The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is many photographers' pick of the best Android phones, and the best phones for photography from any manufacturer. That's because Samsung really pushes the specification with each release: as we wrote in our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review, its five main cameras "are among the best and most comprehensive that you'll find in any Android phone – especially if you're looking for significant zoom, which many other flagships simply lack."
But what if those five cameras were to become four? According to SamMobile, that's what Samsung may be planning for the 2024 Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. It reports that tipster IceUniverse, who has a pretty good track record for Samsung leaks, says that the Galaxy S24 may drop one of its telephoto lenses – the 3X zoom camera.
That sounds like a downgrade, but it may not be.
Why one fewer camera doesn't mean one less impressive phone
According to the tipster, the 10x zoom camera will remain – but it'll get new powers, most likely in the form of a continuous periscope lens. That would be able to handle the 3x zoom as well as the 10x, but more importantly it would also enable you to use intermediate zoom ranges – something you can't do with the S23 Ultra (or many other phones). So you'd be able to zoom smoothly from 3x to 4x, 5x, 6x and so on.
The other possibility, according to SamMobile, is to let software replace the 3x zoom: we're talking about a camera with a 200MP sensor in it, so perhaps Samsung reckons its digital image quality is good enough that people won't miss the 3x optical option. If Samsung decides to go down that route it's likely to lead to some pretty lively discussions on camera pros' discussion forums.
Of course, Samsung isn't the only firm making mega-megapixel phones – and its 200MP camera sensor is reportedly coming to a whole host of cameraphones this year, including some more affordable models. That means the coming months are a good time to be a phone photographer, because while minor processor performance improvements don't really have the "wow" factor to make you suddenly want to upgrade, seriously good cameras really do – and phone firms know it, so they're putting tons of effort into upgrading the cameras in their phones.