Zoom on the Galaxy S23 is capable of capturing up to 30x hybrid zoom, so I wanted to see how well it could perform against the S23 Ultra which historically has been pretty good, right up until 30x before things fall apart. I’ll be honest, looking at the photos on the phone screen, I was getting nervous that maybe I had bought the S23 Ultra for nothing and the S23 could keep up.
I was mistaken. Photos in this section have the Galaxy S23 on the left and the S23 Ultra on the right. The results are clear. Clearer than they were comparing the Galaxy S23 Ultra to the Google Pixel 7 Pro, anyway.
For the most part, the cameras on the S23 are very good up until 3x zoom — but go beyond that at your own peril. For a lot of situations, 3x is plenty, but when you go somewhere like the zoo, more zoom is even better, and after 3x, the S23 falls flat.
The S23 Ultra also beats out the S23 at night where that 200-megapixel sensor really gets a chance to shine — no pun intended. While the night shots coming from the S23 are good, and even very good at times, the night shots from the Ultra are pretty great. This is especially true in nighttime videography, where the Ultra pantses the S23 and takes its lunch money.
If you never intend to do more than post photos on social media, you can get away with the S23 or S23 Plus. If not, 3x zoom is your ceiling, while the S23 Ultra can often manage 30x zoom which is a pretty big difference.