Camera Shootouts

Xiaomi Mi 6 vs Mi 5X: Camera Shootout

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Xiaomi has been active in equipping dual cameras across its entire lineup, from the budget-friendly to the midrange and flagship levels. This got us thinking: How would the cheapest of the bunch fare against the most expensive? There’s only one way to find out.

For this single-branded camera shootout, we’re pitting the high-end Mi 6 against the much more affordable Mi 5X. While the former should smoke the latter in terms of raw performance, image quality may actually be more competitive than you’d expect.

They both have a pair of 12-megapixel cameras at the back with dual-LED flash and 2x optical zoom. Being the pricier one of the two, the Mi 6 naturally has some advantages, namely optical image stabilization and a slightly larger aperture opening on the wide-angle lens for brighter photos.

But just how big of a difference would those features make? Let’s compare photos taken around Beijing, China to find out.

Our first samples are close-ups with the naturally produced background blur of the two sets of cameras. Right off the bat, we can see how close this comparison is going to be. Both did an outstanding job of blurring out the background while keeping the flower sharp. The Mi 6’s photo just happens to be a little brighter because of the larger aperture.

At first glance, both shots seem to be identical in terms of pure quality, but looking a bit closer reveals slightly sharper details on the walls of the Mi 6’s photo and more noise in the Mi 5X’s output.

The Mi 5X needed a higher ISO to evenly illuminate the subject, but because of that, you can see some loss of detail in the darker areas. Still, it has better contrast than what the Mi 6 produced.

Similar to the flower photos earlier, the macro shots here give a slight edge to the Mi 6, but only because of the better-controlled exposure on the subject itself and around it.

Now we have our first samples from the zoom lenses of each phone. Results turned out similar to the previous comparison, with the Mi 5X’s product being more subdued.

This scenario gives us more to work with. The Mi 6’s image is noticeably better here with a warmer tone and less blown-out highlights.

Using optical zoom this time, the results are again more or less the same. Both phones did a splendid job of keeping everything sharp; the photo from the Mi 6 is just warmer.

HDR mode was active to retain all the details in the highlights and shadows. We give this round to the Mi 6 for rendering the lines on the building’s facade with greater accuracy.

Selfie time! This one was tough with the strong backlighting, but both phones did well enough. If you pixel peep, you’d notice less mush on the face for the MI 6, at the expense of minimal overexposure.

Surprisingly, the output favors the Mi 5X this time. The cheaper phone’s advantages are in the better-looking floor, clothing, and vegetation in the background.

Indoor shots with poor lighting are tough for any smartphone, and this is no different. The Mi 5X had difficulty focusing and took several attempts to capture the right exposure, but the final image turned out pretty well. Yet, the Mi 6 takes the victory thanks to its brighter lens and image stabilization, both of which were invaluable for this sort of situation.

Again, the Mi 5X struggles to find the correct exposure, and doesn’t focus nearly as fast as the Mi 6. With that, the MI 6 wins with a superior photo overall.

Mi 6 (left), Mi 5X (right)

Mi 6 (left), Mi 5X (right)

Rounding up our shootout are samples shot in portrait mode. With the feature turned on, a combination of the zoom lens and software tricks create extra blur behind the subject, giving the impression that these were shot with dedicated professional-level cameras. Both phones did great here. We prefer how the Mi 6’s photo looks a little more realistic and less blown out with the lighting, although the Mi 5X didn’t do a bad job itself with the way it handled the colors.

And there you have it! If there’s one thing we learned from this shootout, it’s that paying for a more expensive dual-cam Xiaomi phone doesn’t necessarily give you a better imaging experience.

Sure, the Mi 6 would win every other comparison — battery life and playing graphics-intensive games, to name a few — but in terms of image quality, you can pick either one and be fully satisfied.

SEE ALSO: $200 phone vs $600 phone: Dual-camera shootout

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Huawei Mate 50 Pro: Camera Shootout

Tension between US vs China in terms of smartphone cameras

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iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Back in 2019, aside from the US and Huawei tensions, we’ve made a head-to-head flagship duel between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Huawei Mate 30 Pro. Fast forward three years after, the two companies met again in a very feature-focused camera showdown.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max (together with its smaller Pro sibling) are just two of the best smartphone cameras in the market right now.

Meanwhile, after two years, Huawei has decide to bring back something that was already considered “dead” — their Mate line. And just like past Mate smartphones, the Mate 50 Pro is also a big contender in today’s flagship smartphone category.

Camera specs

Huawei Mate 50 Pro iPhone 14 Pro Max
Wide 50MP f/1.4-4.0 Dual Variable Aperture
OIS + PDAF + Laser AF
48MP f/1.78
Sensor-Shift OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
Ultra-Wide 13MP f/2.2 120º 12MP f/2.2 120º
Telephoto 64MP f/3.5
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
OIS
12MP f/2.8
3x optical zoom
15x digital zoom
Selfie 13MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth 12MP f/1.9
Others LED Flash
Up to 4K/60fps
Dual-LED Dual-Tone Flash
Up to 4K/60fps
Cinematic Mode 4K
LiDAR Scanner

While there are many differences between the imaging system of these two smartphones, they are close enough to be considered direct rivals of one another. Ultra-wide cameras that seem too similar, main sensors and selfie cameras that are close enough in megapixel count.

But what makes the Mate 50 Pro stand out at least on paper? If you’re still not aware, the new Mate features an “Ultra-Aperture Camera” with a dual variable aperture system that switches between f/1.4 to f/4.0. Other than that, it offers a revolutionary periscope telephoto lens with a zoom range between 3.5x up to 100x.

For the iPhone, it’s got a nifty LiDAR scanner with a dual-LED dual-tone flash, as well as its ever-stable Sensor-Shift OIS and 4K Cinematic Mode. And oh, did I mention that Apple added a 2x crop zoom based on the large 48MP sensor?

But just like what we always say in this website, numbers and tech specs aren’t everything. We’re here to show you how the cameras of these phones perform IRL by comparing photo samples side-by-side through this camera shootout test.

Wide

The megapixel count between these two phones is a close call: 48MP vs 50MP. But what really sets one apart from the other?

As previously emphasized, the Mate 50 Pro highlights a dual-variable aperture system between f/1.4 to f/4.0 (versus iPhone 14 Pro Max’s f/1.78). But does it really offer anything significant in terms of photo quality?

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#8

#9

#10

#11

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#12

#13A (Portrait OFF)

#13B (Portrait ON)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#14

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#15

Ultra-wide

Offering the same 120-degree FoV (Field of View) and f/2.2 aperture, do we really expect anything grand between these two?

#16

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#17

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#18A

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Telephoto

The major difference has got to be the telephoto lenses of these two smartphones.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max offers a measly 12MP f/2.8 that can zoom between 3x to 15x. However, the Mate 50 Pro is just miles ahead with its 64MP f/3.5 periscope telephoto lens can zoom between 3.5x to 100x. But what does it really tell in photo quality?

#18B (3.5x zoom)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#19A (3.5x zoom)

#19B (10x zoom)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#19C (10x zoom)

#20 (3.5x zoom)

#21 (3.5x zoom)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Night Mode

While iPhones aren’t the best when it comes to night time smartphone photography, it can still shoot Night Mode photos ever since the iPhone 11 release.

Concurrently, Huawei highlights its “Super Night Mode” capabilities thanks to its new Ultra Aperture Camera, RYYB Sensor, and XD Fusion Pro image engine.

#22 (Wide)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#23 (Wide)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#24 (Ultra-wide)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#25 (Wide)

#26 (Ultra-wide)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#27A (Wide)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#27B (Ultra-wide)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#28 (3.5x zoom)

#29A (Wide)

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

#29B (3.5x zoom)

#30 (10x zoom)

BONUS: Selfie

The iPhone 14 Pro Max features an all-new 12MP f/1.9 selfie camera with autofocus capabilities. Meanwhile. the Huawei Mate 50 Pro offers a 13MP f/2.4 with an additional ToF 3D depth sensor.

Results

A lot of you might have been confused or tricked but here are the corresponding photos for each phone:

Photo A – Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Photo B – iPhone 14 Pro Max

Conclusion

Both phones showed decent amounts of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness, and an overall desirable High Dynamic Range. What sets these two phones apart from each other though is how each phone identifies AWB (Auto White Balance).

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Having to use the Huawei P50 Pro during the early months of 2022 (and even compared it against the iPhone 13 Pro Max), I was expecting that the Mate 50 Pro would perform the same way as P50 Pro: having warm photos all throughout the board.

The (literally) cooler photos tell otherwise. In some instances, the Mate 50 Pro took “warmer shots” based on how its AI mode processed photos such as in indoor wide shots #4 / #8 / #9 / #12 and outdoor UWA photos #16 and #17. However, the same thing cannot be said in night mode. They all resulted to warmer shots versus the iPhone.

Not that it’s a bad thing as I actually prefer them over the iPhone. Having an eyesight that is clear enough than the rest of the population, I can tell that what the Mate 50 Pro is closer to reality than what the iPhone 14 Pro Max offered. Specifically in shots #23 / #28 / #30, it was able to preserve a decent amount of highlights instead of blowing them out. Most of all, the shots on the Mate 50 Pro are more lifelike / vivid.

iPhone 14 Pro Max Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Lastly, if you’ve read my iPhone 14 Pro Max versus the XS Max camera comparison, you’d know that the newest iPhone can’t shoot subjects closer. The same case can be seen on Shot #15. The only fix is to use the iPhone’s 2x zoom and shoot at a farther distance.

While both phones performed close to one another, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro still shines the most with its powerful periscope telephoto zoom and Super Night Mode prowess. It truly excelled in making zoomed and low-light shots into something that’s lively and closer to the naked eye.

SEE ALSO:

Huawei Mate 50 Pro vs HONOR Magic4 Pro: Camera Shootout

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone XS Max: Camera Shootout

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Camera Shootouts

Huawei Mate 50 Pro vs HONOR Magic4 Pro: Camera Shootout

Camera battle between two companies that used to be together

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In case you didn’t know, HONOR used to be Huawei’s sub-brand — until they decided to part ways. While still using Huawei’s EMUI software (but calling it Magic UI), HONOR is now operating as a separate entity.

But what actually makes the HONOR Magic4 Pro different from Huawei’s reborn flagship, the Mate 50 Pro?

Well, aside from the obvious Magic vs Mate branding, Huawei has its own “Ultra Aperture” camera. Coined from the term itself, it features a dual-variable aperture versus the Magic4 Pro’s fixed f/1.8 lens opening.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro HONOR Magic4 Pro
Wide 50MP f/1.4-4.0
PDAF + Laser AF + OIS
50MP f/1.8
Multi-Directional PDAF + Laser AF
Ultra-Wide 13MP f/2.2 120º 50MP f/2.2 122º
Telephoto 64MP f/3.5
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
OIS
64MP f/3.5
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
OIS
Selfie 13MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth 12MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth

It also looks like the megapixel count is smaller on the ultra-wide unit of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro. Aside from that, the periscope telephoto lens and selfie cameras of the two phones are very much alike.

Now that you get a clear picture between the similarities and differences of each phone’s camera system, let’s get on to our camera shootout!

Wide

As previously mentioned, the Mate 50 Pro features a dual-variable aperture while the Magic4 Pro is consistent with its aperture offering. But can you really tell which is which considering they both feature a 50MP sensor?

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5 (Portrait)

Huawei HONOR

#6

Huawei HONOR

#7

#8

Ultra-Wide

For shots that require a wider Field of View (FoV), which do you think wins this round considering that the Magic4 Pro features a 50MP ultra-wide shooter while the Mate 50 Pro has a measly 12MP UWA shooter? (Despite the same f/2.2 aperture)

#9

Mate 50 Pro Magic4 Pro

#10

#11

Huawei HONOR

Periscope Telephoto: Optical Zoom

Both the Mate and the Magic have a similar 64MP f/3.5 lens that has an optical zoom range of 3.5x. But of course, there would still be a difference in post-processing AI algorithm.

#12

#13

Mate 50 Pro Magic4 Pro

#14

 #15

#16

Mate 50 Pro Magic4 Pro

Periscope Telephoto: Lossless to Digital Zoom

With a similar periscope lens, both phones can both achieve a 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. But in this specific section, I chose to just zoom up digitally to just 60x.

#17 (10x)

#18 (10x)

#19 (30x)

#20 (60x)

Night Mode

This is what makes or breaks a smartphone camera. With the obvious differences in Night Mode processing magic, one phone definitely stands out. That’s either a matter of personal preference or just fans’ favorites.

#21 (Ultra-wide)

Huawei HONOR

#22

Huawei HONOR

#23

Huawei HONOR

#24

Huawei HONOR

#25

Huawei HONOR

#26 (3.5x zoom)

Mate 50 Pro Magic4 Pro

#27

#28

Huawei HONOR

#29

Huawei HONOR

#30

Huawei HONOR

BONUS: Super Macro

Just like other flagship smartphones nowadays, Super Macro is a feature that uses the ultra-wide lenses instead of the regular wide one in order to take close-up macro shots of objects. Doing so requires you to go closer to the subject you are shooting.

Huawei HONOR

Results

You may already have a hint considering the results are consistent throughout the board:

Photo A — HONOR Magic4 Pro

Photo B — Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Conclusion

What should set both phones apart are the way they process each shot — but Huawei and HONOR’s similar AI camera processing techniques are what actually makes it hard to differentiate one phone from another.

Huawei HONOR

For the most part, you can barely tell which is which. Shots taken during the broad daylight looked barely different regardless if its the regular wide, ultra-wide, or even the periscope telephoto lens.

Huawei HONOR

But in some instances, the HONOR Magic4 Pro boosts saturation while the Huawei Mate 50 Pro samples focuses on brightening up the shots. However, its dual-variable aperture camera did not really make drastic differences in daylight shots for it to be considered a “groundbreaking” camera feature in today’s flagship smartphones.

HONOR Magic4 Pro

Now when it comes to Night Mode “Magic”, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is the clearer winner — especially with its very wide f/1.4 aperture. As I told in my past camera shootouts, the “better” Night Mode shot isn’t just about being the brightest nor the most vibrant of the bunch.

In the case of the Mate, it displayed the right amount of shadows, highlights, contrast and even the dynamic range. Most of all, its saturation what you can actually see irl.

Honestly speaking, I thought the HONOR Magic4 Pro is one among the best flagship smartphones for night photography. But after seeing how there’s a clear distinction between it and the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, I have reconsidered my opinion.

Huawei HONOR

The less-saturated look of the night shots taken with the HONOR Magic4 Pro is preferential though. Some may still like it because it gives you that flat, RAW-like image. Thus, giving you more creative freedom in post-processing the shot afterwards.

Honestly, you can never go wrong between choosing these smartphones. But the dealbreaker is: can you compromise 5G and proper GMS support over a set of cameras that perform better at night?

SEE ALSO:

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Huawei Mate 50 Pro: Camera Shootout

Get Google Apps on your Huawei Mate 50 Pro

HONOR Magic4 Pro: My Best Concert Companion

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone XS Max: Camera Shootout

Do you really need to upgrade now?

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iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone XS Max was announced way back in 2018. It was the first “Max” model introduced alongside its smaller sibling, the iPhone XS.

Four years later, we now have the iPhone 14 series. Aside from the two base models, there are also the “Pro” variants. Thus, making the iPhone 14 Pro Max as XS Max’s direct successor.

Obviously, the newer iPhone has better cameras across the board — especially with its evident trio set of eye-boggling cameras.

iPhone 14 Pro Max iPhone XS Max
Wide 48MP f/1.8
Sensor-Shift OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
12MP f/1.8
OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
Ultra-Wide 12MP f/2.2 120º N/A
Telephoto 12MP f/2.8
3x optical zoom
12MP f/2.4
2x optical zoom
Others Dual-LED Dual-Tone Flash
LiDAR Scanner
Up to 4K/60fps
Cinematic Mode 4K
Quad-LED Dual-Tone Flash

Up to 4K/60fps

But is it really time for iPhone XS Max users to upgrade? Or should you wait a little longer for the next best camera(s) in an iPhone?

For fairness’ sake

iPhone 14 Pro Max

I only compared the two iPhones using their respective wide (main) sensor — together with some 2x shots:

  • The gigantic 48MP main sensor on the 14 Pro Max wasn’t maximized; shots were taken via Auto Mode instead of ProRAW
  • 2x digital zoom was used on the 14 Pro Max instead of its dedicated telephoto zoom lens that optically zooms in to 3x
  • Ultra-wide was not used because the XS Max doesn’t have one
  • Night Mode was also turned off as the iPhone XS Max lacks Night Mode capabilities

And unlike our other camera shootouts, the order of these photos are not time-dependent.

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

#19

#20

#21

iPhone 14 Pro Max

#22

#23

iPhone 14 Pro Max

#24

iPhone 14 Pro Max

#25

iPhone 14 Pro Max

#26

#27

iPhone 14 Pro Max

#28

#29

#30

BONUS: Macro Control

Macro mode was introduced in last year’s iPhone 13 Pro series. Instead of using the regular wide lens for taking macro closeups, it utilizes the ultra-wide lens. While most may not notice the split-second camera behavior, your iPhone detects and automatically switches the camera to the ultra-wide lens.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

The same case happens in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. If you don’t toggle the ‘Macro Control’ feature via Settings, you would barely notice that you’re already taking a photo using the ultra-wide lens instead of the regular wide (main) sensor.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

It may not matter to most but the photo sample above just shows how there’s a major difference in focus and depth-of-field. Can you tell which is which?

Results

As obvious as the photos look, here are the results:

A – iPhone 14 Pro Max

B – iPhone XS Max

Conclusion

Even if you’re not leaning towards photography, the iPhone 14 Pro Max displayed better photos. And if I were to be specific, its post-processing techniques have improved over the last four years — be that its contrast, dynamic range, AWB (Auto White Balance), and most of all, sharpness.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

But in some instances like in Photos #2 #4 #11 #16 #18 and #26, the iPhone XS Max doesn’t really lag too far behind. If it weren’t for the obvious (over)sharpening, you wouldn’t totally guess that the iPhone XS Max is the contender.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

For the most part, the iPhone XS Max can still keep up — especially in daylight photos. The iPhone 14 Pro Max barely showed real improvements especially in the last three daylight photos in the set. And as I already mentioned the Macro Control feature earlier, it’s also worth pointing out that unlike past iPhones, the iPhone 14 Pro Max cannot go closer to a subject (for reference, see Photo #9) or else it will force you to switch to Macro Mode / ultra-wide lens usage.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

But for all the obvious reasons, upgrading from the iPhone XS Max to the all-new iPhone 14 Pro Max won’t be a disappointment.

You’ll get an ultra-wide lens and on top of its 2x crop zoom, there’s an extra 3x optical zoom lens if you like taking zoomed shots more. Lastly, even if Night Mode was turned off (and both phones have an identical f/1.8 aperture), low-light samples on the iPhone 14 Pro Max are just ahead of the game compared to its predecessor. Its brighter, has shallower bokeh, and most of all, has plenty of detail thanks to the new chipset, larger image sensor, and better lens optics.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Huawei Mate 50 Pro: Camera Shootout

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