The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 camera stands with the best camera phones, or at least that’s the conclusion I’m drawing ahead of TechRadar’s full review this week.

I’ve already unboxed the Note 10 and offered details about the size, performance, and a select few camera samples. It’s time to unleash a full gallery and demo the versatility of the four camera lenses and the Plus-exclusive depth sensor.

Samsung’s Note 10 is outfitted with a 12MP regular lens that features a variable f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, meaning the space through which light passes physically changes depending on the lighting conditions. That’s fairly sophisticated for a smartphone.

What  stands out even more are the 12MP f/2.1 telephoto and 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lenses that offer photos at varying perspectives. I captured scenes in new ways: up close without distortion via the 2x zoom telephoto lens and cramming more in frame with the wide-angle lens – without having to backing up to get everything in the shot.

After a weekend of testing, I’m ready to show the good, the bad, and the sometimes slightly out-of-focus.

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(Image credit: Future)

Ultra-Wide lens: 42nd Street / Chrysler Building

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Regular lens: 42nd Street / Chrysler Building

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Telephoto lens: 42nd Street / Chrysler Building

This is my favorite Samsung Note 10 camera sample so far because it shows how the three rear cameras depict a different scenes, especially that 16MP wide-angle lens.

You can’t even see 42nd Street and the iconic yellow New York City taxi cab in any of the other two photos. And yet, if you wanted the Chrysler Building on its own, the telephoto lens is there to get the best shot of its perched gargoyles.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Ultra-Wide lens: Reflection photo cropped and edited (best of both worlds)

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Regular lens: cuts off the tops and bottoms of subject

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Ultra-Wide lens: everything in frame – maybe too much

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Ultra-Wide lens: cropped before editing

My second favorite Note 10 camera photo set is this one, and it again demonstrates how useful the ultra-wide camera can be in certain situations.

Now, the first photo (taken with the ultra-wide lens) has edits – some easy Lightroom fixes and cropping have been done. That’s because the regular Note 10 camera lens just didn’t do this reflection justice (photo 2). The building is cut off at the top and at the bottom in the reflection. No good.

Because I didn’t want to get splashed by the nearby traffic (you can see a bunch of yellow taxis almost staring me down), I didn’t have enough time to back up and reframe the shot. With a quick switch to the ultra-wide camera (photo 3), I was able to snap a more inclusive photo and crop it later (photo 4). The end result photo 1.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point Live Focus mode

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point Live Focus mode

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point Live Focus mode

Color Point was my favorite camera mode when reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the S10 Plus, and it’s debuting on the Note phone with the Galaxy Note 10.

It isolates the background and portions of foreground in back-and-white to keep the subject in color and let the person or thing really pop from the scene. It’s not always perfect – you can see part of the red tomato in color and part of it not. The glass is also in color. A couple of adjustments from the photo taker and several attempts to be safe (just hammer that shutter button until it works) usually fixes these issues.

It’s a really fun way to capture a scene, and Samsung does is better than anyone else (especially Motorola, which has tried the same thing with lackluster results).

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point vs Regular Photo

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point vs Regular Photo

Here’s another great example of Color Point mode paired with an all-in-color regular photo. I don’t want the people in the background the shot (sorry, folks), so the Color Point Live Focus mode makes them far less distracting.

The all-color shot is taken at an f/1.5 aperture (it’s a bit dark in the restaurant), and so does the black-and-white Color Point photo. What’s interesting is that the Color Point (and all Live Focus modes) allow you to switch between the regular lens and the telephoto lens (the latter is always the default).

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Note 10 vs Pixel 3 low light: Note 10 photo (regular mode)

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Note 10 vs Pixel 3 low light: Note 10 photo (Night mode)

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Google Pixel 3 camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Note 10 vs Pixel 3 low light: Google Pixel 3 (regular mode)

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Google Pixel 3 camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Note 10 vs Pixel 3 low light: Google Pixel 3 (Night Sight mode)

This… needs more testing. I used Samsung’s newish Night Mode on the Note 10 (it appeared in the S10, S10 Plus and S10e via a software update after those phones launched).

The first photo does what Samsung cameras do in dimly lit settings – they amp up the exposure and smooth, smooth, and smooth again. This looks like my skin went through an old-school family portrait editing session. Samsung’s Night mode (photo 2), further increases the exposure, but grain can be seen everywhere, especially in the curtains. It’s definitely brighter, though.

I threw in a Google Pixel 3 photo set with its famed Night Sight mode. It does a better job at keeping detail and tamping down some grain, but it’s also noisy in the end. This is a dark photo, which means the Note 10 camera requires more testing in bars. “Drink, please!”

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point photo in-focus

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point photo out-of-focus

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Regular lens – in-focus

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Regular photo out-of-focus

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Telephoto lens – in-focus

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Telephoto lens – out-of-focus

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Ultra-wide lens – in-focus

I did say I’d highlight the good, the bad, and the sometimes slightly out-of-focus. Trying to get color point or even the regular and telephoto camera to focus on subject can be difficult. I gave myself permission to eat a donut for this test. One donut was harmed in the making of this Note 10 photo gallery.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Live Focus modes besides Color Point

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Color Point gets all of the attention, and for good reason. It’s Samsung’s best new camera mode and the first time we get to try it on a Note camera. But there are other Live Focus modes besides this one.

There’s Spin (photo 1) and Zoom (photo 2), a normal blur effect, and the new big Big Circles filter that makes lights in the background blurred and bulbous in shape (seen in the next photo set).

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Remote selfie and Big Circles Live Focus mode

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Remote selfie and Color Point mode

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Remote selfie and close-up perspective

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 plus camera

(Image credit: Future)

Remote selfie and un-cropped perspective

Here’s a good example of the Big Circles using the 10MP front camera – as well as trying out the remote shutter using the S Pen. 

Samsung’s S Pen has always been a useful stylus, but it became a Bluetooth camera remote shutter with last year’s Note 9. That feature returns along with other gesture controls for swiping through camera menus and zooming in and out. Color Point appears in (photo 2) along with a cropped selfie (photo 3) as Samsung’s front camera auto-crops vs the wider selfie (an un-cropped version) that you can select instead.

More Note 10 photo samples incoming

I tested the Note 10 camera for an entire weekend. That’s not enough to put a stamp on the review, but I’m closer after 72 hours (well, a little more time after writing and uploading photos – Samsung’s photo transfer software leaves a lot to be desired, which I’ll nitpick in the review).

The camera analysis isn’t done. Too often reviews don’t take into account the video capabilities of smartphones, and that’s what I’ll be doing Monday and Tuesday. The Samsung Note 10 image stabilization has been enhanced, according to Samsung, and I’ll test that out in side-by-side comparisons. Stay tuned for more updates as the week goes on and the Note 10 flexes its multi-camera muscle.



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