What Android smartphone has the best camera and sets the benchmark that other cameras aim for? Do you need a dual camera like the one found on Huawei and LG phones or is the single module approach of Samsung, Sony, OnePlus and Google better? Which camera can you rely on the most for the shots you’re likely to take? With the Galaxy S8 launching today, let’s take a look as we pit Samsung’s flagship against the LG G6, Sony Xperia XZs, Huawei P10, Google Pixel and OnePlus 3T in an in-depth camera shootout!
For the last few years, cameras have been an area where OEMs continue to do battle and we’ve heard each company explain why its approach to the camera is revolutionary, ground-breaking and makes it the best on the market. Yet for all the hype, it’s out there in the wild where it truly matters so we took these six phones out to Golden Gate Park and Haight Ashbury in San Francisco to find out for ourselves.
Before we get into the galleries themselves, let’s quickly remind ourselves of the camera specs themselves:
|Samsung Galaxy S8||Google Pixel XL||LG G6||Sony XZs||Huawei P10||OnePlus 3T|
Samsung Galaxy S8:Rear:12 MP
Front: 8 MP
Google Pixel XL:Rear: 12.3 MP
Front: 8 MP
LG G6:Rear: Dual 13 MP
Front: 5 MP
Sony XZs:Rear: 19 MP
Front: 13 MP
Huawei P10:Rear: Dual 20 MP + 12 MP
Front: 8 MP
OnePlus 3T:Rear: 16MP
Samsung Galaxy S8:Yes
Google Pixel XL:EIS (gyro)
Sony XZs:EIS (gryo)
Samsung Galaxy S8:F/1.7
Google Pixel XL:F/2.0
Samsung Galaxy S8:Yes
Google Pixel XL:Yes, laser detection
LG G6:Yes, tracking focus
Sony XZs:Yes, predictive hybrid autofocus
Huawei P10:Yes, laser detection
OnePlus 3T:Yes, phase detection
Samsung Galaxy S8:1/2.55"
Google Pixel XL:1/2.3"
Samsung Galaxy S8:1.4 µm
Google Pixel XL:1.55 μm
LG G6:1.12 µm
Now that’s out of the way, here are our camera shootout rules:
The shootout runs from today, Friday, April 21st until 23:59 (Pacific Time) on Thursday, April 27th! YOU CAN VOTE IN ALL FIVE POLLS FROM THE FIVE PAGES. We will tally up all the votes from the five polls and crown a winner. Use your vote wisely! Oh and if you’re a smartypants who manages to work out which phone is which, we’d really appreciate it if you didn’t spoil the fun for everyone so keep it to yourself ;-)
Let’s get stuck into it!
Whether it’s a selfie, group selfie or a picture of the people you’re out to dinner with, the people we share with are almost as important as the moments we experience! The focal point for this was Lanh Nguyen in the middle, with David Imel and Edgar Cervantes helping to complete the shot either side of Lanh. With varying skin tones, interesting indoor lighting conditions and the large window in the background, there’s a lot for cameras to process.
Let’s be honest – don’t we all wish we were David right now?! A shot like this would have been mostly mundane but add a surfin techie into the mix – complete with backpack full of goodies – and there’s a lot to take in! Pay close attention to the colors of the waves, as well as the definition in the tips and the color of the sky in the background.
This shot allows us to focus on the detail in the image including the trees, David and Edgar’s facial features and clothing, and the leaves! More importantly, what is Edgar showing David here? I have no clue! My guess is he’s pointing at a bird while humming I believe I can fly! If you can figure it out, shout out in the comments below!
What do you take more images of? Food or people? Either way, food makes up an ever increasing part of the pictures we want to share with our social networks. Capturing food is all about the right angles and of course, the food on the plate. We’re kicking things off here with some lettuce rice wraps with purple raw cabbage next to it and a spicy tomato sauce that was fantastic!
From wraps to veggies and a mixed veggie bowl full of colorful and vibrant ingredients. Which phone captures the definition in each item the best as well as the colors, isn’t blown out by the light reflecting onto the table and makes a bowl of veggies look the most appealing? You tell us!
Now to one of my personal favorite dishes – chicken chow mein albeit it’s missing the white bean sprouts to add even more contrast. There’s a lot going on here but which camera captures the definition, colors and vibrancy of the dish as well as the red chilli and carrots that are abundant? Mmm… I’m off to get some Chinese food!
The beauty of the camera on our smartphones is that it’s always with us and as this page shows, it can also be used to capture greenery as well as stunning landscapes. This proved to be an interesting test thanks to the contrast of the sky and in particular, pay attention to which phone blows out the sky the least.
From greenery to the landscapes I mentioned and it was impossible to turn down this opportunity. What’s interesting here is that there are three clear sections to each image; the blue sky, the green landscape and trees that dominate most of the image and at the very bottom, the concrete path that we were shooting from, with the X just in front. I wanted to sleep on this stretch of the park for an hour or two but sadly no-one would let me!
From open green spaces to busy ones and a small pond with natural greenery. Which phone captures the reflection of the sky in the murky waters the best as well as the definition of the various trees and plants, and the mud at the bottom of the scene? You decide!
Name a children’s movie classic and chances are Beauty and the Beast is one of them! It’s a principle that also applies to the natural things in life and in this case, the turtle is a majestic creature that you can’t help but admire! Which phone clearly defines the detail on the shell, face and arms?
If this reptile were real, it definitely would be the beast and we certainly wouldn’t have been this close shooting it! Nonetheless, this one turned out to be totally harmless, although it looks rather lifelike! Which phone captures the detail on the head the best including the intricate beads and which isn’t affected by lens flair from the sun?
Beauty comes in many forms and one of these is undoubtedly architecture. This building in the Golden Gate Park is rather large, but thanks to the moving sun we had to show you this side rather than a much wider shot. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of detail here, in the columns, brickwork, plants and fencing! It’s beautiful – I wonder, is this place on AirBnB?
Our last page is all about people and in this case, selfies, selfies, selfies!!!This is a very interesting photo as it shows off which phones keep the shot mirrored as the camera captures it and which reverse it so it’s a copy of the natural shot. There’s plenty of colors, facial expressions and field of view to consider as well!
Yes, there was definitely going to be a portrait shot in this shootout and Lanh stepped up to be the model, albeit unwittingly! Check out the detail in Lanh’s face but pay closer attention to the bokeh effect each phone manages to produce and the detail of the background as well as the sky!
For our last shot, David and I kicked off the selfies with the sun beaming from the left and the trees in the background. There’s plenty of shadows caused by the trees, there’s the various colors of our clothing and of course, there’s lots of detail in the background as well! I loved taking this photo but I’m still trying to work out if it was because it was a great day or because I was relieved that we could finally stop walking around the park!!
If you’ve made it to the end we thank you for sticking with us – with cameras being used in so many different ways and capable of so many different things, testing a camera in the most natural way was always going to require several test shots! Yes, we haven’t covered night photograph, video recording or panorama shots here as well as the wide angle and bokeh effects some cameras are capable of producing but we’ll be touching on those in a future shootout!
For now, let us know what you think of this shootout – and what we can do better next time around – in the comments below (but if you’ve figured it out, keep the order of the phones to yourself!) and vote for which phone you think takes the best photos in the polls – remember every vote counts towards crowning the winner! Stay tuned as we’ll reveal all next Friday! In the meantime, check out our related Galaxy S8 and other coverage below!
- Samsung Galaxy S8 gets put through extreme torture test
- Samsung Galaxy S8 AKG earbuds: how good are they?
- Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus review: Almost to Infinity
- Samsung Galaxy S8 or LG G6? [Poll of the Week]
- OnePlus 3T review
- LG G6 review: it flies – like a G6!
- Sony Xperia XZ Premium & XZs hands-on!
- Huawei P10 and P10 Plus review
- Best Android phones (April 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway