How many features will be used frequently with Galaxy S21 Ultra, and how many will be left out?
From being a technology product that ‘can do everything so it does not specialize’, is not appreciated for professional photography purposes, today’s smartphones even do the things that many cameras and cameras do. I can’t even shoot. The most typical example is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is equipped with too many terrible numbers for photography and video purposes such as 100x zoom, 12-bit RAW photography, 103MP high-resolution shooting, 8K video recording…
These are all specialized features, and many will ask whether we can actually use them all? Or in other words, are the ‘worth advertising’ things of the machine practical, or are they just things that users try 1-2 times and then ‘throw away? To answer these two questions, I decided to take the Galaxy S21 Ultra with me on an impromptu trip to the ‘City in the Mist’ Sapa.
Zooming far for what?
If I just sit at home or take street photography in Hanoi, I probably won’t need to use the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s zoom capabilities too much. But on this trip, there are many scenes that I wouldn’t be able to capture without this feature. The first case was to photograph an artist drawing beeswax on brocade, thanks to the 3x and 10x zoom cameras that I was able to capture the brush and fine lines without having to get close enough to distract him. neglect.
With the same idea, I used a 10x camera to ‘catch’ a hen sitting on the bridge wall, if I got close it would definitely scare it and run away. The 10x zoom camera thanks to the telephoto focal length also helps to separate the chicken from the leafy background behind, taking advantage of the optical background blur to help it stand out in the image.
Many people think that landscape photography only uses the ultra-wide camera to get as much of it as possible. However, the zoom camera can also be used to capture landscapes, taking only small detail that we feel the best.
Out of about 200 photos I took on the trip there were 21 zoomed photos, accounting for about 10%. 10% is not a little, and being able to zoom the scene up a lot without being “crushed” also makes me feel more confident, nothing is out of reach.
But maybe you also noticed that the zoom images I took were all at 10x – 30x, with the 30x zoom threshold was able to stand off a hill to take a statue in the check-in area, very rarely I feel see must zoom even bigger. A good point in the long zoom feature of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the anti-shake system, allowing the machine to ‘ray’ to take one object to stabilize the frame, users easily choose the exact time of the shooting.
Is capturing photos up to 108MP really necessary?
What has been most advertised when it comes to photography has been resolution. The higher the number of ‘dots’ your camera or smartphone has, the sharper the image, no matter how large it is! But images can only focus to a certain threshold before becoming redundant, as most websites today do not support a large zoom to ‘see’ every detail.
The high-resolution 108MP camera of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is now used to preserve details in the scene, helping me to re-align the frame during post-production before uploading it. However, if used in this way, it is the same usage as the camera zoom system.
The amount of 108MP photos taken during my trip is only about 5%, often used for scenes with a lot of detail, in case there is a way to choose a better frame while editing but the I didn’t recognize it at the time of the shoot.
12-bit RAW photography: Have a better aesthetic eye than AI?
In photography, there is a concept of RAW images, or simply called ‘Original Photo’ by Vietnamese. And if you think that these pictures will look better than regular JPEGs then you are wrong because when you turn this mode on the Galaxy S21 Ultra will produce much worse pictures, they are often dark, contrast. In contrast, there is a lot of noise, the colors are also paler than you just raise the camera and press the shutter in normal mode.
The difference is that these photos have not gone through the editing steps of the machine, placing this task in your hands. To get the final image, we need post-editing software with the ability to read DNG files like Snapseed, Lightroom Mobile, or even Lightroom Classic if you want to do this on your computer.
Is the final photo beautiful or not depends on whether your aesthetic eye, your photo editing capabilities, are smarter than the AI algorithms that Samsung has integrated into the Galaxy S21 Ultra? I don’t dare to admit I’m a person with ‘in-depth’ post-production capabilities but feel comfortable with post-capture image editing, but it also takes 2-3 minutes for a photo to have quality. equivalent to the camera’s JPEG image.
The 8K video I used is the same as 108MP photography because there are more pixels, so it will be able to zoom in a bit, rotate it tilted to balance the horizon in case the camera is skewed. I must also say that I do not dare to shoot 8K for too long, because they are very heavy and will “torture” my computer during the cutting process. The Director’s View feature is more useful to me in this case, capturing a lot of things in a movie, without having to switch back and forth between the rear and selfie cameras.
What matters is normal photo quality
Combining all the special features that only the Galaxy S21 Ultra has (or a few on the market) above accounts for about 40% of the photos/videos on my trip. So the majority will still be the photos taken in automatic mode, in the form of opening up the camera application and then pressing. Perhaps many people will agree with me that a machine with a lot of ancillary features, but not being able to produce high-quality regular photos does not solve anything at all.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra feels ‘reliable’ because every time I take it to shoot I am confident that it will give a photo that looks like, or at least close to, my intentions. Samsung has made adjustments so that photos from the S21 Ultra no longer haunt orange like the previous models, including the S10 Plus that I am using in parallel, sometimes still slightly brighter and darker than the lines. a slightly different machine but not too far from reality.
This is also the reason why I don’t use as many 12-bit RAW shooting features mentioned above. Its raised-to-shoot JPEGs did 95% of what I needed, and it only took 5% of post-production to get the final shot instead of the 50-50 split workload as before. RAW image capture.
Still not perfect
There is no perfect camera system, even the most advanced today like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. During the actual use, I still find weaknesses that can affect the image quality that users need to be aware of each time they shoot.
First, because the camera cluster is placed very close to the bezel, so it is unavoidable to touch your finger, which can cause the camera to dirty or even make it appear in the photo. The phenomenon occurs most when shooting super-wide-angle cameras because the viewing angle of this camera is large, it is easy to ‘catch’ your finger if you do not notice. This weakness can be overcome simply by … moving your finger away, but for a large and heavy machine like the Galaxy S21 Ultra this is also more difficult because you will want to hold it. 2 hands to hold the device firmly.
The second weakness that we may have to recognize is foggy areas like Sapa. In low-light and foggy conditions, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s white balance system gets ‘flustered’ and produces a lot of blue-tinted pictures, unlike the actual eye. Chances are, the machine mistakenly mist is the sky, so it should be adjusted to make this part blue, causing everything else to change colors in that direction.
To be fair, a lot of other smartphones, even cameras, will surely experience that phenomenon. Few people will encounter this weather condition, because dense fog is not everywhere?
The smartphone is out of range for me
Although taking the Galaxy GalaxyS21 Ultra on a trip with the main purpose of testing all the essence of the camera system of the device, I still somewhat feel that I have not fully utilized its power. I usually only zoom to 30x, do not usually shoot RAW images, and shoot not a lot of 8K videos because I know that the collage and post-production at home will be quite difficult. Perhaps with my usage needs, the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus duo will be a more reasonable and affordable option.
But this is why this machine is called the Galaxy S21 “Ultra”, it is not ordinary but possesses the extraordinary, the best. Users may not be able to use all of the powerful shooting and video features of the Galaxy S21 Ultra at the same time, but when needed, it is always ready, with no hardware barriers to comfortably light. create.