Foldable flagship: Samsung Z Fold4 camera details

For such expensive devices, Samsung’s eye-catching Galaxy Z Fold phones have long fallen behind when it comes to their camera setup. This is perhaps understandable, as folding screen technology is both expensive and bulky, leaving less room and cost for decent cameras. This is sad news for photographers, as it means you have to choose between a huge screen or great cameras. But that is about to change, to some extent, with the launch of the new flagship Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 was also announced simultaneously, but since its camera specs are much lower, we’ll only focus on the Fold4 in this review.

How does the Z Fold4 fit into Samsung’s lineup?

Related: The era of the “always-on” smartphone camera has arrived

Let’s start with the not so good news: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 which has just been launched still isn’t the equal of other flagships, with Samsung’s own Galaxy S22 Ultra among the phones that can still beat it on spec, for far less money. But while still not a top-tier configuration, the Fold4 should still outperform everything else in Samsung’s current smartphone lineup.

What’s new since the Fold3?

The Fold4’s camera setup has been largely revamped since the Fold3 and is now on par with the non-folding Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus. The main camera sensor has been upgraded from 12 to 50 megapixels, and its size has increased in such a way that Samsung claims it can now gather 23% more light than before.

The old 12-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x zoom has also been replaced by a 10-megapixel camera with 3x zoom. (Coupled with 10x digital zoom, this now allows for a maximum zoom of 30x, up from 20x in the previous model.) Finally, there’s a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera that picks up from the Fold3.

All three main cameras retain the same apertures as before, with the main camera being the brightest at f/1.8, the ultra-wide in the middle at f/2.2, and the telephoto being an f/ 2.4. The wide-angle and main cameras also retain the same pixel pitch and fields of view, with an FOV of 123˚ and 1.12μm pixels for ultra-wide and an FOV of 83 degrees with pixels of 1. 8 μm for the main camera. The telephoto lens retains a 1.0μm pixel pitch, and Samsung has yet to publicly announce an FOV range for the improved zoom lens.

The Galaxy Z Fold4 offers better performance, a stronger build, and a much better camera setup. Samsung

Many other tweaks, some of which will also improve imaging

Of course, even for the unchanged ultra-wide camera, there will likely be changes to Samsung’s image processing algorithms, and perhaps image quality improvements to be found. The company also notes some UI improvements. Among the software tweaks, Samsung is drawing attention to both its “noctography” and portrait modes, which it says provide better low-light image quality. Samsung has also added video digital image stabilization and support for recording videos up to 8K resolution.

Of course, there are plenty of other changes, including an upgrade to the current-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which should deliver faster performance across the board. There’s also an improved hinge, more durable screens, and a stronger frame. Samsung has additionally made numerous upgrades to the operating system itself, including a new taskbar that aims to make better use of the generous screen real estate.

Where the S22 Ultra still outperforms the Fold4

So how does the S22 Ultra make the Z Fold4 even better? The biggest differences are that the S22 Ultra’s main camera has double the resolution of the 108-megapixel sensor versus the 50-megapixel sensor), and the Fold4 lacks its 10-megapixel 10x periscope zoom camera. The new phone replaces it with a non-zoom 10-megapixel selfie camera for use when folded, and there’s also a secondary four-megapixel selfie camera tucked under the screen when the phone is used unfolded. (The latter is now said to be harder to see through the screen itself.)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4
The attention-grabbing display still leaves no room for a true flagship-grade camera setup. Samsung

On the one hand, it’s not a great look that the company’s flagship foldable phone is *still* noticeably behind its traditional flagship smartphone. But at the same time, it’s already quite a bulky, heavy and extremely expensive phone. Had Samsung packed in the full camera setup of the S22 Ultra, it would likely have passed the psychologically significant $2,000 barrier, not just for its 1TB phone, but likely for the 512GB variant as well, while still making the phone even bigger in the process.

This tradeoff means you’ll still get a pretty decent camera experience alongside the foldable form factor. If you mainly focus on photography, the S22 Ultra will still be a much better option. And that fact is probably why Samsung isn’t doing much to draw attention to its new camera setup. As of now, the company has uploaded eight promotional videos for the Fold4 to its YouTube channel, but none even mention the camera, instead focusing on changes to the display, hinge design, and hardware. Android 12L operating system.

Pricing & Availability

Available in the US market from August 26, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 starts at $1,799.99 for the base 256GB model. The 512GB model typically costs $1,919.99, but is currently discounted to the same price as the 256GB model for pre-orders, while you’ll pay $2,159.99 for the top-end 1-terabyte model.

Color options will include Graygreen, Phantom Black, Beige or Burgundy. The Burgundy models are only available in the two lower capacities, and these as well as the 1TB model will all only be available direct from Samsung.

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