Samsung promises to improve the Galaxy S20’s much-trumpeted camera

Samsung has said that it is working on a software update to its new Galaxy S20 Ultra smartphone to fix issues with its powerful zoom camera.

Ahead of the phone’s release next week, the device’s autofocus feature has been criticised for being unreliable and taking too long to lock onto a subject – if at all.

The camera also shows ‘aggressive image processing’ that results in ‘overbearing skin smoothing’, according to the Verge, causing an unrealistic, digitalised tint.

In response, the company said it is working on a software update to the luxury smartphone, which is due to be released on March 6 with a starting price of £1,199. 

The Galaxy S20 Ultra can zoom in up to 100x using a combined optical zoom and an AI-powered digital zoom – however, before it

‘The Galaxy S20 features a ground-breaking, advanced camera system,’ Samsung said in a statement to MailOnline.

‘We are constantly working to optimise performance to deliver the best experience for consumers.

‘As part of this ongoing effort, we are working on a future update to improve the camera experience.’

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The company is yet to acknowledge a specific problem with the camera or a cause, or when the updates will be coming.

Pre-release reviews of the S20 Ultra have highlighted bugs on the camera – including the focus that sometimes won’t focus on a subject at all – as well as a shallow depth of field, meaning a blurry area around the image subject.

‘I ran into some disturbing software bugs while trying out the camera,’ said PC Mag’s Sascha Segan. 

‘Focus pulsing is the most annoying – sometimes the focus just doesn’t want to lock, or only locks after clearly trying out a few different focal lengths for a second or two. 

‘That can be enough to lose a shot.’

Meanwhile, the Verge’s review called the phone’s aggressive image processing and brightening ‘ham-fisted’. 

‘The S20 Ultra brings up shadows on faces and sometimes on the whole scene, it tries to adjust white balance differently, and it smooths out skin,’ reviewer Dieter Bohn wrote.

‘Samsung’s algorithms are trying way too hard.’

Another video review comparison of the Galaxy S20 Ultra with Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max show the latter focusing on a nearby object with much better clarity. 

How bad is the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s focus? Well, it is jumpy vs the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Check this out. #GalaxyS20Ultra pic.twitter.com/3JKVlsRXcZ

— Mark Spoonauer (@mspoonauer) February 27, 2020

The camera feature of the Galaxy S20 Ultra has been much-vaunted by Samsung, which said it ‘opens the door to entirely new experiences that have never been possible on a smartphone’.

The S20 Ultra is one of three models in the new Galaxy S20 range to be released in a week’s time, along with the standard £799 S20 and the £999 S20 Plus.

The high-end S20 Ultra’s camera capabilities are its biggest selling point, which include a whopping 108MP wide lens, a 12MP ultra-wide lens and a 48MP telephoto lens and a DepthVision sensor.

As well as camera issues, privacy concerns have also been raised about the Ultra’s ‘space zoom’ telephoto lens that allows users to zoom in up to 100 times while maintaining a high-quality resolution.

One reviewer called the camera zoom on the S20 Ultra ‘so good it’s basically invasive’, while another expert warned how such technology could be used for ‘nefarious purposes’ such as looking into people’s bedrooms.

‘I would suggest this is being marketed as a new feature to help sell more products, albeit it may just be a gimmick as I doubt the average user require this level of magnification,’ security expert Jake Moore told MailOnline.

Samsung unveiled its three S20 models at its Unpacked event in San Francisco on February 11 along with its first smartphone with its first folding glass screen – the Galaxy Flip.

However, one YouTube reviewer has called into question the truth of samsung update file‘s glass screen claims, due to its susceptibility to scratches from a mere fingernail.

‘Samsung is calling this glass but this display clearly doesn’t have the scratch resistance or structural benefits that customers are expecting from glass,’ said Jerry Rig Everything in his video review. 

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