After pitting the Galaxy S8 against the best single-lens camera phone of 2016, we’re now reviving Samsung’s fierce rivalry with the one, the only… iPhone 7 Plus!
Yes, we’re aware the iPhone 7 Plus has two camera lenses in its arsenal — one for regular, wide-angle shots and another for zoomed-in photos, while the Galaxy S8 has only one. To make this a fair fight, we’re excluding the iPhone’s extra lens and relying solely on both phone’s Auto settings.
In addition, we’re sticking to each phone’s default camera app. Remember, this comparison is based purely on what we see directly out of the handsets’ unedited JPEG files on a single computer monitor.
Check ‘em out:
Like in our previous shootout, this scenario is perfect for testing each camera’s dynamic range. While neither stand a chance against the Pixel’s strong HDR game, the Galaxy S8 is clearly more capable than the iPhone 7 Plus when it comes to balancing a scene’s highlights and shadows. The iPhone’s shot looks bland, especially on the building’s reflections and the exhaust in the foreground.
Here’s a classic example of how a Samsung phones tends to oversaturate scenes while the iPhone leans toward cooler, more realistic colors. For this particular setup, we prefer the Galaxy S8’s version, as it breathes more life into the couple’s sweet moment. The iPhone 7 Plus also seemed to have difficulty rendering the grass, losing nearly all the details.
The Galaxy S8 once again emphasizes strong colors on Chay’s face, but becomes slightly underexposed in the process. While the iPhone went for color accuracy and a brighter subject, we have to commend the entries for giving a sweet amount of background blur in both cases.
This is a point we have to give to #TeamApple. Even though the Galaxy S8 did a great job of putting all the focus on the flower’s bright yellow hue, the iPhone 7 Plus pulled it off more subtly and even produced a more pleasant level of sharpness on the surrounding leaves.
Speaking of background blur, we checked to see how each handset manages a shallow depth of field. Ignoring the usual over and undersaturation, we love how accurate the two phones are in locking onto the subject — the flowers, in this case — and giving us the artistic aesthetic we were after.
Let’s turn things up a notch. For nighttime landscape shots, we have to side with Samsung. The Galaxy S8 intelligently exposes the entire area without blown highlights, while the iPhone takes the safer route by simply keeping all the noise and grain in check.
Both cameras did a commendable job in this tricky instance; a crappy camera wouldn’t be able to make the “2017” legible with its illumination. The Galaxy S8’s output happens to be a little warmer, but this is something you can adjust if you choose to go beyond Auto settings.
Similar to the dark landscape test earlier, the Galaxy S8 has an edge over its iPhone rival when it comes to exposing all spots just right. What’s more glaring, however, is the red tint over the iPhone’s photo, which seems to darken the scene and provide unrealistic colors for once.
Now we test the front-facing cameras, each of which has a single lens. Our selfie on the left produced much smoother skin and slightly brighter faces, whereas the other selfie turned out grainier and darker. To the iPhone’s credit, hair and clothing details are a lot sharper.
We’ll once again end this with a solo daytime selfie. Quality-wise, we’d call this a tie, since they outputted the same level of colors and sharpness. The iPhone’s shot looks less lit, but that can be blamed on the tighter angle it provided us.
This shootout wasn’t as close as the one between the Galaxy S8 and Pixel. Samsung’s flagship phone is a clearer winner here, having delivered excellent images across the board. Even in the few instances we preferred the iPhone’s pictures, the Galaxy S8’s was nearly as good and it could’ve done either way.
Then again, we can’t end this without mentioning the iPhone 7 Plus’ extra telephoto lens. It opens up more creative possibilities, and enables you to capture faraway subjects without having to move closer. Those are things a Galaxy can’t do until Samsung decides to jump on the dual-camera bandwagon. (On the Galaxy Note 8, perhaps?)
And, that’s it! Tell us which camera phone you think won this shootout. Leave a comment below and let your opinions be heard.