Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ launched with first dual-aperture camera

09:40 • 26.02.18



Samsung has launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, with a familiar all-screen design but its re-invented camera system could be a game-changer.


Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday, the new top-end Android device comes in two varieties, following in the footsteps of last year’s popular Galaxy S8 in both look and feel. They have glass front and back, metal frames, curved edges, are water resistant, have wireless charging and a headphone socket, the Guardian reports.


The Galaxy S9 will have a 5.8in screen, while the larger S9+ will have a 6.2in screen. Both 8.5mm thick smartphones have curved screens, thin bezels, stereo speakers and reduced top and bottom non-screen elements compared to last year’s models. This year the S9+ will come with more memory and storage compared to the smaller S9, and will also have a dual-camera system similar to that fitted to Samsung’s larger Note 8, which includes a telephoto camera.


But it is the wide-angle camera fitted to both models that marks the biggest change for the smartphone. The 12-megapixel camera has the first variable aperture fitted to a smartphone, which physically switches between an f-stop of 1.5 for low-light photography and an f-stop of 2.4 for shooting outdoors.


“We were looking at how we can copy what the human eye can do automatically,” said Maxime Guirauton, marketing director for Samsung.


Guirauton said that the dual-aperture system provided the best of both worlds, allowing the camera to let in as much light as possible for shooting in dark environments, and providing a shallow depth of field for the pleasing bokeh effects often created artificially with software, while also making sure outdoor photography in good light doesn’t suffer.


Samsung also took a page out of Google’s computational photography book by developing a system that shoots 12 photos in three groups of four, combining them at the pixel level to weed out noise and boost detail.


The new camera also has a new super slow-motion function capable of shooting at an incredible 960 frames per second, turning a 0.2 second event into six seconds of normal film. Rivals such as Apple’s iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 shoot at a maximum of 240 frames per second. To make capturing that crucial 0.2 second event easier, the S9 is capable of detecting motion in a pre-defined area, recording from the split second that movement is detected.


 





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