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


Conclusion


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" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)
iPhone 8
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 1821 mAh(14h talk time)

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49 Comments

1. Medoogalaxy

Posts: 232; Member since: May 25, 2017

Natural colors/wide angle/F1.7/Autofocus, S8 better

4. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Natural color....No f**king way and a wife, hot damn lol.

5. Medoogalaxy

Posts: 232; Member since: May 25, 2017

Typing error :D

18. danny_a2005

Posts: 362; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

Pixel 1 is better than these two. Even the Nexus 6P is better

14. torr310

Posts: 1661; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

#9. S8 has more details.

38. enthasuium

Posts: 150; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

yes, i would give iphone 0 point for their poor low angle photos, hust watched the last photo, s8 wide angle much more pleasing to eyes

2. mikehunta727 unregistered

Both a lot better than V30 front camera at least. I think both look pretty good here.. but I'd rather have S8 front camera due to AF and also being able to record 1440p on front camera

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Indoors S8, outdoors iP8. So the iPhone is inferior in low light once again, nothing new I suppose.

6. RevolutionA

Posts: 397; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Iphone 8 all the way, s8 does look competitive

7. Atomsk

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 13, 2017

How can you compare photos not taken from the same angle, or from the exact same place? That would be a really comparison!

8. peschiera

Posts: 31; Member since: Sep 17, 2017

Kaloyan, an overall good test but you have just tested features that are common to both. S8 has a portrait mode for selfies which just works fine (selective focus). I'm sure PA would praise this when testing iPhone X, but why it was not mentioned here? Also the group selfie mode is useful, but not mentioned. Let alone the other modes that S8 offers.

9. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Still yellowish.

60. sissy246

Posts: 7120; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Yes, the iphone always has a yellow tent. The 8 has the clearer pic. But all in all both phones take very good pictures.

10. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

S8 selfie camera for me, due to Auto Focus and 1440p video recording.

11. luis.aag90

Posts: 274; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

How could they rate the iPhone 8 better in tge group selfie? It doesn't make sense when the iPhone's camera has always failed one of the key aspects to get a good group selfie : a wide aperture. More than 2 people just don't fit good enough on iPhone's viewfinder (as evidenced here).

23. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Its iPA, that's why.

43. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

"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?" This paragraph says it all. Again the hypocrisy is overt on this site. PA ridicules oem (A) for having to punchy and vibrant colors and praises oem (B) for having true to life colors. Then when oem (A) corrects their product to have true to life colors clearly leap frogging oem (B) PA then says punchy vibrant colors are best and true to life colors are a con. Go figure. Is it any reason why people should not take their reviews and comparisons seriously? Too many contradictions.

28. RevolutionA

Posts: 397; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

iPhone has better selfie camera, and many people can fit into it

12. YeahYeah

Posts: 250; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

S8 take this one for me. iPhone still have that yellowish.

13. Bazali

Posts: 17; Member since: Oct 13, 2017

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

15. zebraman

Posts: 59; 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.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17362; 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: 1354; 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: 1354; 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.

17. tedkord

Posts: 17362; 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

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: 397; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

I agree with you

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