The new Samsung Galaxy Note9 features a unique dual aperture camera, with a mechanical aperture. It is said to deliver superior photos and videos in low-light conditions. Let’s put that claim to the test, and examine the Galaxy Note9 low light performance!
Dual Aperture Camera
The Samsung Galaxy Note9 dual aperture camera first debuted in the rare and expensive Samsung W2018 smartphone (available only in China), before Samsung introduced it in the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones.
This dual aperture camera has a mechanical aperture that lets you switch between an incredibly bright f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture for a deeper depth of field.
The f/1.5 aperture is the widest aperture so far in a smartphone, offering just over ⅓ stop more light than the f/1.7 aperture of the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s camera. This translates into better low-light photography with less noise.
Let’s put it to the test…
Samsung Galaxy Note9 Low Light Performance
There will be many examples of low-light conditions, so we attempted to try taking shots in near complete darkness.
In this test of the Galaxy Note9 low light performance, we took pictures of two Minions in almost complete darkness. On the left, you have a Minion in a black Darth Vader costume, and on the right, another Minion in a bright outfit.
Samsung Galaxy Note9 Low Light Example
The Samsung Galaxy Note9 did remarkably well. You can make out the helmet outline of the Darth Vader Minion, and the colour of its lightsaber.
Its white balance is also good. The white t-shirt of the Minion on the right actually appears white. And you can see that it’s holding a red ball.
H Brand Low Light Example
This is a smartphone with a 16 MP PDAF camera paired with f/2.2 lens.
You can make out the Darth Vader Minion’s lightsaber, but not its colour.
You can see the red ball in the other Minion’s hand, but its t-shirt is yellowish in colour.
X Brand Low Light Example
This is a smartphone with a 12 MP PDAF camera paired with a bright f/1.75 lens.
The Darth Vader Minion is hardly visible, and if you stare hard enough, you can barely make out its lightsaber.
The t-shirt of the Minion on the right appears whitish, but you can barely make out its right arm… and you certainly cannot see the red ball in its right hand.
The.Samsung Galaxy Note9 low light performance is obviously superior to the two other smartphones we compared it with. It is not just about how much more light its f/1.5 lens allows in, it also has a superior image sensor and image processing capability.
Its picture sample is not just brighter, it actually delivers colours that are not visible in the samples from the other two smartphones. Impressively, it managed to deliver very accurate white balance in such low-light conditions.
But wait.. that’s not all…
Samsung Galaxy Note9 Low Light Video Recording Performance!
Here is an example of a night dancing session at the Curve. The singers are on a well-lit platform, but the dancers are not lit by street lights. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 was not mounted on any gimbal.
Despite the changing brightness of the scene, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 did a great job of instantly adjusting the brightness of the subjects. This is not an easy feat when we switched focus to the dancers, because the background is much brighter.
What we ended up with is a happy balance of reasonably bright subjects without overly bright backgrounds. In fact, you can see right into the restaurant behind the dancers!
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