Galaxy S24 Ultra rumored ‘downgrade’ from 10x to 5x optical zoom camera leaves potential buyers confused, here’s some clarity

Samsung Galaxy S24 series is only a few months away from launch, which explains the intensifying leaks and rumors doing rounds. As it is customary, several improvements are in line for the S24, S24+ and S24 Ultra. You’ll also get some debuting features as well. For instance, it has been rumored that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will ship with only a Snapdragon model, unlike the S24 and S24+ that will reportedly get Exynos variants.

Earlier this month, SmartPrix collaborated with OnLeaks for exclusive images showcasing what Samsung is working on. The Galaxy S23 Ultra already looks and feels great. There isn’t much to expect in terms of design changes. And indeed, this is evident from the leaked images, which also give us a glimpse of the camera setup on the back.

Click/tap to zoom

Just like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, you’ll likely get a quad-lens setup on the Galaxy S24 Ultra albeit with some improvements. There’s talk of a 200MP primary lens alongside a 12MP ultra-wide shooter. You also get a 10MP telephoto shooter with 3x optical zoom. Bar other refinements, this is basically the same setup on the S23 Ultra. It features a 200MP primary shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide lens and a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom.

Galaxy S24 Ultra may come with a 5x periscope lens

Just like its predecessor, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is also rumored to ship with a periscope telephoto lens. The S23 Ultra has a 10MP periscope lens that’s capable of 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom. However, latest rumors suggest the S24 Ultra will drop the 10x optical zoom in favor of 5x optical zoom. Understandably, some people see this as a downgrade.


Indeed, for a function that is best-captured using numbers, a shift from 10x to 5x optical zoom comes out as a downgrade to the average consumer. Generally, optical zoom, which is made possible by the lens’ actual capabilities, is a better way to zoom in compared to software-based digital zoom.

Understandably, potential Galaxy S24 Ultra buyers are concerned. Will 5x optical zoom match the performance of the 10X optical zoom? Will it get worse since the phone’s zoom capabilities will now be more reliant on software rather than the actual lens? What’s even more concerning is the rumored f/3.4 aperture of the lens compared to f/2.8 aperture on the Pixel 8 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. In fact, the latter now has 10x optical zoom range.


Here’s some clarity

But is it really a downgrade? Apparently, it’s claimed the periscope lens will not be a 10MP unit like the S23 Ultra. Instead, the S24 Ultra will allegedly ship with a 50MP periscope lens. It will not only be capable of the “downgraded” 5x optical zoom. But it’ll also keep the 100x digital zoom from its predecessor. People are concerned this change will not only result in poor longer range zoom quality, but also take away one of the S24 Ultra’s USPs.


According to Samsung fansite SamMobile, the switch from 10x to 5x optical zoom is a downgrade on paper. But in the hindsight, it could actually represent a significant upgrade in video photography akin to Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro.

First of all, the 50MP lens means you get a higher resolution sensor which could match the S23 Ultra’s camera performance. Furthermore, the publication says “this switch will also bring seamless video recording between all the cameras, even in the 4K 60fps mode.”

As things stand, you cannot switch between the various camera lenses when recording 4K 60fps videos on any flagship Samsung phone. But this change from 10x to 5x optical zoom could make this dream come true with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. If anything, the bigger and higher resolution sensor should still result in the same zoom quality you see on the S23 Ultra alongside improved performance in low-light conditions.

But of course, these are still rumors. Nothing has been confirmed by Samsung, so take them with a pinch of salt.

Featured image: Samsung

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