Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Camera Shootout



We’ve compared the Galaxy S8’s camera to numerous smartphones — from its most bitter rival to a phone less than a fourth its price — but in terms of design, nothing is as close as this comparison.

While not exactly similar-looking, the LG G6 is the closest thing we’ve got to the Galaxy S8 aesthetically. A near-borderless display and unusually narrow aspect ratio do that, but that’s where the similarities end.

Like previous LG flagships, the G6 owns a dual-camera setup at the back designed to take super-wide-angle shots on top of the normal photos we’re accustomed to. It definitely gives the LG handset a clear advantage for landscape pictures and artsy images, and so, we won’t be including this feature in our shootout.

As for the rest of the mechanics, both sides settle for Auto camera settings with HDR and filters turned off. Samples were resized for quicker loading, although we still recommend viewing this shootout on a color-calibrated monitor to see the differences.

Right off the bat, you can already tell what style each camera favors. The Galaxy S8’s photo has a slight green tint to it and looks a lot softer, while the G6 is noticeably redder and oversharpens the subject to the point of looking a bit grainy. At the same time, both camera did a fine job illuminating all parts of the scene. This round can go either way.

With flash turned on, the camera capabilities really show. As good a job the Galaxy S8 did in highlighting the flower up front, the G6 covered a lot more ground and even upped the warmth for a more natural look. Thumbs up, LG!

Any night shot with as much individual lighting and fog as this is a challenge, but the Galaxy S8 pulled through and impressed us with even exposure throughout the landscape without blowing out any of the highlights. The G6 output looks good as well, but overdid highlights a tad too much.

We focused on the brightly lighted sign to the lower right for this one, which gave both cameras a difficult time. In the end, however, the Galaxy S8 wins with much more accurate color reproduction to the left and top of the photo. The G6 didn’t seem to even bother with those areas.

This is another test which favors the Galaxy S8. For nighttime selfies, the G6 has always delivered low-resolution-looking photos — this isn’t the first time — whereas the Galaxy S8’s selfie passes our standards with an overall clear and sharp portrait.

Now that the sun’s out, we can see how each camera handles harsh lighting at noontime. This round can go either way: While the Galaxy S8 produced better shadows around the sculpture, the G6’s more saturated output places greater emphasis on “Hope.”

This round also comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer the highly saturated and strong colors of the Galaxy S8, or the focus on detail from the G6’s macro shot? We find both great, and appreciate how well each one provided smooth background blur.

For food photography, it’s all about making the spread as tasty-looking as possible. In this case, the Galaxy S8 does it better. On top of coming out much brighter, there’s greater emphasis on the reflections of the glistening fruit tart. Yum!

When we came to this spot, we knew HDR mode had to be turned on to maximize the scenery. At first glance, you’d think the G6 won this HDR test, but upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that the Galaxy S8 managed to retain much more detail, especially on the upper-left region of the photo.

This is when the noontime sun was at its harshest, giving both cameras more than they could chew. The Galaxy S8 and G6 handled the situation in distinctly different ways: The former accepted all the direct sunlight but heavily darkened the shadows, while the latter evenly distributed the rays for a less saturated aesthetic.

After ten rounds of camera photography in New York, the results are clear: The Galaxy S8 takes better photos in most environments. None of the tough lighting situations really fazed the Samsung flagship, and we were happy with the results even at its worst.

This isn’t to say the G6 lost entirely. A lot of rounds were neck and neck, with the LG handset clearly having a better camera for flash photography. On its own, the G6 has a stellar camera, especially when you factor in its secondary lens — something which the Galaxy S8 can’t hold a candle to.

Take a look at a couple of extra-wide-angle G6 photos that the Galaxy S8 can only dream of doing:

Until the Samsung Galaxy S or Note series acquires a similar secondary camera at the back, LG flagships will always have this advantage over their competition.

What do you think of this shootout? Do you believe we missed something? Please let us know in the comments below.

SEE ALSO: LG G6 vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Camera Shootout

Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ vs Google Pixel 2: Camera Shootout

Shootout between the two highest-rated smartphone cameras



Aside from having the famed AR Emoji, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ are earning praises and accolades for multiple features. Imaging authority DxOMark has even given the S9+ (or what I call the “jumbo” version) the highest smartphone camera rating to date.

The Galaxy S9 and S9+

Hot off the launch event, I got to take the S9, which is the smaller handset (I dub thee the “mini” version), out for a spin. The mini S9 supposedly has the same camera specs as the S9+ including that fancy dual-aperture feature, except, the latter has a rear dual-cam setup capable of real portrait mode shooting and zoom.

On this trip, I was packing the Google Pixel 2, which used to top DxOMark’s charts and is now second only to the S9+. 

Being the curious person that I am, I took the S9 and the Pixel 2 out and around Barcelona to see just how the two compare. Here’s how that turned out.


It was unusually cold and rainy in Barcelona this year but I managed to take a number of snaps of the picturesque city.

Both phones did a great job on this shot. Overall lighting was good, even on the building facades considering these areas were against the light. The S9’s photo is noticeably brighter, but the Pixel 2 shot has more building details owing to high contrasts — something the phone is known for.

Same observations may be made with this set. Color and detail is more apparent on the Pixel photo owing to contrasts. The blue sky on the S9 photo looks more saturated while the Pixel 2 photo gives a deeper, darker sky.

Indoor shots

These photos were taken inside famed apartment building Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí who is the genius behind Barcelona’s Sagrada Família.

The S9’s photo is brighter but this meant that color and some parts (notice the windows) have washed out details. Notice that the same photo is also more yellow. The deeper blues in the Pixel 2’s photo make for a better take.

Yet again, both photos come out well, and this is considering that this was an indoor setting. The S9 photo won this particular round, however. The brightness and color saturation just made the overall picture more appealing.

Low-light scenes

We now move on to the true smartphone camera challenges!

This photo came out with surprising results. I’m not quite sure why color differed vastly between the two pictures — might be the white balance, or the saturation — so your guess is as good as mine.

This outdoor night time shot proves that both are capable shooters (as if it isn’t obvious enough at this point), and both samples have great detail. As has been a recurring theme in these photos, the S9’s take is a little bit more saturated while the Pixel 2’s photo has more pronounced contrasts.

The S9 impressed massively in this photo. Although the stained glass windows aren’t as colorful in this sample, the S9 was able to brighten the photo so much so that the details on the ceiling are clearly seen. This was not the case with the Pixel 2 photo.

Food photography

On to the part of the review that always makes me hungry.

The S9 and S9+ have a built in Food Mode specifically built for these type of shots.

As seen in the left-most photo, the tuna is definitely redder. Obviously, saturation has been upped on the S9’s Food Mode and there’s a blur effect going on — one that’s reminiscent of Instagram’s radial blur filter. The Pixel 2’s tuna looks paler and less appealing in general, even compared to the normal S9 shot.

The same goes with this yummy piece of salmon. Although undoubtedly very, very yummy, the Pixel 2’s photo looks least appealing. The S9 Food Mode, however, seemed a little too much for this naturally orange dish. The normal S9 photo looks just right (and now I want salmon).

Portrait mode

This is where it gets interesting. The S9 houses a single rear camera which means its bokeh mode is all software; the Pixel 2 is the same. On the other hand, the S9+ (yes, the jumbo version) packs dual-rear shooters that can do real hardware bokeh with its adjustable Live Focus Mode. The results are below:

It’s Joshua Vergara. What’s going on, everybody?

The Google Pixel 2 still does better software cut-outs, but the S9+ and its hardware bokeh are the true winners here.

Speaking of S9+ features, there’s also an optical zoom capability thanks to the second rear shooter on this jumbo phone while the Pixel 2’s single shooter doesn’t have the same thing, so we give this round to the S9+.

Selfie shooters

Of course, the S9 and S9+ have a very detailed beauty and makeup mode (something I’ve thoroughly explored in this video) — a feature the Pixel 2 doesn’t have.

On the selfie front, here’s how the phones fared:

The S9’s photo is brighter and softer — a look I’ve noticed women are more prone to liking in their selfies as it gives faces a softer look. As expected, the Pixel 2’s high contrasts give off a much sharper look; notice the seemingly overdrawn eyebrows on the Pixel 2 sample compared to the S9’s.

The verdict is not surprising: All these phones are very, very capable shooters. As to which phone is better would depend on preference. Admittedly, the S9+ would be the best overall shooter with the added camera and shooting features. The S9, on the other hand, is a great choice if you like brighter, more saturated photos in a smaller body. And despite being released months prior, the Pixel 2 is still on par with these fresh releases. It’s still a great choice if you’re fond of great contrasts and faithful color reproduction.

Which one of these phones won you over?

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9: Four fun new features

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Camera Shootouts

OnePlus 5T vs OPPO R11s: Camera Shootout

Which phone has the better cameras?



We are here, yet again. Months after the release of the OnePlus 5T and OPPO R11s, we are left scratching our heads at how much these two phones from supposedly different companies look so alike.

And now, the OnePlus 5T has a Lava Red version, too!

Of course, this isn’t the first time, this happened. These two phones’ predecessors, the OnePlus 5 and OPPO R11, also looked confusingly similar.

And so, I had to ask: Despite looking like absolute twinsies, how do the phones’ cameras perform against each other?

Quick specs

Both phones are equipped with dual-rear cameras: A 16- and 20-megapixel combo. Both phones have ditched using their secondary cameras for optical zoom capabilities and instead champion having two shooters with f/1.7 apertures — to shoot better in low-light situations, they claim.

It’s on the front-facing cameras where these two phones differ. The OnePlus 5T sports a 16-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/2.0 while the OPPO R11s is fitted with a 20-megapixel camera with the same f/2.0 aperture.

Now, on to the shootout!

Rear cameras

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between the two phones in terms of rear camera performance. In great lighting conditions, the OnePlus 5T and the OPPO R11s deliver great color and detailed photos.

As I used the two phones more, however, I noticed a slight difference with the photos they produce.

In very bright or extreme lighting conditions, the OnePlus 5T’s photos had higher contrast while the R11s’ photos were usually brighter in terms of exposure.

With HDR on, the OnePlus 5T did slightly better. This handset was better at balancing the bright sky background and the shadowy flower foreground. The flowers on the R11s sample were visibly darker and less detailed.

Colors come out almost the same — bright and punchy, but not too saturated as other smartphone cameras have been known to do. But, notice that the R11s’ shot is a tad warmer than the 5T’s photo.

This warmth on the R11s photos is more apparent in the photo above. Again, OPPO’s photos are more exposed, though in this case, that led to a lack of detail on this particular photo.

That R11s brightness works for some instances, however. In the pictures above, the brightness on the OPPO R11s photo worked as it made for a more vivid photo of the flowers.

In low-light settings, both devices do good, though we’ve seen other handsets perform better. Colors are brighter and more solid on the OnePlus 5T; its contrast settings work better for scenarios like this.

Portrait mode

The OnePlus 5T and the OPPO R11s both have portrait modes on their rear cameras. For the unfamiliar, this shooting mode just allows for a bokeh effect and slight face-filtering that ensures optimum photos.

On this mode, both devices did well. Bokeh cutouts looked good and natural. As expected and as observed from the other photos, the R11s had a higher exposure which meant less shadows on the face. There was also more airbrushing on the R11s photo with Joshua’s (the photo subject) freckles almost disappearing completely.

There’s also an extra setting on the R11s’ rear camera portrait mode that allows for a tighter portrait shot — I call this the “bust” or “full body” button. Toggling this will either crop into the photo like above, or give you a wider shot like the photo before that.

The same observations are applicable to this next portrait photo. Notice how smooth my skin is on the R11s picture — even golden hour’s great lighting wouldn’t have been able to get my skin to look that great!

Front-facing cameras

Now on to selfies!

This first selfie batch was taken with the beauty mode turned off.

Look closer and you’ll notice subtle differences. The R11s’ photo exposure make it seem like my face is brighter, and even without beauty mode, there seems to be subtle airbrushing done on my face. On both photos, you see the detail on my skin, though I’d say that the OnePlus 5T photo is more true to life — not that I’m happy about that fact.

It should be noted, though, that there is no bokeh mode available on the OnePlus 5T’s front-facing cameras. Alas, you have to deal with crappy backgrounds when you’re on this phone as you can’t blur them out.

It’s really on the beauty mode that these two phones differ. The OnePlus 5T does have a beauty mode contolled by a bar that you can toggle for intensity. The OPPO R11s, on the other hand, has beauty mode settings with choices from intensities one to six, and artificial intelligence-powered beauty mode when set to “Auto.”

The OnePlus 5T’s beauty mode is noticeably mild compared to the R11s’. Even on the highest setting, OnePlus’ filters weren’t as strong as some of OPPO’s. Although OPPO’s filters run the risk of too much smoothing and plastic-y skin, the improved AI-beauty mode has me impressed with natural-looking selfie results.

Even in group selfies, the same results carry over. Again, there is no bokeh or portrait mode on the OnePlus 5T’s selfie camera, which is a shame especially for group photos like above.


While these two devices look confusingly similar, they are designed for two different markets. Aside from camera treatment, there are notable differences between two phones in terms of user experience (OnePlus uses OxygenOS which is near stock Android, while OPPO is on ColorOS which mimic’s Apple’s iOS) and specs (the OnePlus 5T uses a high-end Snapdragon 835 while the OPPO R11s uses a midrange Snapdragon 660 processor).

The OnePlus 5T, slapped with a flagship processor, is aimed at power users who look at utility and value for money as primary priorities. Even this phone’s lack of portrait or bokeh mode on the front-facing camera, if it’s any indication, shows how selfies just aren’t a priority on this device.

The OPPO R11s, on the other hand, sticks to the brand’s selfie roots. It caters to an audience that puts importance on selfies and beauty modes, even going as far as installing artificial intelligence on said beauty mode.

To be completely honest, there isn’t much of a difference in terms of picture quality between these two handsets. It all boils down to preference. Unless you’re very particular about your beauty modes, either phone would work for you.

In this particular case, the cameras aren’t a tie-breaker.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 5 vs OPPO R11 shootout: Which has better cameras?

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Camera Shootouts

GoPro HERO 6 Black vs HERO 5 Black Comparison

Which is the action camera for you?



GoPro is one of the biggest names in sports videography and is a name that first comes to mind when the need for a portable, easy-to-set-up camera arises. Although, the past couple of years were a bit hard for the company as sales plummeted, and after introducing their first-ever drone, some literally fell from the sky.

Still working hard on making another hit, GoPro has returned with their latest action camera, the HERO 6 Black, and it boasts some pretty impressive features. Will it be the saving grace the company needs right now? How does it fare compared to its predecessor, the HERO 5? We answer those questions plus more in this comparison.


On the outside, nothing has changed with the new action camera at all. It’s made of the same robust, rubbery material that’s designed to go underwater for as deep as 10 meters without needing an extra waterproof case. Button placements are carried over — one up top to start recording and another one on its side to switch between shooting modes.

Underneath, the same 1220mAh battery is stored while connectivity ports are on the other side. Even the protective lens is still removable and replaceable. There’s virtually no way of telling the two apart except for the small print on the side of the camera.


The biggest upgrade of the HERO 6 has more to do with output. It can now shoot up to 4K resolution at 60fps, whereas the previous HERO 5 topped out at 4K 30fps. It might seem like a small detail but having the option to shoot smoother video is always a good thing.

Another difference is frame rate. The HERO 5 Black can capture videos at a speedy 240fps but resolution is limited to 720p. The newer HERO 6 Black, on the other hand, can shoot the same 240fps rate at a clearer 1080p resolution.

For more flexibility, the HERO 6 can also shoot at 2.7K at 120fps so you get nice slow-mo video with the ability to resize or re-scale your footage if the need arises. Other features that differentiate the new action camera from its predecessor include better low-light performance and dynamic range.

Video Sample

Of course, all this means nothing if we can’t see for ourselves. I brought both cameras during my travels and you may refer to the embedded video below (starting at 2:46) for some sample video comparisons.

You can easily see that the sky from the HERO 6’s shots is more vibrant than the pale blue color from the HERO 5. There’s also a noticeable difference in exposure. The HERO 5 has darker blacks which, in this case, worked well since it was able to bring out more details on the snowy mountain.

Although both are set to auto white balance, footage from the HERO 5 still turns out to be warmer as seen in the indoor shoot.

In terms of stabilization, the new HERO 6 really stepped up its game to remove unwanted jerks and jitters. The difference is day and night, and it’s impressive how the HERO 6 almost looks like it was mounted on a gimbal thanks to its electronic image stabilization.

Don’t get us wrong, the HERO 5 also has its own EIS, but just not as good as the new flagship’s.

One more thing to notice when the camera’s EIS is turned on is that the HERO 5 needs to crop the image by 10 percent to achieve a smoother shot, while the HERO 6 has improved this and only crops about 5 percent of the original image.

Additionally, stabilization on the HERO 5 can only be used until 2.7K resolution at 60fps, while the HERO 6 supports stabilization until 4K. The only limitation here is that EIS maxes out at 30fps with no support for the higher 60fps.

Onto low-light shooting: Footage taken with the older HERO 5 couldn’t achieve the same level of clarity shot on the HERO 6. Colors are also livelier and digital noise has been reduced significantly on the latter.

Although there were instances, like when we went ice skating, that we preferred the color and details shot by the HERO 5. It looked more natural and the ice on the floor is still visible, unlike the one shot by the HERO 6.

Photo Samples

We now look at some photo samples from both action cameras.

This photo was taken at Italy’s oldest shopping mall and shows a good balance between light and dark areas. We like how the HERO 5 has a higher contrast which added detail to the metal structure of the mall. 

While waiting for a train, we see the sun lighting the Swiss Alps from behind with a dark and shaded station in the foreground. Again, we see a more vibrant blue sky from the HERO 6 with good details.

But look closer on the warning sign in front of you and the HERO 5 was actually able to deliver a better, more legible image. Even when you crop them to 100 percent, the smallest details seem to appear better on the HERO 5.

At night, both proved to be capable shooters, but the HERO 6 showed more details by effectively capturing the cracks on the floor. One thing that I had been complaining about with my HERO 5 is that it easily overshoots light flares, creating an unwanted glow and losing details.

It’s very much distracting here since it washed out the person’s face. Meanwhile, we’re happy that it was addressed on the HERO 6 as it’s clearly the better photo.

Zooming in to 100 percent shows that the green motorcycle has a livelier color and less noise on the HERO 6 compared to its predecessor. Here are more sample photos:

Battery Life

As mentioned earlier in this video, the HERO 6 Black carries the same 1220mAh battery capacity as the HERO 5 Black. So it should technically last for the same amount of time right? Well, no.

We conducted a battery test on the two at full capacities, same video settings, and started recording until they both drained their batteries. After more than an hour and a half, the HERO 6 actually gave up first at 1 hour and 42 minutes while the HERO 5 continued on and reached 2 hours and 5 minutes. That’s 23 minutes of difference and could go a long way in real-world shooting.

Responsible for this result might be the HERO 6’s newer custom processor. Yes, it could produce better dynamic range, low light shots, and stabilize the camera really well — but at the cost of a more power-hungry chip. That’s definitely a trade-off to consider.


So the question here is this: Should you upgrade to a HERO 6 Black from a HERO 5 Black?

Well, you first have to ask yourself the question: Will you be using it to shoot serious action scenes with really fast movement? Are you after the best quality there is? Or are you more of a casual user who just uses a sports camera to document your out-of-town trips?  


Because if it’s not for professional work, the HERO 5 Black is more than capable to document all your trips. It’s also worth every penny since it just dropped its price to US$ 299, making it a really attractive offering — not to mention longer battery life.

Although if you plan to use your action videos for broadcast and want to have a lot of flexibility in shooting and editing, then you can’t go wrong with the HERO 6 Black at US$ 399.

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