Hey Samsung, why upgrade the wrong camera for the Galaxy Z Fold 4?

Samsung’s foldable phones, despite having been on the market for merely three years, have become considerably successful. Naturally, part of the reason is that Samsung’s the only manufacturer selling foldable phones all around the world instead of limiting them to a few markets, and it will continue to lead the foldable segment as a result for the foreseeable future.

And Samsung’s foldable phones are pretty great, too, all things considered. Its Galaxy Z Fold series is only in its third iteration. The pace of advancement here has been nothing short of impressive. However, whether you’re a fan of them or not, I think we can all agree that their photo-taking capabilities are simply not up to par with what we expect from modern flagship smartphones. And with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, I think Samsung might just be focusing on upgrading the wrong camera.

According to recent rumors, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will come with the best 3x zoom camera of any Samsung smartphone yet, but the under-display camera that debuted on the Z Fold 3 is getting bumped from a 4-megapixel sensor to a 16- megapixel one. And if those rumors are true, then I think Samsung’s going about it the wrong way.

The 4MP under-display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is far from the best in the business, but it would be dishonest to say that it doesn’t get the job done in most situations. It’s mostly meant for video calls as selfies can be captured with the front camera on the outer screen, which uses the same 10MP Dual Pixel lens as those found on Samsung’s non-Ultra Galaxy S flagships, meaning it gives you excellent results.

The under-display camera already feels like more of a proof of concept than something of substance. Samsung had to show that it possesses the technical capability to adopt UDC at scale. It wouldn’t have mattered much if the Infinity-O camera had been retained but UDC is what Samsung wants to give us, and UDC is what we’ll get.

But despite how good the 3x zoom camera on the Z Fold 4 might be, it’s simply not the step-up from previous Z Folds that you want in 2022. It’s certainly a far cry from the zoom cameras found on Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra or Galaxy S22 Ultra, and I’m disappointed that Samsung doesn’t seem interesting in bringing those over to its foldable lineup, at least not this year.

Of course, I do understand that there are technical limitations when it comes to putting crazy high-end zoom cameras on foldable phones. The Galaxy Z Fold 4, and the Galaxy Z Fold series in general, is pretty thin to hold the periscope zoom lenses of Samsung’s Ultra-branded flagships.

But that doesn’t stop me from hoping Samsung can find a way to make things fit, because the disparity in zooming capabilities is the biggest obstacle standing in my way of making the switch to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold lineup. Well, that and the narrow cover screen that’s too cramped and makes for an inconvenient user experience for a lot of stuff you do on a phone in day-to-day life, including typing out messages.

Still, the narrow screen is something I can make do with, as I can always unfold and use the main display when I need a bigger touchscreen. There’s no alternative to a zoom camera, though. You have the choice of two different selfie cameras on the Galaxy Z Fold series, but for taking pictures of faraway stuff from a distance, you only have the one camera, and that’s just not good enough.

Again, if rumors are true, and if we’re to take the laws of physics into account, it seems likely that the Z Fold 4 will not be nearly as powerful enough for zoom photography as the Galaxy S Ultra smartphones. And that means my wait for the perfect Galaxy Z Fold – perfect for my use case, that is – will continue until at least 2023, or even a year or more after that.

What about you? What’s holding you back from picking up a Galaxy Z Fold or Galaxy Z Flip smartphone? Is it the cameras, the fragile folding screens (and Samsung’s messed up support process for repairing those folding screens when they are damaged), or something else? Let me know in the comments below!

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