It’s not just a Camera. It reimagines what a camera can do.
In darkness our irises expand and contract so as to maximize light, and it is this phenomenon that has inspired Samsung’s new phone camera. A chip integrated into the camera allows it to run two apertures simultaneously and take photos in ridiculously low light settings. In fact, you can see better in the dark looking through your camera screen than you can with your actual eye. This, together with its super (and we mean super) slow-mo feature arguably make it the best phone camera on the market today. Just to make sure, we asked professional fashion and portrait photographer, Tarryn Hatchett what she thinks.
Firstly, let’s see what we’re up against. What camera do you normally use? Canon 5D MarkII and a vintage Polaroid
Did the Samsung impress you enough to consider it a replacement for your camera or do you think phone cameras still have a way to go? The Samsung definitely impresses me. Maybe I’m a little old school, but I love the feeling of a camera in my hands. I do think, however, that the S9 image quality is of a high enough standard that people would battle to tell the difference on some shots.
So, have they “reimagined the camera”? I have zero idea what a Samsung phone camera was like before but the low light setting capabilities are ridiculously impressive.
If you had to reimagine your own camera what would you want out of it? I think I would want more creative control, and in that sense Samsung have definitely given their users that.
How does the S9 give you more creative control? It’s aperture capabilities; being able to take photos in practically any light is pretty insane. There is almost zero noise on the low light shots too.
What normally causes noise on low light shots? Normally phone cameras have very few aperture setting options, so they compensate by pumping up the ISO like crazy, leading the shots to come out with a ton of noise. I have never had a phone that takes images of a high enough quality to pass as a professional shot.
Thanks to the two apertures running simultaneously the camera attempts to come close to processing images the same way a human eye does – an age old quest. Do you think there is merit to this quest or do you think the strength of a camera is to capture something beyond what the eye sees? I am always going to favour creating magic over documenting reality. People are so obsessed with clarity now. I don’t think that having every single detail of an image perfectly exposed/in focus makes the image special. Rather, the creative choices that the Samsung offers means I have more room to play. That’s more impressive to me that recreating what the eye sees. But I know that will appeal to most humans who are just trying to beautifully document memories.
Cellphone brands are locked in a camera war; it is the person behind the camera who holds the real power? Exactly. You can put the most technically advanced camera in the hands of someone with an average eye and you will most likely be bored to death by the result. Focus on your creative eye rather than worry about the idea of clarity.
So, you won’t be putting down your camera any time soon, but has the Samsung at least tempted you to change phones? Absolutely. I’m not really someone who gets jazzed about phone technology at all, but this phone was impressive enough to swing me away from my blind (and possibly lazy) iPhone dedication.
The Samsung S9 and S9+ are now available at all leading cellphone providers. You can see Tarryn Hatchett’s beautiful work on Instagram.