Whilst you do get a 3rd camera module on the back, which is a wide angle module, meaning you can capture significantly more in the shot than you could with the regular module, the image quality itself hasn’t changed that much from the Note 9 or even the Samsung Galaxy S9 from a year before. In fact, looking at the camera specs, they seem to be using the exact same modules.
Samsung has updated their image processing so the HDR shots especially look better but they’re still not better than on the Pixel 3 XL or the iPhone XS Max in a lot of cases. RAW image processing is good, but again nothing compared to the iPhone XS Max which has the best dynamic range on any smartphone today.
On the video side, we did get a massive upgrade and that is the fact that you can now record for an unlimited amount of time, which was limited to just 5 minutes of 4K60, or 10 minutes of 4K30 before. That didn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering how much storage you can have in this phone, but I’m glad to see this restriction being removed.
Slow motion is good if you only care about the result. It can shoot in up to 960fps in 720p, but the slow motion movement detection it done automatically and, at the time of writing this, manual mode is glitched. Long story short, recording the quick balloon pop scene in the video took about 5-6 attempts on the S10+, whereas the iPhone XS Max and the Google Pixel 3 XL nailed it the first time. So it’s very frustrating recording slow-motion on the S10, but when it does work, the result is pretty good.
However, there are a few weird things with this camera. Take the fact that you cannot use the wide-angle lens or the telephoto lens when recording video, unless you switch to 4K30. 4k60 doesn’t work with the wide-angle for example. Why is it like this? I have no idea, it doesn’t make any sense at all for Samsung to limit this.
Now don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not saying that this camera is bad. On the contrary, the S10+ has the best smartphone camera on the market, same spot as the Google Pixel 3, the iPhone XS Max or the Huawei P30 Pro, but they all have different ups and downs.
Take the iPhone XS Max for example, it excels in video and dynamic range when it comes to photos. The Pixel 3 has some amazingly good HDR shots and an insane Night Mode. The Huawei P30 Pro has that 5x or even 50x zoom, and an even better Night Mode. Then the S10+ has, in my opinion, the best wide angle camera on a smartphone today, the best front facing camera for video, since it can do 4K video on the front and it can take some outstanding shots with little to no tweaking required.
In the end, there’s no perfect smartphone camera, but the Galaxy S10+ one is definitely as good as the competition, just in some other areas.