Camera Shootouts

LG G6 vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Camera Shootout

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We recently crowned the Samsung Galaxy S8 as the best single-lens camera phone today after beating the former champ, the Pixel. Wait, hold on a second: Aren’t dual-camera smartphones supposed to be all the rage these days? Yes, and that’s why we’ll compare two of the very best right now.

What’s great about dual-camera setups is how different they all are. Huawei uses a secondary image sensor for cool monochrome photos; LG favors using the second lens for super-wide-angle shots; and Apple has made living out of an additional lens for zoomed-in pictures without any noticeable quality loss.

The latter two are a little more similar in implementation, and seem like a better head-to-head comparison for a camera shootout. To be fair, we’re choosing their absolute best smartphones: LG’s recently launched G6 and Apple’s torch-bearing iPhone 7 Plus.

For full disclosure, all these photos were taken with Auto settings turned on and no filters applied. Resizing was done on Photoshop to keep file sizes down, but saved on the highest quality settings to prevent artifacting. In addition, everything was shot handheld in order to properly simulate real-world usage.

Here we go:

We’re starting things off with a night scene, specifically with a human subject in a dark park. Michael Josh is clearly more illuminated in the LG G6’s output, and he’s surrounded with better lighting in the background. The iPhone 7 Plus does fine too, but upon closer inspection, you can see some pixelation in the finer details of the photo.

Macro shots with flash enabled always pose a challenge for any camera, making this a perfect follow-up test. We felt that the iPhone overdid the flash here, to the point of blowing out the flowers. The G6’s shot, on the other hand, has much more controlled lighting and gave us balanced colors with lots of warmth.

The samples turned out very similar, with the only real difference being the exposure levels. You can see how the G6 overexposed the scene a bit, while the iPhone underexposed most of the elements. If we were to choose, the perfect photo would be somewhere in between these two, so there’s no clear winner here.

We’re beginning to see a pattern. The G6 once again ups the brightness in order to make everything stand out more, at the expense of losing details where there’s too much light. The iPhone’s picture is a lot more realistic, although not as exciting to look at or impressive enough to show to friends.

Nighttime selfies is a weakness we pointed out in our LG G6 review. We see the problem again in this comparison, wherein the G6’s selfie creates mush out of the subject’s face and looks too grainy. The iPhone’s front-facing camera is as tight as ever, but at least manages to retain all the details despite the mixture of light in the background.

This test challenges each camera’s color rendering, and the iPhone wins with the more accurate reproduction. The G6 oversaturates the redness of the HOPE sculpture and sacrifices the shadows in the process.

You can’t tell by looking at the still flowers, but this round is designed to test how well the cameras handle moving subjects up close. Both phones pull this off differently, with the G6 producing a noticeably brighter output and the iPhone opting for sharpness over balanced exposure.

When it comes to food photography, whichever camera phone makes the meal look more appetizing automatically wins for us. In this case, the G6 has the clear edge. White balance is more accurate, the colors of the tart pop, and the entire spread looks a lot sharper from top to bottom.

HDR test! Both cameras did a good enough job with this landscape architecture scene, with only a couple of minor drawbacks to each one. The G6 oversaturated the stop light and parts of the building to a fault; and the iPhone blew out the sky too much, losing a significant chunk of the building to the left of the background. HDR is really best left to the experts.

Finally, we have a fine portrait of Michael Josh in Central Park to analyze. The noontime sun was right above us, so the challenge here was to keep the harsh light in check. The G6 handled this by softening all the light and distributing it evenly for an overall flatter look, while the iPhone took in all the strong lighting for a sharper yet much warmer look.

And now we have to come up with a conclusion! It was quite the seesaw battle with no clear overall winner, so it’s best to judge them based on individual merits.

First, let’s take a look at the LG G6. It performed better in low-light situations with or without flash, except when the front camera was used. When faced with bright lights, the LG flagship had a tough time producing accurate colors, yet we still found all daylight shots satisfactory at the very least.

As for the aging iPhone 7 Plus, it kept up surprisingly well with the much newer G6. Apple’s smartphone was more consistent in color accuracy at night and during daytime, selfies turned out much better, and it wasn’t as hampered by overly strong lighting.

Lest we forget, each phone has a secondary camera for certain zooming functions. The G6 can zoom out from its regular focal length to capture more elements in a single shot, making it perfect for architectural photos and wide landscapes; the iPhone 7 Plus’ secondary lens is designed for closing in on a subject, so it’s better suited for portraits and faraway subjects.

Did you spot anything we didn’t notice? Did you draw your own conclusions from this shootout? Let us know in the comments section below.

SEE ALSO: $200 Phone vs $850 Phone: Camera Shootout

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Camera Shootouts

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs vivo X70 Pro+: Camera shootout

The Chinese company’s finest smartphone goes head-to-head with the South Korean giant’s best.

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Huawei with Leica, OnePlus with Hasselblad. Like many brands that have come before, vivo recently partnered with lens manufacturer Zeiss in an effort to level up its reputation as a bonafide smartphone camera champ.

We’ve always been cynical of these co-branding partnerships as being nothing more than a license to plaster a camera company’s logo on smartphones. Although, our experience made us a believer.

Before we do a deep dive on its cameras, let’s discuss the partnership first.

Vivo x Zeiss: What is it all about?

Zeiss claims one of the areas they partnered in has to do with Zeiss T* coating. This time around, all of the X70 Pro+’s cameras have this coating and Zeiss says it has to customize a recipe for each one, so it’s optimized for each lens.

The coating helps reduce the glare, ghosting, and imaging artifacts. Take a look at this example shot at the Barclays Center.

Left: iPhone 13 Pro Max (Normal coating), Right: vivo X70 Pro+ (Zeiss T* coating)

See how the X70 Pro+’s camera managed all that glare.

Cameras

Now, let’s talk cameras and take a look at some samples.

First, the X70 Pro+ has four cameras: a 50-megapixel wide camera, a 48-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 114-degree field of view (and with gimbal stabilization), a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with optical zoom, and an additional periscope camera with 5x optical zoom.

Regular 1x shots

Ultra-wide-angle shot

2x zoom

Using the periscope

Macro

Taking selfies on its 32-megapixel selfie shooter

Mirrored

Performing against the Galaxy S21 Ultra

This is probably what you’ve been waiting for: a comparison of the vivo X70 Pro+ against the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Without further ado, let’s jump ahead. For easier comparison, all photos on the left were taken using the vivo X70 Pro+ while the photos on the right were shots from the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

These photos were shot during the day with the sun out, and the phones do well as expected.

Even in tricky situations such as against the light shots, where the HDR kicks in.

It’s the same on a gloomier day.

Low light is where we’ll see the most dramatic of differences, but first, let’s go indoors.

Admittedly, this wasn’t the most photogenic cocktail but the X70 Pro+ produced the most post-worthy shot.

And we like its photo best in this shot of the bar’s interior.

Next, dusk — right before the lovely blue hour.

This shot taken at Transmitter Park in Brooklyn could go either way. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s photo is the brightest while the X70 Pro+ tones it down a little — keeping it bright but also keeping it as close to reality as possible.

Now, let’s add a human subject. The problem here is the X70 Pro+’s photo is too bright, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s is not very sharp.

Low-light battle

That evening, we also stumbled on a very, very dimly lit bar. Think: heavily dark room with little to no lights.

Truly, the X70 Pro+ is a low-light master. Chay looked stunning and the room looked bright — something you couldn’t even see even with your naked eye. (Because the room is dark, remember?)

The Galaxy S21 Ultra managed to capture all the colors too, but at cost of noise. And when a face is involved — it’s not very flattering.

Although, personally, we wouldn’t post the shot taken using the X70 Pro+. It’s so good, it kind of takes away from the point of the photo.

That said, this is such a great example of how good of a low-light shooter this phone is.

Last shot at this bar without a human subject. The drink was a Piña Colada smoothie and it was white. Notice how the X70 Pro+ captured the condensation on the glass.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s shot was color accurate, but if you’ll zoom in to the upper right corner, you can see how noisy the S21 Ultra’s shot actually is.

You good? Crazy ‘no?

While comparing, here’s one last thing we want to show you. Thanks to its T star coating, notice these two shots taken in two different subway stations. Notice how the fluorescent lights aren’t as blown out on the X70 Pro+’s photos.

X70 Pro+ vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

Cameras aside, the X70 Pro+ directly goes after the Galaxy S21 Ultra. On paper, it’s got a resume that can go head-to-head with Samsung’s best.

S21 Ultra 

X70 Pro+

Processor

SD888

SD888+

RAM

12GB/16GB

12GB

Storage

128-512GB

256GB-512GB

Display

6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz

6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz

Battery

5,000 mAh

4,500 mAh

If you look at this chart, you’ll see they’re pretty similar. The X70 Pro+ is at a slight advantage with its newer 888 Plus processor, which was launched last June way after the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s release. While the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a bigger battery.

They both offer a complement of cameras that, as you saw in the comparison, are competitive with one another. But the Periscope Camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra can zoom further to 10x.

They both have things like IP68 water and dust resistance, and an under-display fingerprint scanner — both of which are fast and snappy.

Both have quick wired and wireless charging. The biggest leg up the Galaxy S21 Ultra has is support for the S-Pen, in case you want a phone that lets you use a stylus.

Is the vivo X70 Pro+ worth considering as your GadgetMatch?

Overall, vivo has built a solid challenger, delivering on the needs of hardcore users: a screen that’s great for content consumption be it watching movies or games; cameras that shoot well, especially in low light; and batteries that last longer and charge fast.

And in a world without Huawei — still suffering from the Google ban — and LG, which closed down its mobile phone business this year, vivo is the only other manufacturer that’s made a phone that can legitimately rival the best from Samsung.

Undoubtedly, the X70 Pro+ is one of the best Android phones you can buy today. Period. And for that, the phone deserves the GadgetMatch seal of approval.

For the full vivo X70 Pro+ review, watch our video on YouTube:

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: Camera Shootout

Are there any significant improvements?

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The new iPhone 13 Pro Max is already on-sale, but more users are confused between this or last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Apple says the new iPhone not only has an all-new wide sensor, but also an improved ultra-wide sensor with a wider aperture. Moreover, the telephoto zoom lens was bumped from 2.5x to 3x with a real Night Mode support.

But do the new camera sensors and features justify the need for this year’s iPhone? Or should you save your money and buy last year’s iPhone instead?

Watch our iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max ultimate camera shootout — now in 4K!

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Camera Shootouts

Galaxy Z Fold3 vs Z Fold2 vs S21 Ultra: Camera shootout

Battle of Samsung’s flagships!

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Yet another shootout is here! Last time, we had a camera smackdown featuring the Galaxy Z Flip3, Galaxy Z Flip 5G, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This time, we’ll be showcasing a camera fight between the Galaxy Z Fold3, Galaxy Z Fold2, and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Can the Galaxy Z Fold3 perform better than its predecessor? And can it square up with Samsung’s flagship camera powerhouse? Like our other shootouts, the photos were only collaged, resized, and labeled for a faster preview. No other edits have been applied. Now, let’s start the fight!

Note: All photos labeled A were taken using the newest Galaxy Z Fold3, while photos labeled B were shot on the Galaxy Z Fold2. On the other hand, photos labeled C were captured using Samsung’s other flagship smartphone — the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

Results

Even with the same set of camera lenses, both the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Fold2 have different chipsets and software processing. The former tends to be overexposed and there’s an increase in highlights, while the latter produces images with vibrant and rich colors.

But if you observe it closely, the Galaxy Z Fold3 tends to have a good grasp when it comes to exposure and color calibration, especially when it’s not a backlit shot. The Galaxy S21 Ultra still held out like a champ, keeping its shots close to what it looks like in real life.

The only thing that might set others off would be its portrait shot — where the Galaxy Z Fold2 looks better for those who prefer it bright, and the Galaxy Z Fold3 looks better for those who want more details. All without looking like a cutout pasted on a blurred background like the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s shot.

Conclusion

The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G can take on its predecessor and Samsung’s flagship powerhouse. The only difference would be the cameras’ grasp on exposure, which might vary depending on the lighting condition.

Nonetheless, the color calibration and the processing of the photos captured are nearly the same to the untrained eye and to average consumers. Especially those who just need to capture their day-to-day and upload on social platforms.

But for those who want to have more control over their photographs, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the way to go.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Z Flip 5G vs S21 Ultra: Camera shootout

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