Blind camera shootout results: LG V30 vs iPhone 8 Plus vs Galaxy Note 8
Earlier this week, we took three of the hottest phones on the market—the LG V30, Galaxy Note 8, and the iPhone 8 Plus—and pitted them against each other in a camera battle. But it wasn't the usual comparison-type affair where we told you how we think each one did. No, instead you, our readers, had the final say!
By not including any information about which photo was taken with what phone, you had to vote on the images that you liked the most based on what you saw, not what you knew. And boy, did a lot of you participate! It was splendid, it really was, and now it's time to remove the proverbial blindfold and let you know which smartphone gathered the most votes.
Further below, you'll find all scenes from the original shoot out, along with their respective polls, but without further ado, here's who got the most votes:
- iPhone 8 Plus – 47.56% (won in 5 scenes)
- LG V30 – 30.78% (won in 4 scenes)
- Galaxy Note 8 – 21.64% (won in 1 scene)
Wow, I did not expected that, to be honest, but the results are in and, if nothing else, they are telling of what the people want and like. But either way, I will be sharing my own opinion (yikes, opinions) on how the three phones did.
The iPhone 8 Plus produces the most accurate colors, has the best HDR mode
The iPhone 8 Plus manages to produce natural-looking colors, especially in daylight, and has powerful HDR capabilities, courtesy of the A11 chip (most prominently visible in scenes Daylight #2 and Sunset). It's also good for selfies. Where the iPhone does not excel, however, is in low-light photography.
The Galaxy Note 8 is the king of low-light photography
The Note 8 has already established itself as the best smartphone for shooting out at night, and it further cements its position as such. As far as color accuracy goes, the Note 8's white balance is at times a bit iffy, though it is a marked improvement over Galaxy phones of years past. The Note 8 also manages to be the "sharpest" of the bunch, albeit thanks to software wizardry, rather than optical prowess. It's HDR mode is subtler than that of the iPhone 8 Plus but still superior to the V30 in most scenarios.
The LG V30 has a terribly inaccurate automatic white balance when shooting at night
When it comes to daytime photography, the LG V30 is quite alright. When the sun goes down, however, things take a turn for the worse. Although sharpness is good—superior to what the iPhone 8 Plus is capable of—white balance is so wildly inaccurate, I just can't get over it. Now, in order to determine how accurate each of the three phones really is, we'd have to take a dedicated camera and gray card, adjust the white balance with the gray card for every single scene, and do some editing afterwards to achieve what would be considered realistic colors. Then, we'd have to take all the photos from the phones and compare them to the ones from the camera by examining color histograms. Oh yeah, and in the end, you'd also need a properly calibrated display to be able to actually see the colors as they are. Suffice to say, all of this is redundantly complicated, especially considering how many people are viewing these photos on uncalibrated displays, so it's just better to judge the phones on their own merits.
However, having said all this, I'm still at a loss how the LG can be so inaccurate in assessing white balance at night, and yet so many people liked it. I'm referring to scenes Low-light #1 and Low-light #2 here, especially the latter. Now, since you weren't there to see it for yourself, I see how it would be difficult to decide between the iPhone and the Note 8, but the LG? Just by looking at the three photos side-by-side, it is obvious that the LG's colors are so cold, so unnatural, that it completely washes away the warmth of the orange streetlights that flood the old town square. And yet it gathered the most votes, so yeah, the people have spoken! Anyway, neither phone really does the scene justice, but I'd have to say the Note 8 hits closest to home. There are orange lights like those all around the city, and they have this very prominent, stark orange glow to them, that almost makes the streets look like they're on fire when seen from a distance. The iPhone 8 Plus washes away a good deal of that orange brilliance, while the Note 8 introduces a tinge of blue in it, which also kind of dulls it, but it's still much closer to reality. The V30 is, well, it is what it is. I'm not saying the V30 photo doesn't look cool in its own right (sorry for the pun), and it is indeed sharp, but as far as color accuracy goes, it's WAY off.
But enough about that, here are the results!
For the original files, check out the Google Drive link at the end of the article.
Shooting against the sun
(color and detail)
(color and exposure)
(color and exposure)
(color and dynamic range)
All three phones shot in HDR
For this scene, I wasn't able to perfectly match the framing of each shot, because the day was cloudy and the light was constantly changing. I had to take some time between the shots, waiting for what little sun there was to peek between the clouds, so I could try to replicate the same scene across all three devices.
The comparison continues on page 2!
This story is part of:Camera comparisons (23 updates)
1 October iPhone XS vs Pixel 2 XL vs Galaxy Note 9 vs iPhone X: low-light camera comparison
28 September iPhone Xs Max vs Galaxy Note 9, Pixel 2 XL camera comparison: which phone takes the best photos?
21 September Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Galaxy Note 9 vs Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X: camera comparison
8 June OnePlus 6 vs Galaxy S9+ vs Pixel 2 XL: low-light camera comparison
30 May OnePlus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 XL Portrait Mode Comparison