Samsung's Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are stuffed with awesome tech that puts these phones squarely in the elite category alongside the Galaxy S20 Plus and iPhone 11 Pro. With 5G connectivity, huge screens and the S-Pen stylus, both phones are well-equipped for office life. But how useful are they for photographers? Let's take a closer look at the camera features of the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.
Note 20 Ultra's huge resolution
While both phones have a triple-camera setup on the back, the Note 20 Ultra's has the superior specs. The biggest upgrade is in the resolution of the main camera, which tops out at 108 megapixels on the Ultra for improved zoom, which I'll come to shortly. The regular Note's main camera has a 12-megapixel resolution.
- Galaxy Z Fold 2, Note 20, Tab S7 and more announced
- Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra first impressions: Siren or cyclops?
- Galaxy Z Fold 2: Samsung fixes the ugliest thing about the foldable phone
- The new Samsung Tab S7 blurs the line between tablet and laptop
- Full coverage of the Samsung event
Both phones use optical image stabilization on their main camera lenses which should help keep still images looking nice and sharp while hopefully minimizing camera shake when shooting video.
Discover the latest news and best reviews in smartphones and carriers from CNET's mobile experts.
Note 20 zoom lenses
The Note 20 Ultra's telephoto zoom lens has a 12-megapixel optical zoom that provides a 5x level of zoom. The standard Note 20's telephoto has a 64-megapixel zoom lens for a 3x hybrid (optical and digital cropping) zoom.
That's not the end of the story though as the Ultra can use the huge resolution of its main sensor to offer zoom levels all the way up to 50x. It's not quite at the same level Samsung achieved with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, which used a "folded" 48-megapixel lens to achieve a whopping 100x zoom. That said, we weren't impressed with the quality of images taken at 100x zoom on the S20 Ultra, so 50x on the Note 20 Ultra is likely more than enough.
The Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are on an even footing with their super wide angle lenses, with the same 12-megapixel lens found on both. On paper, that's the same ultra-wide lens found on the S20 Ultra, so we'd expect performance to be much the same here.
Both phones can shoot video in a whopping 8K resolution at 24 frames per second, easily outstripping the 4K resolution available on most other high-end phones right now. But it's not just about resolution. Samsung has equipped the Notes with pro video options for taking manual control over settings. They also have the ability to shoot in a 21:9 aspect ratio, which gives a more cinematic, widescreen look to your footage.
The optical image stabilisation found on the main cameras of both phones should help keep your footage nice and smooth, although whether you can use the stabilisation when shooting at full 8K resolution isn't yet clear, but we'll be putting this to the test when we have the phones in our hands.
Note 20 selfie cameras
It's an equal playing field here as both the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra pack 12-megapixel front-facing cameras. They're single lenses, much like the single lens found on the front of the S20 Ultra. It might have been nice to see a wider-angle camera to let you squeeze more of your friends into a group shot, but given the Note is the more business and productivity-focused range in Samsung's lineup, it's perhaps not surprising that adding more selfie options isn't high on the priority list.
Comments Android Update Samsung Event Phones Photography Zoom Samsung Notification on Notification off Mobile