Samsung is taking night photography to the next level by updating the Galaxy S22’s camera with a new Astrophoto feature plus the ability to fuse shots into one.
Other smartphones have a “night mode” of sorts that allows the device to take better pictures in low-light environments. But there’s never really been a concerted push toward astrophotography.
You have to use certain tricks and equipment to take good-quality pictures of the night sky. Samsung is addressing these shortcomings with new features designed to make night photography easier to do (opens in new tab) and more fun via the aforementioned Astrophoto. The company even claims you’ll have “top-grade professional” quality images without the extra equipment.
New beta features
Astrophoto will be available through Expert RAW, an app on the Galaxy S22 line that lets people shoot photos in the high-quality RAW format plus configure the camera’s Pro settings. Samsung didn’t offer many details but mentioned using the device’s “advanced AI segmentation technology and multi-frame processing” to take pictures over a period of time. By the sound of things, you have to keep the phone still for a little while as it photographs.
There will be a Sky Guide in the app (opens in new tab) pointing out the locations of constellations, solar systems, and even nebulas in the night sky by drawing them on screen.
As for the image meshing feature alluded to earlier, that will come in the form of Multiple Exposures. The tool allows the S22 to shoot multiple images and overlay them over one another like a filter to create some cool-looking abstract pictures (opens in new tab).
Besides Astrophoto, Samsung provided some preview images and videos for the upcoming Camera Assistant update an app that seeks to take the guesswork out of smartphone photography. We get to see the differences between having Auto HDR on or off plus the speed of the faster shutter tool (opens in new tab).
Both Astrophoto and Multiple Exposures are currently in beta and only available on S22 phones running One UI 5 which currently only available through Verizon. A company representative told us they recommend updating to One UI 5 first before downloading the beta. If you’re one of the lucky few with access, you can join the beta by opening the Settings menu in Expert RAW and then selecting the Special Photo option.
For everyone else, the representative also said One UI 5 will be rolling out to more carriers over the coming days so be sure to keep an eye out for that update when it arrives. We also asked if there are plans to launch the beta onto older devices and will people see Astrophoto in the future Galaxy S23, but they couldn’t comment.
So it’s entirely possible an official launch isn’t the last time we see of Astrophoto. Enhancing night photography could be the future of smartphone cameras. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s the case.
If you’re in the market for a smartphone with a really good camera, be sure to check out TechRadar’s best camera phone list for 2022.