Galaxy S20 Ultra camera: First photos with the 108-megapixel camera, zoom lens, more

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

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Yesterday, I got my hands on Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 Ultra, a phone built to be a photo and battery powerhouse. My colleagues and I are going to review every nook and cranny of this $1,400 device. Brace yourself for hundreds of photos, deep dive camera features and photo comparison tests with the best brands on the market.

For now, I offer with the handful of pictures I took yesterday around downtown San Francisco. I shot photos with every camera, including with the 100x Space Zoom lens, a first for Samsung, and a feature designed to rival the excellent zoom function on Google’s Pixel 4 and Huawei’s P30 Pro and Mate 30 Pro.¬†

These photos are not touched up or edited in any way¬†unless stated. But note that they have been processed by CNET’s content image tool — you won’t see every pixel, but you’ll hopefully see enough to give you an early idea of the S20 Ultra’s camera performance.

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Many more photos are on the way, including indoor shots, group shots and basically any scene that catches my eye. For me, a photo is only as good as the personal meaning it holds, so I’ll share the pictures of items and people I’d naturally want to showcase. If it captures a moment, a feeling or an emotion better than another camera, then it’s already done 90% of its job for me. (Don’t worry, my colleagues will be more technically inclined.)

I’m also testing the regular and 8K mode video camera, but those files are huge and harder to share here. There will be plenty of footage in the final review, though.

Galaxy S20 Ultra cameras

  • 108-megapixel main camera: You need to select the 108-megapixel quick setting to take a super high-resolution photo. Part of the benefit of such a high-resolution image is getting a more detailed view when you crop in (see below).
  • 12-megapixel wide-angle lens: Samsung redesigned the sensors, so this isn’t the same camera as on the Galaxy Note 10 or S10 phones.
  • 48-megapixel telephoto camera: 10x hybrid optic zoom, up to 100x “space zoom.” The higher the zoom, the shakier your photo will be (a monopod or tripod is key).
  • DepthVision camera: I didn’t go out of my way to test this yet, but it’s meant to assist with various camera modes.

Main camera and standard resolution.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Ultra-wide angle shot.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Main camera, standard resolution.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Main camera, standard resolution.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

*The 108-megapixel resolution version of this image was too large to load.


Crop from standard resolution image.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Crop from 108-megapixel resolution image.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Main camera, standard resolution.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


SF Museum of Modern Art. No zoom.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


10x optic hybrid zoom.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


30x optic hybrid zoom.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


100x optic hybrid zoom.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Obligatory backlit selfie. There ya go.


Shot on automatic mode with main camera, low-light conditions.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Crop in of 108-megapixel version is impressively detailed.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET


Shot in automatic mode in low light conditions.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

This story will be updated often with new photos. Keep checking back for more!

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