Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel: Camera Shootout

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What happens when we have the two best single-lens camera phones in our possession? We take them out for a shootout, of course!

Since getting our hands on the Galaxy S8, we’ve been wondering why Samsung didn’t opt for a dual-camera setup like most flagship smartphones these days. After trying it out, we realized there wasn’t any need to, considering how well it performs without any added features.

This also brought up the question: How well would the Galaxy S8 fare against last year’s single-camera king, the Google Pixel? After comparing their photos side by side, we must say, calling a winner is a lot tougher than we imagined.

Each shot was taken with Auto settings turned on and using each phone’s default camera app. This best simulates what a casual user would do, which involves quick-launching the camera and shooting away.

Let’s begin:

We’ll start with a basic building shot in daylight. You can see how the Galaxy S8 illuminates the foreground better — notice the brighter exhaust pipe to the right and slightly clearer building in the middle. And yet, this causes the background to become overexposed. The Pixel nails the exposure for the sky and building in the background.

This situation tests how well the two cameras handle sharpness across the picture. The Galaxy S8 has a much warmer tone, but it noticeably sharper on the bottom floor. The Pixel, meanwhile does a better job of balancing each detail on the brick wall to the right.

Close-up portrait time! Both phones produced a sharp subject with a creamy background, but the Galaxy S8’s colors have much more pop! to them. The warm white balance of the S8 also added more life to our Creative Director’s face while the sun was gradually setting.

How do both phones handle macro shots? Quite well, actually! The two cameras managed to focus nicely on the flower and blur out all the unneeded background elements. We just found the Galaxy S8’s shot to be a tiny bit oversaturated, and the Pixel’s a little underexposed.

Here’s another instance that tests how the cameras handle sharpness when there’s less light. Like in earlier photos, the Galaxy S8 has a sharper image throughout and livened up the tree to the left a lot more. The Pixel’s edge is in the sharpness of the trees’ reflection in the puddle.

This is where things start getting tricky. The two phones shot virtually identical photos, with the only difference being the Pixel’s slightly higher exposure. Considering the nature of Auto settings, the results could just as easily be the other way around if taken a few minutes earlier or later.

We can now tell how well each phone’s auto white balance and image stabilization comes into play in this poorly lit scene. After zooming in, we’d say the Galaxy S8 has a sharper subject and more accurate colors. On the other hand, the Pixel’s camera didn’t wash out as much and retained more details on the building’s facade.

Bright lights in near darkness is a tough test for any camera. Both phones did a splendid job overall, but the Galaxy S8 ensured the sign’s brightness didn’t spill over to the background. You can see how the S8 effortlessly kept all colors in their place.

Now we check out how well the selfie camera does at night. Like with the dark shots earlier, the Galaxy S8 once again gets the colors right while keeping skin tones lively. We have to give the Pixel a point though for not turning the scarf and strands of hair into mush.

And we’ll end this shootout with a daytime selfie! This time, the Pixel wins with a rosier skin tone and sharper details on Michael Josh’s face. The Google phone also manages to produce a more accurately colored background with all the details and proper white balance retained.

When it comes down to it, all photos are absolutely superb. Never have we seen such a well-contested match between two high-end phones. Still, we have to hand out some awards.

The Pixel retains its crown as the leader in smartphone HDR photography with a distinct advantage when it comes to illuminating all parts of each photo. It also produced more pleasant selfies in daytime, as well as sharper details for things like hair and walls.

For everything else, the Galaxy S8 is a clear winner. We love how we look on the portraits it produces, whether they were taken with lots of light or barely any. No matter what situation, colors always have so much life in them without oversaturating the subjects. Samsung made the right choice of sticking to a single camera lens and simply improving on the Galaxy S7’s already awesome shooter.

With that, we want to hear from you which camera you think wins this shootout. Leave a comment below and let your opinions be heard!

SEE ALSO: 6 things the Samsung Galaxy S8 camera can do

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

 

#3

 

#4

 

#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!

#1

 

#2

 

#3

 

#4

 

#5

 

#6

 

#7

 

#8

 

#9

 

#10

 

#11

 

#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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