Apple iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: camera comparison

Apple iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: camera comparison

The Apple iPhone 7 or the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge?

This seems to be the big question in the phone world in the past couple of years as Apple and Samsung are capturing more and more of the high-end market and outrunning each other in terms of innovation.

Samsung in particular has made great strides in improving its design and its latest phones are an absolute delight in terms of visual style. Not only this: Samsung's 12-megapixel camera is the fastest one around and many regard it as one of the best cameras on a smartphone. Apple, however, is not eager to give away its leading positions without a fight: the iPhone 7 brings a faster-than-before, f/1.8 lens that captures more light for those hard to get shots after the sun sets. The iPhone 7 is also the first small iPhone to feature optical image stabilization (OIS) that helps for steadier shots, a feature that the Galaxy S7 Edge also has.

Knowing all this, it's no surprise that we were extremely curious to see which one has the better camera. First, let's start with a look at the camera specs, and continue with the more interesting stuff: the actual images.

Camera Specs
Apple
iPhone 7
Samsung
Galaxy S7 Edge
Resolution and
aspect ratio
12MP @ 4:3
4032 x 3024 pixels
12MP @ 4:3
4032 x 3024 pixels
Sensor and
pixel size
1/3"
1.22 μm
1/2.5"
1.4 μm
Focal length
and aperture
28 mm
f/1.8
26 mm
f/1.7
Focus and
stabilization
Phase detection AF
Optical stabilization
Dual Pixel AF
Optical stabilization

*Note: All images below are downsized to 680 pixels wide for optimal viewing on the web. You can see the full-sized camera samples from the two phones here:

#1: A dynamic outdoor scene


The first challenge that the two cameras faced was a dynamic outdoor scene. The bright blue sky with the occasional cloud contrasted with the comparatively dim building below. You can see that this posed quite the challenge for both phones and resulted in two vastly different images: the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with its wider lens metered more of the building and left it brighter, while burning the highlights in the sky. The iPhone, in comparison, preserved much more of the blue skies, but the building which is the main object in this photograph remained underexposed and on the dark side. If, like us, you were trying to photograph the building, you would likely be happier with the brighter picture from the Galaxy S7 Edge, as it shows the building with much more clarity.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Apple iPhone 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7

#2: The green grass after the rain


Fields of grass are a common background for photographs, and that's why we were curious to see how the two cameras will capture the fresh off the rain grass in this little corner of town. It's immediately obvious that the Galaxy S7 Edge has one peculiarity: it renders greens with a very prominent yellow tint, while the iPhone 7 captures green in its natural, slightly colder color tonality. Samsung's aggressive oversharpening seems to work well here: the Galaxy S7 Edge image looks sharper and cryspier, while detail on the iPhone 7 is much softer. If you look at the full-sized image, it's also noticeable that the detail is blurry on the iPhone picture. It seems that our hands was a bit shaky when taking that picture, but this was made worse by the inappropriately slow 1/50 shutter speed on the iPhone, while the Galaxy took a picture at the faster and more appropriate 1/100 of a second shutter speed. Overall, we tend to prefer the Galaxy S7 Edge image for the aforementioned reasons, but that's a much closer call.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Apple iPhone 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7

#3: Night portrait


People and portraits are one of the most common things photographed on a phone, and in this night portrait, we left it all for the cameras to decide. We've got some vastly different results: the iPhone fired the flash, while the Galaxy S7 Edge did not think it was necessary to use the flash. This is an easy win for the Galaxy: it made the right choice by not using the flash and you have very pleasing colors on the face of Nick who poses for a portrait here. You can also see the ship behind him, which gives the picture a lot of character, as intended. The iPhone's flash ruins this picture: it overexposes Nick's face and hides the ship in the shadows, and it just does not capture the place and moment appropriately.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Apple iPhone 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7

#4: Looking at the sun


Photographing against the sun is a tough task and often not recommended in the photography books, but breaking the rules sometimes help see how good a camera is. The iPhone seems to do a much better job here: it retains the blues of the sky that peeks at us behind the branches, and it does not get fooled by the bright sun. The Galaxy it paints the trees' leafs an unnatural yellowish green and does not show the blue sky as our eyes can see it, and fails to capture the mood of the moment contained in the contrast between the blue sky and the grean leaves.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Apple iPhone 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7

#5: Macro


If you are trying to capture a macro shot of a flower or some small insect that is moving, it is essential to have a fast-focusing camera. The Galaxy shines in this aspect: its Dual Pixel auto-focus is significantly faster to focus and is able to capture sharper images more often. For all else, it's a close call between the iPhone and the Galaxy in terms of image quality. The iPhone does capture a darker image that feels just a bit under-exposed, but for all else detail and colors are excellent on both.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Apple iPhone 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7

#6: The bird house in the trees


The darker exposure of the iPhone proved to be a real problem while we tried to capture this cute bird house in the tree. We tried focusing explicitly on it, but still did not manage to get a proper exposure: it was all too dark and we're not happy with the image on the iPhone. The Galaxy, on the other hand, had no such issues: it picked a more appropriate, brighter exposure and was able to show the bird house as we wanted to capture it.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Apple iPhone 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7

#7: The fish restaurant at night


This ship-turned-fish-restaurant was the last thing we photographed for this comparison. It's easy to see that the wider lens on the Galaxy captures more of the picture, while the iPhone has a narrower field of view. This picture is also a good opportunity to once again see how images from the iPhone turn out darker by default. This gives the image some character: it's a night picture after all and there is less light spill from the bright lamps on the ship. The Galaxy picture is also great, however, and it's a matter of personal taste which one you like better here.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Apple iPhone 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7

Related phones

iPhone 7
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A10 Fusion, Quad-core, 2340 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 1960 mAh(14h 3G talk time)
Galaxy S7 edge
  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3600 mAh(36h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

70 Comments

1. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

S7 win by wide margin

7. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

61. yann

Posts: 607; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

The last photo - ship restaurant is far from fair. The picture taken with S7 is with car with lights on, which can cause unproper photo. The same photo with iPhone is without car. Much easy to shot.

64. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and somehow S7 still took better color, lol...

65. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 358; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Just crop that compound & look only at the ship bruhh.. because that car light is hitting only till the limits of Compound. I adjusted my scroll to only look at ship from both photos & hell yeaahh Samsung pic looks awesome & much better. We should give respect where its due.. Good day :)

10. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Right, ibend. Judging by this camera test, S7 Edge just obliterates the iPhone 7, hands down.

43. dimas

Posts: 3286; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Nick looks awesome until he used that s**tty apple camera and turn into a twilight vampire.

59. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

It's a lopsided win for S7 Edge, and still the iWriter talks a lot of sht against the winner.

26. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

same megapixel, the much bigger sensor size and pixel size is enough to tell who is the winner

31. MaesterLove unregistered

Should have used iPhone 7 plus. It slaughters every smartphone in the market when it comes to camera.

34. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

Um, no it doesn't. Same sensor as the iPhone 7 but with an extra "zoom" camera.

40. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4767; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

So, you mean the bigger size of the phone adds to the quality of the image?

44. dimas

Posts: 3286; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Nope. Supersaf already proved it in his video.

52. ryansc375

Posts: 36; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

I don't think so. Recently moved to an iPhone 7 Plus after owning a Galaxy S7 930F (international model). The iPhone blows out lighting in the backgrounds, especially when it's sunny. In addition, I find that the low light performance isn't that special. Just took my kids to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA and the camera didn't handle the dark lighting very well. Another difference is that the iPhone doesn't process background movement well when snapping shots (S7 does much better). I know that the specs of the iPhone 7 Plus' camera should provide jaw dropping results, but for whatever reason the reality is different. Hopefully with software updates the situation will improve.

37. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

iPhone photos are more natural looking while galaxy photos are nice looking but unnatural. It's all about personal preference.

47. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Yes and no.. As much as i agree S7 picture are unatural and oversharpened. IPhone 7 picture look washed out with much less detail. Too much is as worst as too little. my lg g5 give realistic picture with tons of details and good colors.

69. epdm2be

Posts: 816; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

The links to the full size pictures only show the Galaxy S7 photo's. Even the libnk to the iPhone page.

2. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I'll take the S7 Edge's camera over the iPhone's camera, anyday.

9. GreenMan

Posts: 2694; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Of course you will... And... So shall I...! The S7s Camera is indeed MILES ahead of iPhone 7's Camera... Though the story might probably be a tad different when we are talking about iPhone 7 "Plus" vs. S7 Edge & Note 7... That thing got not one but two "pieces"...! Nevertheless, one can easily "adjust" contrast & brightness of a photo with a good app... I've Microsoft's Office Picture Manager on my PC and you've no idea how "MAGICAL" that thing is...!!! Oh well... G'Day!

14. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Your G'Day is getting boring already. Please spare me that signature of yours, when talking to me, will ya?

3. Tarox

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 17, 2015

My ass is that iphone camera awful.

4. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

I did not expect the difference to be so big, but I guess at the end of the day physics will always trump any clever tricks designed to compensate. The iPhone's sensor simply can't compete with the considerably larger one in the S7.

6. Unordinary unregistered

Me either, because all the photos I see online are way better than these ones here from the iPhone 7, as if they were skewed for S7 bias. Go check out other site. They look 100x better than this garbage haha

23. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

I have seen many comparisons between S7 and iPhone 7 and they are really close in most of them, but S7 leads in most of them. I was really stoked on iPhone camera after the announcement, and they really improved a lot on the 7 from the 6s, but it's still not on par with the android competition yet. Also realistically you can't expect a 1/3" sensor to match a 1/2.5" one if both use decent image processing. Apple needs to focus more on optics and Samsung more on performance for 2017.

27. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Quote: "...As if they were skewed for S7 bias..." Really? Don't you praise PA when the iPhone wins in a test (especially in battery life and benchmarks) ? Now you call it "garbage", because your beloved iPhone 7 lost by a wide margin. And I'm not even a fan of PA's camera comparisions.

48. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

as much as phone arena love Samsung its always a second best behind iPhone so i highly doubt they would bias something toward Samsung.. Try again.

5. bucky

Posts: 3774; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Both look great to me. iPhone shows softer images and maybe more true to life colours. Edge pics look sharper and more vibrant colours. I'd be happy with either. With the iPhone, apart from the ois I haven't noticed any real improvement from the 6s to be dead honest.

15. GreenMan

Posts: 2694; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

No bucky... They're not "more true to life colors" as you describe it... They're just... Duller and darker... Simple yet savvy! G'Day!

57. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Since we weren't there when they were taken, we have no idea which look more realistic.

28. libra89

Posts: 2251; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I agree, both are good. You can't go wrong with either option.

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