[Review] Features and capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Nightography

[Review] Features and capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Nightography

During the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraOne of the notable aspects that everyone was excited about was the ability to take photos and videos of the phone.

The S22 lineup marked the debut of the new Nightography feature for taking pictures in low light conditions, as well as Expert RAW, which is used to take pictures in RAW format.

Since we already tested the zoom features of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in our full reviewwe will take a look at the Nightography feature to see its capabilities.

How does the Nightography feature work?

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra takes advantage of the large 2.4-micron pixel sensor that captures more light compared to smartphones with a smaller pixel sensor.

Thanks to that, images will appear much brighter and will have little or no image noise. Noise refers to artifact grains that are visible when taking pictures in the dark, leading to seemingly blurry images.

Multi-frame processing selects the best photo and combines them using ISP / Image Credit: Samsung

In addition, the lens has a nano anti-reflective coating that reduces glare from light sources such as streetlights or car headlights.

In addition to the hardware, the phone’s software also plays a big role in trying to take the perfect shot in low-light situations.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra uses an optimization process called Night Solution which is available in portrait mode, 3x optical zoom, and when taking selfies.

It works by using multi-frame processing that captures multiple images, selects the best ones, and combines them using the Image Signal Processing (ISP) algorithm to produce a sharp, well-exposed image.

Just like taking photos, to shoot good looking video in low light, the image sensor needs to capture as much light as possible by slowing the shutter speed.

Unfortunately, this makes videos look blurry, especially if the person taking the video has shaky hands.

To address that, the S22 Ultra comes equipped with optical image stabilization (OIS) and video digital image stabilization (VDIS) for less blurry video even in low-light conditions.

Also, the phone will automatically lower the shutter speed and frame rate to capture more light.

Merge up to 12 video frames into one for a much better video / Image Credit: Samsung

If the frame rate drops below 24FPS, the Super Night Solution feature kicks in and combines up to 12 frames of video into a single frame so you get the best possible detail even in low-light conditions.

How does it fare in real life scenarios?

I drove through Subang Jaya at 3am and stopped at various places that caught my eye to test the Nightography mode.

Without Nightography, images came out dark and blurry as expected, but the moment I switched modes, you can see for yourself how much clarity was achieved.

Sharper details without washing out

Details were not only visible, but also sharper. What’s impressive is that instead of simply lighting the entire image, the software identifies which structures need more light and detail, and then specifically enhances them.

This way you won’t end up with overexposed or washed out images. Nightography was even able to maintain colors that are difficult to see in the dark with the naked eye.

Dull colors in low light become vibrant and punchy again

The images above were taken in cases where there were still some light sources nearby, such as street lights or buildings.

So we also took the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra out into the wild during a team building meeting at Mangala Resort & Spawhere the nights were completely black with skies free of light pollution, and only the stars and the moon were visible.

In such darkness, the phone needed a few seconds to capture and process the image. Moving your hand while it is still processing could cause blurry images, so be patient and avoid taking images of moving objects.

If possible, I recommend bringing a tripod if you’re shooting subjects that are in low-light environments.

Even in low light, Nightography was still able to capture highlights with sharp detail, as well as fairly sharp shadows. What I liked was how it’s still obvious that these photos were taken at night, rather than the software manipulating the entire image to make it look like it’s just sunset.

Of course, software and hardware have their limits. Therefore, you may notice that in very dark scenes, the brightest spots become slightly blurry as Nightography tries to bring clarity to the darker areas.

Taken with normal mode (left) versus Nightography (right), where we saw stars (literally)

It doesn’t ruin the overall image quality, but a keen eye might spot the flaws.

Trying out Nightography inside a speakeasy called The speakeasy from the first chapterThe S22 Ultra was able to handle low-light conditions well, producing food and drink images where textures and colors were still on point.

In reality, quite a few areas of the bar were dark enough that our naked eyes couldn’t make out textures and colors, but Nightography took on the challenge of making them visible like a champ.

It is also ideal for taking RAW photos.

In addition to the Nightography feature mentioned above, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra also allows you to take photos in RAW format. However, please note that you must download the app through the Galaxy Store as it does not come pre-installed.

That said, the benefit of shooting RAW photos is that it contains more data, giving you the freedom to make more extensive edits on your computer. The file size of RAW images is significantly larger compared to a normal JPG image.

Here are a bunch of RAW samples that were shot with the S22 Ultra and then edited in Adobe Photoshop.

A raw image (left) and two edited versions made with Adobe Photoshop

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Overall, I was quite impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s Nightography feature, as it was able to produce stunningly attractive images even in extremely poor lighting conditions.

A tripod would help with any shakiness (and blur), but for the most part, we were able to take all of our shots freehand without difficulty.

My colleagues who use the Note20 and S20 respectively noted that as good as their phone cameras were, the night photography technology in them couldn’t compare to Nightography.

Those who are serious phone photographers would really enjoy using Nightography in various low-light scenarios, and for the rest of us, it’s a much-appreciated upgrade to Samsung’s existing night photography technology.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at RM5099 (8GB, 128GB storage) and goes up to RM5499 (12GB, 256GB storage) and RM5899 (12GB, 512GB storage).

After diving into Nightography, the next features we’ll explore are the performance of the S22 Ultra and the capabilities of the S Pen.

  • Learn more about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra here.
  • Read More Tech Reviews here.

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