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

Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Camera shootout

Which set of flagship cameras perform to your liking?

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Huawei and Samsung has been in a tussle in recent years over which brand is the number one Android smartphone maker. Buoyed by their outstanding work in mobile imaging, Huawei recently seized the top spot in terms of sales according to Counterpoint Research.

After comparing the two overall, we know take a closer look at how their early 2020 releases  — the Huawei P40 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra — fair against each other in a smartphone camera shootout!

Make sure to jot down your answers, as the results of this blind test will be at the end of this article.

As usual, photos were labeled, resized, and collaged (this time) for you to load the images faster. No post-processing nor any color adjustments were done in any of the photos. So, let’s begin!

#1

#2

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Results

#1

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#2

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#3

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#4

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#5

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#6

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#7

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#8

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#9

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#10

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#11

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#12

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#13

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#14

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#15

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#16

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#17

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#18

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#19

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#20

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#21

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#22

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#23

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#24

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#25

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#26

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#27

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#28

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#29

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

#30

Photo A – Huawei P40 Pro

Photo B – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

#31

Photo A – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Photo B – Huawei P40 Pro

Were you surprised by the results and your choices? One that’s very evident is how the Huawei P40 Pro’s larger sensor produces images with higher brightness and less contrast.

At first glance, it looks like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is able to retain more detail on the first few sets of photos in broad daylight. However, if you zoom in, you’ll notice that both phones capture and retain nearly the same level of detail.

In fact, in some of the wider shots taken with both smartphones’ main sensors, you could argue that the P40 Pro is able to gather more detail. The Galaxy S20 Ultra also applies a more aggressive post-processing, whereas with the P40 Pro, what you see on the screen viewfinder is most likely what you’ll get on the photo.

Wides and zooms

Interesting, when it comes to the main sensors, the P40 Pro has the wider field of view, but switching over to the ultra-wide angle lens, the Galaxy S20 Ultra captures more of the scene.

Detail retention is once again pretty even. Color reproduction is a mixed bag for the P40 Pro. Most of the images are color accurate, but every so often you’ll get a shot with post-processing as aggressive as the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The latter consistently produces high contrast images — par for the course for Samsung — and one that most people might find more “ready for the ‘gram.” But if you’re after brighter, more color accurate shots that you can tweak on your favorite mobile photo editing apps, the P40 Pro is the way to go.

The same is mostly true for all of the zoom shots, but the P40 Pro gets a significant edge in detail retention.

Selfies and portraits

This one’s pretty close but one of main key differences are once again the wide angle view. The P40 Pro’s selfies capture more of the scene whereas the Galaxy S20 Ultra feels more like an in your face selfie.

The P40 Pro tended to produce warmer and brighter portraits in daylight, low light, and night situations.

Master of night

Speaking of the night, the P40 Pro’s large sensor is once again hard at work. The images it produced are noticeably brighter letting you see more.

It can work against the P40 Pro if you’re gunning for an image with more shadows than lights, especially if you just like to point and shoot without having to tweak settings too much. That said, it’s still able to capture more detail than the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Indoor low light is contentious. On one had, the P40 Pro captures a more color accurate scene albeit with less brightness. The Galaxy S20 Ultra on the other hand, produces brighter images but one that, once again, looks like some heavy post-processing had already been applied.

Which one is your GadgetMatch?

This part can only truly be answered by you. If you prefer images high contrast images that are truly striking to the eyes, the Galaxy S2 Ultra might be your pick.

But if you want something that more constantly produces color accurate images, but one that you might need to lower the brightness for, there’s the P40 Pro.

Lastly, while both phones demonstrated the ability to capture great detail, the P4o Pro’s detail retention seems more consistent across all of its lenses. Whether you’re shooting with the main camera, ultra-wide angle, or zooming in, the image just seems sharper altogether.

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Camera Shootouts

Pixel 3a vs iPhone SE: Camera shootout

Two single camera phones in 2020. One damn good shootout.

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Small in size, single rear camera, and both a dollar shy of 400. The iPhone SE and Google Pixel 3a have so much in common.

While some of you might argue, why don’t we wait for the Pixel 4a to compare with the iPhone SE? Let me get back to you with another question: Why should we wait when we can compare two similar phones — both priced at US$ 399 — that are NOW available in the market?

Here, we’re going to have a comprehensive blind test. It’s not going to be the same camera shootout where I messed with y’all because you’ll need a note-taking app or your pen and paper so you can take note of your answers. As usual, no post-processing was done aside from putting the photos together on a collage for faster preview. If you want to cheat, the answers can be found at the end of this article.

Now, let’s dive in!

#1

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Results

iPhone SE: 1A, 2A, 3B, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7A, 8A, 9A, 10B, 11B, 12B, 13A, 14B, 15A, 16A, 17B, 18B, 19A, 20A, 21A, 22B, 23B, 24A, 25A, 26A, 27A, 28A

Pixel 3a: 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5B, 6A, 7B, 8B, 9B, 10A, 11A, 12A, 13B, 14A, 15B, 16B, 17A, 18A, 19B, 20B, 21B, 22A, 23A, 24B, 25B, 26B, 27B, 28B

The iPhone SE and the Pixel 3a have only one rear camera each. The former has a 12Mp wide-angle camera with an f/1.8 lens, while the latter has a 12.2MP wide-angle lens with an f/1.8 lens. Although, the Pixel 3a sports a larger 1/2.55″ image sensor compared to iPhone SE’s 1/3″ image sensor.

However, the results vary when you analyze the photos thoroughly.

Daytime

Both phones take comparable photos when the sun is out. The iPhone SE’s photo is warmer, while the Pixel 3a’s photo has a little bit of dullness to it. As pointed out in a previous blind test on our social platforms, the Pixel 3a adds drama with its gloomy processing.

When it comes to shadows and highlights, the iPhone SE captures it better. Maybe it’s the Smart HDR. The intensity in contrast and shadows made some photos add more depth (and look alive) compared to the Pixel 3a’s flat captures. Thankfully, both phones capture creamy bokeh great for portraits and practicing basic photography.

Lowlight

During sunset, the iPhone SE produces more lively photos while the Pixel 3a still lacks oomph. When there’s barely a source of light, the iPhone SE becomes aggressive with its white balance correction and tends to get noisy.

On the other hand, the Pixel 3a delivers a better shot — with or without Night Sight. Of course, the Night Sight allows you to take excellent photos that are social-media ready and it even works on the Pixel 3a’s selfie camera.

Selfies

The Pixel 3a captures wider selfies, except when you use Portrait Mode. Although, the iPhone SE does a better job at lighting Michael Josh’s face. Gladly, Pixel has Night Sight for selfies which makes this round even.

Zoom

Both the iPhone SE and Pixel 3a offer Digital Zoom, with the former having up to 5x while the latter can shoot up to 7x. When you meticulously look at the zoom samples, Pixel is a clear winner since its Digital Zoom produces more detail. It can even capture a much more legible zoomed-in photo of the Cointreau bottle.

Verdict

The iPhone SE and the Pixel 3a captures excellent photos — both in good and bad lighting conditions. Though, the Pixel 3a delivers better when it comes to Digital Zoom and photos that were taken using Night Sight. Still, both phones are stunning in the camera department despite commanding an affordable price tag. At the end of the day, the user decides based on his/her preference and needs.

For US$ 399, whichever you choose, you’re in good hands. Of course, a camera isn’t the only thing you should look at when checking out smartphones. Watch our head-to-head comparison of iPhone SE and Pixel 3a here.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone SE vs Google Pixel 3a: Head to HeadiPhone SE vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Camera shootout

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone SE vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Camera shootout

Battle of the iPhones!

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Can the iPhone SE hold out on its own against the newer iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max?

That’s a question we’ve answered on our iPhone SE unboxing and review. The comparison part came and went very quickly though. In this camera shootout, you get a lot of time to look at and analyze the differences between the three iPhones.

Like our usual shootouts, no post-processing was done except for putting the images in a collage for faster loading and preview. It’s labeled A, B, and C so it will be much easier for you to take notes. The answers can be found at the end of this article.

So, let’s begin!

#1 – Blue hour

#2 – Mug & book

#3 – Portrait mode (Daylight)

#4 – Greenery

#5 – Light bulb

#6 – HDR

#7 – Lowlight

#8 – Skyline

#9 – No light

#10 – Portrait mode (Sundown)

#11 – Portrait selfie

#12 – Sunset coffee

#13 – Sunset flare

#14 – Teddy bear

Results

Here are the answers:

A – iPhone SE

B – iPhone 11

C – iPhone 11 Pro Max

If you’ve noticed, the iPhone SE held out on its own during the day, even during sunset and the blue hour.

The three iPhones capture nearly identical results. With Smart HDR, it preserves highlights and shadows to keep it natural, while preserving details in the background. If we’re going to nitpick, the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max produce more vibrant colors, and in some cases are sharper with more details.

But other times, it was almost impossible to tell the difference. Nonetheless, this proves that even Apple’s entry-level iPhone — which is a lot cheaper than the iPhone 11 — captures decent and ‘gram-worthy photos. For the price it commands, the iPhone SE is such a steal.

So, what are your thoughts about the new iPhone SE? Did you like the photos captured? Is it your GadgetMatch? Hit us up on our social media platforms and let us know!

SEE ALSO: iPhone SE Review: Flagship Killer?Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Camera shootout

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