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We reviewed three of the more popular 'pocket printers,' the Canon Ivy, Fujifilm Instax Share and Polaroid ZIP. Here's the one we recommend...
|The wide-angle camera on the Samsung S9+, along with its smaller S9 sibling, comes with an adjustable aperture, offering either F1.5 or F2.4.|
In a never-ending quest for better image quality, smartphone manufacturers are turning to all sorts of tricks to eke better performance out of very small image sensors. But through all the software, algorithms and dual-and-triple camera setups, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagship phones have joined a very select club of smartphones with real aperture settings. The S9+ will automatically switch from F1.5 to F2.4 depending on your lighting situation, and you can manually select it in 'Pro' mode.
Going from F2.4 to F1.5 on the Galaxy S9+ gives you nearly a stop and a third of extra light
So what are the potential benefits of having aperture control on a smartphone anyway? According to Samsung, "the category–defining Dual Aperture adapts to bright light and super low light automatically, like the human eye. And you can flex your artistic side, toggling the aperture to create a mood."
|Just 'flexing my artistic side' by manually choosing F1.5 and shooting into the sun. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 50 | 1/516 sec | F1.5
All that strikes us as a little 'over-the-top,' but there is some potential here. Going from F2.4 to 1.5 gives you nearly a stop and a third of extra light, and will keep your ISO value down (or your shutter speed up) in dim conditions. But we were also curious about the quality in other situations; after all, these apertures are equivalent to F9 and F14 on full-frame. Could shooting the wider aperture in bright light give you sharper images by having less softness from diffraction?
As you can see in a, this - the corners in particular are at F1.5.
Here's an easy-to-see example of the difference in detail capture, despite all the Galaxy S9+ is doing behind the scenes to make these look as detailed as possible. It's important to put this in context, though: when flipping between these two images full-screen on the S9+ they look identical. So unless you're planning on making prints from your cell phone landscapes, it probably doesn't matter all that much which aperture you (or the phone) pick.
Let's see what sort of difference the aperture makes with a close subject, and distant background.
Disappointingly, the S9+ and its included applications don't allow you to use any computational background blur wizardry on images shot using the wide-angle camera that it does allow on its telephoto one (the smaller S9 on the other hand, which only has a wide angle camera, does let you do this). So does having a wider aperture give you some buttery background blur naturally?
While there is a difference in background blur between the two apertures, it's nothing like shooting with a wide-aperture prime lens on an interchangeable lens camera - but nor would we really expect it to be. But we do see how the phone's noise reduction techniques deal with.
In really low light conditions, the faster aperture will definitely get you better shots on the Galaxy S9 and S9+ than if you were forced to use the camera at F2.4. Optical image stabilization means that you can hand-hold images down to a reasonably slow shutter speed, and the phone can keep its ISO more than a stop lower - as long as your subjects aren't moving.
ISO 50 | 1/13 sec | F1.5
But as I found out while shooting a dimly lit concert with the Galaxy S9+, Samsung's latest flagship camera phone still isn't a match for low light and moving subjects in its fully automatic mode (you can switch into 'Pro' mode and force higher ISO values or shutter speeds if you're an advanced user). We are still working through our testing and plan on doing side-by-side comparisons with phones such as Google's Pixel 2, which intelligently stacks images together even in low light situations.
|This photograph taken at 1/30 sec in 'auto' was the only one that wasn't blurred to oblivion. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 800 | 1/30 sec | F1.5
Now it's true that for casual shooters taking their phones out to dinner and photographing their friends and their food, the camera will automatically switch to F1.5 will help them get shots with more detail and less noise reduction, while using an F2.4 aperture will get them slightly better quality in daylight.
But we can't help wondering if this is a little 'gimmicky' - the drop in detail at F1.5 is unlikely to be a deal breaker for these sorts of users, and if Samsung didn't have to squeeze an aperture blade system into the lens design, could they simply have made the lens perform better wide open? The system looks to have real blades that expand and contract, but you're only allowed a toggle between the two values.
We don't know for sure, but we've still got lots of testing on the Galaxy S9+ over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for our full review.
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Jun 20, 2018
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Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones come with a range of innovative camera features and functions.
Following testing of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II, we've added it to our Pocketable Enthusiast Compact Cameras buying guide as joint-winner, alongside Sony's Cyber-shot RX100 VA.
If you're looking for a high-quality camera, you don't need to spend a ton of cash, nor do you need to buy the latest and greatest new product on the market. In our latest buying guide we've selected some cameras that while they're a bit older, still offer a lot of bang for the buck.
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|The sights this window has seen! by NPW UK|
from Creative Window
|Tacking Point Light House by photoman555|
from Nikon Challenge
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Independent lens manufacturer Sigma has announced that its new 28mm T1.5 cine lens for full frame sensor cameras will be available from the middle of March.
Panasonic has announced the impending release of two new cameras, the ZS80/TZ95 compact camera and the FZ1000 II superzoom camera.
At Dubai's recent Gulf Photo Plus event, Fujifilm showed off several of its early concept mockups for GFX cameras that (sadly) never made it into production. We took a closer look.
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Lens manufacturer Irix has announced it's expanding its product lineup into the Japanese market.
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The 12th International Garden Photographer of the Year winners have been announced. We've gathered the top photos from each category and rounded them up into a slideshow.
Kosmo Foto has announced the release and opened pre-orders for its new Mono 120 black-and-white film.
Uber software engineer Phillip Wang has created a website that shows a portrait of a person that doesn't actually exist by using AI to merge multiple faces together.
The Atomos Shinobi is a compact, lightweight monitor that features the same display found inside the much more expensive Ninja 5 monitor/recorder.
Want to know more about the Canon EOS RP? Dying to ask a question that hasn't been addressed anywhere else online? Join the editors of DPReview for a live Q&A about this new camera next Tuesday, Feb. 19 on our YouTube channel. Click through for details.
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Xiaomi's new flagship Android smartphone is expected to be launched on February 24 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
A quick glance at the spec sheet doesn't make the Canon EOS RP look that exciting. But having shot with it, we've become oddly fond of this little full framer.
Pixelmator Pro has received an update with new and improved features, including support for Portrait Masks with images captured by the iPhone's Portrait Mode.
Alongside the EOS RP, Canon showed us mockups of the six lenses it says are in development for 2019. There's a distinct high-end flavor to the options in the works.
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Fujifilm has announced its upcoming rugged point-and-shoot, the FinePix XP140.
Get a closer look at Canon's second full-frame mirrorless body and its unique combination of features, capability and price point.
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A pre-launch event gave us a chance to shoot a sample gallery to show what sort of image quality you can expect from the least-expensive digital full frame camera ever launched.
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