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

Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8: Camera shootout

Is there any improvement?

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It was made clear that the brand-new Galaxy Note 9 has the same set of cameras as that of the Galaxy S9+ — they were released in the same year, after all. But there’s a more pressing concern: How much of an improvement is there over the Note 8?

Being the curious techies that we are, we took the two S Pen-equipped smartphones around New York City to see how they fare against each other. To make this shootout more interesting, we’re turning it into a blind comparison.

How blind? All rounds are in a random order, so you won’t know which phone shot Photo A and Photo B without checking the answer sheet at the end of this article.

To make things fair, all samples were shot using the default camera app on auto settings. No post-processing or editing was done, except for resizing so that they load faster.

Here we go:

#1

 

#2

 

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#5

 

#6

 

#7

 

#8

 

#9

 

#10

 

#11

 

#12

 

Now it’s time to see which phones you actually picked:

#1: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

#2: Note 9 (left) vs Note 8 (right)

#3: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

#4: Note 9 (left) vs Note 8 (right)

#5: Note 9 (left) vs Note 8 (right)

#6: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9(right)

#7: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

#8: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

#9: Note 9 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

#10: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

#11: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

#12: Note 8 (left) vs Note 9 (right)

As you can see, the differences are minor except for specific instances. The Note 9 seems to perform slightly better when it comes to portraits using either the front or rear cameras. Skin tone is more accurate and the photos look sharper up close.

Although the Note 8’s output is often too warm, it does surprisingly well, especially in low-light environments. And despite lacking the Dual Aperture feature of the Note 9, the predecessor can keep up in terms of overall exposure and dynamic range.

Do note that the Note 8 has had a year to refine its cameras, whereas the Note 9 just came out with its fresh software. These results could easily change in a few months with software updates.

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Camera Shootouts

Does AI on Honor 10 photos really work?

We took plenty of snaps to find out

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Artificial Intelligence or AI appears to have become a staple feature on smartphones released in 2018. It’s even a headline feature on the Honor 10 with its tagline “Beauty in AI.”

Just how much can AI enhance your images? We took a stroll one afternoon and took a few photos to find out. Side note: The only editing done on these photos was resizing to make sure they load faster on the website.

Even without AI, the Honor 10’s pair of cameras does a good job of capturing the details of the buildings, but with AI turned on, the colors pop. If you look closely at the clouds, it almost appears as if the gates of heaven are about to open.

Moving on, we spotted this colorful set of umbrellas. You’ll notice right away that the photo taken with AI is more vibrant. This will be a recurring theme throughout this entire article.

This flower photo shows how color translates well even in closer shots.

Inside the mall, the photo taken with AI captured the feeling evoked by the installation better. Felt pretty bright and cheery seeing inanimate flamingos in love.

Before heading out to eat, I checked out some new kicks because apparently, that’s something I’m really into now. I’m not a fan of King James but this Nike LeBron 15 Low “Ashes” caught my eye. In this photo, I thought the one without AI did a better job at focusing my attention on the shoe.

Snapped this quick portrait of Leez right before we ate. The AI did fantastic work here, but as you’ll see later on, it doesn’t always get things right.

Here’s what I had for late lunch and the AI made it look super sumptuous. I’m crazy about Hot Star’s large fried chicken — the BBQ flavor, in particular. 🤤

We ran into a few superheroes when we stepped out. Iron Man Hulkbuster looked lackluster without AI, but he shines once it’s turned on.

Leez’s photo with Deadpool shows the Honor 10 does a decent job identifying more than one subject when applying bokeh.

Now, here’s an example of when the Honor 10 just didn’t get it right. We had more results like this than really good ones. I don’t know if it was me being a little too emo here, but bokeh on the photo went a little too far.

However, when it does bokeh right, the photo can look magical.

Took one more shot before leaving and honestly, this was my reaction after seeing how much enhancement the AI does on the Honor 10. Can it be better? Sure. But for what it does now, we were pretty happy with the results.

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Camera Shootouts

Huawei P20 vs P20 Lite: Camera Shootout

Double the price, double the performance?

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We all know the Huawei P20 family has a fantastic set of cameras, but the questions is: How do they compare against each other?

While a P20 versus P20 Pro comparison would be interesting, I figured comparing the P20 against the lower-end P20 Lite is more compelling. Why? Because the latter is half the price of the former.

And yet, they both share a dual-camera setup, sans the Leica branding on the Lite model. But do those sweet German lenses justify the doubling in price? That’s something we need to find out in this shootout.

As usual, every photo is taken on Auto mode without any post-processing, except for resizing to let this page load faster. To make this comparison more fun, we’ll make it a blind shootout. You can find the answer sheet at the bottom.

Let’s start!

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#12

 

So, was it closer than you expected? Here’s the answer sheet:

#1: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#2: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#3: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#4: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#5: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#6: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#7: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#8: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#9: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#10: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#11: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#12: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

From my own experience, I’d say the P20 clearly does better at night, but they do equally well during daytime. Another thing to consider — and this doesn’t show up on the results — is that the P20 focuses on subjects faster and has a richer camera app. The P20 also has that useful night mode allowing four-second handheld photos, which weren’t included in this shootout.

So, what do you think about the comparison? And which phones should we compare next? Let us know in the comments section below.

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