The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra boasts a new Dual Zoom capability, as well as Audio Zoom, for improved video recording.
Take a look at our 1080p and 4K video samples, and find out how well they really work in real life!
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra : Dual Zoom + Audio Zoom
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with an improved quad-camera system, that consists of :
- a 108 MP main camera, with an f/1.8 aperture
- a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, with an f/2.2 aperture
- a 10 MP telephoto camera, with an f/2.4 aperture, and 3X optical zoom, and
- a 10 MP periscope telephoto camera, with an f/4.9 aperture, and 10X optical zoom
For the first time, it has two 10 MP telephoto cameras – one with 3X optical zoom, and a periscope camera with 10X optical zoom.
The Dual Zoom capability refers to the ability to smoothly switch from the 3X telephoto camera, to the 10X periscope camera, with AI-enhanced Super Resolution to deliver sharper, stabilised video.
Its Audio Zoom capability isn’t new, having been first introduced in the Galaxy S10 series. It uses the triple microphones to change the range of sound captured as you “zoom” into the action. This lets you “focus” on the subject that you are recording, and reducing ambient noise.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also comes with other improvements like :
- Improved 8K Snap, that lets you capture clear images from your 8K video footage
- Super Steady video now supports 60 fps video recording
- Single Take lets you capture a variety of still and video formats with a single tap.
It is now enhanced with new pro-style settings like Highlight Video and Dynamic Slow-Mo
- New Director’s View that lets you see, switch and select the best shot… LIVE!
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is also the first Samsung smartphone to allow you to shoot in 4K at 60 fps on all front and rear cameras!
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra : Dual Zoom + Audio Zoom Examined!
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can zoom at up to 20X while recording 1080p video at up to 60 fps, and 4K video at up to 30 fps.
So we recorded a series of handheld video clips in both 1080p at 60 fps, and 4K at 30 fps, to test its Dual Zoom and Audio Zoom capabilities.
By default, the Samsung Camera app offers zoom presets of 0.6X, 1.0X, 3.0X and 10X.
You can use pinch-to-zoom further, or you can do a long press on any of the presets to get access to a wider range of zoom presets – 0.6X, 1.0X, 2.0X, 4.0X, 10X and 20X.
Dual Zoom + Audio Zoom @ 1080p (60 fps)
At 1080p, handheld image stabilisation was very good, except at 20X zoom where you can see some visible handshake.
That said, the handshake at 20X is really quite minimal, compared to older stabilised cameras and even worse, unstabilised cameras!
The best test of Audio Zoom can be heard in the Chinese New Year concourse clip. Notice how the music from the concourse gets louder as we zoom in, and fade out as we zoom out.
Dual Zoom + Audio Zoom @ 4K (30 fps)
At 4K, handheld image stabilisation was very good at up to 4X, and pretty good at 10X. At 20X zoom, there was visible handshake, but it was really quite acceptable.
Of course, for best image quality, you should stick to 10X zoom. 20X at 4K looks a little blur, so the extra resolution at 4K doesn’t help at all.
Another good example of Audio Zoom is at the playground. Even though it’s empty, the bird chirps get louder as we zoom in, and fade out as we zoom out.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra : Dual Zoom + Audio Zoom Verdict!
Dual Zoom is just a fancy name for the ability to switch between the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s two telephoto lenses.
Naturally, you want to use the 3X telephoto camera with its much wider aperture, and only switch to the 10X periscope lens with its narrower aperture when you need the extra reach.
Its AI-enhanced Super Resolution feature enhances image quality in the zoom gap between 3X optical zoom and 10X optical zoom.
While most people are not aware of Audio Zoom, it can greatly enhance the overall audio quality of the video, by focusing on subject in focus.
Thanks to these two features, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra arguably delivers the best video recording capabilities for a smartphone today.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra : Where To Buy?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comes in three variants globally, with these prices :
- 12 GB + 128 GB : US$1199.99 / £1149 / A$1849
- 12 GB + 256 GB : US$1249.99 / £1199 / A$1949 / S$1798 / RM5299
- 16 GB + 512 GB : US$1379.99 / £1329 / A$2149 / S$1998 / RM5899
There are only two colour options though – Phantom Silver and Phantom Black.
Here are some online purchase / pre-order options :
- Malaysia : RM5,299 | RM5,299
- Singapore : S$1,798 | S$1,998
- United States : $1,249.99
- United Kingdom : £1,149
- Australia : A$1,849
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