I am slowly working on the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which I hope to be complete at some point this week.
I have already covered:
Now for some photography samples. I am not very good at photography and the combination of lockdowns, living in Blackpool, and it being January in the North of England means a relatively poor selection of samples. I will pad it out the longer I use the phone.
Initial impressions have been positive, a good camera seems to be what justifies the high price of these premium priced flagship phones compared to affordable alternatives from the likes of Realme and Xiaomi.
I will continue to add to this gallery the more I use the phone. If there is demand I will create a Google Photos album with the original quality.
This gives you considerably more flexibility with your zoom than a single lens offering 3x and 10x optical zoom. The Samsung implementation uses two 10MP sensors, while the Huawei uses 8MP sensors.
For the Xiaomi Mi 11 which I have been reviewing recently, that lacks a zoom lens, so comparing photos is a little unfair, but it shows where the money goes when you spend a grand on a phone.
I have been particularly impressed with the performance here, the zoom doesn’t appear to introduce the same sort of graininess or haziness I sometimes see with zoom photos from phones.
My hands are shaky at the best of times but sticking to optical zoom or a reason hybrid zoom I have found that the phone is capable of consistent shots thanks to the stabilisation the phone offers.
Of course, like all phones, things deteriorate once you go further into digital zoom. At 100x you probably should forget about taking a photo with the camera in your hands, you need something more stable. The quality of the photos are also quite poor, however, they still can be impressive. In the below example the phone handheld and is close to full zoom but still managed to produce an acceptable photo of a fat squirrel.
Low Light Samples vs Xiaomi Mi 11
Low light performance has been impressive, the camera works well both in the default photo mode or via the dedicated night mode.
You might think that the Xiaomi Mi 11 which uses a similar 108MP sensor would offer comparable low light performance. However, whatever black magic these companies use during the software processing offers very different results.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is considerably better in low light conditions compared to the Xiaomi.
There is also a massive difference in what you see on the phone screen too, so the difference between the two sensors doesn’t appear to be all software post-processing.
I rarely take videos, but I am currently uploaded some short samples. YouTube is still processing them though.
So far, I have been very happy with the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, the four sensors it has all perform well and provide useful options compared to your generic quad camera phones.
While I was also happy with the Xiaomi Mi 11 camera, you can see where your money goes when buying a premium-priced flagship phone vs a more affordable phone. Some may feel the extra £400 for this phone is not worth it to have a decent camera, but many others will feel different.
As someone that is not an avid photographer, but likes to travel and does a lot of basic photography for my work, having a phone that offers this sort of quality and flexibility goes a long way to justifying the price.
The flexibility you get from the main sensor, ultra wide and then two optical lenses is a major selling point to me. If I were allowed to go on holiday, I probably wouldn’t bother with a dedicated camera and use this for everything.
It will be interesting to see how much the Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro improves the camera and how much competition that will offer the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API