This Galaxy S20 camera guide explains how to access different Galaxy S20 camera modes, how to add frequently used camera modes to the preview screen so that you can access them quickly. A detailed explanation of all Galaxy S20 camera modes and their usages concludes this guide.
Although the three models of Galaxy S20 phones differ significantly in camera specs, the camera modes on Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra are actually identical. So this guide applies to all these three Galaxy S20 models.
How to access Galaxy S20 camera modes?
By default, when you open the camera app (including using Galaxy S20 camera quick launch), you are in the Photo mode (aka auto mode). This is the default Galaxy S20 camera mode.
Please note, if you open the camera again shortly after you closed it, or from the Recents screen, it may start with the last used camera mode depending on whether the process is stopped completely or not.
By default, there are four buttons. Three of them are for single-take camera mode, Photo mode, and video mode, respectively. The last one is the More button.
You can tap the More button to reveal all other available Galaxy S20 camera modes.
To access or use any of the Galaxy S20 camera modes, you simply tap on the mode. Galaxy S20 camera will change the camera mode to the tapped one instantly.
You can then take photos using that camera mode.
Please some Galaxy S20 camera modes are for the rear camera only. If you choose that mode, Galaxy S20 will switch to the rear camera immediately without warning if you are using the front-facing camera. Unlike that in previous Galaxy phones, Galaxy S20 does not grey out inapplicable camera modes for the front camera.
List of Galaxy S20 camera modes
By default, as shown in the screenshot above, there are 13 Galaxy S20 camera modes (excluding the burst mode):
- Photo mode (auto mode).
- Single-take mode.
- Video mode.
- Pro Mode (rear camera only).
- Pro Video mode (rear camera only).
- Panorama mode (rear camera only).
- Food mode (rear camera only).
- Night mode.
- Live focus mode.
- Live focus video mode.
- Slow-motion mode.
- Super slow-mo mode (rear camera only)
- Hyperlapse mode.
As mentioned, if you choose any of the rear camera only camera modes, Galaxy S20 will use the rear camera and ignore your current choice of the front camera.
How to add Galaxy S20 camera modes to the preview screen?
Many Galaxy owners feel it is inconvenient to use the More button to access some of the preferred camera modes:
- You need to tap the More button, then tap the camera mode (one more tap compared with camera modes in the preview screen).
- After using that camera mode, you need to tap the < button at the top left to return to the “normal” preview screen so that you can use other camera modes.
So, Samsung allows you to add any of the available Galaxy S20 camera modes to the preview screen so that you can use them quickly. Of course, it would be crazy to add all camera modes there, although it is allowed.
You can also remove any camera modes except Photo mode and Video mode from the preview screen.
To pin (add) Galaxy S20 camera modes to the preview screen, or manage camera modes in the preview screen, you may follow these steps.
Step 0: Start the camera app.
You can use any method to open the camera app on Galaxy S20, including using the camera quick launch by double-pressing the side key.
You can also launch the camera app from the app shortcuts on the lock screen.
Step 2: Tap the edit (pencil) icon
As shown in the screenshot above, there is a pencil (edit) icon after you tap the More button.
Step 3: Drag camera mode to the desired location
For example, in this guide, we want to add the live focus mode to the preview screen.
So, tap and hold (aka long tap) the live focus mode button, drag it to the desired spot, then release your finger from the screen to drop it there.
You can also manage camera modes in the preview screen. For example, relocate a camera mode or remove it.
There are only two limitations:
- All camera modes (and the More button) in the preview screen can only occupy one line.
- Photos mode and Video mode must be in the preview screen.
If you add too many Galaxy S20 camera modes there, eventually, you need to swipe left and right to locate a camera mode. It may be counter-productive.
Normally, you may put some frequently used camera modes to the preview screen so that it is easier to locate the mode you want to use.
Step 4: Drop the camera mode
As shown below, once you find the desired location for the live focus mode, release your finger from the screen to drop it there.
You must tap the Save button to save the customization. Otherwise, the customization will not be applied.
Step 5: Test camera mode in the preview screen
In the preview screen, as shown above, you can find the live focus mode without tapping the More button.
Galaxy S20 camera modes explained
Now, let’s explore the available Galaxy S20 camera modes.
Photo mode (auto mode)
Photo mode is called auto mode in some old Galaxy phones. It is the default Galaxy S20 camera mode.
Basically, in this mode, Galaxy S20 will try to make the camera looks great for everyday occasions.
Galaxy S20 will also apply the scene optimizer automatically unless you disable it.
Of course, in this mode, you can use most of Galaxy S20 camera settings, for example, choose a different camera lens or choose different zoom levels.
Anyway, if you are not sure, you should try this camera mode first.
Single-take mode is one of the new features in Galaxy S20. And it is one of the most interesting Galaxy S20 camera modes.
You may check this guide on how to use the single-take mode on Galaxy S20.
This is the traditional video (recording) mode.
Pro Mode (rear camera only)
Galaxy S20 Pro mode allows you to adjust almost all aspect of the photography.
You may check this guide on how to use the Pro Mode on Galaxy S20, S10, and S9.
Pro Video mode (rear camera only)
You can use all Pro mode settings for videos as well.
Panorama mode (rear camera only)
You can use Galaxy S20 panorama mode to combine the full 360° scenes into one panorama photo.
When in the panorama mode, there will be an alignment box (as shown in the screenshot below) to help you keep the scene aligned. You then move Galaxy S20 in one direction slowly.
Galaxy S20 can take full 360° scenes. Of course, you are not required to take the full view, and you can stop at any time.
Food mode (rear camera only)
Galaxy S20 food mode can automatically adjust the colours of food in the frame to make it look vibrant.
For the Galaxy S20 food mode, there are two special settings, as shown in the screenshot below.
- Colour temperature (marked as A).
- Radial blur (marked as B).
The food mode always adjusts the colour temperature automatically. But sometimes, it is not what you want. In this case, you can manually adjust the colour temperature tapping the wheel icon (A).
By default, Galaxy S20 camera food mode applies a radial blur to highlight the focused food. You can tap the radial blur icon to disable or enable it.
If the radial blur is enabled, you can drag the four corners to make the focused area bigger or smaller.
Samsung removed the night mode in Android Oreo and asked owners to use Photo mode (auto mode) for such scenarios.
But it did not work well. So, in Android 9 and 10 updates, Samsung added the night mode back for low-light conditions.
In Galaxy S20 camera night mode, flash is disabled automatically.
When taking photos in the night mode, it is important to hold the camera steady. Most of the time, it requires at least 1-2 seconds to take the photo.
Live focus mode
Galaxy S20 live focus camera mode can produce photos with adjustable depth of focus. Essentially, it is a Bokeh effect.
Galaxy S20 uses the wide-angle and telephoto rear cameras to capture the subject and background separately. Then it can blur the background based on your choice. On Galaxy S20 Ultra, the depth sensor is also used.
So, when using live focus mode with the rear camera, you are not allowed to use the ultra-wide-angle camera.
When using live focus mode with the front camera, Galaxy S20 relies on some algorithms to distinguish the object and background and blur the background. Please note, all three Galaxy S20 models have only one front-facing camera sensor, although Samsung used some software tricks to mimic two focal lengths.
On Galaxy S20, you can still change the background effects for the saved photos taken in live focus mode. But you can only do this in the Gallery app.
Live focus video mode
The Galaxy S20 live focus video mode lets you apply live focus when recording videos.
If you need a higher frame rate, Samsung offers two additional Galaxy S20 camera modes:
- Slow-motion mode@240fps. The resolution is limited to FHD (1080p).
- Super slow-mo mode@960fps. The resolution is limited to HD (720p). And the recording time is limited to 1 second. So, the video can be played at normal speed (30fps) in 32 seconds.
There are no options to change the resolution or frame rate for the Galaxy S20 slow-motion mode.
Super slow-mo mode (rear camera only)
As mentioned earlier, Galaxy S20 super slow-mo mode allows you to record up to 1-second HD video at 960fps.
Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ record the super slow-mo video at 960fps natively. But Galaxy S20 Ultra can only record the video at 480fps and then extrapolate to 960fps.
The super slow-mo mode was first introduced in Galaxy S9. But Samsung slightly improved it in the following two aspects:
- Recording time is extended to 1 second. On Galaxy S9 and Note 9, it is limited to 0.4 seconds. On Galaxy S10 and Note 10 (with Android 10 update), it was extended to 0.8 seconds.
- Remove the duration selector. On Galaxy S9 and Note 9, you have to choose the duration as either 0.2 or 0.4 seconds. On Galaxy S10 and Note 10, you need to set it to 0.4 or 0.8 seconds. Galaxy S20 does not ask you to choose the duration. It can record the super slow-mo videos up to 1 second. You can stop it at any time before it.
On Galaxy S20, to use the super slow-mo mode, you only need to enable or disable the motion detection.
As shown below, by default, when you switch to the super slow-motion mode, the motion detection is not on.
If you want to record immediately, you just tap the shutter button to record.
If you need to use motion detection to capture the moments automatically, tap the motion detection button, as shown below.
Once you enable motion detection, you will see a square representing detection area in the preview screen, as shown above, You can drag the four corners to make the detection area bigger (or smaller).
You MUST tap the shutter button so that motion detection can start. If you do not tap the shutter button, nothing will be recorded!!!!
Once motion detection is started, you need to hold the camera steadily. Galaxy S20 will record the video automatically when motion is detected in the box.
Please note, Samsung removed the multi-take option for the super slow-mo mode in Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10, and Galaxy S20.
All super slow-mo videos are saved in the phone storage sue to writing speed requirements. It will not use the micro SD card when recording the video. But you can move them to the micro SD card after they are saved.
Hyperlapse camera mode was introduced in Galaxy S7. There have been some incremental improvements over the years for this camera mode.
Galaxy S20 Hyperlapse mode allows you to create your own time-lapse video. Galaxy S20 records the scene at various frame rates (time-lapse speed) and is able to automatically adjust them to create impressive time-lapse videos.
To use Galaxy S20 Hyperlapse mode, you may need to play with the 4 options, as shown below:
- Super-steady. This option is mutually exclusive with flash and night Hyperlapse.
- Night Hyperlapse. This is the night mode for Hyperlase mode. Once enabled, you cannot change the other 3 options.
- Time-lapse speed.
The first 3 options are available only for the rear camera. If you are using the Hyperlapse mode with the front camera, the only option is the time-lapse speed.
As shown above, the default time-lapse speed is auto. Galaxy S20 will adjust the speed based on the scene.
You can manually set it to 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x, or 64x if you want. You need to experiment it to get the desired speed.
Does Galaxy S20 camera have the burst-short mode?
Yes, Galaxy S20 camera does have the burst short mode. But it is not listed among the Galaxy S20 camera modes.
You can access Galaxy S20 burst shot mode from the Photo mode. You need to swipe down from the shutter button to enter Galaxy S20 burst mode as explained here.
Please read this guide on how to take and manage burst shot photos on Galaxy S20.
Do you have any questions on Galaxy S20 camera modes on Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra?
If you have any questions on Galaxy S20 camera modes on Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra, or encounter any issues when using any of the Galaxy S20 camera modes, please let us know in the comment box below.
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If you have any questions on Galaxy S20, you may check other Galaxy S20 guides:
- Galaxy S20 new features guides.
- Galaxy S20 how-to guides.
- Galaxy S20 camera guides.
- Galaxy S20 accessories guides.
- Official Galaxy S20 user manual in your local language.
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