Camera Shootouts

OnePlus 3T vs ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom: Camera Shootout

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Here’s a matchup you probably weren’t expecting, but both have something to prove in terms of camera quality.

In the orange corner, the OnePlus 3T is our bang-for-buck choice when it comes to well-rounded phones, owning a premium build to house its high-end specs and competitive cameras.

In the blue corner, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is ASUS’ most camera-centric smartphone to date, with a pair of lenses at the back offering optical zoom and advanced autofocusing.

The two phones also happen to be similarly priced at little over or under $450, which brings us to the question: Which of these two upper-midrangers takes better photos of your cocktails and face? Let’s find out.

Like in our past shootouts, everything it taken with Auto settings turned on in each phone’s default camera app to simulate a typical point-and-shoot scenario. No edits or filters were added, including HDR or flash unless otherwise specified.

We’re starting things off with plain architecture surrounded by bright colors. At first glance, you can barely tell the difference here; upon closer inspection, the ZenFone 3 Zoom has more saturated greens while the OnePlus 3T has stronger reds, and they render the blue sky in the same way. Both did a great job maintaining the range from highlights to shadows.

How I wish I could be this guy right now. The OnePlus 3T clearly has a warmer tone to it, while the ZenFone 3 Zoom goes for a more color-accurate look at the expense of losing some sharpness in the grass. Close call, but I’d give this round to ASUS.

In this situation, the flowers were moving because of the wind, making this a test of both autofocusing and macro abilities. The OnePlus 3T’s photo came out a little more detailed, but the ZenFone entry did the colors and exposure more justice. I do have to emphasize, however, that the ASUS phone had a tougher time locking on to the erratic subject.

This is another case where the ZenFone 3 Zoom produced brighter colors in its output, and we like it. The OnePlus 3T’s presentation of Michael Josh came out too bland, and lost the pretty colors we were hoping to get with the artwork behind him.

Here’s a tough situation wherein both detail rendering and dynamic range are tested. Upon closer inspection, you can see the OnePlus 3T did a better overall job, making sure every single line of the structure is visible and the sky doesn’t get blown out.

Before we get into nighttime scenes, it’s important to take a selfie while the sun is still at its best. We have a strong case where taste is a deciding factor: The OnePlus 3T is much better at blurring out the background and placing all focus on the subject, while the ZenFone 3 Zoom once again does skin tone better but doesn’t add any depth to the portrait.

Here comes the cocktail I mentioned earlier! The ASUS contender begins showing signs of weakness by having a tough time rendering details on the glass while also keeping the room well lit. The OnePlus 3T didn’t do much better, although you can at least see the elements in the drink better thanks to greater exposure.

Our ZenFone 3 Zoom relied on a slower shutter speed to let as much light in as possible, but the spinning disco ball and white balance suffered in the process. Everything looks much more accurate in the other entry, from the colors of the ceiling to the details on the wall art.

Although the white balance is a lot more pleasant with the OnePlus 3T, there’s too much noticeable noise in the background to call this a runaway win. The ZenFone 3 Zoom has more aggressive noise control, but makes lots of elements look mushy at the same time.

We admittedly looked for a really challenging spot to take these nighttime selfies. Like the self portraits earlier, the OnePlus 3T does a fantastic job blurring out the background and placing the highlight on the face. On default settings, our ASUS photo attempted to recreate a more flattering shot but lost the focus we were after.

Finally, we check out how each phone handles a complicated scene with minimal light. Looking at the tree in the foreground and building in the background, this round goes to the OnePlus 3T for better detail retention and light control. However, we have to commend the ZenFone 3 Zoom for making the artsy drawing look good with so little light.

And there you have it! Though it seemed like we were in for a tight race at first, each phone’s specialties became clearer as we compared each photo.

If you’re into vivid colors and a strong daytime game, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is for you. In addition, this ASUS handset has the ability to optically zoom up to 2.3x without noticeable quality loss, which would help in instances wherein walking closer to a target isn’t an option.

Otherwise, the OnePlus 3T has a distinct advantage when it comes to locking on to moving subjects and handling areas with difficult lighting. We’d also prefer taking selfies with this phone, since it makes us look better no matter where or what time of the day we pose.

Agree or disagree with our evaluation? Drop us a comment below and let your opinions be heard (or read, in this case).

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel: Camera Shootout

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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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