Best smartphone cameras compared: iPhone 8 Plus vs Galaxy Note 8, LG G6, Xperia XZ1

"I wish I had my iPhone on me to post this on Instagram" – this is what Sir Isaac Newton must have thought to himself when in 1672 he discovered that white light splits into rays of different colors after passing through a glass prism. Or maybe he didn't, we can't be entirely sure. One thing is certain, though: the iPhone 8 Plus has the best camera ever put on an iPhone. 

But the million-dollar question we'll try to answer today is how the iPhone 8 Plus stacks up against the competition. So we organized a photo shootout between it and three other phones you might have heard of, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the LG G6, and the Sony Xperia XZ1.

Scene 1: Roses are red


Best smartphone cameras compared: iPhone 8 Plus vs Galaxy Note 8, LG G6, Xperia XZ1
This is а kind of shot we wanted to include in this comparison – a situation where a bright, intense color dominates the scene. The reason? Camera software tends to exaggerate certain hues and shades, and that's very noticeable when red is the color present. 

So, how did the phones do? Pretty well, actually, but we have to give the iPhone a slightly higher score. It managed to preserve the natural saturation of the roses' color, as well as the color gradients and the darker shades of red in the shadows. By comparison, the photo out of the Galaxy Note 8 is also bold and punchy, but the red is on the flat side, with not as much contrast as the scene originally had. Same can be said about the G6's photo, which is also a tad colder (blueish) than it should be. And the Xperia XZ1, well, its image is also very likeable, with lively colors and an adequate amount of contrast.

Overall, all four phones are off to a good start. 

Scene 1: score
iPhone 8 Plus8.5Galaxy Note 87.5
LG G67.0Xperia XZ18.0


Scene 2: Fun in the foliage


Best smartphone cameras compared: iPhone 8 Plus vs Galaxy Note 8, LG G6, Xperia XZ1

Samsung's camera software has the tendency to "spice up" photos, and this often yield pleasing results. In our case, the Galaxy Note 8's image delivers colors that are vivid, albeit somewhat inaccurate. The iPhone 8 Plus comes closer to reality when it comes to color fidelity, but the Note 8 has the upper hand when it comes to detail and sharpness.

As for the other two contenders, the LG G6 has again captured a slightly colder image than it should have, but at least the photo is sharp and very clear overall. The Xperia XZ1 is also leaning towards the cold side in this one, and finer detail appears a bit smudged if we take a closer look.

Scene 2: score
iPhone 8 Plus7.5Galaxy Note 87.5
LG G66.5Xperia XZ16.0


Scene 3: Waiting by the wall


Best smartphone cameras compared: iPhone 8 Plus vs Galaxy Note 8, LG G6, Xperia XZ1
The lighting conditions make this dynamic scene tricky to capture – exposing the subject properly comes with the risk of losing detail in brighter areas. But the Sony Xperia XZ1 struck a good balance between the two. Detail in the cloudy sky is still present, and I'm clearly visible while pretending to be gazing in the distance. The Galaxy Note 8's photo is also pretty good-looking, although some extra exposure would have been welcome. 

The iPhone and the LG G6 haven't managed to capture any of the texture the sky has to offer, but their photos still look okay overall. What look like dull and uninspiring colors are actually shades that come very close to what we could see in real life. 

Scene 3: score
iPhone 8 Plus7.0Galaxy Note 87.5
LG G67.0Xperia XZ17.5


Scene 4: Picture from the port


Best smartphone cameras compared: iPhone 8 Plus vs Galaxy Note 8, LG G6, Xperia XZ1
It is impressive to see how much detail all four phones can capture – from the bushes' tiny branches and leaves to the pattern of the mesh behind the restaurant's name and logo. In this respect, the Galaxy Note 8 has the lead. It also excels when it comes to color accuracy, as it has maintained the cold, grayish tone of the scene as we saw it then and there. 

There's something that makes the iPhone's photo highly likeable – the overall exposure and presentation. Both the sky and the restaurants have been exposed well, leaving no overly dark or overly bright spots within the frame. By comparison, the images from the LG G6 and the Xperia XZ1 could really use some exposure in the darker areas. However, the warm color tone of the iPhone's photo isn't true to what the scene originally looked like.

Scene 4: score
iPhone 8 Plus7.5Galaxy Note 88.5
LG G67.0Xperia XZ16.5

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58 Comments

1. notfair

Posts: 659; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

On Scene 4 you can clearly see that everyone beat Iphone and yet the latter is still on the second place. Even Z1 beat it .. shame on you guys... at least be fair because on most of the photos you were on the spot with the rating but on the last one you blew away any credibility. edit: second place instead of 1st.

9. Saioofi

Posts: 326; Member since: May 23, 2014

On scene 10 the iPhone showed much more detail with a better exposure than the Note 8 when zoomed in but it still got second place for some reason

12. combatmedic870

Posts: 982; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Not more detail. Just better exposure. The G6 actually did really well in this. In many of them showed alot more detail. Like the shoe one.

13. combatmedic870

Posts: 982; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Not more detail. Just better exposure. The G6 to me actually did really well in overall detail The shoe one especially.

52. Lememurilo

Posts: 48; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

iPhone on scene 10 just has better exposure, but Note8 has much more detail, much less noise and better colors too.

55. Rizo11

Posts: 12; Member since: Apr 27, 2015

Look better the whole picture and you will understand why Note 8 took better score. Its not only the 100% crop. Its the overall colors and exposure too.. But still i believe PA makes many mistakes in scores.

17. danny_a2005

Posts: 336; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

pixel 2 will take them down

23. Bankz

Posts: 2442; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

yup! The Pixel to rule them all

27. JohnR

Posts: 125; Member since: Sep 08, 2017

With plenty of bezel to view them on :)

54. Georgio

Posts: 137; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Note will take a sh..t on the pixel. Pixel is like a tiny bug in front of an emperor( NOTE 8)

20. karas

Posts: 85; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

They all are so close

22. rantao333

Posts: 343; Member since: May 21, 2013

guess what, now we should call samsungarena rather than iphonearena, rite?

42. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

This post quote precisely applies to you: "No you simpleton, that's stated when biased, hypocritical and unfair BS is posted on this site. This little artcile doesn't cover up the hypocrisy of their articles and reviews. From crediting ideas/features from different rivals that Samsung and other manufacturers implement in their devices, to ALWAYS one rival, apple, despite them not being the pioneer of the idea/feature: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-S7-to-have-a-version-of-Live-Photos-called-Vivid-Photo_id77435 http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-to-answer-Apple-iPhone-SE-with-4.6-inch-Galaxy-S7-mini-featuring-SD-820-or-Exynos-8890-SoC_id79259 http://www.phonearena.com/news/Camera-and-Photos-apps-for-Windows-10-Mobile-receive-updates_id79520v http://www.phonearena.com/news/The-Samsung-Galaxy-Note-7-comes-with-a-blue-light-filter-option-similar-to-the-iPhones-Night-Mode_id83827 Yet not writing a single article pointing out the dozens of features that single rival has copied: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2015/06/08/ios-9-features-apple-borrowed-from-android/ http://phandroid.com/2015/09/09/iphone-6s-new-features-vs-android-phones/ Even when that single rival is clearly copying an idea from one of the competitor products they've written about: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Blocks-wants-to-make-the-perfect-wearable-with-a-modular-smartwatch_id58017 http://www.phonearena.com/news/Qualcomm-Sense-ID-unveiled-ultra-sonic-fingerprint-sensors_id66687 They don't mention such competitor products in their articles about that single rival's products, they instead keep shut like it doesn't matter: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Patent-filing-reveals-Smart-Modular-Bands-for-the-Apple-Watch_id79866 http://www.phonearena.com/news/Apple-patent-application-hints-at-embedded-TouchID-first-step-toward-an-edge-to-edge-design_id81279 To writing nitpicky headlines to downplay the successful competition, from calling certain words/phrases in their adverts a copy from apple: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Is-LG-using-an-old-iPhone-tagline-to-promote-the-G5_id79791 to desperately going through dishonest means to put the iPhone at an obviously unfair advantage in comparisons, like this camera comparison, in which they intentionally downscale the Xperia X's 23MP camera to 8MP just to put the iPhone at an advantage: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Sony-Xperia-X-vs-iPhone-6s-which-has-the-better-camera_id81890 and this outdoor screen brightness comparison, in which they disable auto-brightness (turned on by default) on the competitor devices, again, just to put the iPhone at an advantage: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Outdoor-display-comparison-iPhone-6s-vs-S7-edge-vs-10-vs-G5_id81070 even when multiple other sites: http://www.gsmarena.com/piccmp.php3?idType=4&idPhone1=7948&idPhone2=7242 http://bfy.tw/5kQa and real world user feedback proves it to be BS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uCyIjUt_b8

43. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

to writing temper tantrums on the marketing of competitors even when apple themselves are 100% guilty of the same sh*t, if not worse: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-pokes-fun-of-Apple-for-the-3.5-mm-jack-amid-stiff-Note-7-presentation_id83828 going as far as claiming competitor products are not worth their price tag: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Why-I-think-800-is-too-much-for-the-Galaxy-S7-edge_id79644 Yet not a single article pointing out why {apple product name} isn't worth the price tag, despite ALL the rational reasons out there, from being inferior in terms of flexibility/versatility/compatibility, to inability to do what a dumb phone is capable of, to the planned obsolescence of iOS updates (bit.ly/1VpBxSa), etc. To making bizarre naive statements in praise of that 1 rival's products, like "No PC will let you do what the iPad does for $999": http://www.phonearena.com/news/iPad-Pro-9.7-inch-specs-review--big-guns-small-form_id79566 To mentioning cons in non-apple device reviews, yet ignoring those same cons in apple device reviews even though they 100% apply. To skipping news on negative incidents involving apple's products. For example, apple incident from late November 2016 (  https://goo.gl/o3b05s ), they never reported it, yet when similar happened to competitor product, they instantly report it. To detailing only apple's actions in cases involving several companies, turning a blind eye to the actions of other companies involved in it: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Tech-industry-vs-immigration-ban-Google-protests-Amazon-sues-Tim-Cook-pressures-Washington-officials_id90591 To inconsistency in product reviews. Like their con for the S6 was due to it lacking a MicroSD card slot, so they gave it a 9.3. Then S7 fixes that and improves on many other things, they go and give it a 9. A little positive article ain't gonna fix all of that anytime soon. They need to end their hypocrisy and double standards, but that's clearly asking for too much."

26. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Here's all that you need to rely on in a fair objective comparison on phone cameras. https://9to5mac.com/2017/10/03/samsung-galaxy-note-8-ties-iphone-8-plus-camera-ranking/ Remember the phone arena nit gate bs http://www.displaymate.com/Galaxy_Note8_ShootOut_100.htm Why haven't you changed your flawed information on the Note 8, and modify your review score for it Phone Arena.... You are supposed to be a tech site not an opinionated tech site. Correct the mistake.... If you want to be taken seriously about factual information that you present to your subscribers. Display mate says over 1200 nits.

56. cocoy

Posts: 450; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

XZ1 should be second there just look at the roubd logo below that color blue you can still see the dots but on Iphone 8 plus none of it exists.

2. xchatter

Posts: 44; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

No LG V30 ??? Amazing.....

4. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Not officially released

5. tedkord

Posts: 16974; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Maybe they don't have one yet.

16. nepalisherpa

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

Isn't it amazing? I mean why would they not compare a phone that has not been released in the US.

3. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Note 8 is the king of smartphones Hate it or like it .......

18. tedkord

Posts: 16974; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Truth.

40. chenski

Posts: 726; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

That's just your opinions, so it's neither truth nor fact

32. pixel_ftw

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 19, 2017

Note 8 is king only in sammy boys heart. Hate it or like it its a fact. So, No more, PA is no longer iPhone arena. Because they said note 8 did better than other phones. Geekbench and dxomark will also be not biased when they crown samsung phones as the highest scorer, i guess.

39. tedkord

Posts: 16974; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Awwww. Someone needs a nap.

49. MattL

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

It does really seem to be the best all around device out right now... Best screen, best design, best screen to body ratio (minus the S8+ little brother), best camera though maybe the pixel 2 will beat it (though without dual cameras so it will still excel in some areas), the only real option with a wacom digitizer built in (basically an iPad Pro in a phone, though of course they were doing it long before the iPad Pro), RAM for multi-apps, best multi-tasking, etc.... So yeah, it's the King. Though there are reasons to choose other phones if your preferences are specific... such as the Pixel 2 likely being the best non-dual camera, if your fully in the iOS ecosystem it might not matter and you might be stuck with iPhone, if you prefer vanilla Android or prefer iOS, etc...

6. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

I'm confused. PA says they don't like Samsung cameras, because they over-saturate colors when taking photos. They tend to to that with reds, greens and blues and many dark colors. Yet the the very first phone, the iPhone clearly over-saturated the rose color and it was picked as the best? I don't care who wins, I have the Note 8 and I know overall the Galaxy takes better photos consistently and they have since the S4 and Note 3.

15. therealestboy

Posts: 82; Member since: May 03, 2013

Do you also have an iPhone 8 Plus?

37. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

No I have the 7 Plus. And it does the same thing. What the 8+ seems to have improved on overall is the photos are sharper and less noisy. But still not less noisy vs the Galaxy S/Note and not quite as sharp. Low light photos appears to be the same on the iPhone 8s as they are on the 7s. I was pointing out PA inconsistency. They criticize Samsung cameras for always over-saturating colors. I personally like extra color even if its not actually natural looking, so I liked the first photo too. But I simply called out, why they chose the iPhone shot in the first photo? I can only think its the color, because the Note 8 and G6, were sharper, had more detail and the colors looked more natural, which is what PA says they liked most about iPhone cameras. I agree iPhone takes more natural looking. But they looked washed to me and I don't mind saturated pics. Was just pointing out PA's inconsistent remarks.

50. MattL

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

Though I agree with some of your points, they do say "but we have to give the iPhone a slightly higher score. It managed to preserve the natural saturation of the roses' color, as well as the color gradients and the darker shades of red in the shadows. By comparison, the photo out of the Galaxy Note 8 is also bold and punchy, but the red is on the flat side, with not as much contrast as the scene originally had" So it seems like the iPhone had the closest to real rendering of the flowers colors. From what I've seen across reviews this seems to be the exception since the IP8+ seems to exaggerate colors in most scenarios while the Note 8 produces more natural muted colors. They point this out in another picture.

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