Wildlife Photography With the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – No Binoculars Needed!
January 31, 2024 Andrew Cheng

Aside from its slew of Galaxy AI features, the new Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra also features a slightly revamped quad camera system. The flagship phone now comes with a 50MP telephoto shooter that can do 5x optical zoom, which replaces the S23 Ultra‘s 10MP telephoto sensor with a farther-reaching 10x optical zoom.

After testing the S24 Ultra’s camera extensively in a full review, the phone actually has improved zooming performance compared to its predecessor. This is despite the fact that it no longer provides “true” 10x zoom, surprisingly enough. With that in mind, I decided to take the S24 Ultra out for some wildlife photography, and I was left quite impressed with the results.

Over the weekend, I headed over to Wawasan Hill in Puchong, which is actually a part of the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve managed by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for research purposes. Certain parts of the forest are open to the public, and there are some very intriguing flora and fauna to be found here.

Usually, I’ll bring along a pair of binoculars to spot any interesting wildlife, but I was confident in the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s zooming capabilities, so I left my binoculars at home. That, and I didn’t feel like bringing too many items with me on the hike, but I digress.

Anyway, how did the S24 Ultra perform in place of binoculars? Well, see for yourself with the sample shots below. I was shooting at 1x zoom with the 200MP primary camera first before zooming in to show just how far the 50MP telephoto lens can reach.

Impressive, isn’t it? Granted, the shots do get a bit blurry at higher levels of zoom, but overall, the results still look excellent. I myself find it easier to use the S24 Ultra to spot these wildlife than with a pair of binoculars, though I understand the latter is a different kind of tool with its own advantages.

While I enjoy trying to spot wildlife in the…well, wild, I’m not much of a naturalist. With that in mind, I do need help to recognise these wildlife, and that’s where Galaxy AI’s Circle to Search feature comes in handy. Developed by Google, Circle to Search can be activated with a long press of the home button or navigation bar.

Once I’ve done that, I just have to circle on any subject that I want to get more information on. In this case, pictures of the wildlife that I managed to shoot, and the results are quite spot on! (As far as I can tell, of course.)

Beyond wildlife photography, the Galaxy S24 Ultra can naturally take great-looking shots in other conditions too. All four of its camera sensors (200MP primary + 12MP ultra-wide + 10MP 3x telephoto + 50MP 5x telephoto) feel very capable, and they allow for different kinds of framings and shooting styles.

As I was hiking (and struggling) on the trail at Wawasan Hill, I took the opportunity to take some shots of the forest. It’s effortless to get great-looking shots with the S24 Ultra, and it’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most capable smartphone cameras I had the pleasure of using in recent times.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is easily a contender for the best smartphone of 2024, and it has set a high bar for what to expect from other flagship smartphones that will be introduced throughout the year. Yes, priced from RM6,299 in Malaysia, it costs quite a bit of money, but it’s also one of the most refined Android smartphones in the market now.

If you’d like to learn more about the Galaxy S24 Ultra – and whether or not it’s worth the steep asking price – check out our comprehensive review of the phone.