The best part of Samsung’s Scene Optimizer camera feature is also its worst

For the longest time, fans of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone had been asking the company to introduce a dedicated Night camera mode to its flagships. We finally got one last year with the Galaxy S10 series, and while it wasn’t a dedicated mode in the beginning, it turned into one later on.

Night mode works by shooting a series of images of the scene at different exposure levels for a few seconds and combining them together to bring out as much detail and light in a single picture, and it’s very useful in low-light conditions where the automatic shooting mode wouldn’t work as well.

But Scene Optimizer, a feature found on almost every mid-range and flagship Galaxy phone today, has made the use of Night mode somewhat unnecessary. Scene Optimizer, as Samsung puts it, “automatically detects what is in the frame and then intelligently adjusts exposure, contrast, white balance, and more” to get you the best photos possible of any scene.

In practice, that “optimization” makes no difference in most scenarios, except for one: When Scene Optimizer detects an appropriately dark and low-light scene, it takes a picture the same way Night mode does. That is, it takes a series of images at different exposures and combines them to give you the final result.

And that’s the best and worst part about Scene Optimizer. That it is intelligent enough to automatically take Night mode-style photos when the occasion calls for it, but since Night mode-style photos take a few seconds to be captured, it can sometimes mean that you miss an important moment while you wait for the camera to do its thing.

Basically, Scene Optimizer forces Night mode on you even when you might not want it. Yes, Scene Optimizer can be disabled, but here’s the thing: Do you disable Scene Optimizer and get instant shots all the time, or do you keep it enabled so you don’t always have to switch to Night mode manually but also run the risk of missing a moment as a result?

It’s a tough choice to make, and I guess there’s no real solution, though I realize that keeping Scene Optimizer is ultimately more beneficial. But what about you? Are you in the same predicament as I am about Scene Optimizer, or do you think it’s not something to lose sleep over (and write so many words about)? Let me know down in the comments!

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