Update: We've had the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus for over a week now, and we're continuing to take an extended first look at the smartphone in a series of posts. This time around, we're focusing on the camera and its low-light performance. Here's the latest.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus boldly promises to deliver 'The Camera. Reimagined', and the specs sure do detail a 2018 showstopper when it comes to capturing impressive low-light photos.
It’s the world’s first smartphone camera with an f/1.5 aperture, which means it’s able to pull in more light than the S8 Plus and even the best camera phones we’ve rated in 2017. It's also one of the few phones with an adjustable aperture, changing to f/2.4 to for a wider depth of field and so as not to overexpose daylight shots (after all, too much light isn't always a good thing for photos).
How do the photos look? We were using the Galaxy S9 Plus in Barcelona last week and in New York City this week, amassing low-light pictures we can’t wait for our full review to share.
Here’s our first look at the photo quality from the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus camera.
The Manhattan skyline is tough to capture from Brooklyn at night for three reasons: it’s far from where you’re standing, the surrounding area is dark, and the building lights are tiny, yet bright. Our first New York City photo with the Galaxy S9 Plus was right in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Challenge accepted.
Here’s another Brooklyn Bridge Park photo, this time balancing both a subject (me) in the dark, and the bright city lights behind me. It's extremely cold and the hours playing with this phone have been long. Ready for more?
Brooklyn Bridge is highly detailed thanks to its steel cables suspended in the air. It’s also another dark and distant subject that’s adorned with bright lights. But this city is just begging for good low-light photos.
This King Kong photo op at the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater is fun, but it’s still also a big low-light headache for many smartphone cameras. Usually the black-and-white backdrop is blown out or the subject is too dark. Note: no edits were made to these S9 Plus photos whatsoever.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is designed to be a low-light performer. Once-challenging restaurant photos should be better thanks to the f/1.5 aperture. You're going to be spending more time eating and conversing, and less time retaking snapshots.
Food photos should be especially easy because the subjects aren’t moving. That’s what we gathered from our first look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus – motionless subjects shot with the f/1.5 aperture look the best.
Group shots in candlelit wine bars fall in the same 'hard to capture' category. We were able to successfully snap this gem just before leaving Barcelona. It's one of the darkest bars we found at MWC.
Staying awake in Barcelona (due to many weather-related flight delays) required Starbucks. A lot of it. It also provided us with an indoor shot under moody Edison light bulbs.
Before leaving MWC 2018, we got a shot of (some of) the TechRadar team in the press room, working away the last hours of the convention. This media room isn’t the brightest, but it was filled with noisy crickets for some reason.
This low-light photo captures a bartender making a smoked Negroni cocktail, picking up his finger tattoos, the flame from the lighter and even the smoke emanating from the glass. This is the level of detail we're expecting from 2018's flagship phones.
Barcelona’s weather wasn’t ideal for MWC 2018. Rain (and sometimes snow) filled the air, and that made for moody street photography using the Galaxy S9 Plus camera. We ended up with a dramatic shot.
Sometimes you don’t want to remember those karaoke nights with photos. Sometimes you just can’t because of the low-light conditions. We did snap at least one winning shot in the dark karaoke club.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus camera features super-slow-motion video. You’ll have to wait for our full review to see more of the 960fps videos in action, be we did capture this drink-pouring shot as a tease of what’s to come.
Samsung’s phone cameras have been known for delivering nicely saturated colors, and that seems to be no different, even for low-light photos. Combined with the color-rich Mobile HDR-equipped Super AMOLED display, you're in for some vibrant-looking pictures
There's more Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus camera photography to come, along with more technical in-depth analysis of what you're seeing. This was just a first look.
Besides low-light photos, we'll exhibit additional pictures from the...
And even a few from a selfie stick