We recently crowned the Samsung Galaxy S8 as the best single-lens camera phone today after beating the former champ, the Pixel. Wait, hold on a second: Aren’t dual-camera smartphones supposed to be all the rage these days? Yes, and that’s why we’ll compare two of the very best right now.
What’s great about dual-camera setups is how different they all are. Huawei uses a secondary image sensor for cool monochrome photos; LG favors using the second lens for super-wide-angle shots; and Apple has made living out of an additional lens for zoomed-in pictures without any noticeable quality loss.
The latter two are a little more similar in implementation, and seem like a better head-to-head comparison for a camera shootout. To be fair, we’re choosing their absolute best smartphones: LG’s recently launched G6 and Apple’s torch-bearing iPhone 7 Plus.
For full disclosure, all these photos were taken with Auto settings turned on and no filters applied. Resizing was done on Photoshop to keep file sizes down, but saved on the highest quality settings to prevent artifacting. In addition, everything was shot handheld in order to properly simulate real-world usage.
Here we go:
We’re starting things off with a night scene, specifically with a human subject in a dark park. Michael Josh is clearly more illuminated in the LG G6’s output, and he’s surrounded with better lighting in the background. The iPhone 7 Plus does fine too, but upon closer inspection, you can see some pixelation in the finer details of the photo.
Macro shots with flash enabled always pose a challenge for any camera, making this a perfect follow-up test. We felt that the iPhone overdid the flash here, to the point of blowing out the flowers. The G6’s shot, on the other hand, has much more controlled lighting and gave us balanced colors with lots of warmth.
The samples turned out very similar, with the only real difference being the exposure levels. You can see how the G6 overexposed the scene a bit, while the iPhone underexposed most of the elements. If we were to choose, the perfect photo would be somewhere in between these two, so there’s no clear winner here.
We’re beginning to see a pattern. The G6 once again ups the brightness in order to make everything stand out more, at the expense of losing details where there’s too much light. The iPhone’s picture is a lot more realistic, although not as exciting to look at or impressive enough to show to friends.
Nighttime selfies is a weakness we pointed out in our LG G6 review. We see the problem again in this comparison, wherein the G6’s selfie creates mush out of the subject’s face and looks too grainy. The iPhone’s front-facing camera is as tight as ever, but at least manages to retain all the details despite the mixture of light in the background.
This test challenges each camera’s color rendering, and the iPhone wins with the more accurate reproduction. The G6 oversaturates the redness of the HOPE sculpture and sacrifices the shadows in the process.
You can’t tell by looking at the still flowers, but this round is designed to test how well the cameras handle moving subjects up close. Both phones pull this off differently, with the G6 producing a noticeably brighter output and the iPhone opting for sharpness over balanced exposure.
When it comes to food photography, whichever camera phone makes the meal look more appetizing automatically wins for us. In this case, the G6 has the clear edge. White balance is more accurate, the colors of the tart pop, and the entire spread looks a lot sharper from top to bottom.
HDR test! Both cameras did a good enough job with this landscape architecture scene, with only a couple of minor drawbacks to each one. The G6 oversaturated the stop light and parts of the building to a fault; and the iPhone blew out the sky too much, losing a significant chunk of the building to the left of the background. HDR is really best left to the experts.
Finally, we have a fine portrait of Michael Josh in Central Park to analyze. The noontime sun was right above us, so the challenge here was to keep the harsh light in check. The G6 handled this by softening all the light and distributing it evenly for an overall flatter look, while the iPhone took in all the strong lighting for a sharper yet much warmer look.
And now we have to come up with a conclusion! It was quite the seesaw battle with no clear overall winner, so it’s best to judge them based on individual merits.
First, let’s take a look at the LG G6. It performed better in low-light situations with or without flash, except when the front camera was used. When faced with bright lights, the LG flagship had a tough time producing accurate colors, yet we still found all daylight shots satisfactory at the very least.
As for the aging iPhone 7 Plus, it kept up surprisingly well with the much newer G6. Apple’s smartphone was more consistent in color accuracy at night and during daytime, selfies turned out much better, and it wasn’t as hampered by overly strong lighting.
Lest we forget, each phone has a secondary camera for certain zooming functions. The G6 can zoom out from its regular focal length to capture more elements in a single shot, making it perfect for architectural photos and wide landscapes; the iPhone 7 Plus’ secondary lens is designed for closing in on a subject, so it’s better suited for portraits and faraway subjects.
Did you spot anything we didn’t notice? Did you draw your own conclusions from this shootout? Let us know in the comments section below.