Thursday, September 26, 2019

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Camera Review

Review of Galaxy S10 Plus Camera

After using the phone for two months, I have finally come out with my Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus camera review based on various conditions and settings on the camera. 

You see, I do not rush to get a phone, and review it overnight just to be the first few to do it, and if you know me, I love to use a product for a decent time before reviewing it officially. 

Review of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Camera

Galaxy S10 Ultra Wide Photo
An ultra-wide shot taken at Kuala Baram Wetlands in Miri, Sarawak
While most people rush to review new smartphones, I just wonder how they base their reviews on. The most common way would be by taking photos and comparing them with other smartphones?

Anyway, I got my Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus in June of 2019, and have been testing the smartphone in various conditions all around Malaysia. 

Why I do this is because I travel a lot for my work and I always lug my heavy DSLR camera with me. Before owning the S10 Plus, I once did get a review unit in early April to test it for a couple of weeks.

However, that did not work well for me, because it was a rush, and I had to return the unit back, so I was pretty limited to what I could do. 

Apart from the usual screen resolution, speed, materials, ram, battery life and so on, you have most probably read them all on other reviews, which are mostly copied and pasted or re-written. 

So, let me give you my honest camera review of the Galaxy S10 Plus below. And you should also know that the photos posted in this article are all non-edited and straight from the phone.

Camera Modes for Galaxy S10 Plus
The many modes that are available on the Galaxy S10 Plus.
Galaxy Note 10 Plus Camera Modes

One thing I love about the new camera system on the Galaxy S10 Plus is the triple-camera mode it offers. All I can say is that this is what I was waiting for all my life, well sort of. 

In technical jargon, the Galaxy S10 Plus is a triple-lens camera that comes with;
  • A standard 12-megapixel lens with a variable f/1.5 to f/2.4 aperture
  • 12-megapixel telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture
  • 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture
Camera System on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
The triple camera system on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Photo from Samsung Malaysia. 
So, what does that mean for the common layman? More confusion I assume, but not to worry as I will do my best to break it down in layman terms. 

Forget about the f/this and f/that as it is more for those professional wannabes. All you need to know is that when you launch the camera mode, you will see a bunch of icons and words.

I must stress here, all the photos posted here are not edited at all, only to put in the watermark and resized for publication.

Also, before you start using the camera, please go to the 'Camera Settings' on the phone and enable your 'Screen Optimizer'. This will differentiate many objects like buildings, people and pets.

Camera Review for Galaxy S10 Plus
Red Durians (Durian Isu) from Miri, Sarawak. The photo was taken with the standard photo mode.
Standard Photo Mode on Galaxy S10 Plus

Simple photographers will go straight for the standard "Photo" mode, which is your easiest way to take photos.

Once in that mode, you have three options to choose from in terms of zoom. That is the easiest option for anyone who does not want complications.

It is also a very straight forward and simple to use mode, as in point and click the button. That is all, and this will be the most popular mode for many users.

Food photos Galaxy S10 Plus Malaysia
Kolo Mee with homemade noodles from Pujut in Miri. Food mood used for this photo. 
Food Photo Mode on Galaxy S10 Plus

This one was made purely for the foodies, or in general everyone who just loves to take food photos. However please note it works great with food in the photos and not your empty plates. 

The food mode opens with an adjustable bokeh ring in the middle of the screen. You can pinch it wide or small to give it a blurred effect on the outside. Bokeh is a known photographer's term.

The cropping for the bokeh mode will go away if you wait a little longer, and then you can just take a full photo without the blurring.

Food Mode Photo of Samsung S10 Plus
The very unique Marudi Fried Kuey Teow in Miri, Sarawak. The photo was taken using the food mode. 
So, when you get into this mode, you can either use it or not. By pinching it as wide and waiting, the blurring effect goes away automatically, unless you touch the area you want to photograph. 

The food mode also cleverly adjusts colors to make them look more appetizing on your screen. This is part of the built-in A.I that recognizes food photos.

Another function in Food Mode is the Palette, which controls the color and temperature of the photo before taking it.

Photo taken with Galaxy S10 Plus
Ultra-wide photo taken at the Summit Cafe in Miri, serving authentic Orang Ulu food in Sarawak.
For me, at first, I kind of found it interesting, but honestly, I find a nice sharp and clear photo that will show the food much better. Anyway, it's very subjective, so use it to how you like. 

I find the food mode great for those who indulge in food photography or just want to post it on Instagram. But know that in low-light conditions, you may have to play around with this food mode.

The food mode is also very interesting, especially when the function tends to give you a rich tone for food photography. Other settings do not give you this.

If you are extra creative, you can also use the 'Food Mode' to photograph other items like insects, flowers or small items that turn out pretty impressive.

Galaxy S10 Plus Wide Angle Photo
Ultra-wide photo taken at the Damai Beach Resort in Santubong, Sarawak.
Instagram Photo Mode on Galaxy S10 Plus

Everyone's favorite mode except me. Really, I started in the early days of Instagram when it was much nicer and eventually got a little tired of this platform as it became worse over the years. 

But not to fear as the Galaxy S10 Plus Instagram mode is an easy way out for Instagrammers or would-be influencers, closet influencers and so on. 

The 'Instagram Mode' comes built with perfect cropping to fit Instagram, so you need not have to edit your photos after taking them. Just snap and upload to Instagram, that's all. 

If you ask me, this is just a short-cut for those who hate editing and resizing photos to fit into your Instagram specific crop.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Panorama Mode Photo
Damai Beach in Sarawak, taken with the Panorama mode on the phone. 
Panorama Photo Mode on Galaxy S10 Plus

Use only when you see a nice landscape, meaning when the angle is really wide, you can then get into this mode and capture the entire scene from left to right.

The trick is to use this mode when the light is great, especially in the morning or afternoons. The natural light helps to beautify the photo.

Also, when you are panning from left to right or the other way, be sure to go slow and keep the line straight when panning.

And, you can also take panoramic photos horizontally! So, either way, this works any way you like your photo to turn out.

Night Mode Photo Galaxy S10
The amazing turn out on the night mode of the phone. 
Night Photo Mode on Galaxy S10 Plus

This is currently my favorite function on the Galaxy S10 Plus camera as I never thought I would see the day I would be able to shoot at night without problems.

Since testing the phone and exploring many different night scenes, I find that areas with a lot of light tend to turn out even more beautiful.

A small trick I learned is when you take the photo, put down the contrast and the photo looks even better when there are a lot of lights.

You also need to hold the phone steady for a good five or six seconds when taking a photo using the night mode.

The Miri Waterfront, photo taken at around 9.00 PM with night mode.
The Curve and eCurve shopping mall in Mutiara Damansara, photo taken around 8.00 PM with night mode.
Pro Photo Mode on Galaxy S10 Plus

Honestly, I am still testing this function, and if you are a general user like most people, I would recommend you use the other functions. This requires a little photography knowledge to operate.

Settings include almost everything that is found in modern-day DSLR cameras, with aperture, shutter speed, white balance and so on.

To properly use this mode, you need to understand how a camera functions, otherwise, it will be all confusing and frustrating. 

Live Focus Photo Mode on Galaxy S10 Plus

Another function that I am also still testing to see how it turns out. To be honest, this is still something new to me, so let me explore this and update it here later.

It states that this function plays around with the depth of field, providing some pretty amazing shots, namely selfies. So as I am not a selfie-person, I doubt I will be doing any of that here.

But I believe I will find some other way to explore this function so stay tuned.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Review of Camera
The Tusan Horse Rock at Tusan Beach in Miri, Sarawak. Taken with the ultra-wide mode during sunset. 
Landscape Photos with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Below are some other random landscape photos that were taken around Sarawak using the normal and ultra-wide modes on the camera.

Again, I want to stress that all the photos here are taken with the Galaxy S10 Plus, and they are not edited at all. I just put a watermark and resized them to fit here.

So what you see is the true colors of the camera here.

Normal mode photo for S10 Plus
The Hornbill Monument at Damai Central in Santubong, Sarawak during sunset. Ultra-wide mode. 
Samsung Galaxy S10 Ultra-wide photo
Mount Santubong view from a floating fish farm along the Santubong River. Ultra-wide mode. 
Samsung Galaxy Ultra-wide Photo
Sunset at Damai Beach in Sarawak. Using ultra-wide mode only. 
Galaxy S10 Ultra Wide Angle Photo
Using the Ultra-Wide mode to capture the full moment in Miri, Sarawak. 
Ultra wide photo on S10 Plus
A sunset photo at Coco Cabana in Miri, using the ultra-wide mode
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Night Mode Photo
The Seahorse statue at the Miri Waterfront by the Pullman Miri Hotel. Taken using night-mode at 6am. 
Ultra-wide camera photo for S10 Plus
The Sunday 'Tamu' or open market in Miri City, Sarawak. Ultra-wide used here. 
Review of ultra-wide camera S10 Plus
The departure hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) using Ultra-wide mode. 
Conclusion 

Overall, there have been many different opinions and reviews about the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus by many people and you should pay attention to who is reviewing them.

There are many tech bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, online portals and even photographers that have given their own opinions.

For the general user out there, I would suggest you take all the reviews with a pinch of salt, as each one has a different expectation and review.

I have also done a camera review for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus in October 2019 if you want to see any comparison between the two models.

For me, I have been traveling and photographing for the last 30 years, and ever since the first iPhone 1 was launched, I was already using that from day one.

Over the years, I have seen how the smartphone and its camera has evolved tremendously, namely with so many technological advancements, it has become a staple tool for humans.

I trust that this review of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus camera will provide you with a non-biased opinion and see it from a travel photographer's point of view. 

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