As we all know, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comes with two cameras and one of the lenses has this “Dual Aperture” feature which gives users the ability to manually switch between f2.4 and f1.5 (in pro mode).
But of course, if we shoot in Auto mode, the phone will determine the lighting conditions and pick the right aperture for you.
Just like our eyes, when we enter a dark place, our iris will open bigger to bring in more light and when we are in a bright place, the iris would become smaller to allow less light to enter our eyeballs. Now that all the introduction is done, let me tell you if this new camera feature is a gimmick or not.
Well, having dual aperture is definitely a gimmick… BUT DON’T GET ME WRONG. Please read on.
What I’m saying is that with a tiny mobile phone camera, the difference between f2.4 and f1.5 is too small to be noticed.
On a traditional DSLR camera system, having a bigger aperture (smaller f number) will blur the background (bokeh effect) and hence make the subject pop out in the photo. You won’t get this effect here using a phone UNLESS you capture the subject up close. That is why the Galaxy S9 Plus comes with a ‘Live Focus’ feature to mimic the blurred background of objects or people that you are taking from a distance away.
[Gif taken from my latest VLOG on getting myself the Galaxy S9 Plus.]
That being said, having a camera with f1.5 aperture opening is definitely a plus point for taking photos under low light. As mentioned before, a bigger opening means more light can enter into the sensor, hence photos are brighter with less hand-shake.
Here’s a photo taken at 9PM with f1.5 on the Galaxy S9+. (Click to enlarge)
See how I actually used ISO 125 (which is very low) to cut down noise in the photo as I am able to compensate with the f1.5 aperture. Since it is bright enough from the big aperture opening, I don’t need a slower shutter speed, hence minimizing hand-shake at the same time.
If you still don’t get what I mean here with the benefit of having f1.5 aperture, here’s another example.
For these 2 shots, I locked all the settings except switching between f2.4 and f1.5. (click to enlarge)
Can you see how much brighter the second photo is with just a switch of the aperture?
Some photographers may tell you that with a bigger aperture opening (in this case, f1.5), photos may not be as sharp as one taken using a smaller aperture opening (f2.4). It is definitely true if we are talking about DSLRs and proper cameras but with a smart phone camera? It should not be an issue at all.
Here’s another photo I took using f1.5 at night. (click to enlarge)
My advice is that one should always stick to using f1.5 on the Galaxy S9+ because there is no phone out there that has f1.5 aperture to date. By using f1.5, your photos are bright at night, with less blur aka hand-shake.
Stay tuned for the full Samsung Galaxy S9+ review coming up in the next few days. Follow me on Instagram if you are feeling generous: http://instagram.com/smashpop