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.
Comparing outdoor shots is harder than it seems — especially with the breakthrough in smartphone camera technology over the years.
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.
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.
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.
#14 (5x zoom)
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.
Most smartphones suffer a lot in producing a detailed yet accurate food shot. This might be the boundary between these two phones.
Another subject that sets smartphone cameras apart from each other is the ability to use Night Mode in low-light shots.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Huawei Mate 50 Pro vs HONOR Magic4 Pro: Camera Shootout
Camera battle between two companies that used to be together
In case you didn’t know, HONOR used to be Huawei’s sub-brand — until they decided to part ways. While still using Huawei’s EMUI software (but calling it Magic UI), HONOR is now operating as a separate entity.
Well, aside from the obvious Magic vs Mate branding, Huawei has its own “Ultra Aperture” camera. Coined from the term itself, it features a dual-variable aperture versus the Magic4 Pro’s fixed f/1.8 lens opening.
|Huawei Mate 50 Pro||HONOR Magic4 Pro|
PDAF + Laser AF + OIS
Multi-Directional PDAF + Laser AF
|Ultra-Wide||13MP f/2.2 120º||50MP f/2.2 122º|
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
|Selfie||13MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth||12MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth|
It also looks like the megapixel count is smaller on the ultra-wide unit of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro. Aside from that, the periscope telephoto lens and selfie cameras of the two phones are very much alike.
Now that you get a clear picture between the similarities and differences of each phone’s camera system, let’s get on to our camera shootout!
As previously mentioned, the Mate 50 Pro features a dual-variable aperture while the Magic4 Pro is consistent with its aperture offering. But can you really tell which is which considering they both feature a 50MP sensor?
For shots that require a wider Field of View (FoV), which do you think wins this round considering that the Magic4 Pro features a 50MP ultra-wide shooter while the Mate 50 Pro has a measly 12MP UWA shooter? (Despite the same f/2.2 aperture)
Periscope Telephoto: Optical Zoom
Both the Mate and the Magic have a similar 64MP f/3.5 lens that has an optical zoom range of 3.5x. But of course, there would still be a difference in post-processing AI algorithm.
Periscope Telephoto: Lossless to Digital Zoom
With a similar periscope lens, both phones can both achieve a 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. But in this specific section, I chose to just zoom up digitally to just 60x.
This is what makes or breaks a smartphone camera. With the obvious differences in Night Mode processing magic, one phone definitely stands out. That’s either a matter of personal preference or just fans’ favorites.
#26 (3.5x zoom)
BONUS: Super Macro
Just like other flagship smartphones nowadays, Super Macro is a feature that uses the ultra-wide lenses instead of the regular wide one in order to take close-up macro shots of objects. Doing so requires you to go closer to the subject you are shooting.
You may already have a hint considering the results are consistent throughout the board:
Photo A — HONOR Magic4 Pro
Photo B — Huawei Mate 50 Pro
What should set both phones apart are the way they process each shot — but Huawei and HONOR’s similar AI camera processing techniques are what actually makes it hard to differentiate one phone from another.
For the most part, you can barely tell which is which. Shots taken during the broad daylight looked barely different regardless if its the regular wide, ultra-wide, or even the periscope telephoto lens.
But in some instances, the HONOR Magic4 Pro boosts saturation while the Huawei Mate 50 Pro samples focuses on brightening up the shots. However, its dual-variable aperture camera did not really make drastic differences in daylight shots for it to be considered a “groundbreaking” camera feature in today’s flagship smartphones.
Now when it comes to Night Mode “Magic”, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is the clearer winner — especially with its very wide f/1.4 aperture. As I told in my past camera shootouts, the “better” Night Mode shot isn’t just about being the brightest nor the most vibrant of the bunch.
In the case of the Mate, it displayed the right amount of shadows, highlights, contrast and even the dynamic range. Most of all, its saturation what you can actually see irl.
Honestly speaking, I thought the HONOR Magic4 Pro is one among the best flagship smartphones for night photography. But after seeing how there’s a clear distinction between it and the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, I have reconsidered my opinion.
The less-saturated look of the night shots taken with the HONOR Magic4 Pro is preferential though. Some may still like it because it gives you that flat, RAW-like image. Thus, giving you more creative freedom in post-processing the shot afterwards.
Honestly, you can never go wrong between choosing these smartphones. But the dealbreaker is: can you compromise 5G and proper GMS support over a set of cameras that perform better at night?
iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone XS Max: Camera Shootout
Do you really need to upgrade now?
Obviously, the newer iPhone has better cameras across the board — especially with its evident trio set of eye-boggling cameras.
|iPhone 14 Pro Max||iPhone XS Max|
Sensor-Shift OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
|Ultra-Wide||12MP f/2.2 120º||N/A|
3x optical zoom
2x optical zoom
|Others||Dual-LED Dual-Tone Flash
Up to 4K/60fps
Cinematic Mode 4K
|Quad-LED Dual-Tone Flash
Up to 4K/60fps
But is it really time for iPhone XS Max users to upgrade? Or should you wait a little longer for the next best camera(s) in an iPhone?
For fairness’ sake
I only compared the two iPhones using their respective wide (main) sensor — together with some 2x shots:
- The gigantic 48MP main sensor on the 14 Pro Max wasn’t maximized; shots were taken via Auto Mode instead of ProRAW
- 2x digital zoom was used on the 14 Pro Max instead of its dedicated telephoto zoom lens that optically zooms in to 3x
- Ultra-wide was not used because the XS Max doesn’t have one
- Night Mode was also turned off as the iPhone XS Max lacks Night Mode capabilities
And unlike our other camera shootouts, the order of these photos are not time-dependent.
BONUS: Macro Control
Macro mode was introduced in last year’s iPhone 13 Pro series. Instead of using the regular wide lens for taking macro closeups, it utilizes the ultra-wide lens. While most may not notice the split-second camera behavior, your iPhone detects and automatically switches the camera to the ultra-wide lens.
The same case happens in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. If you don’t toggle the ‘Macro Control’ feature via Settings, you would barely notice that you’re already taking a photo using the ultra-wide lens instead of the regular wide (main) sensor.
It may not matter to most but the photo sample above just shows how there’s a major difference in focus and depth-of-field. Can you tell which is which?
As obvious as the photos look, here are the results:
A – iPhone 14 Pro Max
B – iPhone XS Max
Even if you’re not leaning towards photography, the iPhone 14 Pro Max displayed better photos. And if I were to be specific, its post-processing techniques have improved over the last four years — be that its contrast, dynamic range, AWB (Auto White Balance), and most of all, sharpness.
But in some instances like in Photos #2 #4 #11 #16 #18 and #26, the iPhone XS Max doesn’t really lag too far behind. If it weren’t for the obvious (over)sharpening, you wouldn’t totally guess that the iPhone XS Max is the contender.
For the most part, the iPhone XS Max can still keep up — especially in daylight photos. The iPhone 14 Pro Max barely showed real improvements especially in the last three daylight photos in the set. And as I already mentioned the Macro Control feature earlier, it’s also worth pointing out that unlike past iPhones, the iPhone 14 Pro Max cannot go closer to a subject (for reference, see Photo #9) or else it will force you to switch to Macro Mode / ultra-wide lens usage.
But for all the obvious reasons, upgrading from the iPhone XS Max to the all-new iPhone 14 Pro Max won’t be a disappointment.
You’ll get an ultra-wide lens and on top of its 2x crop zoom, there’s an extra 3x optical zoom lens if you like taking zoomed shots more. Lastly, even if Night Mode was turned off (and both phones have an identical f/1.8 aperture), low-light samples on the iPhone 14 Pro Max are just ahead of the game compared to its predecessor. Its brighter, has shallower bokeh, and most of all, has plenty of detail thanks to the new chipset, larger image sensor, and better lens optics.
vivo V25 vs V23 5G: Camera Shootout
Are there even significant improvements?
It hasn’t even been a year but vivo has already revealed the successor to the V23 5G that was launched earlier this 2022. But is it actually worth upgrading to the new vivo V25? Or should you save yourself some money and buy the older V23 5G instead?
Don’t let that new camera bump with bigger circular cutouts on the vivo V25 fool you. On paper, the cameras are close to one another but the V25 has the advantage of having a slightly wider aperture and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) that the V23 5G doesn’t have.
|vivo V25||vivo V23 5G|
PDAF, OIS + EIS
|Ultra-WIde||8MP 120º f/2.2|
|Selfie||50MP f/2.0 wide
|50MP f/2.0 wide
8MP f/2.28 ultra-wide
+ Dual-tone Spotlight
The sad news though is that, vivo has decided to remove the extra ultra-wide selfie camera and dual flash system on the new V25.
But how do these phones perform side-by-side knowing the new V25 also has a slightly less-powerful MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset over V23 5G’s Dimensity 920? Are there enough convincing differences or is the older model actually better? Feed yourself some photo sample comparisons below.
In any given circumstance, a valuable Android midranger should take at least a decent photo with natural light around — thus me taking lesser photos to compare.
Still, your judgment matters.
Taking food shots (mostly with indoor lighting) is a better way to test which phone camera is capable of producing the better image output with the right amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness, temperature, as well as Dynamic Range.
*Left photo was taken multiple times with the focus tapped on the baked roll. Lens coating was also cleaned several times but still resulted to the same output.
Low-light photos can either make or break the capabilities of a smartphone’s camera.
While it’s a mixed bag of outputs, it still depends on the user if Night Mode photos are important in a midranger or not.
BONUS: Low-Light Selfie
For users who love taking selfies even in the dark, both phones can take fill-in flash (using the display) to brighten up your faces.
However, the ultra-wide selfie and Dual-tone Spotlight feature were removed completely from the vivo V25. You just have to guess and pick which is which.
With Flash (Aura Fill, Dual-Tone Dual Spotlight Flash)
No more confusions, the results are consistent all throughout the board:
Photo A — vivo V23 5G
Photo B — vivo V25
While it’s barely a big camera quality improvement, the vivo V25 has rendered some of the scenes quite well such as in Photos 1A, 11, and 12 which the V23 5G failed to display at least an acceptable output. Other times, the vivo V23 5G delivered better results like in Photos 1B, 2, 3A, 4, and 13A. Those images delivered overall better photos with a sufficient amount of HDR (High Dynamic Range) and AWB (Auto White Balance).
Overall, the V25 produced better images with decent amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness. The newer model also has some slight edge on focusing and making shots brighter and more stable at night.
While only two selfies were provided, the V23 5G obviously has the edge — especially with its extra selfie lens and dual-flash feature.
If you’re coming from the V23 5G, you don’t need to upgrade to the vivo V25. Period. But, if you’re looking for a phone to replace your old vivo smartphone (or pretty much any old budget phone or midranger for that matter), buying the V25 won’t hurt.
Unless you’re looking for a used unit, a brand new vivo V23 5G is being sold at PhP 27,999. Whereas, a brand new V25 retails at a cheaper PhP 23,999 price tag.
Imho, choosing the V23 5G over the V25 is advantageous for some reasons: a more premium-looking design with metallic sides, slightly faster chipset, and the extra selfie camera.
But realizing how more capable the cameras of the V25 are, you can also choose it for its bigger battery and brighter display. Also, the OIS feature is very handy if you love taking photos in action or at night or just record stable-free videos without worrying about warping and jitters. At the end of the day, you should know what you value the most in buying a new smartphone.
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