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 merge shots into one.
Other smartphones have some sort of “night mode” that allows the device to take better photos in low-light environments. But there has never really been a concerted drive for astrophotography.
You have to use certain tricks and equipment to take good quality pictures of the night sky. Samsung addresses these shortcomings with new features designed to make nighttime photography easier (opens in new tab) and more fun via the aforementioned Astrophoto. The company even claims that you have “professional top quality” images without the extra equipment.
New beta features
Astrophoto will be available through Expert RAW, an app on the Galaxy S22 line that allows people to take photos in the high-quality RAW format and configure the camera’s Pro settings. Samsung didn’t offer much detail, but mentioned it uses the device’s “advanced AI segmentation technology and multi-frame processing” to capture photos over a period of time. Due to the noise of things, you have to keep the phone still for a while while it takes pictures.
There will be a Sky Guide in the app (opens in a new tab) that will show the locations of constellations, solar systems and even nebulae in the night sky by drawing them on the screen.
As for the image meshing feature referred to earlier, it will come in the form of multiple exposures. The tool allows the S22 to take multiple images and overlay them as a filter to create cool abstract images (opens in a new tab).
In addition to Astrophoto, Samsung has provided some sample images and videos for its upcoming Camera Assistant update, an app that tries to take the guesswork out of smartphone photography. We get to see the differences between turning Auto HDR on or off plus the speed of the faster shutter tool (opens in a new tab).
Both Astrophoto and Multiple Exposures are currently in beta and only available on S22 phones with One UI 5 that are currently only available through Verizon. A company representative told us that they recommend updating to One UI 5 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 rep also said that One UI 5 will be rolling out to more carriers in the coming days, so keep an eye out for that update when it arrives. We also asked if there are any plans to launch the beta on older devices and if people will see Astrophoto in the future Galaxy S23, but they were unable to comment.
So it’s very possible that an official launch won’t be the last time we see Astrophoto. Improving nighttime photography could be the future of smartphone cameras. It will be interesting to see if that is the case.
If you’re looking for a smartphone with a really good camera, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best camera phones for 2022.