Camera Shootouts

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

Shootout between the two highest-rated smartphone cameras

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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.

Cityscapes

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

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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Camera Shootouts

iPhone XS vs Pixel 2: Camera shootout

Which smartphone camera comes out on top?

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As the iPhone XS starts to roll out to more markets across the globe, we’re doing another camera comparison here at GadgetMatch to see whether Apple’s best offering has what it takes to compete against one of the best smartphone cameras today: Google’s Pixel 2.

This year’s upgrades are merely incremental. But, while reviewing the iPhone XS last week, we noticed how much better it already is compared to its predecessor, the iPhone X. It has a bigger image sensor that should help with low-light performance.

In terms of hardware, the iPhone XS has a slight advantage over the Pixel 2 as it has two main cameras — one wide angle and one telephoto — but in this comparison we only used the main cameras of both phones to level the playing field. The iPhone XS also uses both lenses when taking portraits, while the Pixel 2 uses computational photography, which is possible thanks to the amount of data Google has collected over the years.

This is 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!

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Are you ready to see which phone took your picks? Here’s the answer sheet:

#1
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#2
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#3
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#4
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#5
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#6
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#7
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#8
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#9
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#10
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#11
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#12
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#13
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#14
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#15
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#16
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

There’s no denying how close the performance of both smartphones are. Even at almost a year old, the Pixel 2’s photos look just as good compared to those of the new iPhone XS.

One new feature that Apple is not hyping so much, but everyone is raving about, is Smart HDR. In the comparison, we can see this at work in backlit photos featuring our Chief Content Creator Michael Josh, and in low light. Google has a similar technology called HDR+, although the iPhone XS’ Smart HDR works slightly better.

When it comes to the portrait mode, the Pixel 2 does cutouts much cleaner, although in the photo featuring our Her GadgetMatch editor Isa, it thinks that the pillows behind her are part of the subject. The iPhone XS also produced a warmer image here. In the selfie portrait, it’s the Pixel 2 that produced the warmer image, making the blue wall behind me look less blue than in real life.

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

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Camera Shootouts

OPPO F9 vs Vivo V11: Camera shootout

The rivalry is on!

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OPPO and Vivo’s newest midrange contenders are now in the market, and as usual we’re here to pit them against one another.

The OPPO F9 sports a bigger display and what OPPO calls the water drop notch, but with similar internals as its predecessor, the F7. The Vivo V11 also gets the smaller notch treatment, but boasts a higher-end processor and in-display fingerprint reader compared to the V9.

What we’re curious to see, now that we’ve reviewed both devices, is which one takes better photos. We took the F9 and V11 with us as we sought to find out what the city of Berlin, Germany has to offer.

Get your pen and paper ready because we’ve prepared another blind test here at GadgetMatch. All photos were taken in Auto Mode 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.

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Are you ready to see which phone took the photos you picked? Here’s the answer sheet:

#1
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#2
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#3
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#4
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#5
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#6
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#7
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#8
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#9
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#10
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#11
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#12
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#13
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#14
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

In most instances I prefer Vivo V11’s photos better than those of the OPPO F9’s. They’re more detailed, vibrant, the camera’s HDR capabilities do really well in backlit scenarios — something I also experienced on the Vivo NEX — and portrait cutouts are also more precise.

The OPPO F9 also visibly struggled to take clear shots compared to the V11 in scenarios without bright sunlight. If there’s one thing I didn’t like about the V11, it’s the way it tends to oversaturate scenes that it detects as “food” or “flower.”

What do you think of this comparison? Are you upgrading to any of these devices? Let us know in the comments below.

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