– The new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a giant phone with a bunch of features, but the one that sticks out to me the most is the new dual camera setup. The dual camera system includes two 12 megapixel cameras with different focal length lenses, and lets you take either wide angle or zoomed in pictures.
Now you may be wondering how that all works out, and if the new camera makes the Note 8 worth buying, so in this episode, I’m bringing you my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 camera review. What’s going on tech squad? Andru Edwards here, editor in chief at GearLive.
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As I said, we are reviewing the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It is the feature that made me gravitate toward this phone more than anything else, and I thought it would be good to do a video, letting you guys know how it performs.
The Note’s 212 megapixel camera setup is a first for Samsung, and it’s very similar to what you’ll find on Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which has been the phone that I’ve carried with me pretty much every day since last year.
One of the cameras is a standard wide angle lens like you’ll find on pretty much every smartphone out there. The other is a shorter telephoto lens that gets you closer to your subject without having to physically walk towards it.
Both cameras have optical image stabilization built in, which is a first in the world. Any previous dual camera system you’ve seen with OIS, only has it on one out of the two rear cameras. The Note 8, on the other hand, is the first to have optical image stabilization on both.
Samsung says this provides better images than the non-stabilized telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus, but in practice, I haven’t really see that much of a difference, at least as it pertains to still photography.
When taking videos, on the other hand, there is a stark difference, and a big improvement, when using the Note 8. Now as it pertains to those two cameras on back, both are 12 megapixels, and both have optical image stabilization, as I just mentioned, and that’s where the similarities end.
The wider angle lens has a higher quality sensor with larger pixels and dual pixel autofocus, which are not available on the telephoto lens. The wide lens has a great F1.7 aperture, while the telephoto camera is limited to F2.
4. Not only can the wide angle camera’s lens let in a lot more light, but the larger pixels can capture that light with more detail and better dynamic range than the telephoto option. The real world differences between the two, as it pertains to autofocus speed, image quality, and especially in low light is actually quite surprising.
In addition to letting you zoom in a little, the dual system also lets you take images with an artificially blurred background which mimics what you find on high end DSLRs. There’s the same kind of trick that we saw in last year’s iPhone 7 plus, with portrait mode.
It can produce some cool looking images in cool lighting, but indoors or in poor light, image quality is pretty bad, with lots of noise and with the blur not just occurring in the background, but with the camera almost having a hard time figuring out where the subject ends and the background begins.
Now even in good light, it’s not gonna fool you into thinking the image was taken with a larger camera, however, the effect is very impressive and when it works right, it is much better than any other photo that you find taken on a standard smartphone camera.
Now again, to be clear, I’m not saying Samsung’s version of this is any worse or any better than the iPhone’s portrait mode. Both of them feel like first and early attempts at this technology, and I’m glad that they’re both doing it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings, by using two lenses to compose one picture.
Samsung does offer a little more control than Apple. On the Note 8, it’s possible to adjust the blur effect before or even after you’ve taken the picture. So if the blur was too strong or not enough, you can dial it up or dial it down after the fact, and that’s something that the iPhone just does not let you do, and it’s pretty cool.
In addition, Samsung doesn’t require a face to be in frame to trigger the effect. So I was able to use it on inanimate objects like flowers or Baby Groot, but I guess technically he does have a face. I’m outside right now, on the rooftop at Edelman, testing out the front camera of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
There’s Kevin, the Tech Ninja right there, getting some footage, we just want to test out and see how the camera works, how it looks. It’s pretty bright out here, your dynamic range is looking nice. It’s good, you’re gonna sit down and get a shot.
But let me know what you think, how does it sound? How does it look, front camera, let me tap on my face. I think it looks pretty good. The Note 8 also has the ability to save both a wide angle and telephoto image at the same time.
So if the portrait quality sucks, or the effect didn’t work right, you’ll still be able to fall back on the photo taken with the wide angle lens, which is the better lens and the better camera, so you end up walking away with two images, at least one of which should look really good.
Now you may say this sounds like a safety net to make up for the poor quality or potential poor quality of the telephoto lens, but I’m really glad they put that feature in there. Now the down side to this is that it’s gonna eat up more of your storage.
You’re taking two pictures instead of one, each and every time. So you’ll probably wanna make use of that micro SD card slot on the side of the Note 8 that allows you to expand your storage. The Note 8 comes with 64 gigabytes built in, and you can add up to 2 terabytes through a micro SD card, although they don’t make those yet, but I’ve got a 256 gigabyte card in here which is plenty.
All that said, the wide eye angle camera is the same one that you’ll find in a Samsung Galaxy S8, so if you’re not that concerned about the new camera effects, or by having a telephoto lens on your smartphone and if the S pen isn’t something that you’ll tend to use then you may want to stick with the Samsung Galaxy S8 instead of upgrading to the Note 8.
Now all in all, I’m an early adopter. I like new features, I like the fact that the Note 8 has the two cameras on there, that they built in that live focus mode, I much prefer that over having a wide angle and then a super wide angle camera like you’ll find on LG smartphones, and I also prefer it over having one RGB camera, and one monochrome camera, like you’ll see on Huawei phones, or on the recently released Essential phone.
I think this makes way more sense, the pictures that you get out of it, if taken in good conditions, look fantastic and all in all, I say good job, Samsung, on the camera on the Note 8. Now for me personally, I wish these cameras did have the same capabilities, I wish they both let in the same amount of light, I don’t understand why neither Samsung nor Apple on their devices couldn’t put two lenses with the same capabilities on these smartphones, with one being a wide angle and one being a telephoto.
If you know the answer to that, please do drop a comment down below, and let me know, cause I haven’t done the research but it would seem to make much more sense than putting a less capable telephoto lens on the phone.
So there you have it, guys, that was your quick look at the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. I think it’s fantastic. One of the best cameras you’re going to be able to get right now on a smartphone.
We’ll see what Apple has to announce in just a few days. I am curious, because when it comes to dual lens smartphone cameras, Apple’s kind of been leading the game, and Samsung just jumped in with a few major improvements on that same system.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Like I said, I’ll meet you down there for future discussion. Don’t forget that new shirts are available right now. We’ve got sizes for men and for women, so if you want to represent the Tech Squad, hit that link down below.
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Thanks so much for watching, guys. Always, guys, I appreciate your support. I’m Andru Edwards and I’ll catch you in the next video.