1. Tmel14's Avatar
    Last summer I purchased an Xperia 1 II which I really liked for a lot of reasons - the screen, form factor and feel were all great. Unfortunately, the camera was not up to much and really struggled in low light conditions as well as capturing moving objects. As a camera is one of the top priorities for me in a phone, I made the switch and got the Pixel 5. The camera on the Pixel is brilliant and I am happy enough with the phone for now but the small screen and medium-range specs are definitely a shame.

    Having seen some brilliant reviews of the S21 Ultra, my interest has been piqued and I am considering pre-ordering. I am also conscious though that reviews often don't really give a thorough, in-depth review of camera capabilities in different everyday situations (often just focusing on headline specs and flashy new features). Having read the S20 Ultra forum, I noticed a lot of negativity around autofocus, images in low light conditions, images of moving subjects and video quality. This goes back a way but having previously had S6 & S7, I thought the cameras were OK but often a little unnatural/beautified.

    Does the S21 Ultra appear to be rectifying these issues and will the camera/video quality be on a par with the likes of Pixel 5 & iPhone 12 Pro Max? For the price of the phone, I would really expect it to be very top end.
    01-22-2021 08:49 AM
  2. mjs2011's Avatar
    Every review I've seen says that the Ultra is comparable with the iPhone 12 Pro Max and that both are above the Pixel 5.
    maverick96 likes this.
    01-22-2021 09:31 AM
  3. fuzzylumpkin's Avatar
    We don't have anything more to go off than you. But judging by the reviews and hands ons all the problems that plagued the S20 ultra camera have been fixed, and the camera setup is better than what the Pixel 5 offers.

    The Pixel cameras may have been industry leading once. But Google, in true Google fashion, treat rested on their laurels too long and let everyone else catch up and surpass them.
    Ragnarianrok likes this.
    01-22-2021 09:41 AM
  4. Johnson21x's Avatar
    We don't have anything more to go off than you. But judging by the reviews and hands ons all the problems that plagued the S20 ultra camera have been fixed, and the camera setup is better than what the Pixel 5 offers.

    The Pixel cameras may have been industry leading once. But Google, in true Google fashion, treat rested on their laurels too long and let everyone else catch up and surpass them.
    This absolutely. The photos on the pixel was the best in my opinion up until the last year or 2. Now apple and samsung has caught up.

    From some of the reviews ive seen the Ultra does great video and picture but the 12 pro max might have slight advantages in some scenarios taking pictures. But both out do the pixel.
    Ragnarianrok likes this.
    01-22-2021 10:22 AM
  5. Darwm's Avatar
    theres a ton a video reviews on youtube that show the s21 ultra equal or better than even the iphone 12 max
    maverick96 likes this.
    01-22-2021 10:43 AM
  6. Ragnarianrok's Avatar
    From what I've gathered, the S21 Ultra (and hopefully same for the regular S21) is about on par with the Pixel 5 in terms of still photography, and leagues better in terms of video capturing and overall camera features, like pro mode. It's also about on par with the iPhone 12 Pro Max for both stills + video, though the iPhone seems to take the edge in terms of video.

    Here and there, each will have its unique strengths -- for example, the Pixel 5's night mode still seems to edge out both the S21 and certainly the iPhone Pro by a bit. But when it comes to the overall camera experience, and not just still photography, it looks to me the S21 and the iPhone Pro are both better than the Pixel 5.

    I'm coming from a Pixel 4 XL (pre-ordered the S21+) and the camera experience is something I was keen on waiting for to be on par before jumping ship and giving Samsung an honest shot. It looks like this is the right year. Frankly, it was beginning to feel like I was being tied down and held hostage by Pixel's still photography. Now that Samsung seems to have more or less caught up, I can finally move over and enjoy all the strengths of Samsung's hardware and features.

    Google really needs to up their game for the Pixel 6 if they want to stay competitive.
    01-22-2021 11:05 AM
  7. Ragnarianrok's Avatar
    This absolutely. The photos on the pixel was the best in my opinion up until the last year or 2. Now apple and samsung has caught up.

    From some of the reviews ive seen the Ultra does great video and picture but the 12 pro max might have slight advantages in some scenarios taking pictures. But both out do the pixel.
    We don't have anything more to go off than you. But judging by the reviews and hands ons all the problems that plagued the S20 ultra camera have been fixed, and the camera setup is better than what the Pixel 5 offers.

    The Pixel cameras may have been industry leading once. But Google, in true Google fashion, treat rested on their laurels too long and let everyone else catch up and surpass them.

    Couldn't agree more with the both of you in regards to Google and the Pixel lineup. Google just doesn't seem interested in advancing their hardware in any meaningful way. Maybe they're unable to since they're still a relatively new "hardware company"? They did say it would take about five generations before they could really get rolling so perhaps the Pixel 6 will finally see them get competitive with hardware.

    It's fine that they focus on software, but clearly you can marry both clever software and impressive hardware, as Apple and Samsung have done to varying degrees. I do hope the Pixel 6 brings it. Coming from a Pixel 4 XL and the Pixel 3 before that, the 5 just did nothing to entice me to upgrade.
    Johnson21x likes this.
    01-22-2021 11:12 AM
  8. Guyinbox's Avatar


    Here the best video yet I've seen comparing the two, with the iPhone 12 pro thrown in for good measure.
    Johnson21x and jlangner like this.
    01-22-2021 04:02 PM
  9. ThrottleJohnny's Avatar
    Thing is, I don't want all smartphone cameras to be clones of each other, what's the fun in that? Each will have quirks and things that set them apart, as well as strengths and weaknesses.

    If Samsung can fix the blurriness issues and tone down the smoothing nonsense, I'm on board.
    01-22-2021 04:25 PM
  10. Mike Dee's Avatar
    The important thing for me, though I'm not buying the S21 because I have the S20U and Note20U is that Samsung has manual controls for those times that auto shooting is not practical. As for video and it's audio, Pixel always fails to impress.
    01-22-2021 04:33 PM
  11. Guyinbox's Avatar
    Thing is, I don't want all smartphone cameras to be clones of each other, what's the fun in that? Each will have quirks and things that set them apart, as well as strengths and weaknesses.

    If Samsung can fix the blurriness issues and tone down the smoothing nonsense, I'm on board.
    Blurriness with moving subjects like kids is a concern for me with the ultra. Samsung says the ultra can't do super slow mo like the regular s21 without some software tricks because of the shower shutter speed of the larger 108mp sensor. One of the first things I'll test is point and shoot versus the pixel to see if it's going to be able to perform the way i need it to.
    01-22-2021 05:17 PM
  12. L0n3N1nja's Avatar
    The important thing for me, though I'm not buying the S21 because I have the S20U and Note20U is that Samsung has manual controls for those times that auto shooting is not practical. As for video and it's audio, Pixel always fails to impress.
    This, one of the main reasons I keep going back to Samsung. Auto mode, regardless of how advanced the AI is, cannot know or predict how I want my image to turn out.

    I still feel Google has the software advantage for AI with things like noise reduction and low light, but Samsung has dramatically upped their hardware game and improved their software to make of the difference while being far more flexible and capable of types of photography the Pixel cannot do.
    01-22-2021 08:11 PM
  13. fred134134's Avatar
    The only drawback is the typical image processing samsung like to do. Samsung overly sharpens, ups saturation and exposure. A lot of the time it makes the photo look good but sometimes it makes it look like a painting
    01-22-2021 10:15 PM
  14. Notefan161's Avatar
    Honestly I think it’s even note 20 ultra was better than the pixel 5.

    S21 ultra will certainly be better
    01-23-2021 10:29 AM
  15. Tmel14's Avatar


    Here the best video yet I've seen comparing the two, with the iPhone 12 pro thrown in for good measure.
    Really useful video, thanks. The main priorities for me are portrait mode and capturing moving objects, portrait mode still not quite up to the standard of the iPhone I wouldn't say from that vid but not bad
    01-25-2021 06:06 AM
  16. Guyinbox's Avatar
    Really useful video, thanks. The main priorities for me are portrait mode and capturing moving objects, portrait mode still not quite up to the standard of the iPhone I wouldn't say from that vid but not bad
    Portrait mode looks improved though better then previous Samsung's. Moving objects if a question mark though. That's something Samsung has never been good at, and the ultra supposedly has a shower shutter speed that the regular s21
    01-25-2021 10:09 AM
  17. Andrew_470's Avatar
    I have recently purchased the S21 5G. The phones amazing for pictures and the 8k video OMG. I recently sold my Pixel 4a and always thought Pixel had it all when it came to photos. The S21 blows the 4a away cant speak on the 5.

    I've been reading the 5a camera will be really good but for now, the S21 is my only camera phone.
    01-31-2021 03:09 PM

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