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Samsung teases ‘reimagined’ camera for the Galaxy S9, variable aperture lens expected; here’s all you need to know

The variable aperture camera could work similar to the one on Samsung’s W2018 flip phone.

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MWC 2018 is just around the corner, and this year’s is one of the highly-anticipated one for many reasons. After skipping the expo last year, Samsung has officially confirmed that it will be present this year, and will unveil the flagship Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones. The event is set to take place on February 25, and Samsung has already started teasing it.

Rumors claim that LG and Huawei won’t announce their flagship smartphones at the expo to avoid Samsung hogging the limelight. HMD Global has already confirmed its presence and Nokia 9 flagship is expected to be unveiled. Xiaomi is also expected to be present and Mi 7 powered by Snapdragon 845 SoC is expected. Sure, MWC 2018 looks exciting, and all eyes will be on the new Galaxy S9-duo.

Ahead of the launch, we have come across a number of leaks and rumors, giving us a fair idea on what to expect from the new Galaxy S9 smartphones. While under the hood upgrades and improved design are expected, Samsung has released a teaser promising a ‘reimagined’ camera on the new smartphones. The leaked Galaxy S9 box hinted at a variable aperture camera, and we take a look at what it is, and how it could work.

New camera sensors

Before we talk about the variable aperture lens, Samsung recently detailed its new ISOCELL camera sensors, and we are likely to see them on the new Galaxy S9 smartphones. The four new sensors are called – ISOCELL Bright, ISOCELL Fast ISOCELL Slim and ISOCELL Dual. ISOCELL Bright sensor uses Samsung’s Tetracell technology to improve low-light sensitivity by amalgamating four neighboring pixels into one giant pixel.

The South Korean giant has also integrated its Smart WDR feature, which enables the sensor to capture multiple exposures in a single shot. Samsung says, it will help in allowing users to capture detailed photos in bright and dark environments. Next, is the ISOCELL Fast sensor that enables users to record full HD (1080p) videos at 480fps.

The third is an ISOCELL Slim sensor, which allows users to capture high-resolution images using a thin and small sensor of 0.9 microns. And because it is sleek, the company can also do away with those ugly camera bumps. Lastly, the ISOCELL Dual sensor enables features such as optical zoom, low-light shooting, and depth sensor for out-focusing effects. This sensor is expected to be on the Galaxy S9+ variant.

Variable aperture lens

It was widely believed that both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones could come with dual cameras at the back. However, based on the leaked renders, it is evident that the dual-camera setup will be reserved for the premium variant, a strategy similar to Apple.

Now, camera has always been a focus, and Samsung has proved it time and again. The Galaxy S6 came with a 16-megapixel f/1.9 aperture camera, and it was praised for its photo quality. With the Galaxy S7, Samsung introduced a larger f/1.7 aperture for improved low-light photography, and an improved sensor with same aperture was seen on the Galaxy S8 duo.

With the Galaxy S9, the photo of a retail box hinted at a variable aperture lens. But what exactly does that mean? Well, the Galaxy S9’s primary camera will be able to intelligently switch from f/1.5 aperture, down to f/2.4, depending on the lighting scenario. It is similar to what we have already seen on Samsung’s W2018 flip phone, which is exclusive to the Chinese market. Below is a small video shared on Weibo showing the variable aperture lens at work.

So, when the lighting condition is good, and you want some shallow depth of field effects to keep the subject in focus, and blur the background, the camera can switch to f/2.4 aperture. And when clicking photos in low-light, the camera can switch to larger f/1.5 aperture. Samsung has shared an example of the same on its China website, and you can see that below.

How exactly the new camera technology will work remains to be seen. Samsung will talk about the same in detail at MWC 2018 conference where it will unveil the new smartphones, till then, stay tuned.

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  • Published Date: January 25, 2018 2:09 PM IST