The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ have game-changing cameras with variable aperture and 960fps slow-mo video recording

The long-awaited Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are finally official and they come with vastly improved cameras! Variable apertures, super slow-mo video recording at 960 frames per second, and a dual shooter with optical zoom for the S9+. Learn everything you need to know about the new cameras right here...
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82 Comments

53. Trex95

Posts: 2362; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Hope note 9 comes with 8 gigs of ram and 128gb as standard model.

77. taz_chaz

Posts: 135; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

its f 1.5 actually

5. TerryD

Posts: 540; Member since: May 09, 2017

How does a variable aperture let more light in?

7. Modest_Moze

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

It doens't. Just F1.5 lets more light in.

8. Modest_Moze

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

It doens't. Just F1.5 lets more light in.

10. Milen_Y

Posts: 111; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

The variable aperture in and of itself doesn't let more light in. Wider apertures let more light in.

16. TerryD

Posts: 540; Member since: May 09, 2017

Just the way it was written 'It'll have a variable aperture' and then goes on in the same paragraph to explain that it'll be better in low light. We all know that the lower the f number, the more light will get in which is better for low light. It also means you can freeze the subject better reducing blur and also take slow mo better. What are the advantages of a larger f number? Well in photography its to get a better depth of field, or to be able to reduce the light in when there is too much light and you've reached the maximum shutter speed. Do we need this in a smartphone? Seeing as we're trying to increase the bokeh and add fake blur, then we're not bothered about the depth of field at all. Maybe at f/1.5 the diffraction effect is noticeably occurring and the variable shutter is needed to sharpen up subjects in well lit scenarios.Apart from that I can't see why it'd be worth the bother.

19. Cat97

Posts: 1767; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Yeah, I wonder why all non-smartphone/non-miniatural cameras have variable aperture :) How stupid of them, they should have listened to you.

31. TerryD

Posts: 540; Member since: May 09, 2017

When you have a larger sensor then it makes sense because you have to control your softness and depth of field. Tiny sensors and tiny lenses are inherently very sharp so it makes no sense to add complexities to make it sharper. To quote hansip87, 'no point of having variable aperture then, when in actual usage people will go over big aperture EVERYTIME', which pretty much sums it up.

51. Cat97

Posts: 1767; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

You have no idea what you are talking about. Aperture is not to control depth of field, this is a (not always) desirable side effect, but to control the quantity of light, which will help optimizing the mechanics and electonics such that the sensor (SNR optimization), circuitries and optics (optical aberration optimization) operate in their optimal range. Fixed aperture comes with big compromises that smartphones mainly fix in software and beacuse of this the resulting images at pixel-level are very low quality but you will not see it because you are only using Instagram and Facebook which further alter the images.

71. TerryD

Posts: 540; Member since: May 09, 2017

Don't start a comment with 'you have no idea what you're talking about' its aggressive and does nothing to further your argument. Try informing me with a coherent conversation instead. Aperture directly affects the depth of field. That is a well known fact. Whether its a side effect or not, it is an effect. The main effect of aperture is to control the amount of light reaching the sensor, which you said. Up until now the aperture has been fixed letting as much light in as possible, with control of exposure being done through a variable shutter speed and altering the sensor sensitivity (similar to ISO in a film). To get a better SNR you need more light, so a large aperture will be best for that. Only if you have far too much light would you need to reduce the aperture so as not to overload the sensor, assuming you can't do this with a shorter shutter speed. Not sure what you're getting at towards the end. Most camera tests and comparisons use photos that are at native resolution rather than whatever output facebook and instragram give you. I'm pretty sure that there will be very little difference between using f1.5 and f2.4 on a well lit subject regardless of whether you stuff it through facebook or not.

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5627; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The wider f/1.5 & f/1.4 apertures let in more light The benefit of the f/2.4 is to increase the plane of focus for scenes with good lighting

6. hansip87

Posts: 225; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

i don't see such necessities in a phone cam honestly, especially with such small sensor. even at f1.5 will only be equivalent to +- f9 on Full Frame, which is still quite slow.

9. Milen_Y

Posts: 111; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

But then again, if we're talking low-light photography, smartphones have wide-angle cameras and OIS, which allows them to go as slow as 1/4 when shooting at night, which is not an advisable shutter speed to shoot at handheld using a dedicated camera, especially at longer focal lengths. Not all manufacturers do this, obviously, but I've noticed that some iPhones tend to go as slow as 1/4 when there's not enough light.

11. Hollowmost

Posts: 414; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

If you're talking about depth of feild , yes dof of f/1.5 will give you dof of f/9 on full frame DSLRs ... But with software tweaks you can simulate fake bokeh ( ex pixel 2 ) If you are talking about shutter speeds , f/1.5 is f/1.5 on any sensor ...

21. hansip87

Posts: 225; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

But you see, still no point of having variable aperture then, when in actual usage people will go over big aperture EVERYTIME because it is indeed better and without visible DoF shallowness difference like in FF. The point here is just stick with f1.5 and we're done. the DoF will be enough to ensure sharpness across the frame too due to small sensor size to begin with.

26. Milen_Y

Posts: 111; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

Actually, one of the benefits of having a variable aperture for still photography is to provide both better low-light results (at f/1.5) and sharper photos in daylight (at f/2.4). The S9 can benefit from the wider aperture when taking photos at night, because it will allow more light to reach the sensor. However, if the S9's sensor turns out to have smaller pixels, that would be a different story. The benefit of stopping down the aperture when there's enough light is that you'll get sharper results, while at f/1.5 the image will be softer. When it comes to smartphone cameras and their tiny sensors, f/1.5 doesn't really mean anything in terms of DoF in general purpose photography. The shallower depth of field will be noticeable when taking photos from up close.

28. hansip87

Posts: 225; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

in general sense, it's true that at narrower aperture it will be sharper in good light. but if we look at how, for example, Sigma 16mm f1.4 for Sony APS-C can do sharp photo at its widest aperture, the lens construction matters more here. what i mean is that, when focusing near infinity, a good f1.5 lens on small sensor will do sharp enough photos if the construction is done right. But who knows, if variable aperture doesn't introduce additional z height and as a workaround for perfect lens construction in constrained dimension, then it is good for us.

58. Cat97

Posts: 1767; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The main reason for controlling aperture is to keep the shutter speed at a reasonable value. Wide apertures used today in smartphones require crazy shutter speeds (like 1/32000) and, given the fact that the shutter on smartphones is electronic, a clean sensor output is impossible to achieve because the sensor is "exposed" (activated, actually) for too short time and there are also other electronic limitations. So basically a narrower aperture brings the shutter speed back to reasonable value in order to ensure the sensor is exposed/activated for enough time. In video this is invaluable, but the benefit is also large for photos.

33. Hollowmost

Posts: 414; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

@Milen_Y The Samsung W2018 have 1.4 micrometer pixel size I assume the S9 is the same ... The S9 will be the low light Queen ...

72. WGACA

Posts: 121; Member since: May 08, 2015

I'm sure Samsung's billion dollar R&D department haven't thought this through like you, obviously...

17. TerryD

Posts: 540; Member since: May 09, 2017

hansip87. If f1.5 is similar to f/9 on a full frame, does that mean that the optimum sharpness will also be at that point (when dealing with diffraction)? On an APS-C sensor I've found that f/8 is best for sharpness. Closing it down further (higher f-number) increases the depth of field at the expense of sharpness. Reducing the f-number increases diffraction, losing sharpness.

22. hansip87

Posts: 225; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

depends on lens construction too so i have no comment on that matter. but yeah, my point is the difference of f1.5 and f2.4 for that small sensor size is going to be miniscule that i don't see the point of having such feature.

29. TerryD

Posts: 540; Member since: May 09, 2017

Yeah. One of the issues with smartphone photos was that the photos were pretty much all in focus with no bokeh. Now it seems like they're not sharp enough. Perception change incoming!

67. Cat97

Posts: 1767; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Actually F1.5 on a small sensor is identical to F1.5 on full-frame, regarding the quantity of light entering the sensor, which is the problem that Samsung is trying to solve with a variable aperture. The depth of field is a secondary, non-important issue in this regard.

12. Jacksie66 unregistered

If the phone came with a decent DAC then I'd be very very keen..

18. rubyonrails3

Posts: 369; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

I wish it had 120Hz display. Then it would be a must buy for me. I might still buy to see if S9+ camera is Any better for taking people picture indoor. Cuz till note 8 it sucked. I am typing from V30 which have worst camera on any flagship IMO though daily drivers are Pixel 2 XL and iPhone X.

34. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

I think you have it backwards. Would it not be 2.4 to 1.5? Because the S8 is 1.7 and and so does the Note 8. Didn't the S7 and Note 7 have 1.8? I think you should grab a ruler. 1.5 is certainly smaller than 2.4. You really should fix your error. When it comes to Aperture, the sensor is larger the smaller the number which allows more light. Why is it when it comes to Samsung specs, you seen to purposely get it wrong?!

36. Hollowmost

Posts: 414; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

Do you know what aperture is ? F/1.2 is wider than say f/2.0 Search on YouTube ...

37. Jrod99

Posts: 700; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Dang Techie. You ask a Samsung question? You should know the answer to that for sure.

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