Not unexpectedly, the Galaxy Note10 takes great photos in daylight. Dynamic range is impressive in the default Auto HDR state with well developed tonal extremes, but preserved contrast. The phone resolves lots of fine detail and there's hardly any noise to speak of - a signature Samsung clean look. The HDR processing does tend to make for a particularly busy rendition in intricate detail like grass as you can observe if you zoom in 1:1 in the second sample below, for example.
The colors of the Galaxy's images are nicely vivid, though if you're more conservatively inclined, you could find them a little too much. What's more objectively good is the Note10's consistently spot-on white balance.
The Note10's telephoto camera is a revised version of the one found in the S10 with new optics and we are seeing improved contrast and better sharpness than the old unit. Detail is nice and noise is once again nowhere to be found. There's a concistency between the color reproduction between the two cameras too, so you can count on the same lively output.
The ultra wide angle cam stays true to the general characteristics of the other two when it comes to color and dynamic range (thanks, Auto HDR). One caveat is that it lacks autofocus, and if you bring the phone too close to a subject, it'll come out a little blurry - stay beyond 15cm and you'll be fine.
The Galaxy Note10's excellent performance in stills continues into the night. Its main cam opens its aperture to f/1.5 from the usual f/2.4, letting in about 1.5 stops more light. Photos have good detail and well controlled noise, while dynamic range is excellent as well. There's no loss in saturation either.
If we have to note one thing that's less than ideal, it would be the halos around neon signs - we've seen other phones define those edges better.
Night mode helps a bunch with that and renders point light sources with better definition and truer colors - where photo mode would have them blown out, night mode retains the colors. The overall saturation gets a boost too. Night mode also smooths out whatever noise there was left in photo mode, but that does come at the expense of some fine detail.
The telephoto camera's behavior is very dependent on the amount of available light, as before. If it's below a certain threshold, the Note10 will default to a cropped in view of the main cam to match the 2x coverage. If there's enough light it'll use the actual tele module.
Images are generally decent with good colors and dynamic range. Detail is reasonably nice too, and if the phone chose one particular cam to use over the other, it's likely that this is the better result under the conditions.
With night mode now available on all three cams the Note10 does produce nicer zoomed in shots in the dark. A peculiar fact is that it'll actually use the telephoto camera for the task in scenes where it would opt for the main one if you're in Photo mode.
The ultra wide angle camera's low-light performance is okay too, if not amazing. If you're looking at fit to screen magnifications, the images are more than usable, but best refrain from pixel-level scrutiny.
Night mode gives the ultra wide angle shots a healthy boost in saturation and it lifts the shadows a bit. Again, you can expect less noise, but also a slight drop in sharpness even in the well lit areas that were otherwise well defined in the Photo mode images.
Once you're done with the real world samples, head over to our Photo compare tool to see how the Samsung Galaxy Note10 stacks up against the competition.
A chief concern with the Note10 was whether the lack of a ToF camera will impact the quality of Live focus portraits, compared to the Note10+ fully tricked-out camera system. The answer is no - the Note10 takes equally good portraits. Subject isolation is excellent, as long as you don't have the messiest of hair, and the blur looks natural.
A welcome addition in Samsung's software recently was the ability to use the main camera or the telephoto one for portrait capture and we've got samples with both. As before, you can adjust the strength of the blur and play around with different effects - you can check those out in our Note10+ review.
Live focus works very well on non-human subjects too, letting you nicely isolate something or lose a messy background.
The selfie camera has been carried over from the S10, sortoof - it's the same 10MP sensor, only on the Note10 it has a slightly smaller aperture (f/2.2 as opposed to the f/1.9). It still has autofocus which remains a rather rare feature even on high end devices. Selfies turn out great with excellent dynamic range, good detail and nice skin tones.
The selfie camera of the Note10 defaults to a the 6.5MP cropped in mode - an unfathomable choice on Samsung's part, which has stuck since the S10 and was retroactively added to the S9 as well. Even if you switch to wide in Photo and then change modes to Live focus, it'll revert to cropped in view once again.
Speaking of selfie portraits, the Note10 does okay. A second sensor would have helped with depth detection so if that's super important to you maybe look in the S10+'s way. For the occasional shot, the Note10 will offer decent edge detection.