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

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Camera Shootout

Do you need the best camera hardware to achieve desirable results?

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Remember when we did an in-depth camera shootout between Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max versus its 12 Pro Max counterpart? Well, we’re doing it again!

The new contender? It’s none other than Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra with better camera hardware and software features.

Even though the iPhone 13 Pro Max was released four months earlier, it’s safe to say these two phones can go head-to-head against the odds of most users.

If you’re curious to find out which smartphone is the best for your “phonetography” needs, watch our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max camera shootout now!

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Huawei P50 Pro: Camera Shootout

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Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Huawei P50 Pro: Camera shootout

Can Huawei’s latest flagship phone keep up with the Samsung’s greatest Galaxy yet?

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The Huawei P50 Pro may not be a direct rival to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in terms of camera hardware (that’s more the Galaxy S22+), but this is also a good chance to compare and see if Huawei’s latest flagship can keep up with the biggest brother in the whole Galaxy S22 lineup.

Ultra-Wide

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 13MP f/2.2 shooter while the P50 Pro has a 12MP UWA camera of the same aperture — albeit with difference in the overall focal length / angle.

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Wide

There’s a gap between the main cameras The S22 Ultra has a 108MP while the P50 Pro has a tad smaller 50MP camera — but both still having an f/1.8 aperture.

Can the smaller sensor keep up with the bigger one?

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

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Telephoto Zoom

For a fair and square fight, I only used the first telephoto camera of the Galaxy S22 Ultra versus the Huawei P50 Pro’s sole zoom lens.

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

Portrait Mode

When shooting in Portrait Mode, one smartphone uses its 3x Telephoto Zoom lens while the other sticks with its 50MP wide camera. But which is which?

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

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Low-Light

Once the sunset is out, smartphones tend to change their AI algorithm in making low-light shots brighter but with less noise

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Night Mode

Unlike low-light photos taken using the Auto Mode, Night Mode is more suitable for making night shots pop with the right amount of highlights, shadows, and contrast altogether.

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

BONUS: 10x Zoom

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a dedicated 10x telephoto lens while the P50 Pro only relies on digital zoom and AI when zooming in on 10x.

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Galaxy S22 Ultra P50 Pro

Results

Which are your top photo picks? It may already be obvious to some of you at the beginning but here are the results:

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P50 Pro

Conclusion

Despite Huawei not making the P50 Pro+ variant, it’s still safe to say that this camera shootout between the top-tier flagship phones of each brand is still pretty close.

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra may have the better camera hardware out of the two, but it doesn’t mean that the P50 Pro is a slouch when it comes to camera performance.

As a matter of fact, it was able to keep up from day ’til night. If we’re looking at the specifics, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a wider main camera whereas the P50 Pro has a wider ultra-wide camera. The difference in optical zoom lenses was also evident.

But in some shooting scenarios, the Galaxy S22 Ultra won especially when it comes to processing HDR (High Dynamic Range), sharpness and details, as well as overall exposure and contrast in most wide and zoomed shots.

And just like in my P50 Pro review, the AWB (Auto White Balance) when using Night Mode (or shooting in low-light for that matter) leans more into the warmer range of the spectrum whereas the Galaxy S22 Ultra is more on the cooler (or maybe neutral) one.

While my P50 Pro vs Galaxy S21 FE camera shootout looks more comprehensive with 60 photo sets, being able to show half in this camera comparison article still proves a point that the Huawei P50 Pro can keep up with Samsung’s latest and greatest smartphone yet.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P50 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Camera shootout

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Camera Shootouts

Huawei P50 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Camera shootout

The Korean versus Chinese turmoil reaches our camera shootout section

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2022 already started a bang with new smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and the Huawei P50 Pro (well, internationally).

While this may not be the fairest camera comparison of them all due to some hardware differences that favor the P50 Pro over the S21 FE, I tried to be objective while still being meticulous when shooting the sample photos below.

Buckle up as I’ve prepared as much as 60 sets (yes, sixty) for you to nitpick. This might also be the longest camera comparison article in this site ever — unless there will be a more comprehensive one sooner 😉

Disclaimer: Just like our previous camera shootouts, photos were collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other manipulations were applied.

Ultra-wide

On paper, they’re practically the same: P50 Pro is equipped with a 13MP sensor while the Galaxy S21 FE has a 12MP one. Both phones feature a FoV (Field of View) of 123-degree and an f/2.2 aperture. But which one is better at ultra-wide shots?

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Telephoto Zoom

The P50 Pro might be ahead due to its 64MP f/3.5 periscope telescope zoom lens (up to 100x digitally), but for the sake of this comparison, we only used 3.5x zoom that favors both phones since the Galaxy S21 FE’s 8MP f/2.4 telephoto zoom lens starts at 3x optical.

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HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Shooting against the light? Well, newer smartphones, chipsets, camera sensors, and optics should be able to enhance and improve the overall quality of an image unlike how phones try to capture and process it during the past few years. We’ll also see here if P50 Pro’s 50MP f/1.8 main sensor has an edge over the 12MP f/1.8 camera of the Galaxy S21 FE.

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Auto White Balance (AWB)

Admit it or not, most of us prefer warmer photos over the cooler shots to add warmth and drama. But sometimes, the”cooler” ones are what we see in real life.

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Saturation

Do you like ’em too colorful or just bland? Regardless, this gives another hint which phone is actually better that might make (or break) your purchasing decision.

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Food

You were already spoiled by how each phone performs in saturation and AWB (Auto White Balance). Now, let’s apply those algorithms in food shots.

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Portraits & Selfies

While preferential, being able to preserve the right amount of skin color and face details are better. Brighter photos don’t actually mean they’re better (at least IMO). If you’re curious about the specifics, the P50 Pro has a 13MP f/2.4 punch-hole camera while the S21 FE is equipped with a larger 32MP f/2.2 shooter.

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Night Mode

Finally! My favorite part of this shootout. Different phone brands have different night mode processing algorithms. Which phone do you think is better in this category?

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Results

Do you like your picks? Well, here’s the final result for all photos:

Photo A: Huawei P50 Pro

Photo B: Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

Conclusion

Hands down, the cameras of the Huawei P50 Pro performed better in most situations. But considering the Galaxy S21 FE is “underpowered” in terms of camera hardware with lesser number of sensors and megapixel count, I’ll still give props to how it was able to produce photos that can compete (and sometimes beat) the P50 Pro.

That being said, the obvious downside of the rear cameras of the Galaxy S21 FE is none other than its cooler temperature / lesser saturation despite Samsung’s Scene Optimizer being on all of the time. If there’s one thing to consider that’s better is that it has en even wider ultra-wide lens over the P50 Pro.

The P50 Pro doesn’t do much justice in sceneries and pitch black nightscapes (TMI, I didn’t show any comparison of this one because P50 Pro always results to a dark image).

Moreover, the P50 Pro produced more of the accurate shots but sometimes, its AI mode does some over-processing in certain situations such as awkwardly-lit night shots, greenery, and food. This results to warmer, more saturated shots that are not based on reality.

While these problems can be corrected through color-grading software such as Lightroom, VSCO, and Snapseed, most people still post their photos straight out of the gallery.

Night mode shots are also better despite just capturing the photos below 1 second (more like 0.9 seconds). Whereas the Galaxy S21 FE resulted to darker and grainier photos even if it takes around 2~4 seconds to finish a shot minus the time it takes to process the final shot.

We shouldn’t forget that the arrival of the Galaxy S22 series is coming real soon. We may not be able to test a more extensive camera comparison with the recently launched S21 FE, but who knows? There might just be another P50 Pro camera shootout waiting to battle the upcoming Galaxy once we have our hands on it.

SEE ALSO: 

Huawei P50 Pro review: 5 topnotch cameras, 5 drawbacks

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G review: An all around wonder

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