Many smartphone makers are working hard on features that will help users worry less about the best camera settings and just point and shoot at a person or scene. At the same time, however, they have to balance these automatic features with controls that will satisfy more advanced mobile photographers. This “Pro Mode” has actually been a staple of many premium smartphones these days, but Samsung might be finally taking it a step further by enabling that mode for its telephoto cameras as well.
Camera Pro modes try to offer the same level of control and sometimes even the same “knobs and dials” that photographers are accustomed to from digital cameras. Smartphones are, of course, more limited in terms of hardware capability, but these options at least allow more seasoned photographers to fine-tune their output, especially when they’re aiming for a certain effect that auto modes can’t pull off.
Pro modes, however, have always been limited to the phone’s main camera. That convention is based on the assumption that the main camera is often the best among the other cameras on the same phone. With Samsung giving its Galaxy flagships more capable telephoto cameras, however, it’s probably time to challenge that assumption.
Indeed, some users have been asking about a Pro mode for the telephoto camera, particularly on the latest Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S21 Ultra. Thankfully, it seems that Samsung has actually been paying attention to those requests, and, according to a forum moderator in Samsung’s South Korean community, the company is actually looking into that exact possibility. The moderator only mentions the ability to open the telephoto lens from various angles, but other controls like ISO, exposure, and white balance will most likely be available as well.
Fortunately, such a feature wouldn’t really require new hardware but only an update to the firmware and the camera app. If Samsung does manage to beat others to the punch with a Telephoto Pro Mode, it could help raise the photography profile of its flagship phones higher, even if they don’t exactly get the top scores in some benchmarks and reviews.