Samsung Galaxy S22 Camera Walkthrough: Different camera modes, Expert RAW, and more
Samsung’s Galaxy S series phones are fitted with some of the best camera systems you can find on the market. While the Galaxy S22 Ultra takes the crown for having the best — and the most versatile — camera system out of the three phones in the series this year, I think the vanilla Galaxy S22’s cameras are also up there with the best in the business. Be it for taking casual photos with the main camera or for some professional-looking images with its ‘Pro’ mode, I think the Galaxy S22 offers plenty of great features. That being said, all the camera features and shooting modes aren’t entirely obvious at first blush, especially if you’re using a flagship phone with an advanced camera system for the first time. So let’s take a quick look at some of the most important camera features and modes in this Samsung Galaxy S22 camera walkthrough.
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Samsung Galaxy S22 camera system
The Samsung Galaxy S22 comes with three lenses at the back. They’re all stacked in the corner as we saw on the Galaxy S21 last year. The Galaxy S22’s primary lens uses a 50MP sensor, a massive leap over the 12MP sensor from last year. It pixel bins to 12.5MP, though, so keep that in mind. This particular sensor itself is larger coming in at 1/1.56-inches compared to the Galaxy S21’s 1/1.76-inches.
In addition to the main shooter, you also get a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. For selfies, we’re looking at a 10MP shooter that sits inside the punch-hole camera cutout on the display. All these camera sensors come together to offer a pretty good experience overall. The images captured using the Galaxy S22 look pretty impressive. It can even capture some really good shots at night when the lighting is less than ideal. Our Galaxy S22 review has a lot more samples for you to look at, so let’s take a look at Samsung’s camera app and all the modes it brings to the table.
Samsung Galaxy S22: Camera app
For the Samsung Galaxy S22 series, you can either use the stock camera app that comes with the One UI or download the Expert RAW camera app from the Galaxy Store to take advantage of more granular control over many of the core camera functions. The stock camera app also comes with a ‘Pro’ mode that lets you manually control many of these functions but the Expert RAW is built around shooting in the RAW image format.
I think the stock camera app itself is enough for most users as it offers a lot of different functions and modes to choose from. Just like the OnePlus camera app, Samsung’s pre-installed camera app will put you in the main ‘Photo’ mode as soon as you launch the app. Unlike the OnePlus camera app, however, it doesn’t put you back in the same mode that you were using the last time before closing it. The app automatically takes you back to the ‘Photo’ mode every time you re-launch the app, which is good.
From the main viewfinder screen, you can swipe left or right to access different preset camera modes that are easily accessible. You’ll also see a bunch of options on the top of the screen that are specific to the mode you’re currently using. If you’re using the video mode, for instance, you’ll see the option to change the resolution and frame rate of the recording, You can also enable ‘Super Steady’ mode or change the aspect ratio of the video.
Irrespective of the mode you’re in, you can also tap on the ‘1x’ button to zoom in or out of the frame. I also like how the camera app seamlessly switches between the lenses as zoom in or out without any lag. In addition to the main camera modes that are accessible through the viewfinder screen, you can tap on the ‘More’ button to check out all the available options. Samsung’s stock camera app on the Galaxy S22 offers a ton of different modes to choose from.
Before heading into the camera modes, let’s take a quick look at some of the camera settings that you may want to play around with. You can hit the Setting cog on the top-left corner of the viewfinder to enter the camera settings page. Here, you’ll see a bunch of options that are pretty much self-explanatory. Samsung also gives you a quick summary of each option to give you a better understanding of what it does before you can go ahead and enable it.
Personally, I like to enable the Scan QR code option as it makes it a lot easier for me to scan the codes on a day-to-day basis. I also recommend you check out the advanced video recording options to enable HDR10+ videos and the Zoom-in mic option. Also, be sure to disable the ‘Location tags’ option if you don’t want your smartphone to add the location information to the metadata. In any case, I think it’s best to always remove the EXIF data from your images before sharing them online. You can check out our how to remove EXIF data guide to know more about it.
Samsung Galaxy S22: Camera modes
Here’s a quick rundown of all the modes that are available in Samsung’s stock camera app:
‘Pro’ and ‘Pro Video’ modes: The ‘Pro’ and ‘Pro Video’ modes essentially give you manual controls for taking still photos and recording videos, respectively. For capturing still photos, you can also use the Expert RAW app which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Single Take: This is a nifty feature that allows you to take multiple photos and videos with a single tap of a button. Your Galaxy S22 will capture whatever’s in the frame for up to 20 seconds. You can then choose to share it as a video, cut it into a GIF, or take screenshots from it to be shared as individual photos.
Night: This mode is pretty self-explanatory. The Galaxy S22 is pretty good at capturing photos in low light but the night mode tightens things up by adding more details to the shot. It’s worth pointing out that the Night mode on the Galaxy S22 doesn’t automatically kick in, so you’ll have to manually enable it.
Food: The ‘Food’ mode, as the name suggests, is specifically designed to capture gobsmackingly good photos of the food that you’re eating. You don’t always have to use this particular mode for taking pictures of the food, but you do get a couple of neat features such as the ability to add a blur effect around the food or change the color temperature of the frame before capturing the image.
Panorama: This particular mode automatically uses the ultra-wide lens and lets you pan across the frame to capture a wide perspective. We’ve had this mode in smartphones for a while now, and there’s nothing new to write home about.
Super slow-mo: With the Galaxy S22, you can capture 720p Super slow-mo footage at 960fps. The Galaxy S22 is, in fact, better than the Galaxy S22 Ultra in this regard as the latter tops out at 480fps for its Super slow-mo videos.
Hyperlapse: Recording Hyperlapse videos can be a lot of fun and the Galaxy S22 gives you a few good options in this mode. You can record either an FHD or a UHD Hyperlapse video by using both the main and the ultra-wide camera. You can also select the speed of the recording based on what you’re shooting.
Portrait video: Portrait video is essentially just a portrait mode for videos. It lets you focus on any object or person in a scene while adding a soft focus on the rest to give a cinematic look and feel to the footage.
Director’s View: This is a great tool for advanced videographers as it lets you switch between different camera lenses in the rearview while recording. You can also choose to enable the front-facing camera in this mode to simultaneously look at the footage from all the camera sensors on the phone.
Bixby Vision and AR Zone: Lastly, you also see the options to enable Bixby Vision or AR Zone from the mode selection screen. Bixby Vision is essentially Samsung’s version of Google Lens that lets you scan items in the frame to pull out relevant results. Alternatively, you can also use it to scan texts or for translation. AR Zone, on the other hand, will let you add cool AR stickers or Doodles to the frame. You can use these features to come up with some cool results, although they don’t necessarily take the center stage inside the camera app.
Samsung Galaxy S22: Expert RAW camera app
Expert RAW, for those that don’t know, is Samsung’s advanced camera app that adds a selection of new features and controls to some of the company’s latest flagship devices. This particular app is compatible with the Galaxy S22 but it doesn’t ship with the phone by default. You can download it from Samsung’s Galaxy Store provided you have a supported Galaxy handset with a Samsung account set up on it. It’s worth mentioning that the Expert RAW camera app isn’t available to download outside the Galaxy Store.
As the name suggests, this particular camera app is targeted at advanced users who know their way around professional cameras and all their functions. It’s built around shooting in the RAW image format and Samsung even says that this app adds a wider dynamic range to add more details, thereby maximizing the editing potential. The result is a 16-bit RAW image that can take up as much as 30MB of space on your phone. Additionally, the app also adds more granular controls for ISO, shutter speed, EV, and more.
On the surface, the Expert RAW camera app isn’t a lot different from the pre-installed stock camera app. In fact, you can’t use the Expert RAW camera to shoot portraits, use night mode, take selfies or even record a video. Think of it as a dedicated app for the ‘Pro’ mode which can be easily accessed with just a tap of a button instead of going to the main camera app and then selecting the ‘Pro’ mode. You do get a histogram tool that isn’t available on the main camera app. Samsung also says the Expert RAW offers a boost to dynamic range through the use of multi-frame RAW files.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of capturing RAW photos even though I am aware of the post-processing possibilities it unlocks for each image. It may take some time to get used to, but once you’ve mastered the art of shooting in RAW and making powerful edits to your images, there’s no going back. But if you find the learning curve to be too steep, you can stick to Auto and let your phone do all the heavy lifting for you.
Well, that brings us to the conclusion of the Samsung Galaxy S22 camera walkthrough article. I hope this guide was useful for those who are scratching their heads over which settings or camera modes to explore. I highly recommend you check out Samsung Galaxy S22 review which I’ve linked earlier in this article to check out some camera samples. Alternatively, you can also take a look at our Galaxy S22 vs OnePlus 10 Pro comparison to look at more samples and see how it compares with the shots captured using the OnePlus’ flagship phone with Hasselblad goodness.
You’ll find all these camera modes on the Galaxy S22 Plus as well as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, although the Ultra has a more advanced camera system. So which Samsung Galaxy S22 camera mode are you going to explore first? Let us know by dropping a line in the comments below. Also, be sure to share your favorite camera mode to shoot using the Galaxy S22 or the Galaxy S22 Plus.