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The Samsung Galaxy S9 improves upon a few standard aspects of the already established Samsung experience, but the camera is clearly a primary focus. None of what follows is truly a first, but it’s great to see Samsung keeping up with the Joneses as it were. We wanted to quickly highlight the features of the Galaxy S9 camera the more camera-centric users.
From AR Emoji and super slow motion, to one of the biggest smartphone photography changes since the first mainstream dual camera was introduced on the HTC One M8, the S9 camera is a big deal.
Slow motion is not a new feature. It already appears in a number of recent Samsung releases mainly as 120 fps video. Though in the past this was relegated to just 720p resolution, we have since seen it reach 1080p.
Samsung kept this in mind with their Super Slo-Mo, adding in an auto mode which identifies the motion ramping up and starts the 960 fps capture automatically. This aims to take the guesswork out of it, so you only have to try once. Of course, this mode might sometimes pick the incorrect moment, but we’ll see how accurate it is during our full review.
With the updated camera of the S9, 4K footage can now be recorded at 60 fps, making it a beast for videographers, especially those who want to have some control over their content via manual controls (which are also available now). But Samsung didn’t stop at 60 fps 4K video. The Galaxy S9 also shoots 240 fps at Full HD/1080p and 960 fps at 720p.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this in a phone. Super slow motion was at one point a feature in the Sony Xperia line, and it worked quite well when you could correctly predict the moment of action you wanted slowed down. It was pretty hit or miss unless you could pre-empt those moments. It was easy to miss the critical moment and get a slo-mo aftermath instead.
This one’s for all those people with Animoji envy — Samsung is bringing its own brand of special emoji to the Galaxy S9, and they are nicely customizable. Using either camera, faces can be captured and transformed into avatars that resemble Bitmoji (for you Snapchat users). The face capture results in a bit more of a caricature than an accurate depiction of you, but you can further customize your AR Emoji to be as close or far from recognizable as you like.
Hairstyles can be changed, as well as a number of different options. This was exploited by just about everyone — Josh got his long hair back, even if digitally. Lanh wanted bright white hair. There is a variety of eyewear and all colors can be changed to whatever you want.
Clothing options were a bit sparse, but we’re sure this is going to change as updates continue. We wouldn’t be surprised if there were themed or even sponsored elements for AR Emoji in future, as we’ve seen in other avatar creation systems. Clearly the possibilities are endless when you can just forego your face capture altogether and be a bunny rabbit or a weird blue being we saw later in the options.
controls (which are also available now). But Samsung didn’t stop at 60 fps 4K video. The Galaxy S9 also shoots 240 fps at Full HD/1080p and 960 fps at 720p.
This is yet another aspect of the mode we’re sure will grow over time. Perhaps one day you’ll have an entire catalog of your digital self, expressing endless emotions. The Galaxy S9’s addition of a mechanical iris can switch between two apertures is not a first. It’s not even a first for Samsung, which released a clamshell phone in China last year with the same dual aperture options. But by putting a dual aperture lens on the most popular Android phone series in the world it sets an example.