Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S21 Ultra, misses out on one big feature found on less expensive models.
All three members of Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 range come with impressive cameras but, surprisingly, the most expensive ‘Ultra’ model turns out to be the least capable when it comes to shooting slow-motion video.
The three Galaxy S21 phones are all capable of delivering 960fps slow-motion video, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra can’t record at this speed. Instead, the flagship model records at 480fps and then uses software-based enhancement to produce 960fps output.
The discrepancy, revealed in a footnote on Samsung’s Galaxy S21 comparison page, reads:
“On Galaxy S21 5G and S21+ 5G, users can record approximately 0.5 seconds of video captured at 960 fps with approximately 16 seconds of playback. On Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, users can record approximately 1 second of video captured at 480 fps and digitally enhance the video to 960 fps with approximately 32 seconds of playback.”
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s reduced slow-motion capability is an unfortunate side-effect of the smartphone’s new 108-megapixel Isocell HM3 main camera sensor. Speaking to Android Police, Samsung confirmed that this sensor operates at a slower shutter speed than the main camera sensors found in the smaller S21 models. Rather than artificially limiting the S21 and S21+ to 480 fps, Samsung opted instead to allow them to run at full speed and provided an artificially enhanced 960 fps mode on the S21 Ultra instead.
This does mean that ultra slow-motion performance isn’t quite as good on the S21 Ultra. However, unless you consider slow-motion to be vitally important, the S21 Ultra offers a far more capable camera overall, thanks to it’s higher-resolution and superior zoom performance.
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