Galaxy S21 Ultra: The cool new camera tricks (and how you actually use them)

Anndra Hoyle / CNET

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra already proven to pack a solid camera, packed with features to help beginners and pros alike take great photos when out and about. It’s not a surprising review since Galaxy S20 Ultra, with headline specs like the 108-megapixel sensor and 100x zoom common across both phones. But there are new tricks to discover.

Read more: Review: Samsung’s Galaxy S21 is a no-brainer update phone

Let’s get in to see what features are new and how to use them.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

Take Single

Single Take is a function that allows the phone to capture multiple images and video clips – each with a different effect applied – just by pressing the shutter button once. The goal is to allow you to capture a wide variety of interesting photos and videos, say, your child unlocking a birthday present, without having to pre-decide on a particular style, zoom lens or filter.

It was a feature launched on the Galaxy S20, but has been expanded to produce even more effects. It feels complicated, but very simple to use. To get started, tap the Single Take camera mode in the mode dial next to the shutter button. Then all you have to do is tap the shutter button and wait for the 10 seconds it takes to capture everything. The idea is to move around, perhaps swirling the camera between faces, so that the phone has more stuff to work with to create the various options for you.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

When you are done, you can go into the gallery and find your Single Take file and swipe up to see the different things it has extracted. There will still be images, different video clips, GIFs – all of which will have an impact. You can save them all or select your favorite items to share with friends and family.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

Using the zoom

The S21 Ultra has 3x optical zoom, 10x optical zoom and can take images with digital motion up to a whopping 30x and 100x. The practice is dead dead. In normal camera mode you will see small leaf images next to the shutter button. One leaf means moving inward (i.e. getting closer to the leaf); the three-page image involves the use of the wide-angle lens (i.e. captures more pages in a single image). Clicking on the images will quickly bring you to 3x or 10x zoos, but you can also grab the numbers that appear next to them as well.

It works just the same as if you are zooming in when you are still taking an image or you are recording a video.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

Night mode

The correct Night mode on the S21 Ultra can be hard to find if you’re new to the phone and you may not know it’s there at first. The phone can take large, light images in its normal camera mode, but when things get dark, scroll to More on the mode panel next to the shutter button and you will see a wide variety of different firing options.

One of them is called Night and is represented by an image of a moon. In this mode the phone will take an image over several seconds to capture more light. While using image stabilization to keep the bullet as sharp as possible, you can help it longer by keeping your hand as stable as possible, or even better by stabilizing your hands on it. a nearby wall or other object to reduce hand vibration.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

The director’s opinion

A new feature for the S21, View’s Director is a video feature that shows you detailed views of the scene you are shooting using the various zoom lenses. You will find it in the same screen screen as Night mode (tap More on a wheel select mode). Once there, you’ll immediately see the different toes and grab them to start recording video in all zoom lengths.

Director’s View, however, has an additional feature that allows you to record video with both the front and rear cameras at the same time. The idea is that you can put a view in front of you, while also capturing your own opinion to it. When in Director View you will see a square box at the top right of the screen (when held in a photo directory, or at the top left if it is kept in landscape). Tapping on this will allow you to choose how you want your face video to be displayed; as a split screen view where your face pops up half the screen, or as a smaller picture style, where you appear as a small covered window on the main view.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

Clicking on either of them will bring your face into the picture and a tapping board will allow you to capture video with both sides at the same time. Remember that even though the phone permanently bakes both videos in one file, so do not pick up the front and rear cameras at the same time in the hope of separating them from separate videos later.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

108-megapixel images

The 108-megapixel resolution of the camera’s main sensor is quite large and while it’s the same resolution as the S20 Ultra, it has been given a few software tweaks to improve it, so it’s worth checking out if you haven’t already. To activate it, start in normal camera mode and you will see some images at the top of the screen (or on the left, if you keep it in landscape mode), one of which will be for the -spect side and is denoted by numbers as 3: 4, 1: 1 no Full.

Tap on it and you will see the 3: 4 108MP option. Clicking will activate the high-resolution mode, but keep in mind that you will not be able to use any of the zoom lenses as it relies solely on the image sensitivity of the main camera.


Anndra Hoyle / CNET

12-bit raw

Samsung seems to have boosted the S21 Ultra in its raw burning skills with support for 12-bit raw files. Raw files that do not save information such as white balance or digital tuning are usually “digital negatives,” providing a better base image for later image editing. Raw files are usually used by pro designers who want the best control and quality from their images.

Raw 12-bit files, in theory, capture a more dynamic range meaning more detail in the scenes and reflections. It’s probably a pro feature, so it’s no surprise that you have to step into it More and then apply the Pro method. This brings up all the manual options for publishing, white balance and auto focus, so it’s worth a try if you’re confident with your photography experience. Implementing raw mode takes an extra step though; tap on the cog options, enter Advanced layout and options and turn it on RAW copy, which allows the phone to take a raw image in addition to a standard JPEG.

Keep in mind, however, that raw files take up a lot more space than JPEG images, so if you’re running low on space, make sure you haven’t left this mode and are without fills your gallery with high-resolution raw images of your pet. If that’s not what you’re in.

Now playing:
Watch here:

We review the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G and its bonkers cameras