iPhone 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: selfie camera comparison

Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, selfies are an important part of everyday culture. You take one when you see something cool on the street; you snap a couple when you meet a friend you haven’t seen in months; or, you simply take one when you feel good with the way you look today.

But it’s really hard doing that when your phone’s front camera is bad. And this is quite a common occurrence as most manufacturers tend to focus on the rear-facing module. And while there’s a point to be made that this isn’t the best idea — especially considering how many people out there take more selfies than regular photos — but this isn’t what we’re here to discuss today.

Instead, as you might have already gathered from the title, this is a selfie camera comparison between Apple and Samsung's current conventional flagships, the iPhone 8 and the Galaxy S8. So let's get on with it, shall we?

Scene 1

Let’s start with the best photos first — as it turns out, taking a selfie in broad daylight with an interesting but unobtrusive background will net you reasonably good results, regardless of which phone you use. Who would have thought?

But there is still a clear winner here: the iPhone 8. Despite having a considerably less realistic color palette, the end result is still more vibrant and lively. And at the end of the day, what's important is that the photo looks good, right?

Winner: iPhone 8

Scene 2

On the other hand, realistic colors can sometimes give much, much better results than iPhones’ artificial yellow tint. Such is the case here, where the boosted contrast gives off the impression of unnatural lighting.

However, it is worth noting that the iPhone was considerably better at focusing on my face: note how the untamed strands of hair to the left are perfectly visible, while the S8’s camera has turned them into a blurry mess.

Winner: Galaxy S8

Scene 3

But while outdoor shots are usually fine, things start getting a little iffy when you try taking selfies indoors. Take this shot for example — even though the setting wasn’t really that dark, both phones struggled with capturing a good shot.

However, the clear winner here is the S8, as it managed to light up the scene considerably better than the iPhone. Also, while the latter’s yellowish tint may look good in some photos, it has no place in a scene like this.

Winner: Galaxy S8

Scene 4

Fear not, dear reader — the art of the group selfie hasn’t been forgotten, either (though the terribleness of these photos should serve as a reminder of why it’s usually glossed over).

And while both photos are pretty good quality-wise, the iPhone takes the cake here. There’s two reasons for this: firstly, the S8 photo has some noticeable distortion towards the edges (my neck is definitely not this thick). And secondly, the shadows on the iPhone 8’s photo look much more natural, whereas the S8 has a noticeable cutoff between the lit and unlit parts (most noticeable on Peter’s forehead).

Winner: iPhone 8


So the end result is... drumroll please... A tie! Which to be honest isn't that surprising — both Samsung and Apple devices have traditionally had their own unique problems with selfie quality, and those are unfortunately still present in full force.

And taking a deeper look at the photos where the iPhone 8 failed reveals that they were both taken in uncommon lighting conditions: one has a darker subject against a light background, while the other was taken in a poorly-lit room. Thus, it's a safe conclusion to make that the bad-looking photos are mostly the result of overly aggressive post processing, with overly exaggerated shadows and too much contrast — a problem which has always been the Achilles' foot of iPhone selfies.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S8 did okay in pretty much every picture — with okay being the key word in this sentence. That is, none of the images from Samsung’s device were particularly impressive, due to a variety of problems including their slightly bland colors and dynamics, plus the exaggerated field of view which sometimes results in a distorted subject. But hey, at least they were consistent!

If you want to, you can also check out all the images, as well as 100% side-by-side crops, in the gallery below:

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8 inches
    2960 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 9.0 Pie
    Samsung One UI
iPhone 8
  • Display 4.7 inches
    1334 x 750 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A11 Bionic, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1821 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x



61. nidhal

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 15, 2018

i have samsung s6 & i try the s7 ( i'm not even gone bother my self & give a try to the s8 ) my face look like s**t #distortion (cuz of the wide angle regardless the distortion correction is on or off ) and smooth like i'm using foundation (ps: beauty mode is off ) now i'm gona move to iphone 7 or maybe (pixel or huawei) check the one who's wearing a t-shirt i * barcelone & the one beside him there is no details in their faces that's how i always look when i try to take a selfie (disgusting ) & it get worst in low light ps : the iphone 8 has the same problem only in low light (ur selfie turn into a painted portrait) i have a perfect skin but with that beauty s**t & the smothing i end up awlays look so feminine even my hair and my beard get smouth out selfie now grace to samsung is a day struggle to me ( for those who have doubt just search for smooth face s7 problem many user have that problem but no one on youtube or anywhere else really mention it )

59. mohsin845

Posts: 50; Member since: Apr 05, 2014

Clearly Samsung Better..

58. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

The iPhone won in all these images... what are you on?

57. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

1.Apple 2.Samsung 3.Samsung 4.Samsung

56. willywanta

Posts: 502; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

yeah, that edge distortion has plagued many samsung flagships.

54. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

Phonearena made your hair white lol And the iPhone made your hair look blond

53. audibot

Posts: 689; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

iphone 8 looks so fake its software is trying to hard in areas and lakes the detail so pumps dark dolors to make up for it

52. Mr_Maverick

Posts: 18; Member since: Nov 06, 2016

Why do u think that yellowish tint looks Good??

51. KingSam

Posts: 1543; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Is something wrong with the page? I only see scene 1.

47. Macready

Posts: 1832; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

" Despite having a considerably less realistic color palette, the end result is still more vibrant and lively" I wouldn't call the yellow look in your face in the iPhone selfies, as if you're carrying a liver disease with you, " more lively" .... More like " horrendous" . And somehow the blown out highlights don't seem to hamper your weighing of the iPhone score either. Let's leave the judging to those with a little more camera experience.

37. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Really PA? Another camera comparison. Is that all you got? Now days most phones take good pics. What you like may differ from other people. It’s subjective. Both these phones take good pics. I wouldn’t have a issue with either.

45. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Yes they can be subjective, but without subjection; the Galaxy "clearly" took a better picture in all but one. But PA just can't bring themselves to say it anymore because, then if they praise the Galaxy it insults Apple, Alan F and Victor H and they may not have a job afterwards. Also the comment section is lighter with clicks and posts when they say something good vs saying something or purposely saying something bad.

49. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Its not the subjectivity that is the issueas so much as the hypocrisy. Anyone who has been on this site for long can say without a shadow of a doubt that PA was not a fan of the vibrant and punchy color reproductions of the "S" series and made it well known by espousing the virtues of the iPhones true to life color reproductions. However, now that the, so called, shoe is on the other foot with the "s" series producing true to life colors than the iPhones, in their own words, showing vibrant punchy colors is now better than the "S" series true to life color reproductions. Come on, even the most ardent iPhone users has to admit that PA is being hypocritical. The iPhone 8 is a good device as I said before it has a heck of a SoC but to make excuses for it's short comings as PA is doing here is inexcusable.

36. igorpro

Posts: 11; Member since: Oct 02, 2017

Samsung too softens the skin. But it's still better. iPhone ugly yellow and exaggerates the contrast.

34. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

32. talon95

Posts: 1012; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

In scene 4 there's no way the iPhone wins. It blows whites in the shirt, it loses blacks in the other shirt, and it's soft on focus, Not to mention S8 is made to fit 3 people in the wide angle lens so it is inherently better for group selfies. iPhone is also typically too warm, although this is subjective and can be desirable, but for everyone that used to say iPhone was more natural, the Galaxys are more natural lately.

31. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

What I would like to see PA do is, provide an in-depth article, showing what you can do with the camera settings on the iPhone and Galaxy phone to improve picture taking. Explain what ISO and other features are to those who lack understanding of camera modes and how to use them to improve the camera capability or set to your liking. That's what a real tech site would do. Not these stupid clickbait articles that do nothing to incite knowledge and understanding, but more for hype and flame wars.

30. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

All these photos just shows you guys don't know how to shot pictures. Please save these for the pros like DXO. I think based on my usage, the Galaxy camera is a bit aggressive in sharpening artifacts and color saturation. Even though I like the extra color, I've toned down the settings a bit to get more natural pics. What I really wish Samsung would do, is allow for camera memory settings, so I can switch from my settings too default or other settings based on how I name them.

22. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Is the writer actually old enough to have this much grey hair? Or is that a dye job? He looks 20ish. Dude, you need a new job if workign at PA has you looking older than you actually are.

25. RevolutionA

Posts: 529; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

I agree with you

44. Tipus

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Kaloyan wants to look like Tim Cook :))

17. tedkord

Posts: 17519; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Let me ask this, because I don't know, and I don't take very many pictures on my phone, especially not selfies. Do these phones have a way to white balance?

26. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

On the iPhone you cannot really adjust anything. On the Galaxy the white balance controls have been moved into the Pro Mode settings. By default in the Galaxy, its in auto. But you can change them using the iconic pictures they use to give you can idea how/when to use.

29. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Settings are: Sun, cloudy, light bulb (incandescent lighting), florescent lighting, 5500(K)elvin so you can adjust color saturation. From Note 8. S8's shouldn't be any different

16. tedkord

Posts: 17519; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

"But there is still a clear winner here: the iPhone 8. Despite having a considerably less realistic color palette, the end result is still more vibrant and lively." Anybody remember when unnatural, "vibrant, lively" colors were a bad thing for a phone camera? It was back when the iPhone camera had more realistic colors.

46. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Thank you for saying that I thought I was the only one who see first hand PA embracing contradictions, which if you embrace points to irrational, illogical and insanity. Is it a wonder why anyone should put any value on PA reviews and comparisons?

48. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Gonna coin a new dance called the "PA Flip-Flop!".

50. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

I would say this if all of PA's staff is tilted or skewed in any way to onside of the equation then they need to clearly state it and make it known if not they need to re-read their own .older, articles and either admit they changed their thinking on a particular subject or that they were wrong. we would all respect that.

15. zebraman

Posts: 68; Member since: Sep 11, 2013

Iphone 8 has a new feature we call it.. I-yellow it will make your skin yellow with out using a filter. Now that's innovation.

13. Bazali

Posts: 17; Member since: Oct 13, 2017

Iphone= yellow tint Samsung= too much beautification #fail.

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