iPhone X vs Galaxy Note 8 vs Mate 10 Pro vs Pixel 2: Camera Shootout
The iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8, Mate 10 Pro, and Pixel 2 are widely regarded to have the best cameras in the market by both professionals and consumers alike. We’ve already matched them up in one-on-one comparisons, but now it’s time to have a grand shootout.
Each phone needs no additional introduction; they’re the best smartphones Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Google have built to date — period. The only question that remains: Which is the best shooter of 2017?
We’ve turned this four-way comparison into another blind test. Analyze each photo and their zoomed-in versions, then decide which you believe looks best. As usual, all settings are on auto and no filters were applied, but the photos had to be resized in order for this page to load faster. You may click or tap each set for a closer look.
Excited to find out which phone took each photo? Here they are:
A: Google Pixel 2
B: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
C: Apple iPhone X
D: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Without any doubt, this contest was tight. Each round comes down to personal preference — how much you appreciate stronger color saturation and if you prefer warmer or cooler tones. All phones produced consistently sharp images and low levels of noise.
What do you think? We’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section.
SEE ALSO: 17 biggest hits and misses of 2017
[irp posts=”26691″ name=”17 biggest hits and misses of 2017″]
Xiaomi 13 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Camera Shootout
200MP camera or 1-inch sensor?
Both Samsung and Xiaomi started 2023 by announcing each of their latest flagship-grade smartphones totally focusing on professional photography.
As early as February 2023, Samsung made some jaws drop with the Galaxy S23 Ultra and its monstrous 200MP main camera based from the recent in-house ISOCELL HP2 sensor.
Just a month after, Xiaomi stole the spotlight and finally introduced the Xiaomi 13 series to the rest of the world in Barcelona at MWC 2023 — even though it was unveiled in China a little bit early last December 2022.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro specifically adopted the 1-inch Sony IMX989 camera sensor plus LEICA optics that debuted on last year’s China-exclusive Xiaomi 12S Ultra (and nope, not the one with a detachable Leica lens system).
200MP camera or 1-inch sensor?
Before going further, let’s take a deep dive into these cameras’ specific imaging systems.
|Xiaomi 13 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra|
1.0” Sony IMX989
Dual Pixel PDAF
Laser AF, OIS
1/1.31” Samsung ISOCELL HP2
Laser AF, OIS
|Ultra-Wide||50MP f/2.2 115º
1/2.76″ Samsung JN1
|12MP f/2.2 120º
1/2.55″ Samsung IMX654
Dual Pixel PDAF
1/2.76″ Samsung JN1
3.2x optical zoom
1/3.52″ Sony IMX784
3x optical zoom
Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
10x optical zoom
Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
|Selfie||32MP f/2.0||12MP f/2.2
Dual Pixel PDAF
Aside from the main (wide) cameras and slightly distinct apertures as the huge differentiators of the two phones, the Xiaomi 13 Pro boasts two more 50MP cameras with the same Samsung JN1 image sensors for its ultra-wide and telephoto shooters.
Meanwhile, Samsung is stuck to its 10MP or 12MP cameras with smaller sensors (and even a lower aperture for its telephoto lens). Still, it features Dual Pixel PDAF + OIS that the Chinese phone doesn’t have.
The bonus would be the periscope lens of the Galaxy S23 Ultra that the Xiaomi 13 Pro lacks. As for selfies, well, that’s preferential regardless of which phone has the best “spec” on paper (more on that later).
Fair and square
This camera shootout is divided into four parts with a bonus section at the very end. I’ve carefully curated my picks and selected thirteen (13) photos for each category (except the bonuses) which I deemed best in terms of composition, as well as for comparison.
To keep things level on this camera shootout I opted to use Xiaomi 13 Pro’s Leica Vibrant over the Leica Authentic look (less-saturated). This is to match Samsung’s imaging algorithm leans more towards the saturated side. There’s no in-between as Xiaomi gives the user the option to select between either color profiles when shooting with no option to turn them off.
Disclaimer: Just like our previous camera shootouts, photos were all taken in Auto Mode. These images were collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other manipulations were applied.
200MP or 1-inch? But before you whine, I only used the usual Auto Mode and not the special 200MP / 50MP Pro camera modes (or Expert RAW, idc) of both phones to make the battle as fair as possible.
While Xiaomi boasts its 50MP sensor and Samsung relies on its 12MP camera, both phones feature a sufficient f/2.2 lens opening.
But with a five-degree (5º) difference between each phone’s FoV (Field of View), this might make or break your succeeding photo picks.
I only focused on using the respective 3.2x and 3x telephoto lenses of both flagships as Xiaomi lacks a dedicated periscope zoom lens.
But to make it fair for Xiaomi, I managed to squeeze it in a little bit to 3.2x on the Galaxy S23 Ultra in most (if not all) photos.
Lastly, this section will further prove if the 50MP 1-inch camera sensor can break its rival’s 200MP camera with a smaller 1/1.31″ sensor when it comes to low-light scenarios with Night Mode processing and AI algorithm turned on.
N2 (1x wide)
N4 (1x wide)
N11 (1x wide)
N12 (1x wide)
BONUS: Farther zoom
Since Xiaomi lacks a dedicated 10x periscope zoom lens, I just made a bonus section to at least showcase how it performs past its 3.2x zoom mark against Samsung’s ultra-zoomification of every photo subject it sees at a farther distance.
B1 (7x zoom)
B2 (10x zoom)
B3 (Low-light 10x zoom)
Crucial to some (or most of you) are portraits and selfies. While I don’t shoot much of these to begin with, it still needs to be pointed out which phone is the best when it comes to capturing the human flesh and mankind.
B4 (1x wide)
B5 (Daylight selfie)
B6 (Night selfie)
B7 (Beauty OFF)
B8 (Beauty ON)
Were you conflicted with your picks? The inconsistencies don’t mean I shuffled the photos. Here are the respective results:
Photo A — Xiaomi 13 Pro
Photo B — Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The Galaxy S23 Ultra sticks to its usual brighter, vibrant, and warmer look. But as I always say in my write-ups, a brighter, more vibrant photo doesn’t mean it’s the better photo.
Still, I liked how it gave enough contrast and better dynamic range in some shots. Albeit, the Galaxy S23 Ultra still tries to over-sharpen its images just to show it takes the clearer photos.
However, Xiaomi overall leans more towards the cooler, less bright, and less saturated side — but they’re actually closer to what I see in real life. Although there were times when Xiaomi has gone nuts with its AI algorithm (refer to W5, W7, W9, W12, W13, U3, U5, Z8, Z10, N7, N8, N9, N10).
There aren’t much of a difference in terms of Depth of Field. Xiaomi’s 1-inch sensor helped, more so with the larger f/1.7 aperture on the S23 Ultra.
But with that 1-inch camera sensor, I felt that shutter rapidness even at low-light shooting conditions. That’s why even if Night Mode photos turned out to be on the darker side, Xiaomi shoots faster in just under a second whilst still clearer in detail (N11, N12, N13).
This is where you can’t fully utilize the S23 Ultra’s 200MP camera. In Auto Mode, Samsung’s AI switches to a lengthy 2-4-second Night Mode if it detects a low-light subject. In photography, those few seconds are enough to capture light data. But clearly, Galaxy S23 Ultra’s longer shutter duration contributes to a photo’s blurriness — even if I don’t have shaky hands.
Selfies on both phones are, again, preferential. What surprised me more is the fact that the Xiaomi 13 Pro can keep up with the Galaxy S23 Ultra in terms of zooming in farther than 3.2x. This is just one testament that a bigger sensor shoots clearer photos.
Does megapixel count really count?
Aside from having that ~intentional pun~, I have a serious takeaway on this.
In my years of working under GadgetMatch, I’ve held numerous pro-grade cameras and smartphones with advanced imaging systems. But even before work, my interest (other than smartphones) has always been photography.
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The best answer I could convey is by quoting TheUnlockr in the Galaxy S23 Ultra: YouTubers’ React video I edited back in February:
“I don’t think 200MP is important. I’d rather (have) a bigger sensor”
Megapixels vs sensors
Now before casual shooters, megapixel apologists, and naysayers fight me (and David Cogen), the reason why the size of an image sensor matters more than how millions of pixels you get from a single camera is all about how you get the best image quality possible.
The only main advantage I can see when using a 200MP camera (or even so the used-to-be headliner 108MP) is the ability to keep all the details even if you crop the photo in (especially landscapes). But professionals barely crop as close as 50~100x. Photographers already have a composition in mind right before hitting that shutter release.
Michael Josh even demonstrated how the Galaxy S23 Ultra was able to capture the amazing New York skyline with its 200MP feature — but that took a while to process.
Now, the real deal is when your smartphone is equipped with a 1-inch image sensor. Aside from no sensor cropping, detail preservation, and wider dynamic range, day and night shooting are a LOT faster. To most, it won’t matter. But for photographers, every second counts the moment they click that shutter button.
I can now say that a 200 million pixel camera isn’t a “flagship-exclusive” feature anymore. It’s rather gimmicky now. That’s because Redmi recently released the Note 12 Pro+ 5G — a budget midrange smartphone with a 200MP main camera as its main selling point.
200MP and 1-inch sensor combo?
Pairing a 200MP with a 1-inch sensor might sound like an easy-peasy technological amalgamation, but it is more complicated than what it seems — and might just be an abomination to the camera industry.
Not only does it still rely on the computing and imaging power of both the CPU and NPU, imaging companies will also need more time for research and development in making this a consumer-ready product.
But imagine all the possibilities if either Samsung or Sony creates a 200MP smartphone camera with a 1-inch sensor underneath? Even though I said that 1-inch sensors hasten time you take photos, that would be a huge overkill and will still take a lot of processing and every technological power it needs to process such a huge chunk of immaculate 200MP image data.
Lower MP count on ‘pro-grade’ cameras
This is why to this day, there are barely any industry-grade cameras boasting more than the 100MP megapixel count. They go to more medium format cameras such as this 400MP multi-shot Hasselblad camera as well as the Fujifilm GFX100 and GFX100S, among others.
Heck, 61MP is even the largest megapixel count for any full-frame camera out there: the Sony a7R IV and a7R V. Even when we look at Xiaomi’s exclusive photography partner Leica, the most it has is the 60.3MP-equipped Leica M11. There’s plenty of room for innovation — both in the perspective of industy-grade photography and mobile photography.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11: Camera Shootout
🎶 You make me feel like 11 🎶
Aside from 10 as my favorite number, 11 is also a special one: IVE’s Eleven, Stranger Things’ Eleven, wishing every 11:11, to name a few. But which “11” will reign in today’s camera smackdown?
Coincidental or not, iQOO and OnePlus both offer “11” as their latest flagship smartphones. Both equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and both coming from the same parent company BBK Electronics, a lot of you will probably say they are just similar phones with a different body.
To add more to the guesswork, iQOO’s 11 was launched as early as December 2022. Meanwhile, OnePlus 11 was launched as early as January 2023 in China followed by a global launch in February.
Looking at their specific camera hardware specifications, the only thing that’s quite similar are their main (1x wide) camera sensors. The difference? iQOO 11 uses Samsung’s GN5 which is also the same one from its older sibling, the iQOO 9T. Meanwhile, OnePlus 11 has the newest offering from Sony — the IMX890. Selfie cameras are also the same at 16MP with an f/2.5 aperture.
|OnePlus 11||iQOO 11|
1/1.56” Sensor Size
1/1.57” Sensor Size
|Ultra-Wide||48MP f/2.2 115º
|8MP f/2.2 116º|
2x optical zoom
20x digital zoom
2x optical zoom
20x digital zoom
Other than that, there are major differences between their ultra-wide (UWA) and 2x telephoto lenses. Most of all, iQOO has vivo’s special V2 imaging chip while OnePlus’ has its Hasselblad partnership for a more accurate camera color calibration plus built-in camera filters (that I didn’t use for fairness’ sake).
But as we always say, specs are just numbers. What we need to know are the real-world camera performance of each phone. To fully-embody “11” in this specific writeup, I’ve nit-picked 11 sets of photos for each category — together with some bonuses at the end (that are not 11, sorry).
Disclaimer: Just like our previous camera shootouts, photos were collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other manipulations were applied.
When it comes to camera hardware, the wide sensors of both phones are a close call. But are they actually close in terms of output quality?
Even though the UWA lenses of both phones are close in terms of aperture and FoV (Field of View), the obvious advantage of the OnePlus 11 is its 48MP shooter over iQOO 11’s measly 12MP sensor. But can you actually tell which is which?
Another major difference between these two phones are their 2x zoom cameras. OnePlus 11 has an obvious advantage on paper when it comes to megapixel count and lens opening. Then again, let your judgments, preferences, and the photo quality prevail.
This is always what makes or breaks a camera smartphone. With various AI processing magic and Night Mode algorithms made by vivo for iQOO and OnePlus with Hasselblad, which phone can actually deliver favorable nighttime photos?
N1 (1x wide)
N2 (1x wide)
N3 (1x wide)
N4 (2x zoom)
N5 (2x zoom)
N6 (2x zoom)
BONUS: 5x digital zoom
Both phones lack a dedicated periscope zoom lens but that didn’t stop me from trying out at least its 5x digital zoom capabilities both during the day and night.
Some users are critical when it comes to selfie and portrait quality. While there’s barely any difference between the selfie (and wide) cameras of the two, I’m still leaving some photo samples that feature faces in it — so you can see that there are still differences between each phones’ AI processing techniques.
B3 (Natural Beauty Mode)
B4 (Classic Beauty Mode)
B5 (Custom Beauty Mode)
B6 (1x wide)
BONUS: Macro Mode
It’s either good or bad news for some, but only the OnePlus 11 has a built-in Macro Mode feature out of the box.
Furthermore, exploring iQOO 11’s camera modes doesn’t show any “Super Macro” mode that was present on its predecessor, the iQOO 9T.
Are you convinced with your picks? Well, here are the results:
Photo A — iQOO 11
Photo B — OnePlus 11
Some of you might have already noticed that most photos are consistent all throughout the set. Regardless of what type of camera lens and mode it is, whether its wide, ultra-wide, 2x, indoors or outdoors, day or even night, the left side lean towards the cooler side of the spectrum while the latter has an overall warmer output. What most of you didn’t know is telling which phone is which.
If you have read our iQOO 9T vs vivo X80 Pro camera shootout before, overall results show that vivo produced cooler photos over its iQOO counterpart. But the case is different with this camera duel.
The iQOO 11 may have the latest V2 imaging chip from its parent brand, vivo, but that didn’t help much in taking more color-accurate photos. Photos tend to be less vibrant and have cooler AWB — well except for OnePlus’ photos in sets W10 / W11 / Z7 / Z8 / Z11 / that looked cooler than iQOO’s. And even if OIS is turned on, some photo details are less clear. They are just blurry even if you try hard to be still, especially in 2x zoom and night mode shots.
On the other side of the coin, OnePlus 11 has an overall better representation of how my eyes perceived the subjects, objects, and sceneries I’ve captured IRL. It’s maybe because of the new Sony IMX890 sensor, the equipped 13-channel multi-spectral sensor, and/or even the added Hasselblad color calibration.
Convenience and faster snaps
While I wasn’t able to show the beauty of Hasselblad filters (you can head over to Rodneil’s OPPO Find N2 review to know more about that), it’s a great addition if you want to capture photos with more oomph. Moreover, the OnePlus 11 snaps photos faster than the iQOO 11. Double clicking power button is handy for quick camera sessions that the iQOO 11 doesn’t possess.
Lastly, taking night mode photos was also a breeze. Most nighttime photos with the OnePlus 11 only took below 0.5 seconds whereas iQOO struggles between 1-3 seconds of night mode shutter duration. That’s more helpful when taking photos of moving subjects, city life, and even pets at night.
iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Huawei Mate 50 Pro: Camera Shootout
Tension between US vs China in terms of smartphone cameras
Back in 2019, aside from the US and Huawei tensions, we’ve made a head-to-head flagship duel between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Huawei Mate 30 Pro. Fast forward three years after, the two companies met again in a very feature-focused camera showdown.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max (together with its smaller Pro sibling) are just two of the best smartphone cameras in the market right now.
Meanwhile, after two years, Huawei has decide to bring back something that was already considered “dead” — their Mate line. And just like past Mate smartphones, the Mate 50 Pro is also a big contender in today’s flagship smartphone category.
|Huawei Mate 50 Pro||iPhone 14 Pro Max|
|Wide||50MP f/1.4-4.0 Dual Variable Aperture
OIS + PDAF + Laser AF
Sensor-Shift OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
|Ultra-Wide||13MP f/2.2 120º||12MP f/2.2 120º|
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
3x optical zoom
15x digital zoom
|Selfie||13MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth||12MP f/1.9|
Up to 4K/60fps
|Dual-LED Dual-Tone Flash
Up to 4K/60fps
Cinematic Mode 4K
While there are many differences between the imaging system of these two smartphones, they are close enough to be considered direct rivals of one another. Ultra-wide cameras that seem too similar, main sensors and selfie cameras that are close enough in megapixel count.
But what makes the Mate 50 Pro stand out at least on paper? If you’re still not aware, the new Mate features an “Ultra-Aperture Camera” with a dual variable aperture system that switches between f/1.4 to f/4.0. Other than that, it offers a revolutionary periscope telephoto lens with a zoom range between 3.5x up to 100x.
For the iPhone, it’s got a nifty LiDAR scanner with a dual-LED dual-tone flash, as well as its ever-stable Sensor-Shift OIS and 4K Cinematic Mode. And oh, did I mention that Apple added a 2x crop zoom based on the large 48MP sensor?
But just like what we always say in this website, numbers and tech specs aren’t everything. We’re here to show you how the cameras of these phones perform IRL by comparing photo samples side-by-side through this camera shootout test.
The megapixel count between these two phones is a close call: 48MP vs 50MP. But what really sets one apart from the other?
As previously emphasized, the Mate 50 Pro highlights a dual-variable aperture system between f/1.4 to f/4.0 (versus iPhone 14 Pro Max’s f/1.78). But does it really offer anything significant in terms of photo quality?
#13A (Portrait OFF)
#13B (Portrait ON)
Offering the same 120-degree FoV (Field of View) and f/2.2 aperture, do we really expect anything grand between these two?
The major difference has got to be the telephoto lenses of these two smartphones.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max offers a measly 12MP f/2.8 that can zoom between 3x to 15x. However, the Mate 50 Pro is just miles ahead with its 64MP f/3.5 periscope telephoto lens can zoom between 3.5x to 100x. But what does it really tell in photo quality?
#18B (3.5x zoom)
#19A (3.5x zoom)
#19B (10x zoom)
#19C (10x zoom)
#20 (3.5x zoom)
#21 (3.5x zoom)
While iPhones aren’t the best when it comes to night time smartphone photography, it can still shoot Night Mode photos ever since the iPhone 11 release.
Concurrently, Huawei highlights its “Super Night Mode” capabilities thanks to its new Ultra Aperture Camera, RYYB Sensor, and XD Fusion Pro image engine.
#28 (3.5x zoom)
#29B (3.5x zoom)
#30 (10x zoom)
The iPhone 14 Pro Max features an all-new 12MP f/1.9 selfie camera with autofocus capabilities. Meanwhile. the Huawei Mate 50 Pro offers a 13MP f/2.4 with an additional ToF 3D depth sensor.
A lot of you might have been confused or tricked but here are the corresponding photos for each phone:
Photo A – Huawei Mate 50 Pro
Photo B – iPhone 14 Pro Max
Both phones showed decent amounts of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness, and an overall desirable High Dynamic Range. What sets these two phones apart from each other though is how each phone identifies AWB (Auto White Balance).
Having to use the Huawei P50 Pro during the early months of 2022 (and even compared it against the iPhone 13 Pro Max), I was expecting that the Mate 50 Pro would perform the same way as P50 Pro: having warm photos all throughout the board.
The (literally) cooler photos tell otherwise. In some instances, the Mate 50 Pro took “warmer shots” based on how its AI mode processed photos such as in indoor wide shots #4 / #8 / #9 / #12 and outdoor UWA photos #16 and #17. However, the same thing cannot be said in night mode. They all resulted to warmer shots versus the iPhone.
Not that it’s a bad thing as I actually prefer them over the iPhone. Having an eyesight that is clear enough than the rest of the population, I can tell that what the Mate 50 Pro is closer to reality than what the iPhone 14 Pro Max offered. Specifically in shots #23 / #28 / #30, it was able to preserve a decent amount of highlights instead of blowing them out. Most of all, the shots on the Mate 50 Pro are more lifelike / vivid.
Lastly, if you’ve read my iPhone 14 Pro Max versus the XS Max camera comparison, you’d know that the newest iPhone can’t shoot subjects closer. The same case can be seen on Shot #15. The only fix is to use the iPhone’s 2x zoom and shoot at a farther distance.
While both phones performed close to one another, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro still shines the most with its powerful periscope telephoto zoom and Super Night Mode prowess. It truly excelled in making zoomed and low-light shots into something that’s lively and closer to the naked eye.
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