Samsung Galaxy Note 8 dual camera explained: specs, features, and all rumors we have so far

August 23 – that's when Samsung's next big thing will become official. And "big" is a fitting word indeed – the Galaxy Note 8 is expected to be announced on that date, becoming the company's latest high-end, phablet-grade device. What's going to be so special about it? Well, a whole bunch of things, actually. As all Galaxy Note phones before it, the Note 8 will feature a huge, high-quality display, plenty of memory and processing power, and a pressure-sensitive stylus for drawing, note-taking, and for standing out of the crowd, of course.

But in this article we'll focus on one particular Galaxy Note 8 feature – its camera setup. Leaks are all pointing at this being Samsung's first dual-camera phone, and by now you're probably wondering what the advantage of such a setup might be. Allow us to explain.

The Galaxy Note 8 camera in a nutshell

Rumor has it that Samsung has gone for an iPhone 7 Plus-like approach for the Galaxy Note 8, equipping the phone with two 12MP cameras at the back. One of them is expected to serve as a main, all-purpose shooter, while the other will be a secondary telephoto camera providing 2x magnification. Basically, with the help of the Note 8's second cam, you'll be able to "bring" your subject closer without sacrificing image quality since the zoom will be performed optically, not through digital stretching of the image. 

Certain limitations apply, however. One is that the Note 8's secondary camera is very likely to be less sensitive to light than its main one. This is due to the way optics work: a lens system so small would provide 2x zoom only at the expense of a narrower aperture. Such is also the case with the zoom cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus and the OnePlus 5

To compensate for this, Samsung is said to have added optical image stabilization to the Note 8's telephoto camera. While not a silver bullet by any means, this should make the phone's secondary camera more usable in low-light situations. OIS works by keeping the image sensor steady as an image is being taken. This allows a camera to leave its shutter "open" for longer, thus letting in more light without that producing motion blur. Neither the iPhone 7 Plus, nor the OnePlus 5 feature OIS on their telephoto cameras.

Another limitation of the Galaxy Note 8's 2x zoom camera is that it might not be usable if your subject is too close – closer than a foot or two, perhaps. Again, this is also observed with the telephoto cameras on existing phones, such as the iPhone 7 Plus and the OnePlus 5. 

But what about Portrait Mode?

That's a perfectly legitimate concern. Rumors are quiet on whether the feature will be found on the Galaxy Note 8 or not, but it would be odd of Samsung to pass on it, seeing that Apple – Samsung's biggest rival on the smartphone market – has been offering it on the iPhone 7 Plus since last year. Besides, a dual-camera arrangement like the Note 8's seems perfect for the task. The telephoto camera is great for portraits for a number of reasons: it produces less optical distortion and focuses the viewer's attention onto the subject, while the background blur effect – produced in software using data from both image sensors – makes whoever you're photographing stand out much better against any background.

So at a glance, that's what the Galaxy Note 8 camera is looking like two weeks before the phone's announcement. It isn't shaping to be radically better than what Samsung's competition is already offering, but it is still a compelling offering that we're eager to test. Until the Galaxy Note 8 is officially announced, be sure to catch up on the latest rumors and predictions about Samsung's next big thing, linked below:

Read more about the Galaxy Note 8:

Related phones

Galaxy Note 8
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(22h talk time)



1. adi9764

Posts: 119; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Pixel xl 2 is the best

19. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

... I swear.... If it has 2 fixed focal length lenses... It is not a zoom. It's just 2 camera. You cannot zoom with a fix focal length lens. It's just digitally cropping the image.

20. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

... I swear.... If it has 2 fixed focal length lenses... It is not a zoom. It's just 2 camera. You cannot zoom with a fix focal length lens. It's just digitally cropping the image.

32. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1557; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Did you even read the article, it's not digital cropping.

40. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Did I read the article about the unannounced phone? If it has a fixed focal length it literally has to be digitally cropped dude... The iPhone 7 is digitally cropped... Any phone with 2 cameras that claim to zoom, digitally crop...

44. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1557; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Because you cannot change the camera lens, or fit a zoom lens into a cell phone body, they use 2 separate cameras at different focal lengths to create a zoom. You use one camera, or the other, they do not work together to combine a single image with digital zoom. There is no digital cropping happening, the zoom effect is legitimate because it uses a separate camera and lens. You don't need to believe me, but some dual camera phones are designed for the cameras to work together to create one image, some are designed to be separate from one another.

37. therealestboy

Posts: 82; Member since: May 03, 2013

But What about the iPhone 10?

2. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1821; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

My sim card is ready. This is still the phone to beat in the second half of 2017. I wonder if Samsung is going to do a immersive package deal like they did with the S8??

3. dnomadic

Posts: 415; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Becoming disenchanted by Samsung products... I have this love hate relationship with my S8...AMAZING hardware but my S8 has to be reset bi-weekly to continue top notch performance (literally). The Software and the extras is AWESOME, but it just hangs... As much I want the Note 8, I am leaning Pixel XL 2 maybe a return to the **Gulp** the Iphone.

6. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I reckon phones are like cars, they need frequent maintenance to continue top-notch.

31. mikehunta727 unregistered

A lot of phones don't exude this behavior, i.e iPhone, Pixel, some LG models. Dno is Talking about classic infamous Touchwiz lag that builds up overtime. Pixel/others doesn't need a restart for weeks and runs just as fluid and smooth as day 1

34. sissy246

Posts: 7111; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

All phones need a reboot every now and then. All phone lag.

35. mikehunta727 unregistered

Of course all devices lag from time to time but Samsung devices are notorious for needing a restart every few days/week to maintain smoothness/get rid of the jankiness that starts to build up while many other devices don't exude this same behavior

42. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Not true. At all.

46. mikehunta727 unregistered

This is unanimously agreed on by most people. It is extremely true and there is plenty of empirical data to back this up (XDA Note 7 article on TouchWiz performance, etc)

45. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1557; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I've always restarted my phone a few times a week, I don't even think about it, it's habit from windows running significantly better when the computer is restarted daily instead of just sleeping.

41. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Soooooooooo you haven't seen where iPhones will power off & the only way to turn it back on is the two button method, and that this has happened since day one?

47. mikehunta727 unregistered

I have seen that happened, it can happen once in a while, but there's no question that there are many devices that are consistently way more smoother devices that don't bog down no where near as much as Samsung devices. Some people are not as sensitive to the smoothness but its unarguable that Samsung devices are notorious for exuding this behavior. It doesnt mean that Samsung devices are bad, no, they are extremely good products(S and Note lineup) This is just one of its negatives, and every device has positives and negatives

15. g2a5b0e unregistered

That's not abnormal. In fact, Samsung recommends resetting your device once a week. Is 30 seconds (less than that because you can clearly do other things while it's rebooting) of your time once a week really that big of a deal?

48. mikehunta727 unregistered

That's not the point, the point is that Samsung UI performance off the bat is inferior to many devices despite having the same SoC in competiors devices

52. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

I have had Samsung phones since the Omnia and have seen Samsungs UI get better and better over the years. Times have changed I doubt very much you have ever used a S7 or 8. Your comments may have been correct a few years ago, but now it is just rubbish coming from Samsung haters.

4. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

OMG! Another Samsung article?! SamsungArena! *being sarcastic

8. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Yup. Even article about Samsung is endorsing the iPhone. If the dual camera do nothing, like on iPhone, better Samung skip this fugly setup. If Samsung invent some really usefull feature for the dual camera, could be welcome , though

5. dazed1

Posts: 799; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Only on iPhonearena can OIS on the telephoto camera become limitation, f**k me!

7. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Ah! Note 8, eh? A Galaxy S8 Plus with a fatter display and boxy chassis, ha! Oh and of course, it comes with a crayon which they like to call a "Stylus"! "Stylus, huh, yeah! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" Besides, there's no style in 'stylus' just like there's no fun in 'funeral'. It looks awfully geeky and downright cheeky! Oh well, Seems like there's no accounting for tastes. And I should know, I've a degree in commerce! G'Day!

9. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

"A Galaxy S8 Plus with a fatter display and boxy chassis, ha! Oh and of course, it comes with a crayon which they like to call a "Stylus"!" That's what everyone always says & the Note always ends up being so much more.

12. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"That's what everyone always says & the Note always ends up being so much more." Lol, no it doesn't. Every year it's just another phone, like every other phone released. Y'all Note fans act like this damn thing is gonna cure Cancer and feed hungry Ethiopians... it's ridiculous.

17. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

So much more as in not just a Galaxy S with an S-Pen, differentiating the Note from the S. Apparently you were so busy ASSuming, you missed the whole point, including me quoting his comments.

22. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Pray tell, what are these "differentiating" features outside the pen and duel camera? The SoC is likely the same as the S duo. The battery is actually SMALLER than the S8+ (allegedly). The list of these illustrious features elude me to no end, where are they? Or is this a case of mass cognitive dissonance on the part of a community shaming others for similar misgivings? Apple fans do this with every release as well in order to convince themselves that their phone is better than everyone else's. That is likely the case for S users looking at the Note series, and why said series NEVER sales as well as the S variation.

30. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I don't work for Samsung. That's the point of the reveal on the 23rd, to announce the differentiating features. Something they've been doing the past 6 years. Every Note had been better than the S model that released 5-6 months before (maybe not every. I always thought the Note 1 was just a big ass Android phone with a stylus). Every one after that though: Note 2>S3, Note 3>S4, Note 4>S5 (minus S5 being water resistant)... you get it. Whether it sales more than the S model is irrelevant because they're not pitted against each other, but performance-wise, the Note is always better than the S.

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