Camera Shootouts

$200 Phone vs $850 Phone: Camera Shootout

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When it comes to camera shootouts, we’ve always compared phones of equal value. Let’s try something different this time.

Because of the way we pick each smartphone, comparisons often turned out barely distinguishable or too close to call, which made us wonder: What would happen if we pitted the most expensive phone in our office with the cheapest one?

The chosen two are Samsung’s $850 Galaxy S8+ and Vivo’s $200 V5 Lite — excellent handsets in their own right, but worlds apart when compared spec for spec, dollar for dollar.

The Galaxy S8+ has the most advanced single-camera to date, beating the Google Pixel and Apple iPhone 7 Plus in their respective shootouts. The Vivo V5 Lite has none of Sammy’s cool features and settles for simple rear and front-facing shooters, although it did well against the more expensive Moto M.

To make things interesting, we’re turning this into a blind test. Take note that Photo A in one round might not have been taken by the same phone that shot Photo A in another round; the same goes for Photo B samples.

As usual, all settings are set at Auto with HDR turned off and no editing or filters applied. For better pixel peeping, view this page on a monitor — a calibrated one if possible.

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Now, it’s time to reveal which phone shot what.

#1: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#2: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#3: Galaxy S8+ (A) vs V5 Lite (B)

#4: Galaxy S8+ (A) vs V5 Lite (B)

#5: Galaxy S8+ (A) vs V5 Lite (B)

#6: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#7: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#8: Galaxy S8+ (A) vs V5 Lite (B)

#9: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#10: Galaxy S8+ (A) vs V5 Lite (B)

#11: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#12: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#13: V5 Lite (A) vs Galaxy S8+ (B)

#14: Galaxy S8+ (A) vs V5 Lite (B)

We were honestly surprised by how close some comparisons turned out to be, especially for daytime scenes. It was only with selfies and macro shots that one was more favorable, that being the Galaxy S8+.

So, what did we learn from this experiment? We’d say flagship handsets continue to own the best cameras, but improvements have been in minor increments through the years. Lower-end phones have been making bigger strides in the imaging department, and have reached a point where they’re now comparable to the very best.

What do you think? Would you say this was a close fight or a shootout not worth doing again? Let us know in the comments section.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Camera Shootout

Camera Shootouts

Google Pixel 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S9: Blind Shootout

Spoiler alert: It’s a close fight

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After comparing the cameras of the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S9 for ourselves, we want to give you a chance to see how their photos fare against each other in a blind shootout.

These two phones, as you may already know, are the cream of the crop when it comes to imaging prowess. Despite having only a single camera on their backs, both flagships produce stellar photos on a consistent basis.

As usual, we have a few rules in place. We only used auto mode for their camera apps and are showing the unedited JPEG files which we had to crop to fit this space. The order of which phone shot what is random to make this shootout more fun.

Let’s begin!

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Curious to know which phone shot what? Here’s the answer sheet:

#1: Pixel 2 (left) vs Galaxy S9 (right)

#2: Galaxy S9 (left) vs Pixel 2 (right)

#3: Pixel 2 (left) vs Galaxy S9 (right)

#4: Pixel 2 (left) vs Galaxy S9 (right)

#5: Pixel 2 (left) vs Galaxy S9 (right)

#6: Galaxy S9 (left) vs Pixel 2 (right)

#7: Pixel 2 (left) vs Galaxy S9 (right)

#8: Pixel 2 (left) vs Galaxy S9 (right)

#9: Galaxy S9 (left) vs Pixel 2 (right)

#10: Galaxy S9 (left) vs Pixel 2 (right)

#11: Pixel 2 (left) vs Galaxy S9 (right)

#12: Galaxy S9 (left) vs Pixel 2 (right)

Are you surprised by these results? Like our own assessment from before, the Galaxy S9 consistently takes brighter photos while the Pixel 2 produces greater detail. It’s ultimately a matter of preference and we can safely say that these two phones can do no wrong when it comes to shooting.

Let us know what you think about the results in the comments section below and which smartphones you feel we should compare next.

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Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Google Pixel 2: Camera Shootout

Which phone performs better in the real world?

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In 2018, a great camera makes a smartphone, at least when it comes to the cream of the crop. This week we set out to find which of the two best camera phones in the world today, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Google Pixel 2, shoots the best photos.

Like other comparisons we’ve done in the past, our parameters are the same: We only used the rear camera and only the default camera apps of each phone, all photos were taken on auto mode, and the comparison was based purely on unedited JPEG files viewed on a single computer monitor.

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Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ vs Google Pixel 2: Camera Shootout

Shootout between the two highest-rated smartphone cameras

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Aside from having the famed AR Emoji, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ are earning praises and accolades for multiple features. Imaging authority DxOMark has even given the S9+ (or what I call the “jumbo” version) the highest smartphone camera rating to date.

The Galaxy S9 and S9+

Hot off the launch event, I got to take the S9, which is the smaller handset (I dub thee the “mini” version), out for a spin. The mini S9 supposedly has the same camera specs as the S9+ including that fancy dual-aperture feature, except, the latter has a rear dual-cam setup capable of real portrait mode shooting and zoom.

On this trip, I was packing the Google Pixel 2, which used to top DxOMark’s charts and is now second only to the S9+. 

Being the curious person that I am, I took the S9 and the Pixel 2 out and around Barcelona to see just how the two compare. Here’s how that turned out.

Cityscapes

It was unusually cold and rainy in Barcelona this year but I managed to take a number of snaps of the picturesque city.

Both phones did a great job on this shot. Overall lighting was good, even on the building facades considering these areas were against the light. The S9’s photo is noticeably brighter, but the Pixel 2 shot has more building details owing to high contrasts — something the phone is known for.

Same observations may be made with this set. Color and detail is more apparent on the Pixel photo owing to contrasts. The blue sky on the S9 photo looks more saturated while the Pixel 2 photo gives a deeper, darker sky.

Indoor shots

These photos were taken inside famed apartment building Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí who is the genius behind Barcelona’s Sagrada Família.

The S9’s photo is brighter but this meant that color and some parts (notice the windows) have washed out details. Notice that the same photo is also more yellow. The deeper blues in the Pixel 2’s photo make for a better take.

Yet again, both photos come out well, and this is considering that this was an indoor setting. The S9 photo won this particular round, however. The brightness and color saturation just made the overall picture more appealing.

Low-light scenes

We now move on to the true smartphone camera challenges!

This photo came out with surprising results. I’m not quite sure why color differed vastly between the two pictures — might be the white balance, or the saturation — so your guess is as good as mine.

This outdoor night time shot proves that both are capable shooters (as if it isn’t obvious enough at this point), and both samples have great detail. As has been a recurring theme in these photos, the S9’s take is a little bit more saturated while the Pixel 2’s photo has more pronounced contrasts.

The S9 impressed massively in this photo. Although the stained glass windows aren’t as colorful in this sample, the S9 was able to brighten the photo so much so that the details on the ceiling are clearly seen. This was not the case with the Pixel 2 photo.

Food photography

On to the part of the review that always makes me hungry.

The S9 and S9+ have a built in Food Mode specifically built for these type of shots.

As seen in the left-most photo, the tuna is definitely redder. Obviously, saturation has been upped on the S9’s Food Mode and there’s a blur effect going on — one that’s reminiscent of Instagram’s radial blur filter. The Pixel 2’s tuna looks paler and less appealing in general, even compared to the normal S9 shot.

The same goes with this yummy piece of salmon. Although undoubtedly very, very yummy, the Pixel 2’s photo looks least appealing. The S9 Food Mode, however, seemed a little too much for this naturally orange dish. The normal S9 photo looks just right (and now I want salmon).

Portrait mode

This is where it gets interesting. The S9 houses a single rear camera which means its bokeh mode is all software; the Pixel 2 is the same. On the other hand, the S9+ (yes, the jumbo version) packs dual-rear shooters that can do real hardware bokeh with its adjustable Live Focus Mode. The results are below:

It’s Joshua Vergara. What’s going on, everybody?

The Google Pixel 2 still does better software cut-outs, but the S9+ and its hardware bokeh are the true winners here.

Speaking of S9+ features, there’s also an optical zoom capability thanks to the second rear shooter on this jumbo phone while the Pixel 2’s single shooter doesn’t have the same thing, so we give this round to the S9+.

Selfie shooters

Of course, the S9 and S9+ have a very detailed beauty and makeup mode (something I’ve thoroughly explored in this video) — a feature the Pixel 2 doesn’t have.

On the selfie front, here’s how the phones fared:

The S9’s photo is brighter and softer — a look I’ve noticed women are more prone to liking in their selfies as it gives faces a softer look. As expected, the Pixel 2’s high contrasts give off a much sharper look; notice the seemingly overdrawn eyebrows on the Pixel 2 sample compared to the S9’s.

The verdict is not surprising: All these phones are very, very capable shooters. As to which phone is better would depend on preference. Admittedly, the S9+ would be the best overall shooter with the added camera and shooting features. The S9, on the other hand, is a great choice if you like brighter, more saturated photos in a smaller body. And despite being released months prior, the Pixel 2 is still on par with these fresh releases. It’s still a great choice if you’re fond of great contrasts and faithful color reproduction.

Which one of these phones won you over?

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9: Four fun new features

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