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The man behind Samsung cameras explains how Galaxy S22 series achieves its camera success

Dr Sungdae Joshua Cho, Head of Visual Software R&D Group at Mobile Division of Samsung Electronics Company, has been in charge of developing Samsung camera and AI software for years now.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan

The first impression of the new Samsung S22 cameras for most users has been about how it is very different from earlier phones from the Korean tech giant. Now, the photos have suddenly started feeling different and more natural, even those pictures shot at night.

Dr Sungdae Joshua Cho, Head of Visual Software R&D Group at Mobile Division of Samsung Electronics Company, has been in charge of developing camera software and AI software for years now. Dr Cho says Samsung’s philosophy is simple when it comes to cameras: “Whether you are a novice or professional, we provide best picture quality under any circumstances. We use best-in-class hardware and also provide easy-to-use software for any user. We also provide ultimate control to professional users.”

The 5-point plan to get videos right

Speaking to a select group of journalists in India from the Samsung headquarters in South Korea, Dr Cho explained that when it comes to video Samsung’s technology can be divided into five sections — Auto frame rate, AI segmentation, Steady VDIS, 12-bit HDR and auto framing.

 A picture of a cactus plant taken from the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Samsung uses the auto frame rate technology to reduce noise, while the AI segmentation using the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) figures out in realtime the type of subject — whether it is human or not — and tracks it with 3A — “auto white balance, auto focus and auto exposure”. Meanwhile, a mix of software and hardware, like upgraded optical image stabilisation (OIS) and gyroscope, help to make the videos super steady.

The OIS now has a better rage of 1.5 degree, up from the earlier 0.9, while the gyroscope uses 833 Hz against the earlier 200 Hz to check even the smallest motion. “We measure the global path of the motion and then we smoothen with the help of path planning using an algorithm,” Dr Cho explained on how the new camera achieves their smooth videos.

Dr Cho said by recording the dynamic range in 10-bit depth they are able to clock both high gain and low gain and later make a composite of higher dynamic range video that clearly differentiates between clear sky and subjects as well as the depth of the object. With auto-framing, Samsung cameras are able to track up to 10 persons over a 5-metre distance and automatically change the angle depending on the object, thus making this camera ideal for YouTube creators, for instance.Galaxy S22 Ultra camera shots An image of a flower taken using the rear camera is seen on the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s display. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express) Another picture taken with the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s wide-angle camera. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express) Flowers are seen against the bright blue sky in this picture taken using the Galaxy S22 Ultra. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Getting it right in photos

With the S22 series, Samsung has put in a lot of effort into getting night photos right. Dr Cho said one of the achievements was offering night function in the front camera too, offering portrait mode even in very low light. This is possible because the camera is able to segment the human body and provide depth information, he said. On the rear camera, Samsung has extended portrait mode to tele camera too.Galaxy S22 Ultra camera  A night shot taken in low-light with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Samsung’s 108 megapixel camera, Dr Cho said, is different from others because it uses the Fusion Bio Adaptive Pixel, fusing two different shots from the 108 megapixel and 12 megapixel cameras. It also uses the AI composition solution for enhancing details, but this takes longer than the first method. This is why the former option has been kept as default.

For bokeh, the camera uses AI depth maps so that the phone is able to identify even pets and blur the background. Thanks to Expert RAW, which uses 16 bit DNG raw files with lossless JPG, users who love to push their camera skills can tweak everything from ISO to shutter speed in post processing using software like Adobe Lightroom. Dr Cho explained that Expert RAW is different from Pro Mode as the former uses up to 15 images to create a composite, while the latter has just one image with lot of detail.Galaxy S22 Ultra camera  A shot taken of the clear blue skies with flowers also seen on the side taken with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Asked how the camera decides which lens to use depending on the distance from the subject, Dr Cho told “The camera comes embedded with the distance sensor which can detect the distance of the subject that you are trying to shoot. So, for example, if you are in a short range from the object maybe 30 cm or less, then it automatically switches to the ultra-wide lens. And as for the tele lens, depending on whether you are less or more than 80 cm from the object, it would switch back and forth between the ultra-wide and tele lens.” He added that if a frame using the tele lens becomes too dark, then it automatically switches to the wide lens.

Asked how Samsung is managing to capture natural colours in night photography now, Dr Cho said this is thanks to AI trained with a lot of synthesised images that have been artificially added with noise so that our AI would be able to actually process and reduce this. “Less noise, better dynamic range and more natural colours,” Dr Cho told


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