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Samsung will do something interesting with the telephoto cameras of the Galaxy S20 and S20+

The S20 Ultra will use an entirely different telephoto sensor—the 48 MP Sony IMX586. (Source: 91Mobiles)
The S20 Ultra will use an entirely different telephoto sensor—the 48 MP Sony IMX586. (Source: 91Mobiles)
A new leak has thrown more light on the sensor Samsung will use on the telephoto shooters of the Galaxy S20 and S20+. Sadly, all it manages to do is raise more questions, as it potentially implies terrible low-light performance when taking telephoto shots with the phones.
Ricci Rox,

Thirteen days away from the Galaxy Unpacked event, there's little to nothing that we don't already know about the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones. Leaks have given information on most of the phones' camera hardware already, and a new tweet by popular leakster Ice Universe has now given a clearer look at the phones' telephoto camera.

According to Ice, the S20 and S20+ will use a 64 MP sensor as their telephoto shooter. That sensor is said to be the ISOCELL Bright GW2 (S5KGW2), a second-generation, improved model of the GW1 that has been used by a number of OEMs, including Xiaomi on the Redmi Note 8 Pro

The ISOCELL Bright GW2 will apparently not use any pixel-merging technology. That means shots will have the sensor's native 64 MP resolution, unlike the ISOCELL Bright GW1 that uses Tetracell technology to ouput 16 MP images.

There are a few issues with that, of course. For one, the lack of a pixel-merging process means the telephoto shooter will likely produce...lackluster images in lowlight conditions. The ISOCELL GW2 likely has a pixel size of 0.8μm, like most of the newer high-res sensors, and the lack of any binning process does not bode well for low-light photography.

There's also the fact that shooting 64 MP images isn't easy on storage space. The average 64 MP image has a file size in the region of 30 MB and, with rumors claiming the S20 and S20+ will max out at 128 GB of storage, users could quickly find themselves running out of storage after extended use of the phone. Of course, this is only relevant when taking telephoto shots.

Lastly, shooting 64 MP images will undoubtedly stress the device. Post-processing times will go up, and battery drain may be experienced while shooting with the telephoto lens. Both the Mi Note 10 and Nokia 9 PureView are victims of the same issue.

According to Ice Universe, the Galaxy S20 and S20+ will use the telephoto lens to shoot 8K video. The phones' main camera has 12 MP sensor, which is unable to shoot 8K (33 MP). We're not sure how Samsung plans on implementing this, though. It would be, well, inconvenient to only be able to shoot 8K video at the 3x zoom the telephoto shooter will likely offer.

Most of this is conjecture, though, as there just isn't enough information to go by. Real-world performance could be a lot different. We'll see next month.

Galaxy S10 on sale now at Amazon

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Ricci Rox
Ricci Rox - Senior Tech Writer - 2314 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I like tech, simple as. Half the time, you can catch me writing snarky sales copy. The rest of the time, I'm either keeping readers abreast with the latest happenings in the mobile tech world or watching football. I worked as both a journo and freelance content writer for a couple of years before joining the Notebookcheck team in 2017. Feel free to shoot me some questions on Twitter or Reddit if it so tickles thine fancy.
contact me via: @riccirox, LinkedIn
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 01 > Samsung will do something interesting with the telephoto cameras of the Galaxy S20 and S20+
Ricci Rox, 2020-01-29 (Update: 2020-01-31)