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Duel of the Lenses: Smartphone vs Mirrorless Camera Zoom Showdown

Intro

We’re living in an amazing time for photography enthusiasts. Smartphones offer remarkable quality, and dedicated cameras deliver professional-grade results. But, when it comes to sheer zoom reach, who reigns supreme? Today, we dive in with a detailed comparison between the advanced zoom of the Samsung S24 Ultra and the powerhouse combo of the Canon R7 with the Tamron 18-400mm lens.

Full Guide

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Table of Contents

The Contenders

Samsung S24 Ultra: Boasting a powerful quad-camera system, its telephoto lenses offer optical zoom of up to 10x and enhanced digital “Space Zoom” up to a jaw-dropping 100x.

Canon R7 with Tamron 18-400mm: The Canon R7 is an APS-C mirrorless camera offering remarkable speed and image quality. However, it truly shines when paired with the Tamron 18-400mm – a flexible lens with a breathtaking 22.2x optical zoom.

Samsung S24 Ultra
MSRP $1,399

Canon R7 w/ Tamron 18-400mm lens
Total MSRP $1,999

The Zoom Test

To fully appreciate the reach and capabilities of these camera systems, we put them to the ultimate distance test.  Our goal: capture an object located a staggering 0.7 miles (1.1km) away!  Let’s see the results – can the Samsung S24 Ultra, even with its powerful digital zoom, compete with the sheer optical power of the Canon R7/Tamron setup?

Technical Deep Dive

Let’s break down some key tech specs that influence zoom performance:

The Samsung S24 Ultra also boasts a distinct advantage with its 0.6x ultra-wide lens. This lets you capture incredibly expansive scenes, perfect for landscapes, architecture, or large group photos. The Canon R7 and Tamron 18-400mm combo, while excellent for zooming, simply cannot replicate this ultra-wide perspective without swapping to a dedicated wide-angle lens.

Results Analysis – SkyLift

S24 R7
S24 at 1x | R7 at 18mm

The widest setting for the Tamron lens but not for the S24 as it still has the ultra-wide setting of 0.6x. Looking at Stone Mountain just outside of Atlanta Georgia. We’ll start to focus on the sky lift pylon on top of the mountain which is 3700 ft / 0.7 miles / 1.1 km away!

S24 R7
S24 at 5x | R7 at 50mm
S24 R7
S24 at 10x | R7 at 100mm
S24 R7
S24 at 30x | R7 at 400mm
S24 R7
S24 at 100x | R7 at 400mm (crop)

Results Analysis – Skyline 14 miles away!

S24 R7
S24 at 1x | R7 at 18mm

The widest setting for the Tamron lens but not for the S24 as it still has the ultra-wide setting of 0.6x. Looking from the top of Stone Mountain just outside of Atlanta Georgia, we’re looking back toward Atlatna on the horizon some 14 miles or 22.5 km away!

S24 R7
S24 at 5x | R7 at 50mm
S24 R7
S24 at 10x | R7 at 100mm
S24 R7
S24 at 30x | R7 at 400mm
S24 R7
S24 at 100x | R7 at 400mm (crop)

Pros of Samsung S24 Ultra: Impressive all-in-one package, phenomenal versatility even for non-zooming photography, “Space Zoom” offers extreme potential but with caveats of reduced image quality.

Pros of Canon R7 w/ Tamron 18-400mm: Unsurpassed zoom reach. This setup was the clear winner in our extreme distance test, successfully capturing the object located a mind-blowing 0.7 miles (1.1 km) away. It offers greater optical superiority at longer ranges and more control over the depth of field.

The best zoom solution depends entirely on your needs:

Convenience and everyday shooting: The Samsung S24 Ultra can’t be beaten. It excels when getting the shot matters more than ultimate zoomed image quality.
Maximum reach and optical performance: If capturing faraway wildlife, sports, or other distant subjects with maximum clarity is your goal, the Canon R7 and Tamron lens combo holds the clear advantage.

Get it for – $680.00

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