Samsung believes consumers aren't as concerned with professional filmmaking from their phones, as much as Apple does, some experts believe and they say that's okay. They add that Samsung is targeting a very different audience that values creating and sharing content on social media platforms, which gives Samsung a leg-up on Apple.
Samsung launched its Galaxy S22 series last Wednesday and the phones are a considerable change from previous generations. The Ultra is the lost Note 21 that consumers never got and the less expensive S22 and S22+ are smaller but Samsung has not compromised top-quality cameras and other components. The series of phones start at $799 and are available in many colors.
In his hands-on article, Android Central's Nick Sutrich says the Ultra "packs the best camera hardware of all three phones, sporting a primary 108mp sensor - an upgraded one over last year's sensors - and three additional rear cameras." His review hasn't come out yet, but the device will likely join the growing list of best Android phones that are out in the market.
During its presentation, Samsung presented the phone's camera in a more user-friendly way, showcasing a group of friends at a carnival having fun. The company referred to the camera as "super important to your social life and your social media" and put its partnership with Snap and Google's YouTube at the forefront of its presentation.
"All of [the] tech is integrated with the inner camera of your favorite social app so you can capture gorgeous videos straight from Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok," the presenter said.
Anshel Sag, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, says Samsung was very intentional with the way it showcased its cameras because it is targetting an average consumer.
"The reality is that most of the Pro and RAW camera features will not be used by 85% of the population and that they exist for the rare power user who wants to get the absolute best images out of their phone. Most users shoot in auto and use the default camera app," he says.
Sag notes that cameras are very important because of social media, which has incentivized people to have better cameras to give off a better-looking version of their lives.
It is worth adding though that Samsung plans to roll out Expert RAW to more phones, according to an official moderator on Samsung's community forums in South Korea. The profressional-grade imaging feature was launched in November 2021 and was only initially available on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Samsung is taking advantage of the audience Apple is not targeting
Unlike Samsung, Apple has taken a very different approach when it comes to marketing its cameras. During its events, the company has brought in professional filmmakers, has had artists film music videos using the iPhone, and has pushed professional filmmaking and photography more.
Even during the iPhone 13 presentation, the company likened the phone's camera features to what a professional filmmaker uses.
"Filmmakers have used focus changes to tell engaging stories for decades. It's a technique called rack focus that requires skill, planning, and creative vision. You've seen rack focus using all your favorite films. It brings a whole new dimension to storytelling. Well, we're bringing this capability to the iPhone in a simple and intuitive way. So you can capture cinema-style moments, even if you aren't a professional filmmaker. And guess what? The movie clip you just saw was shot on iPhone," a presenter said during the Apple event in September.
Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's worldwide device tracker, notes that Apple's brand has always been associated with creative individuals "who were taught to 'think different.'"
"What we see now from Apple is simply an evolution of that messaging but it goes a step further by involving professionals as it helps convince consumers that if big-name directors and other professionals use Apple, then it must be the best in class," he says.
While it might come across as more "elitist," Ubrani notes, it has worked in Apple's favor "and has helped build a loyal fanbase."
But the tactic Samsung is taking, Ubrani adds, will appeal to a more creative audience while also convincing the masses that "they too can be creative with the help of Samsung's great cameras."
Neil Shah, vice-president of research at Counterpoint Research, says Samsung understands the growth of Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok and that these platforms have a wider and younger target audience.
"This strategy works for Samsung considering Apple is not directly going after mainstream aggressively and leaves a big gap for Samsung," he says. "Apple is targeting creative professionals and features like Cinematic mode to build unique and differentiated content whereas Samsung is going after mass-market consumers and content creators."
Partnering with Snap and YouTube gives Samsung a major leg-up in the camera game
Like Google, Samsung also partnered with Snap's Snapchat, and Sag thinks this was a very smart move by Samsung.
Samsung also partnered with YouTube, though Sag believes that has much to do with pushing Google's YouTube Shorts agenda.
"YouTube needs Shorts to succeed as a competitor to TikTok and Snap. Samsung brought in Snap because it has real AR chops and a very young active audience second only to TikTok," he notes.
Shah agrees and adds that much of Samsung's language around marketing its camera features for the phone has been towards a younger generation.
He notes that Samsung is "thinking beyond just the camera snapping experience" and into content sharing usability.
"Sharing instantly and seamlessly to social networks is a great value proportion to target Gen Zs and millennials and in the process also learn about the habits of these generations and possible revenue sharing opportunities with these advertising and content platforms," he says.
Samsung knows how good its cameras are, so it will spend on marketing
Ubrani says that it might not necessarily be fair to say consumers don't care about their phone's camera, just because the quality might be compressed when using social media platforms.
"That is why we see Samsung and even other smartphone brands spend a lot of marketing dollars on the camera and also have accessories such as ring lights or other beautification features made available to the end-user," he says.
He adds that even though much of a consumer's content ends up on YouTube or TikTok, consumers realize that having a great camera and picture is incredibly important.
"And Samsung does what it can to promise exactly that," he says.
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Shruti Shekar is Android Central's managing editor. She was born in India, brought up in Singapore, but now lives in Toronto and couldn't be happier. She started her journalism career as a political reporter in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and then made her foray into tech journalism at MobileSyrup and most recently at Yahoo Finance Canada. When work isn't on her mind, she loves working out, reading thrillers, watching the Raptors, and planning what she's going to eat the next day.