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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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+.
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?
Samsung Galaxy S20+ vs OPPO Find X2 Pro: Camera shootout
Which one shoots better for you?
OPPO just came out with what arguably is their best phone to date — the Find X2 Pro. So we decided to take the phone out for a camera shootout against the Samsung Galaxy S20+ — arguably one of the best phones to come out so far in 2020.
Can the OPPO give Samsung a run for its money? Let’s find out!
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!
So, I’m just messing with you guys. It’s not actually a blind test since all photos labeled Photo A were taken using the OPPO Find X2 Pro. Meanwhile, all photos labeled Photo B were taken using the Samsung Galaxy S20+.
If you analyzed the photos, the Find X2 Pro clearly holds out on its own. In certain lighting conditions, the Find X2 Pro produced brighter and more saturated photos during the daytime. At night, it tends to illuminate the scene captured, and process it with a warmer tone.
On the other hand, the Galaxy S20+ produced balanced results, although vibrancy and contrast were strengthened in both day and night shots.
The most notable differences are how the Galaxy S20+ has subtle bokeh — making it more believable — and wider scope on its wide-angle mode, while the Find X2 Pro has a softer look whilst retaining details. Both phones were astounding and as always, everything will depend on a user’s preference and how they use their smartphone’s cameras.
How about its selfie camera?
While the Find X2 Pro goes toe-to-toe with the Galaxy S20+ on the rear camera department, its front camera samples look way different. The Find X2 Pro has a greener tint and warmer tone, while the Galaxy S20+ has a better white balance, but adds a pinkish tint.
Both phones upped their contrast and colors, adding an unnecessary beautification when processed despite not using beauty mode. The backlit selfies were captured properly, illuminating Michael Josh‘s face without compromising details. You just have to choose how you’ll post-process your selfies later on if you’re planning to upload it on social media.
Personally, both phones captured awesome photos. Even I had a hard time choosing between the two when putting this article together. Smartphones, particularly the best ones, capture outstanding results which makes it difficult for consumers to decide, especially when they’re concerned with the camera performance.
The key is to figure out how you’ll use the cameras. For instance, I’ll use the OPPO Find X2 Pro to capture more of my daily life — which I can readily upload to my social media platforms. The Galaxy S20+ proves handy though for frequent travelers, especially with its wide-angle lens.
Nonetheless, whatever you choose, know that you’re in good hands. Just don’t forget, there’s more to a smartphone than its cameras. Watch our YouTube videos for the Galaxy S20+ and Find X2 Pro to know more about these flagship devices.
Realme XT vs Samsung Galaxy A71: Camera shootout
64-megapixel camera battle!
Nowadays, midrange smartphones pack a punch in the camera department. Sporting 64-megapixel cameras, one can’t help but wonder which smartphone takes better photos. Here, we compared the Realme XT (PhP 16,990/ US$ 333) and Samsung Galaxy A71 (PhP 22,990/ US$ 450) with a PhP 6,000/ US$ 118 difference.
Just like all of our camera shootouts, no edits were done except resizing for faster preview and watermark to quickly identify the shot.
Which smartphone do you think will win? Let’s have a 64-megapixel camera battle!
We all know the Realme XT and Samsung Galaxy A71 produce 64-megapixel photos through pixel-binned 16-megapixel shots.
If you analyze the differences, the Realme XT has a red tint, but it produces an accurate color reproduction albeit a little bright and washed out.
On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is a bit processed. It’s saturated yet lively, comprised of better contrasts and deeper blacks, but comes with a greener tint. Furthermore, its exposure is a hit or miss, and on most occasions, it produces bad highlights.
At the end of the day, both smartphones produce decent 64-megapixel shots, especially for the price it commands. However, it makes us wonder: Do we really need higher megapixels? Maybe we do, but maybe we also don’t.
For now, we can enjoy every smartphone’s attempt to make better images. After all, it’s us who benefit the most. So, which 64-megapixel camera phone shoots better for you? Let us know and share your thoughts with us on our social channels!
Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs Y9 Prime (2019): Camera shootout
Do you really need an expensive phone for your photos?
We all know Huawei phones are recognized for their superior camera quality. In this camera shootout, we decided to test the camera prowess (and differences) between a SG$1300 flagship phone over a SG$340 midrange smartphone.
The Mate 30 Pro reigns in the smartphone camera department. Meanwhile, the Y9 Prime (2019) is one of the affordable midrangers out there. Although the Mate 30 Pro has an extra telephoto lens, we just decided to exclude the zoom mode and use only the ultra-wide and wide lenses when shooting. Other than that, the Mate 30 Pro has a 3D ToF (Time of Flight) camera while the other one has a depth sensor.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
#2 Food (AI Mode)
#4 Wide-angle (Daylight)
#5 Ultra-wide angle (Daylight)
#6 Ultra-wide angle (Backlight)
#7 Selfie (Auto)
#8 Food (Low-light)
#9 Low-light (Auto)
#10 Low-light (Night Mode)
#11 Dawn (Night Mode)
#12 Night Mode
#13 Night Mode
#14 Fireworks (Auto Mode)
After seeing the side-by-side comparison, we can all tell that the Mate 30 Pro stands out most especially when the photos were taken in a dark environment. But in well-lit situations, the Y9 Prime (2019) was able to deliver quality shots just like the Mate.
One thing I didn’t like on either phones are the selfies, especially when Beauty Mode was turned off. But I guess that all boils down to personal preferences. Other than that, the Y9 Prime produces less saturated photos but it’s actually more accurate since it’s what I saw in real life. Except for the strawberry photo that looked too desaturated.
This further proves that cheaper smartphones can still deliver decent-looking photos. But in the case of the Mate 30 Pro, you’ll get more camera features (such as telephoto lens) because you paid more.
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