Feature Articles

Hands-on: All the new Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9+ camera features

By Zachary Chan - 28 Feb 2018

Super slow-mo

Super slow-mo

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ support 960fps super slow-mo video recording. This feature is enabled through the use of a 3-layer stacked sensor design where the image sensor has a DRAM buffer directly attached to it. The technology isn't new of course. Sony can be credited for developing stacked sensor technology way back in 2015 with the RX100 IV compact digital camera, and last year's Sony XZ Premium was the first phone to feature a 3-layer stacked sensor and 960fps slow-mo function called Motion Eye.

Samsung's implementation on the S9 and S9+ however makes it easier to use. Basically, the slow-mo function can be set to automatically trigger based on motion detection. You'd still have to choose Super Slow-mo in the video settings, and then select the area on the screen you want to focus on, so a little setup is still required. After that, the focus box will turn yellow to let you know it's ready, and only when motion is detected within the box will super slow-mo recording activate. Recording lasts for just 0.2 seconds and extends to a clip of 6 seconds , but if you keep recording, it will re-trigger super slow-mo as long as movement is detected again.

After shooting, you can choose to edit the shot with three different looping modes: normal, reverse and bounce. You can also add a soundtrack from a pre-set range of music or from your own playlist. Again, you can save these super slow-mo snippets as animated GIFs to easily share with friends. Here's our trial of this functionality:-

Personally, I thought that the auto function does require some finesse to use. It's not as automatic as it's made out to be. The preview video shows the ideal situation as long as you can steady the phone with a tripod. When I tried using the feature by holding the phone in my hand, I kept getting the message to keep the phone still, and my own hand movements rather than the subject movement would trigger super slow-mo, which spoiled the timing of the shot.

You can however set it to Manual mode, in which case, you manually tap the super slow-mo icon while recording. Similarly, it will capture a 0.2 second burst at 960fps, then return to normal, till you tap it again.

Besides introducing motion detection and auto mode, Samsung is making a real effort into opening up its headline features for easy sharing across devices and platforms. It's not so much as being able to do it, but the convenience of having the option readily built-in. For example, until WhatsApp had the instant GIF function, your average user wouldn't have gone to the trouble to find apps to edit their images or videos to create a GIF for sharing.