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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Camera Review; Still the Best Camera?

I know this took a long time. But we are finally ready to give you the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 camera review.

First, what you should know is that this is the same camera found on the Samsung Galaxy S9+. So, there won’t be much difference between the photos that these two phones take. Second, this camera is freaking awesome. I mean people with iPhone 8+ hid their phones when they saw me clicking photos with this thing at night. We will get into detail a little later. For people who like it short, just know that if you want the best camera, Note 9 is probably the way to go.

The Numbers

Let’s get the specifications out of the way at the beginning. There are two camera sensors at the back of this phone. One is the 12MP f/2.4 and f/1.5 variable aperture sensor. Next to it is a 2X zoom 12MP telephoto lens (which I rarely use). At the front, there is an 8MP shooter with autofocus. If you like the nitty gritty take a look at the list below.

Rear Cameras

  • Wide-angle SuperSpeed Dual Pixel 12MP AF sensor
  • Sensor size: 1/2.55″
  • Pixel Size: 1.4µm
  • Sensor ratio: 4:3
  • 77-degree field of view
  • Dual Aperture: f/1.5 mode, f/2.4 mode

Telephoto

  • 12MP AF sensor
  • Sensor size: 1/3.4″
  • Pixel Size: 1.0µm
  • Sensor ratio: 4:3
  • 45-degree field of view
  • f/2.4 aperture

Other Features

  • Dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
  • VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization)
  • Optical zoom: 2X
  • Digital zoom: 10X
  • Scene optimizer
  • Flaw detection

Modes: Live Focus, Auto, Pro, Panorama, Dual Capture, Super Slow-Mo, AR Emoji, Hyperlapse, HDR, Motion Photo

Video recording: 4K 60fps, 4K 30fps, QHD 30fps, 1080p 240fps, 1080p 60fps, 1080p 30fps, 720p 960fps, 720p 30fps

Front Camera 

  • 8MP AF sensor
  • Sensor size: 1/3.6″
  • Pixel size: 1.22µm
  • Sensor ratio: 4:3
  • 80-degree field of view
  • F/1.7 aperture

Modes: Selfie Focus, Selfie, Wide Selfie

Camera App

The camera app on the Note 9 is okay. It is fairly intuitive and photos and videos can be taken with a single tap from the main screen. The mode you are on (Auto, Panorama, Selfie Focus, etc) is shown on the leftmost side of the display. You can switch between these modes by swiping up and down the viewfinder. Other settings can be found by tapping the small settings button on the immediate right of the viewfinder.

There’s an AI working behind the scenes. But I feel that it is not as intrusive as those found on Huawei devices where it makes all the difference if you turn AI on or off. The AI on the Note 9 works more subtly. If it detects faces there’s a small face icon on the bottom of the viewfinder, same goes for plants and the app makes small subtle changes.

Show The Photos Already

Okay, enough telling. Now I’ll show you some pictures that I took with the Note 9.

(1) This picture was taken in broad daylight. Probably around 12 pm. So, there’s not much to complain about the lighting. However, there’s something you should note – I was riding in a Tempo. But there’s no blur and the photo came out like this in a single try. So, if you have little shaky hands, these cameras will help you a little bit.

(2) Next shots I want to show you are these. Two very different pictures. One is abstract. Another is a picture of a temple at Bhaktapur Durbar Square. What ties them together? The detail in the photos. Zoom into the white hoarding board that you barely see in the picture of poles. It’s in the top middle. And you will see that you can read the letters written on that board even if the board itself was barely noticeable in the picture. Same goes with the second picture.

(3) This is where I want you to see the colours this camera produces. Notice how they pop against the dull surroundings. Most people might say that they look unreal or something. For me, they look beautiful.

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(4) The saturated colour is especially noticeable in these macro shots of flowers.

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Now take a look at some other daylight shots and marvel at their beauty. Don’t forget that these were all taken from a Phone camera.

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(3.5) Also, take a look at these Indoor shots that we managed to get out of this phone in NADA.

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(4) These are the portrait mode shot. You can see that Note 9 does a very good job at blurring out the background. What’s better is that you can change the background blur after you’ve taken the photo. The second one with Anmol was even more challenging as the sun was shining directly on his shirt and ears. But, the camera applied the bokeh effect correctly.

(5) Now let’s see the front camera in action. The first one is a normal selfie while the other one is a portrait selfie. Overall, the camera does a good job of adding the bokeh effect but it falters a little bit with the flowing wisp of hair at the left and blurs that one out too. You can’t adjust the blur after you’ve taken the photo in selfie mode. I don’t take many selfies so this is good enough for me. Also, the normal selfies come out fine already.

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Those were some daylight shots. As you can see, we can’t find many faults in the camera in daylight. It’s just already ready for Social Media. Now, we will take a look at some night shots. This is where, in my opinion, this camera shines.

(7) Here, a mechanic is looking at a motorcycle. And the shot is just magical. Why? Because this is what my eyes saw. No other phone that I have used comes close to replicating the results as crisp and as devoid of noise as this photo shot on the Note 9.

(8) What about a little bit darker environment? What about this photo? Do you think your DSLR can give you shots like these? Will you even carry a DSLR to a concert? Look how the frameworks of the stage are so clearly visible. You can even count the lights that are illuminating the stage. I haven’t tested Pixel 3’s night sight until today. So, I can safely say that this is one of the best low light cameras I have tested.

But not everything is perfect. There are some light settings that the phone can’t cope well with.

(9) For example, take a look at this photo of a Network Tower. This is by no means a bad photo. But the framework looks all black when, as we all know, it is grey. This is an example of Note 9 underexposing the surrounding when focusing on a brighter environment. In the case of the framework, the camera is focusing on the sky.

Here are some other examples of that.

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But, that’s about the only complaint I have with this camera. It has wowed every single person that has taken a photo with it. It’s impeccable at night. The details on the photos are good. Other reviewers have said that it oversharpens the images but I haven’t noticed that with my photos. I like the saturated look, it gives a new life to the images. This is an amazing camera overall. Let’s end this article with some other shots that this camera was able to take.

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