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
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 2: Fun in the foliage
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 3: Waiting by the wall
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 4: Picture from the port
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.
This story is part of:Camera comparisons (23 updates)
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