S23 Ultra Photos Beat Note 20 Ultra but not all situations!


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Feb 26, 2023
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Been comparing shots on the Samsung S23 Ultra I just got to my Note 20 Ultra. As expected, it's not a night and day difference of course. But in most scenes, the S23 Ultra produces moderately better results with the biggest difference when using Expert Raw in 50MP mode both JPG and RAW output (while the latter is going to be better for post editing. I imagine 200MP is good too but I'm passing on that large of file size).

I found what I think though is a limitation in the camera software (or sensor). Hopefully Samsung will fix it in a future update. It is for moderately low light indoor photos (like late afternoon and overcast with no indoor lighting turned on), but where you have a bright scene through the windows (like snowy mountains). I imagine this happens in any room where you have bright window scene and not a bright room.

The normal camera on the Note20 Ultra does much better metering and doesn't blow out the scene in the windows. The S23 Ultra comes very close if using the normal camera in 12MP mode but at best it's equal to the Note in other tests the S23 Ultra totally blew out the window scene where the Note 20 Ultra didn't. In this test scene it got a little worse in 50MP mode. Then it gets even worse in Pro mode. In Expert Raw it is bad too in some circumstances no matter what metering mode you select or exposure setting. If you are lucky to get a decent shot in Expert Raw you can tweak the RAW output in Adobe lightroom, but it's still not as good as the normal camera mode on both phones! Where as most other shot scenes, the Expert Raw in 50mp mode is superior to the other modes and anything the Note 20 Ultra puts out, but you need to zoom in on the photo to really notice the difference. (Safe to say if you're a Note 20 Ultra User (or S21/22 Ultra), you're not missing out much as the 200mp sensor in the S23 Ultra is as I expected part modest improvement and part a lot of marketing hype.)

Here's a comparison between normal 12mp camera output on Note 20 and S23 Ultra, then an Adobe Lightroom edited RAW image coming from Expert Raw on the S23 Ultra in 12mp mode.
So the end conclusion is that in the current state of the software, on the S23 Ultra, for high contrast moderate natural light indoor shots like this, you are best just using the standard 12mp auto mode in the regular camera app. Whereas in most other situations you get the best quality with reasonable file size shooting in Expert Raw at 50mp.

Image comparisons here:


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