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The first photo taken by the Samsung Galaxy S23 may have leaked

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We’re expecting to see the Samsung Galaxy S23 make an appearance around February time, bringing with it a slew of camera upgrades – upgrades that are shown off in what could be the first image captured by the phone that we’ve seen.

This photo comes from well-known tipster Ice Universe on Chinese social media site Weibo (opens in new tab) (via Galaxy Club (opens in new tab) and iandroid.eu (opens in new tab)). It’s difficult to tell what it’s depicting, but what we do know is that it’s been taken with 16x magnification and then cropped.

The picture taken with a 200MP camera sensor (tipped to appear in the Galaxy S23 Ultra) is compared to a picture taken with a 108MP camera sensor (which we know is fitted to the Galaxy S22 Ultra) – and you can clearly see how much sharper the 200MP version is.

Snap happy

This needs to be taken in the context of some tweets we saw from Ice Universe yesterday, which detailed improvements to low light shots and increased telephoto capabilities supposedly coming with the Galaxy S23 Ultra phone next year.

Add in this image and it seems likely that the tipster has managed to get hold of a prototype unit, or at least is speaking with someone who has. The verdict is that this is “the biggest improvement of Samsung’s flagship mobile phone in five years” – in terms of the camera capabilities, anyway.

We might not get such a promising upgrade on the standard Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus handsets, however. From what we’ve heard so far, the rear cameras on those phones are likely to closely match those on the current models.


Analysis: the numbers game

Based on this admittedly very limited look at the camera capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, it would seem that it’s going to go above and beyond what the Galaxy S22 Ultra can do – and the current phone is already very impressive when it comes to the images and videos that it can capture.

If indeed the Galaxy S23 Ultra makes the jump to a 200MP main camera sensor, as rumored, then that’s to be welcomed. As we’ve written about before though, the number of megapixels is far from the only factor to consider when weighing up how good a smartphone camera actually is.

The size of those pixels – how much light they can let in – is crucial too, as is the AI processing applied to the captured images and clips (Ice Universe says AI processing was switched off for the image posted on Weibo).

The Google Pixel phones are well-known for excelling at image processing – remember that the Google Pixel 7 ‘only’ has a 50MP main camera sensor, but can still take excellent snaps. In other words, wait until you see real world image and video samples before assessing a particular phone’s camera performance.