Samsung Galaxy Note 8 cameras: Everything you need to know! – Android Central

 In Technology

The Galaxy Note 8 has some camera hotness, but it’s also a lot of the same. Here we break it down for you.

While the Note 8 resembles the Galaxy S8 in many ways, the camera setup is pretty different.

That’s because, for the first time on a Samsung phone, there are two cameras instead of one, which offer a number of new features that you’re going to want to know about. Interested? Let’s dive right in.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 specs

What’s the camera hardware?

Like the Galaxy S8, the main camera on the Note 8 is a 12MP sensor with an optically-stabilized f/1.7 lens with a field of view roughly 28mm. On the Note 8, Samsung is calling this primary shooter its “wide-angle camera” to differentiate it from the second sensor, as well as perhaps to convince people that it’s akin to LG’s actual wide-angle sensor, which comes standard on devices like the G6 and V20.

Instead, Samsung’s secondary sensor is also 12MP but it comes paired with an optically-stabilized f/2.4 “telephoto” lens, which is also optically-stabilized. Samsung claims that, like Apple and OnePlus, its focal distance is twice that of its main lens, but we don’t know the exact millimeter equivalent.

All this is to say that on the Note 8, you can now zoom up to 2x with no discernible loss in quality, and up to 10x with much less degradation than traditional single lens shooters.

What are the benefits of having this setup?

From the outset, we can see three advantages to having a second sensor with a zoom lens:

  • You can take clearer photos of subjects further away.
  • You can combine the information from both cameras to take photos with enhanced depth of field, similar to the Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus and the OnePlus 5.
  • You can take a photo with both cameras at once, resulting in both standard-distance and telephoto shots from a single snap.

What is Samsung calling its Portrait Mode feature?

Live Focus is the name of Samsung’s artificial background blurring feature, often called Portrait Mode. But unlike Apple’s implementation (at least right now — it’s coming in iOS 11) is the ability to change the severity of the blur in real time, as well as after the photo is taken. That depth data is maintained with every photo, so it can be altered after the fact and saved as a new photo. Very useful.

Live Focus also provides guidance on how to take a great photo — the camera app will tell you whether you need to move forward or back a little to optimize the subject in the foreground to get the ideal depth of field.

How does the Note 8’s second sensor work with the first?

Good question. When you take a regular photo — open the camera app and just snap something quickly — the second camera isn’t being used at all. Unlike other dual camera implementations from companies like Huawei and Motorola, Samsung’s second sensor doesn’t kick in unless it’s asked to — by changing to the Live Focus feature.

There is one exception to this, though: remember when Samsung made the shutter button into a sliding zoom on the Galaxy S8? We thought it was great then, even with one camera on board, and now it’s even more useful; gesturing north while tapping the shutter key effortlessly zooms into a subject, and this time when that zoom level reaches 2x, the Note 8 seamlessly switches over to that second camera sensor — as long as there’s enough light to do so.

Why did Samsung copy Apple instead of LG or Huawei with its second sensor?

I can’t answer that question, but it’s a good one. Here’s a supposition, though: Samsung is moving the Galaxy line ever more into a lifestyle brand, and it believes that Live Focus, the keystone feature of its second sensor and telephoto lens, is a better play for a wider audience — think marketing and billboards and TV ads— over the harder-to-explain monochrome “helper” sensor of the Huawei P10 or the more niche ultra-wide angle lens of the G6.

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