If you’re wondering just how much a smartphone camera can improve year after year – in an industry that is arguably scraping the ceiling of innovation – you’re not alone. You’re done with the marketing spiel, the polished launch photos; you want to know what the just-launched Samsung Galaxy S22+ and its acclaimed new camera can really do in the field. Raw, unedited, and taken by yours truly.
Seeing as Samsung promised the world with its “revolutionary” new snapper, we thought… why don’t we put it to the world and see if it can deliver?
By chance – and after two years of zero international travel – this month we found ourselves on a whirlwind circumnavigation of the globe. We’d almost forgotten after such a long time that some of our planet’s most inspiring and attractive destinations only really show their true colours after dark. A perfect opportunity to put the Galaxy S22+’s new “Nightography” apparatus to the sword with 22 unbelievable photos.
I realise such a buzzword could be classified as the aforementioned, persona-non-grata marketing spiel, but bear with us. Yes, it’s a crafty sales term for taking epic nighttime shots, but when you pull back the layers of the Galaxy S22+’s unrivalled hardware and software developments, they’ve genuinely made the most effective low-light photo machine we’ve ever come across in a smartphone. More on those details in due course.
So the door for a road-test was open, and we took it with the Galaxy S22+ in hand; 10 flights across three continents in just two weeks and with an eagerness to point at shoot at just about everything with a child-like excitement.
From bars and backstreets to glorious city skylines and snow capped peaks, we were quick to discover that there was absolutely no reason why our camera roll needed to stop filling up just because the sun had called it a day.
Side note: It would be remiss of me not to mention that the Galaxy S22+’s unimaginable battery life allowed us to watch the entire new season of Drive to Survive on our 14-hour plane journey in a single session, and still have juice to spare.
Now to set the scene. Our round-the-world extravaganza started in a place that was perhaps the most geographically and visually different to Australia you could think of – the French Alps. During the glorious blue-bird days there wasn’t a single cloud to be found, allowing the colours and details of the quaint little town of Valmorel, the towering facade of Mont Blanc, and the almost blinding snow covered mountains to shine through the 50MP camera on the Galaxy S22+. It really was astounding how vivid the end results looked straight off the camera, especially in comparison to competitor smartphones.
But for anyone who’s been privileged enough to watch the contrails of the overhead planes streak across the mountains and sip a mulled wine as the light slips away, they’ll know that on a clear night, the Alps can offer some of the most pristine nightscapes on earth. Now with Adaptive Pixel Technology to capture more light, the Galaxy S22+ allowed us to capture every second of the transition from day to night in some absolutely breathtaking scenes. We’ll let the (unedited) results speak for themselves:
We’d like to specifically note that, perhaps surprisingly, the vast majority of these were not taken using a tripod. Even when we were stumbling out of apres-ski or rushing through the streets of London to get an Uber, the handheld night photos only required mere seconds of a steady-hand to harness all the glorious light it needed to stitch the perfect outcome. The Galaxy S22+ is powered by advanced VDIS technology which helps minimise vibrations, so you get crisp, sharp shots even when you’re on the move.
Speaking of London, despite being a place that no stranger to most of you, through the lens of the Galaxy S22+, it came to life in a way that we’ve never seen before.
During our brief 72-hour stint in the depths of urban London before our onwards journey to the Big Apple, a particular feature of the Samsung S22+ really came into its own. You’re a tap away from stepping up your photo game even more when you enable the built-in Detail Enhancer in High Resolution mode before you hit the shutter. It utilises deep-learning AI, intelligently improving your photos with incredible depth and detail. From the illuminated London Eye to the headlights of a double-decker bus around Oxford Circus, it really has to be seen to be believed.
It just so happens that our final stop on the world tour, New York City, is also a Mecca for nighttime photographers. The larger-than-life skyscrapers tower over trendy rooftop bars, the hotel lobbies are some of the grandest in the world, and the rat race within the concrete jungle has a surprising charm to it, especially once the glowing ball of red sets behind the shadows of the metropolis.
In a city of this scale, the Galaxy S22+’s varying lens options allowed for telescopic 10MP shot up towards mid-town one moment, and a Wide-Angle 50MP shot within a few steps of each other. Swapping between the perspectives meant we never had to compromise when shooting on the run.
The city that never sleeps definitely delivered, albeit during a very short overnight layover. But we never missed a moment with the Galaxy S22+, especially while indulging in a few cocktail catchups at Peachy’s in Chinatown.
What better way to put the Galaxy S22+ through the wringer than a whirlwind circumnavigation of the globe after two long years of no international travel. How good.
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ retails for $1,549 and is available now. I’m sure you’d agree that the results speak for themselves.