Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Camera Shootout

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After pitting the Galaxy S8 against the best single-lens camera phone of 2016, we’re now reviving Samsung’s fierce rivalry with the one, the only… iPhone 7 Plus!

Yes, we’re aware the iPhone 7 Plus has two camera lenses in its arsenal — one for regular, wide-angle shots and another for zoomed-in photos, while the Galaxy S8 has only one. To make this a fair fight, we’re excluding the iPhone’s extra lens and relying solely on both phone’s Auto settings.

In addition, we’re sticking to each phone’s default camera app. Remember, this comparison is based purely on what we see directly out of the handsets’ unedited JPEG files on a single computer monitor.

Check ‘em out:

Like in our previous shootout, this scenario is perfect for testing each camera’s dynamic range. While neither stand a chance against the Pixel’s strong HDR game, the Galaxy S8 is clearly more capable than the iPhone 7 Plus when it comes to balancing a scene’s highlights and shadows. The iPhone’s shot looks bland, especially on the building’s reflections and the exhaust in the foreground.

Here’s a classic example of how a Samsung phones tends to oversaturate scenes while the iPhone leans toward cooler, more realistic colors. For this particular setup, we prefer the Galaxy S8’s version, as it breathes more life into the couple’s sweet moment. The iPhone 7 Plus also seemed to have difficulty rendering the grass, losing nearly all the details.

The Galaxy S8 once again emphasizes strong colors on Chay’s face, but becomes slightly underexposed in the process. While the iPhone went for color accuracy and a brighter subject, we have to commend the entries for giving a sweet amount of background blur in both cases.

This is a point we have to give to #TeamApple. Even though the Galaxy S8 did a great job of putting all the focus on the flower’s bright yellow hue, the iPhone 7 Plus pulled it off more subtly and even produced a more pleasant level of sharpness on the surrounding leaves.

Speaking of background blur, we checked to see how each handset manages a shallow depth of field. Ignoring the usual over and undersaturation, we love how accurate the two phones are in locking onto the subject — the flowers, in this case — and giving us the artistic aesthetic we were after.

Let’s turn things up a notch. For nighttime landscape shots, we have to side with Samsung. The Galaxy S8 intelligently exposes the entire area without blown highlights, while the iPhone takes the safer route by simply keeping all the noise and grain in check.

Both cameras did a commendable job in this tricky instance; a crappy camera wouldn’t be able to make the “2017” legible with its illumination. The Galaxy S8’s output happens to be a little warmer, but this is something you can adjust if you choose to go beyond Auto settings.

Similar to the dark landscape test earlier, the Galaxy S8 has an edge over its iPhone rival when it comes to exposing all spots just right. What’s more glaring, however, is the red tint over the iPhone’s photo, which seems to darken the scene and provide unrealistic colors for once.

Now we test the front-facing cameras, each of which has a single lens. Our selfie on the left produced much smoother skin and slightly brighter faces, whereas the other selfie turned out grainier and darker. To the iPhone’s credit, hair and clothing details are a lot sharper.

We’ll once again end this with a solo daytime selfie. Quality-wise, we’d call this a tie, since they outputted the same level of colors and sharpness. The iPhone’s shot looks less lit, but that can be blamed on the tighter angle it provided us.

This shootout wasn’t as close as the one between the Galaxy S8 and Pixel. Samsung’s flagship phone is a clearer winner here, having delivered excellent images across the board. Even in the few instances we preferred the iPhone’s pictures, the Galaxy S8’s was nearly as good and it could’ve done either way.

Then again, we can’t end this without mentioning the iPhone 7 Plus’ extra telephoto lens. It opens up more creative possibilities, and enables you to capture faraway subjects without having to move closer. Those are things a Galaxy can’t do until Samsung decides to jump on the dual-camera bandwagon. (On the Galaxy Note 8, perhaps?)

And, that’s it! Tell us which camera phone you think won this shootout. Leave a comment below and let your opinions be heard.

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

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone XR vs Pixel 3: Camera shootout

Which single-camera setup takes better photos?

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In an age where dual and triple cameras have become a standard, two premium flagship smartphones with a single-camera setup can still compete. Google’s Pixel 3 is regarded by many as having the overall best smartphone camera because it produces well-balanced colors and clean cutouts on portrait mode. Apple’s iPhone XR has almost the same camera setup and features as the more expensive XS and XS Max, including the TrueDepth camera in front.

In this comparison, we pit the two against each other to find out which smartphone you think takes better photos. This is once again a blind test so get your pen and paper ready! Do note that all photos were taken on Auto or Portrait mode (when applicable) and have only been resized for faster loading times. They are labeled Photo A and Photo B randomly. Swipe left to see the photos in full and take note of your picks!

#1

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#2

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#3

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#4

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#5

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#6

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#7

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#8

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#9

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#10

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#11

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#12

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#13

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#14

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#15

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Ready to find out which phone took your picks? Here’s the answer key:

#1
Photo A: iPhone XR
Photo B: Pixel 3

#2
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

#3
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

#4
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

#5
Photo A: iPhone XR
Photo B: Pixel 3

#6
Photo A: iPhone XR
Photo B: Pixel 3

#7
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

#8
Photo A: iPhone XR
Photo B: Pixel 3

#9
Photo A: iPhone XR
Photo B: Pixel 3

#10
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

#11
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

#12
Photo A: iPhone XR
Photo B: Pixel 3

#13
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

#14
Photo A: iPhone XR
Photo B: Pixel 3

#15
Photo A: Pixel 3
Photo B: iPhone XR

There’s no clear winner in this shootout; both phones did a great job in capturing images even in low-light scenarios. Choosing which one is better boils down to preference.

The Pixel 3 produces photos with higher contrast and sharpness, which sometimes turn out darker so photos tend to look more dramatic than they are in real life.  The iPhone XR, with its Smart HDR technology, balances out highlights and shadows really well, so much so that backlit images look like they have more than one light source.

In the portrait mode department, neither of the phones did a perfect job — how the cutouts turn out varies depending on the hair’s texture, how busy the background is, and even lighting.

When it comes to selfies, the Pixel 3 offers a wider field of view, an option to switch to a secondary wide-angle lens, as well as a feature called Night Sight that’s also available on its rear camera. One complaint we’ve always had with iPhones is how tight selfies are as seen in sets #13 and #14, although the iPhone XR selfies look more pleasing compared to those taken with the Pixel 3, where my skin tone tends to look more dull.

What do you think of this comparison? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Camera Shootouts

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs Google Pixel 3: Night mode shootout

Seeing in the dark

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Smartphone manufacturers have always been upping their camera games, whether it’s by adding more sensors to the setup or increasing pixel count. But one of the bigger revolutions was Huawei bringing a true night mode to the P20 Pro earlier this year.

Since then, Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro followed up on the trend, only to be challenged by another camera-centric smartphone: the Pixel 3. Google’s latest flagship also has a well-received night mode, but the feature came out a couple of months after the phone’s launch.

Now that Google’s Night Sight is official and we have a Mate 20 Pro on hand, it’s time to compare their performance and answer the question lots of people have been asking: What’s the best smartphone for nighttime photography?

For this shootout, I brought the two phones around Taiwan and took photos only on their respective night modes. No post-processing was done except resizing, so the images would load a little quicker on this page.

Here we go:

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One thing’s for sure: Both perform really well in any situation, exceeding expectations in most cases. Although, a lot of the comparisons come down to personal taste.

For one, the Pixel 3 often removes a layer of warmth and makes nighttime scenes look more like daytime. On the other hand, the Mate 20 Pro is better at preserving how the environment actually looks in low-light spots.

In the most extreme cases, however, the Pixel 3 can see better in total darkness. The secret sauce Google applied here works wonders for when sufficient lighting is out of the question. At the same time, Huawei’s phone can apply motion blur to moving subjects, making them feel more like a long-exposure shot.

With no clear winner, it’s safe to say that both sides prove that their leaders in the night mode realm. Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Camera Shootouts

OPPO F9 vs Vivo V11: Camera Shootout

Which midrange contender comes out on top?

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Two brands that impressed us this year with their unconventional take on the borderless design are OPPO and Vivo. These two are always neck and neck when it comes to performance, design, and even cameras. So in this video, we set out to find which of these midrange contenders takes better photos.

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