Samsung Galaxy S21: How to use the new camera features

Director’s view, new zoom lock, or even 10-bit RAW: the Samsung Galaxy S21’s camera features give you new possibilities for taking videos and photos. Even if some of the features were already available in previous models or other Samsung smartphones, I will explain the exciting photo features of the S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra in my instructions.

Going straight to the features: You can use the following camera features on all devices in the Galaxy S21 lineup introduced in January 2021. Although the S21 Ultra offers a more powerful camera, the benefits are more apparent in the quality and features of the camera. advantages within a function. You can access the latter directly through the following links:

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  1. 8K video snapshot
  2. single take
  3. director’s view
  4. Spatial zoom with zoom lock
  5. 10-bit RAW and HDR10+

Article as video:

You can find all these features in Samsung’s pre-installed camera app. There you will of course find more functions with night mode or portrait mode. But I’m concentrating on features that you won’t find this way on every cell phone.

Let’s start with the 8K Video Snap feature! Basically, this is just an export function for individual images that you have recorded in 8K video. The resolution of the recordings is therefore 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, which corresponds to an impressive 33 megapixels. Compared to exporting Full HD or 4K images, you can change the image section later without loss.

To use the feature, you must first control the video mode in the camera app. You can see the subsequent procedure in the following images:

Samsung Galaxy S21 8K Video Snap

In 8K mode, you can extract images with 33 megapixels. / © NextPit

  • Select 8K/24 input in video resolution (main camera only)
  • Now record a video of your theme
  • Now control the video in the gallery, play it and stop it at the desired time
  • Use the scroll bar to select the best single image
  • Tap the screenshot icon and the 8K photo will appear in your gallery.

The frame rate for 8K video is limited to 24 frames. Therefore, it is possible that the Galaxy S21 increases the exposure time of individual frames up to 1/30 second. Therefore, you should use 8K Video Snap in as much light as possible. Because the longer the exposure time, the higher the risk of motion blur, which looks stupid with the single exported images.

In “Single Take” mode, the new S21 models simultaneously record images with different focal lengths and videos at different speeds. You can record a subject for up to 15 seconds, change the angle and let off steam while building the image. In the gallery app, you can choose from a large number of images and videos that were created in one shot.

Samsung Galaxy S21 single take 1

The “Single Take” function allows you, among other things, to change the focal length afterwards. / © NextPit

  • Controls the “Single Take” menu item in the camera app
  • Here you choose how long the recording should last
  • Record a video of the subject for up to 15 seconds.
Samsung Galaxy S21 single take 2

The Galaxy S21 then automatically creates images and videos from the recordings. / © NextPit

  • Now go to gallery and tap “Single Take” to select one of the images or videos

The mode is particularly useful when you can’t see a subject for a long time. Because thanks to Single Take, you simply take care of image composition, focal length and styling afterwards.

If you have a little more time to shoot videos, you should know about the “Director’s View” feature. Basically, this is a recording mode that shows you the live viewfinder images from all cameras at the same time. In addition, thanks to the director’s view, you can also capture videos and selfie recordings from the main camera at the same time.

Samsung Galaxy S 21 Directors View

In “Director’s View” mode, you can keep an eye on the live preview from the triple camera. / © NextPit

  • Control the “More” menu in the camera app
  • Select “Director View” here
  • On the right edge of the screen you can now see the live preview of the individual cameras
  • The symbol at the top left of the screen controls the display of the selfie image
  • A new: While the selfie image can also be seen in the later video, only one focal length is recorded.

You already know space zoom from previous Samsung smartphones, for example the Galaxy S20 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra. The so-called “Zoom-Lock” has been added. Here, the Galaxy S21 sticks to subjects quite intelligently and thus manages to prevent movements a little better at high zoom levels. When changing the pattern, the previous pattern is “stuck” a little in the center of the image.

Samsung Galaxy S21 zoom lock

The new zoom lock! / © NextPit

  • Slide down the zoom selector in the image preview to go to Space Zoom
  • Now focus on the desired subject and touch the screen for a second
  • The subject should now remain centered and stabilized.

Zoom-Lock does not necessarily guarantee better photos, the standard Space-Zoom shots are of course also stabilized, but the function is quite practical for subject selection. The function is also advantageous for bird or aircraft watching.

I would like to go very briefly into the formats, or “standards”, in the new Galaxy S21 models. Only the bit depth in the RAW format is new, but for better photos and videos, you need to know about 10-bit RAW and video recordings in HDR10+.

When shooting 10-bit RAW, the Galaxy S21 also saves raw sensor data in addition to JPEG (or HEIF) images from the camera. While with 8 bits a maximum of 256 color values ​​can be stored per pixel, with 10 bits this is already 1,024. Theoretically, recordings can contain more than a billion colors instead of just under 16.7 million colors. However, you should “develop” RAW recordings in an image processing program after recording and experience significantly less quality loss during processing.

Screenshot 20210128 184618 video player

From this screenshot, you can see that HDR10+ can cause unsightly artifacts. / © NextPit

The HDR10+ standard allows for higher contrast and brightness to be recorded in video recordings. The standard was developed by Samsung and Amazon Video itself and is compatible, among other things, with the manufacturer’s own UHD televisions. If you own such a TV, you had better experience the difference for yourself.

Do you have any questions about the camera features of the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra? Then write me in the comments and I will add ambiguities in the article!