Mobile World Congress 2018 is here, and with it, Samsung has officially announced the highly anticipated Galaxy S9 and S9+. While we already knew much about the new phones, Samsung's presentation officially filled us in on what to expect from the S9's cameras, including dual aperture, two cameras, and super slo-mo.
While the overall design of the S9 models might not look too different from last year's Galaxy S8 and S8+, it's clear the new cameras were a big focus for Samsung. With an excess of excellent competition on the market right now, the cameras on the S9 models could be what it takes for Samsung to come out on top.
Just as the rumors would have us believe, Samsung is finally putting dual cameras into its S-line of Galaxy devices. However, only the S9+ gets the upgrade. The smaller, 5.8-inch S9 will ship with only one fixed camera, missing out on the S9+'s 2x optical zoom.
It seems Samsung has taken the Apple approach to dual cameras — stick to the larger device for extra cameras while leaving the smaller phone alone. This decision might disappoint fans who plan to buy an S9 over an S9+, but at least the S9's camera is looking to be excellent all the same.
While initial rumors led us to believe the S9 would ship with 16 MP rear cameras, it seems Samsung cut a few megapixels from the cameras in the end. That's not a bad thing, as megapixels aren't everything. Whether you have the standalone camera on the S9 or the dual cameras on the S9+, all of Samsung's new rear cameras will be 12 MP. They will also contain OIS, or optical image stabilization, which will help keep photos and video free from shaking.
We thought the front shooter would be 12 MP and possibly feature a dual-camera setup. Alas, it appears Samsung kept a relatively conservative approach to the front camera on both devices, as it remains one 8 MP camera.
What we're really looking forward to on the S9 is "Dual Aperture," which allows the user to change the aperture for photos and video. If you're not a camera geek, the aperture controls how much light actually hits your camera's sensor. Many smartphones' cameras have a fixed aperture, which limits your ability to control both light sensitivities as well as the depth of field. Not the S9 models.
The S9 and S9+ let you switch between an aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4 on main rear cameras. The smaller the aperture, the less light is allowed in through the camera. That f/1.5 will help photographers snap a natural "bokeh" effect, which keeps a subject sharp while blurring out the background.
The aperture will automatically move to f/1.5 when the lighting environment is less than 100 lux, however, the aperture can be manually controlled when in the pro camera setting. Whether you have the S9 or S9+, you can swap between apertures as you wish. On the S9+, the main rear camera lets you change apertures, while the secondary rear camera has a fixed aperture of f/2.4.
The S9 is breaking ground with slow-motion technology. While the 2017 iPhones impressed us with 1080p slo-mo at 240 FPS, Samsung's 960 FPS blows it out of the water.
While not "full HD"," super slo-mo is available up to 720p. Unless Samsung has optimized their videos extremely well, super slo-mo could take up a lot of space. Still, 720p 960 FPS is extremely impressive, and the initial results look great.
There are a lot of intelligent features included in super slo-mo, such as "Motion Detect," which waits until the proper moment to begin recording at 960 FPS. You also have three ways of watching your slo-mo's — "Reverse Loop," which plays your slo-mo in reverse; "Forward Loop," which plays your slo-mo as you'd normally expect; and "Swing," which will loop a few frames of your video three times to let you really focus on the action.
You can also set your slo-mo videos as lock screen wallpapers, which allow you to relive your favorite videos every time you wake up your S9.