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

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout

Camera duel between two “Pro” smartphones from the same Chinese company

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Xiaomi was the first to launch a 108MP-touting smartphone — the Mi Note 10 to be exact. Several years later, having a 108MP camera sensor in Android smartphones isn’t much of a big deal anymore. The Xiaomi 11T Pro and Mi 10T Pro are two of the smartphones in that list.

Xiaomi 11T Pro’s 108MP camera

For tech nerds out there, the Mi 10T Pro packs an older Samsung ISOCELL HMX sensor just like the Mi 11 and Mi Note 10. Meanwhile, Samsung’s ISOCELL HM2 sensor is found on the newer 11T Pro and the 11T as well. For a better distinction, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with the higher-end HM3 sensor.

But does that guarantee the best in class photography experience on a “Pro” Xiaomi device? Let’s find out in the samples below.

Disclaimer: Just like our other camera shootouts, photos were collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other manipulations were applied.

Ultra-Wide

On paper, they both have different ultra-wide cameras: 13MP f/2.4 with 123-degree FoV on the Mi 10T Pro vs an 8MP f/2.2 120-degree UWA camera on the 11T Pro. But does the newer model perform better in this category?

#1

#2

#3

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

This is the ability of the smartphone camera to process a situation and be able to give commendable image output displaying the right amount of highlights, shadows, and contrast overall.

#4

#5

#6

#7

Saturation

Just a friendly reminder: Not all saturated photos are the accurate ones you see in real life.

#8

#9

#10

#11

Food

People love taking food photos with their smartphones — but which one looks more true-to-life?

#12

#13

#14

#15

Portrait

With a dedicated 5MP f/2.4 macro camera, portrait shots with better Depth of Field (or the ability to give creamier bokeh in layman’s term) should look better for the most part, but you be the judge.

#16

#17

#18

Selfies

Not the biggest selfie master but you can see the huge difference. You just have to pick which is which.

#19

#20

2x Telephoto

Both phones lack a dedicated telephoto zoom lens and heavily rely on digital cropping via its main lens — but the 11T Pro’s lack of OIS (which the Mi 10T Pro has) might be the biggest dealbreaker in this camera shootout segment.

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#26 (Night 2x zoom)

Night Mode

Now that a night shot was introduced in the previous segment, it’s time for some thorough night shot comparison.

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BONUS

B1

B2

B3

Results

Xiaomi 11T Pro: Photo A

Xiaomi 10T Pro: Photo B

Google Pixel 2 XL: Photo C (Bonus part only)

Conclusion

Just like what I said in my Mi 11 vs Mi 10T Pro camera shootout, results vary (especially in saturation, AWB, HDR, and contrast) due to difference in software camera processing techniques and AI algorithms even if both are equipped with a large 108-megapixel camera sensor delivered varying image results. My Xiaomi 11T Pro review article also shared glimpses of how its cameras performed in day-to-day scenarios.

Moreover, the 2x telephoto zoom lens on the Xiaomi 11T Pro is mostly a miss. Not only did the lack of OIS degraded and made the image output a lot blurrier in comparison to the Mi 10T Pro, but it’s also a testament that not all newer phones are better — at least in the camera department. The 2017 flagship Google Pixel 2 XL can still keep up with the Night Mode competition despite having a Sony IMX362 sensor from 2016.

That being said, the Xiaomi 11T Pro and Mi 10T Pro are both capable smartphones. But if cameras are your main point of buying a new smartphone, you should really look elsewhere. The results are there, you just have to pick which is your best bet.

SEE ALSO:

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro: 11 changes in 1 year

Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout

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Camera Shootouts

Pixel 6 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Camera shootout

Battle of the best smartphone cameras!

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

We’re back with another shootout! This time, we’ll be comparing two smartphones known best for taking natural shots that are close to reality. Raw images that will capture your sights the way you see them with your own eyes.

Here, we’ll see if the Pixel 6 can square up against the iPhone 13 Pro. Like our other shootouts, photos were only collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other edits have been applied.

To make it easier for you, all photos labeled A were taken using the iPhone 13 Pro. Meanwhile, the photos labeled B were shot on the Pixel 6. Now, let’s start the fight!

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

#2

Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

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Pixel 6 iPhone 13 Pro

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Results

If you observed closely, photos taken by the Pixel 6 during the day were well-lit, balanced, and seemed closer due to its focal length. The iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, produces vibrant photos that look social media ready.

Although, macro shots tend to be darker on the Pixel 6 as the processor focuses on sharpening the details rather than keeping a well-lit background.

For portraits, the phones aim to please different users. Some would prefer the sharpened, detailed, and wider portrait on the iPhone 13 Pro. However, in our Instagram poll, 61 percent picked the portrait taken by the Pixel 6. Perhaps because it looks pleasing to the naked eye. It looked softened and warm, and closer to a shot taken by a mirrorless camera.

Night shots are a close fight, though. Details are a priority when it comes to the Pixel, while vibrance and colors are a must for the iPhone. Meanwhile, night mode allows the Pixel to illuminate a dark room while the iPhone still tried to keep it as close to reality as possible.

Conclusion

As of the moment, I think it’s clear that in the camera department, the Pixel and the iPhones still reign supreme especially for the average users. Don’t try to bring in Sony’s Xperia here — that’s a different beast.

Pixel’s camera performance appeals to tech enthusiasts who’d love a camera that allows more room for flexibility. Where you can have the freedom to help you express yourself through photographs.

While the iPhone appeals to casual users who enjoy bright, processed, and detailed photos that helps them to live in the moment — uploading photos as is whenever they want.

I’m not saying that the Pixel and the iPhone are limited to enthusiasts and casual users respectively. Photographers, creatives, and other users who’d love to explore camera settings and modes know that both smartphones are equipped with the right tools to make something extraordinary out of nothing.

Take raw photos, adjust the settings, tinker around. When used by the right people, both the Pixel and the iPhone can be revolutionary beasts in the smartphone camera department. It’s proof that technology is evolving, and we can only look forward to what’s coming next.


Watch our iPhone 13 Pro review


Watch our Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro Unboxing and First Impressions

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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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