Scene 9: Downtown at dusk



In this next scene is where the iPhone 8 Plus gets to shine. Given the lighting conditions, it is impressive to see how much detail it has managed to capture, letting us examine the image from up close and do things like count the piece of Jamon Iberico hanging above the counter at the restaurant. Also, colors have been captured with great accuracy. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a close second in this round, as for some reason it has not resolved the fine intricacies as well as Apple's handset.

Unfortunately, the LG G6 is lagging behind here. Its camera failed to set the white balance correctly (as it tends to do in similar situations), which resulted in the overly warm color tone and the greenish sky that we got. The XZ1, on the other hand, went for a colder look, which is pretty much equally inaccurate. Also, details are noticeably fuzzier if we take a closer look.

Scene 9: score
iPhone 8 Plus8.5Galaxy Note 88.0
LG G66.0Xperia XZ15.5


Scene 10: Once at the Opera



The iPhone did well in the previous scene, but it leaves us a tad disappointed this time around. It appears to have underexposed the image in order to preserve detail in the lit area of the opera house's facade – probably not the best trade-off given the circumstances. The Note 8, by comparison, presents us with a more evenly exposed photograph, with more visible details in the shadows. 

The images out of the LG G6 and the Xperia XZ1 are once again inferior. While exposure in them is adequate, details simply aren't as clear, especially in the XZ1's photo where smudginess is visible without us having to zoom in. 

Scene 10: score
iPhone 8 Plus7.0Galaxy Note 87.5
LG G66.5Xperia XZ16.5


Scene 11: Headed home



We're happy to see that our last night-time scene wasn't much of a challenge for any of the phones we're testing. Their images are bright, well exposed, and capture the theme of the scenery pretty well. Alas, the Xperia XZ1 tends to struggle with details in low-light situations, as we're convinced by now. Details in its photo are once again a smudgy mess.

Scene 11: score
iPhone 8 Plus7.5Galaxy Note 88.0
LG G67.5Xperia XZ16.0


Conclusion


Right from the start, we knew that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 had a solid chance of winning this race, but we didn't expect it to be ahead of the rest by this much. Still, we think it's a fair and well-deserved first position. As the score and images we analyzed demonstrate, Samsung's phablet is clearly among the top cameraphones you can get right now. Frankly, its lead wasn't as well pronounced during the daytime shots, but once we moved into low-light territory, the Note 8's lead was evident. 

As for the iPhone 8 Plus, it proved a worthy competitor to the Galaxy Note 8, often finishing neck-a-neck with Samsung's phablet at the end of the round. Yet at the end of the day, the Note 8's solid, consistent camera performance won it the lead in the final score.

The LG G6 brought no surprises, performing as we've come to expect after using it for the past few months. It's an overall decent camera producing quality photos, but its competitors from Apple and Samsung still have the advantage.

And finally, there's the Sony Xperia XZ1. We're not sure what's to blame – the smaller pixels, the lack of OIS, or a less-than-pefrect software algorithm – but its camera is leaving us a bit underwhelmed. Given enough light, Sony's flagship holds its turf, but in low-light situations, its high-end rivals clearly have the upper hand.

Final score
Samsung Galaxy Note 87.7
iPhone 8 Plus7.2
LG G66.8
Sony Xperia XZ16.5

Below are the full-resolution images used in this comparison. Loading may take a while due to the larger file sizes.

FEATURED VIDEO

58 Comments

59. Furbal unregistered

God i wish the XZ took better low light photos. I really want my XZ p to be daily driver but camera is terrible at low light

58. plasteek

Posts: 265; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

For it's price G6 is the best !!!!!!!

57. GuitarPlayer

Posts: 63; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Lul that comparison. That one in youtube is much more profissional than this " i think that is a 6.5 G6 and 8 note 8" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5liCFE1Jkwg

51. Enadhof

Posts: 16; Member since: Sep 07, 2016

How on earth did the Xperia make it I to this comparison over the HTC U11??

53. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Except g6, all are new phones.

46. MattL

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

Excellent review, you give us plenty of comparisons under different situations and challenging ones. You also include the source images as well as crops for comparison. This is how a comparison is done, even if someone disagrees with your conclusions they can compare it themselves and decide on their own. Really sad to see dxomark not offering this quality of comparison. The Note 8 does really excellent, especially in low light. Even in normal light it typically (though not always) grabs a bit more detail. Colors can be processed but detail can't be added if it's not captured. I suspect the Pixel 2 will dominate this but look forward to that comparison. I'm having a hard time seeing comparisons out there where the Note 8 ties or comes in below the iPhone 8 plus. Often you can look at their own images and see the greater detail in the note and especially superior low light performance. Something about this current generation of color rendition and selective contrast (sometimes the iPhone does a very even handed contrast but other times it seems to crank it up) seems to produce pictures more pleasing to peoples eyes even if they are less accurate and don't capture the same amount of detail. So unfortunately bad comparisons out there fail to do crops to see what's actually captured. I imagine that sort of color or contrast preference can probably be achieved simply in Samsung settings, but again detail can't be gained if it's not captured.

45. path45th

Posts: 407; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

This rose picture taken by the Note looks really awful. A 50 dollar phone could do a better job.

41. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Is the camera sensor on the Note 8 different from that on the S8 brothers?

36. igorpro

Posts: 11; Member since: Oct 02, 2017

The camera i8 has three problems: 1. Overstated blacklevel and excessive contrast. Because of this, the photographs are often too deep shade, which is especially bad for people – eye sockets sometimes turn into black holes. 2. Often excessive yellowness. Because of this white and gray objects have yellow tone. Color, of course, a matter of taste, but the reality is the yellowness has nothing to do. Again, especially bad it affects people – the people in the photo as ill with hepatitis. 3. Halos on the borders of contrasting objects (probably artifacts HDR). All these problems software, I hope Apple will fix it.

47. MattL

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

Its biggest problem is lack of captured detail, especially in low light but also in some normal light scenarios. This likely can't be fixed with software.

34. Shubham1221

Posts: 153; Member since: Jul 29, 2015

As far as price is concerned-Lg G6 is best camera phone to go with.

35. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

LOL. Not at all.

31. ToxiD

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

HTC doesn't exist for PA lol

30. ehsanjoon365

Posts: 15; Member since: Oct 02, 2017

where is nokia 8 and htc u11????

29. Whitedot

Posts: 903; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Pixel 2 incoming your way!!! 98 score!

24. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

XZ1 does not have the smaller pixels. They are 1,22 micron. Pixel cam has pixels of 1.55 micron, and it is not the best low light shots. Results depend on ISO, SS, f size ...

19. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

I am curious to know, which camera PA feels has the best dynamic range. These shots don't really show this. Please try including shots that give us an idea of dynamic range and not Bokeh effects only.

14. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Everybody knows on auto mode Sony uses higher ISO in low light situations. And still they blaim algorithims. Check EXIF, the ISO must be 300 or 400 higher the other 3 phones. Set same ISO and SS for all. It is a good way to see what each software can do.

11. aboona777

Posts: 26; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

u probably can't go wrong with either Note 8 or iPhone 8 Plus today... but i'm all for the underdog... so it's sad to see that not even LG or Sony can offer a competition at least.

10. xxCearxx

Posts: 29; Member since: Apr 11, 2014

Where is HTC U11???

8. haruken

Posts: 312; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Samsung slaughtered the lessers. Maybe the $999 iPhone will keep up ?

48. MattL

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

I doubt it, it has the same main camera as far as info is released... just a brighter telephoto one and OIS in the telephoto one so not really relevant.

7. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

Where is V30 damn

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.

25. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Oversaturation is now considered "natural" now that the ifruit does it...

38. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Exactly what I was pointing too. When it was just Samsung phones, they criticized saying they prefer the more "natural" iPhone photos vs Samsung photos though sharper and more detailed, they didn't like the over-saturated colors. Now over-saturated colors are OK and no even mentioned because now Apple is doing the same. Like what you like and don't like what you don't like. It's all good and we all aren't gonna agree 100% always. But at least be consistent. If something is bad, then it should always be bad and if its good then it should always be good. If you flip-flop like Trump, then we have a right to question integrity and its very apparent on this site.

28. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I caught that one also.

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