Camera Shootouts

$200 phone vs $600 phone: Dual-camera shootout

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Dual-camera setups are part of a major smartphone trend, and they’re not exclusive to expensive devices. Cherry Mobile introduced their own dual rear camera phone to the Philippine market in the form of the Desire R8, which is priced at just PhP 9,990 (US$ 200).

Since affordable phones are now able to match flagships in their own way, let’s put the Desire R8 against one of our favorites: the Huawei P10.

We took the photos using both phones’ bokeh or wide aperture mode and applied the biggest lens opening possible. The Desire R8 has 13- and 5-megapixel color sensors, while the P10 has 20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel color sensors with optical image stabilization.

Let’s begin with the comparison.

We start with a candid photo of Leez and her purple Brookstone Cat Ear Headphones. Both phones were able to capture a nice image with great bokeh effect. If you find the blur to be excessive, you can always adjust after taking the shot.

Now on to a proper portrait of Leez with a lot of natural light coming from the window, which brightened her face well. We kind of prefer the Desire R8’s shot here (despite the yellowish skin tone and dim exposure) over the P10’s luminous portrait. The Desire R8’s soft cut out of Leez is also easier on the eye.

As for indoor macro shots, we have Mario as our subject with Luigi and a sand stormtrooper in the background. The 12-inch distance to Mario created satisfying bokeh from both phones; however, the Desire R8 struggled in this faint lighting environment.

Our Spider-Man Sphero toy stars in this next shot. With enough natural and artificial light, Spidey was able to stand out from the background. The Desire R8 produced the best bokeh effect here, although it looked overprocessed compared to the P10’s photo.

Going outdoors will give you the best results, as you can see with Isa’s portrait. The abundant amount of light balanced out the shadows and highlights, but the Desire R8 processed the image too much. The P10’s shot looks a bit flat, though you can always edit afterward.

So, how did the $200 Cherry Mobile phone stand up against Huawei’s flagship? For its price, the Desire R8 was able to put up a good fight. It showed aggressiveness in image processing, which made its shots look unnatural; we’re still surprised with its output, though. As long as you can find good lighting, you’ll be able to take a decent bokeh-rich shot.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P10 Plus portraits: Pia Wurtzbach vs Me

[irp posts=”18973″ name=”Huawei P10 Plus portraits: Pia Wurtzbach vs Me”]

Camera Shootouts

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout

Two 108-megapixel sensors, two different price points

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S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

It hasn’t been that long ever since we released our Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max camera shootout. This time, we’re comparing Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra to Xiaomi’s Mi 10T Pro, a cheaper counterpart that rocks an older 108-megapixel sensor. Other than their main sensors, they’re also both equipped with ultra-wide and zoom lenses. Of course, the sensors are also different.

Just like any other GadgetMatch camera shootout, the photos were taken straight out of the camera with no additional software post-processing other than resizing and compiling each for a collage for faster load times. While it was in New York last time, we’re bringing the streets of Makati and BGC to you in this comparison.

Do you think it’s possible for the Mi 10T Pro to go head-to-head with S21 Ultra’s monstrous cameras? Write your picks on a piece of paper to find out which is your best bet in this ultimate blind test! Don’t worry, we’re not gonna fool you this time as the photos are completely shuffled.

Outdoor

Comparing outdoor shots is harder than it seems — especially with the breakthrough in smartphone camera technology over the years.

#1 (Ultra-Wide)

#2 (Wide)

#3 (Wide)

#4 (Zoom)

 

#5 (Wide)

Indoor

The Galaxy S21 Ultra and Mi 10T Pro have different apertures in their wide and ultra-wide sensors (f/1.7 vs f/1.8 + f/2.2 vs f/2.4 respectively), but we’re still gonna take a look if the camera hardware is enough to bring out the best of a scene in each sensor.

#6 (Wide)

#7 (Ultra-Wide)

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

A must-have feature for cameras under broad daylight is the inclusion of HDR. We’re talking about how these smartphones show the right amount of exposure, highlights, shadows, and contrast in a single shot.

#8 (Ultra-Wide)

#9 (Wide)

#10 (UItra-Wide)

#11 (Wide)

Color and White Balance

While preferential, a more colorful and saturated shot doesn’t mean it’s the most accurate. This is also to test which phone has a better Auto White Balance (AWB) detection.

#12 (Wide)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

#13 (Zoom)

#14 (5x zoom)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

#15 (Wide)

Macro

This was achieved using zoom lenses of both smartphones to maximize the Depth of Field (DoF), or the amount of background blur in a photograph.

#16

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

#17

Food

Most smartphones suffer a lot in producing a detailed yet accurate food shot. This might be the boundary between these two phones.

#18 (Zoom)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

#19 (Wide)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

#20 (Zoom)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

Low-Light

Another subject that sets smartphone cameras apart from each other is the ability to use Night Mode in low-light shots.

#21 (Wide)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

#22 (Ultra-Wide)

#23 (Zoom)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

BONUS: Selfie

Not the biggest selfie taker but I still tried considering how some people might like to see how the front cameras perform.

#24 (Night Mode)

#25 (Portrait Mode)

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

Results and Conclusion

As promised, this is a blind test where the sequence of photos were mixed. Can’t wait any longer? Well, here are the results:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: 

1A / 2B / 3A / 4B / 5A

6A / 7B / 8A / 9A / 10B

11B / 12B / 13A / 14A / 15A

16B / 17B / 18B / 19B / 20A

21B / 22A / 23A / 24B / 25B

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro:

1B / 2A / 3B / 4A / 5B

6B / 7A / 8B / 9B / 10A

11A / 12A / 13B / 14B / 15B

16A / 17A / 18A / 19A / 20B

21A / 22B / 23B / 24A / 25A

While there aren’t any immediately noticeable differences when using the 108-megapixel wide sensors of the Mi 10T Pro (Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX) and the Galaxy S21 Ultra (Samsung ISOCELL HM3), the latter has a wider FoV (Field of View) when using the ultra-wide lens. Other than that, the Mi 10T Pro was able to keep up with the S21 Ultra in most scenarios and lighting conditions.

Where the Galaxy S21 Ultra shines the most is zooming in on subjects at a farther distance. That’s thanks to the inclusion of two telephoto zoom lenses. The S21 Ultra also produces better food shots, as well as photos in low-light with Night Mode turned on. The problem with the Mi 10T Pro is its horrible radial blur when getting closer to subjects. Food shots also look blander compared to what I’ve seen in person. Its software-based Night Mode just boosts the highlights of a photo — making it look “brighter” and less closer to reality.

S21 Ultra Mi 10T Pro

Meanwhile, software issues in most Samsung smartphone cameras are still present when using the Galaxy S21 Ultra — and those are over-saturation and over-sharpening. Most shots, while they produce a better overall “look”, doesn’t mean it’s the most accurate. I still have to commend its better Auto White Balance (AWB) technique over the Mi 10T Pro.

Lastly, I love how both cameras were able to preserve details on my face with little to no smudging at all. Still, selfie quality is based on the user’s liking. While I wasn’t able to test it out because we still need social distancing, both phones have ultra-wide selfie mode for wider groufies.

Author’s Opinion

While I get the part that most of these photos will be posted mostly for social media consumption (where the original image quality is compressed), this camera comparison proves that smartphone cameras, regardless of one’s price tag, have improved over the years both in hardware and software.

In this modern age, it has come to a point where you just take the phone out of your pocket, open the camera app, just point it at a distance, press the shutter button, and let the power of AI and software processing do the magic for you — all under fifteen to thirty seconds.

As a multimedia creative, I’m keen-eyed when it comes to shooting and judging photographs. With all the great feats of smartphone photography, this test is also one among the many reasons why smartphones still won’t be enough to replace DSLRs and mirrorless cameras — no matter how expensive they are.

While most inconsistencies in highlights, shadows, contrast, saturation, and White Balance can be corrected through apps like Adobe Lightroom, VSCO, or Snapseed, there are no tools to fix camera software mishaps like over-sharpening, blown-out HDR, focusing issues, blur, and even grain.

If you’re getting serious with photography, it’s no-brainer to buy a cheaper, beginner camera over an expensive smartphone. While the ability of 100x “Space Zoom” is a great feature, it’s still not as usable as the telephoto lenses you get in bigger camera gear. But if we’re just talking about casual photography, with three different types of lenses within the reach of your pocket, smartphones nowadays can do all of that at once. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi’s Mi 10T Pro both prove that.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: The best among the beasts? | Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: By two different Pro users

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Camera Shootouts

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: Camera shootout

A showdown between the beast and the overhyped!

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It’s time for another shootout! Having both the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Galaxy S21 Ultra, we took the smartphones out for a camera test around New York!

So, take notes, and let’s have fun in this blind shootout. As always, no post-processing was done except for resizing and putting together the images in a collage for faster preview. Photos are labeled A and B, and the answers can be found at the end of this article.

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

Results

We’re just kidding with the blind test! All photos labeled “A” were taken using the iPhone 12 Pro Max, while photos labeled “B” were taken using the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. 😝

When you observe closely, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s main lens seems wider than the iPhone. This is evident in daylight photos. However, that resulted in overblown highlights and a bit overexposed photos.

Meanwhile, iPhone’s night and low-light shots are brighter — but in a good way. Although, the photos on the train platform produced a brighter shot for the S21 Ultra, while the iPhone had better contrast. The difference, most likely, is due to the environment and light source.

For the zoom lenses, the S21 Ultra’s telephoto lens tends to capture fuzzy yet warmer photos. The iPhone 12 Pro Max remains consistent with its previous iterations: a lesser loss in details while stabilizing the shots when zooming in — something the Galaxy series struggle with especially when you have shaky hands.

Conclusion

Is there still a point comparing both flagship smartphones when they’re already the best? The answer is yes. We’re shelling out loads of cash to get the best smartphone available in the market, and we deserve to get a phone that perfectly fits our lifestyle, preferences, and serves our needs out of a device.

If you care about detail, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a good grasp of preserving details, as shown in both day and night shots. It’s perfect for playing around with photography and learning the art of post-processing since it’s easier to get creative and modify the results with a balanced image.

If you want photos that are ready for almost everything (and not go through the hassle of padding a VSCO filter or Lightroom preset), then the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the smartphone to pick.

Nonetheless, a camera is only a part of a smartphone, there are still a lot of aspects to consider. The choice is always up to you. Whether you opt for the iPhone or the Galaxy, just know you won’t be making any wrong decisions.

SEE MORE: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: The best among the beasts? | Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Review: Overhyped?

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone 12 Pro vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Pixel 5: Camera shootout

Which flagship takes the best photo?

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By now, most smartphone brands have introduced their respective flagships. Samsung unpacked the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Google revealed the more affordable Pixel 5, and Apple unveiled the most-awaited iPhone 12 Pro.

In this shootout, we took the three flagship smartphones for a camera showdown. These photos were taken around Brooklyn, New York. And if you’ll ask… Yes, we still did our part by wearing masks and following social distancing protocols.

Anyhoo, grab your pen and paper since this is a blind shootout. It’s labeled A, B, and C to make it easier for you to take notes. As usual, no post-processing was done except for putting the images in a collage for faster loading and preview. The answers can be found at the end of this article.

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

#19

#20

#21

#22

#23

#24

#25

#26

#27

#28

#29

Results

Okay, we’re just messing with you. It’s not that blind test where you have to scroll up and down to find out the answers in different labels. The results are as follows:

A – iPhone 12 Pro

B – Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

C – Google Pixel 5

If you observed them closely, these flagship smartphones have their strengths and weaknesses. Notably, these smartphones differ in terms of focal length, depth-of-field, color balance, and more. Mainly because these flagships use different camera systems and are powered by different processors.

But if you’re wondering what is the point of a camera shootout between the best smartphones you can buy today, it’s about helping people decide based on their preferences, lifestyle, and usage.

Observations

The iPhone 12 Pro captured bright and sharp processed photos with a greenish tint. It produced a clean cut-out for its portrait mode, with an improved depth-of-field anyone would love. It’s the perfect camera system for average users needing a smartphone for their daily grind.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra took cooler yet vibrant photos with inconsistent exposure in varying scenarios. It produced images that are expected from a flagship phone, but it’s not as seemingly competitive compared to the iPhone and Pixel’s camera performance.

If anything, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offered the best camera experience it can provide to those in love with Samsung’s smartphones such as Samsung fans and other loyalists (like yours truly).

On the other hand, Google’s Pixel 5 offered strong contrasts and proper white balance in its photos, yet slightly underexposed during the day. However, it’s a real beast when it comes to night photography — even without its night mode.

Your conclusion?

For what it’s worth, this shootout proved that flagship smartphones aren’t made equal. They exist to serve different tastes, lifestyles, and usage that are apt for every consumer. Whatever your choice is, we’re sure you’ll be taking great photos. Just make sure you polish your skills and you’ll be ready to go.

So, which of these three took the best photo for YOU? Let us know in the comments section, and tell us if it’s your GadgetMatch!

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