, for now not less than. That stated, many of the photographs I took at 10x zoom look ok for posts on social media, or for messaging to associates, which in all probability counts for the overwhelming majority of what anybody would need to do with their photographs anyway. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 10x zoom.


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The 10x zoom was sufficient to precisely make out the main points on this aircraft coming in to land. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 10x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And it was the 10x zoom that allow me isolate this couple from the distracting components within the scene, leading to a shot that focuses simply on them wanting into the gap. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, 10x zoom, 100% crop. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Once more although, cropping into that picture to 100% reveals that there is a particular lack of effective element when utilizing this zoom degree.

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, ultrawide lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The super-wide lens captures an enormous quantity of the scene and I am actually impressed with how vibrant and punchy this picture is.

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, ultrawide lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Whereas this shot of a cannon has an ideal general publicity, with a managed vibrant sky and loads of shadow particulars on the gun itself. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely, evening mode.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Turning evening mode on, I used to be happy to see the cellphone produce a vibrant and sharp picture, even in a room that was extraordinarily darkish. The colours listed here are correct and there is sufficient element to have the ability to learn the effective textual content on the candle. Spectacular stuff. 

It is early days with the cellphone, however already I am impressed on the photographs I have been in a position to get, with glorious dynamic vary and correct colours on many of the photos I’ve taken. The zoom is the standout function right here, however it’s solely spectacular up to a degree. I like among the photographs I’ve taken at 10x zoom, however even then the main points are fairly tough. Going past 10x reduces it an enormous quantity and I nonetheless assume the 100x Area Zoom is pointless — I might have most popular Samsung spend its time making the 10x zoom look even higher. 

Learn extra: Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max: Cameras put to the test


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