Condé Nast use iPhone 7 Plus for magazine cover shoots. Why not Galaxy S8+?

Imagine being hired for a fancy photo-shoot for a magazine cover, let’s say. That would be cool! Imagine turning up at the shooting location, models waiting for you, lights on and all, and you pull out your iPhone and go “Ok, everyone, let’s do this!”.

That’s what photographers for Condé Nast experienced at the photo-shoots of the May covers for ‘Traveler’ and ‘Bon Appétit’ magazines. The covers look absolutely stunning! The photo-shoot was done by a husband and wife couple, known as Peden + Munk, and inspired by the link between photography and travel. The idea being that travelling with an iPhone 7-like gadget is more convenient and does not take away from the quality of your snaps. Those guys…

We couldn’t help but ask why didn’t they use a Samsung Galaxy S8+. It only makes sense that the newer, the better, right? However, we recently compared the cams of the best available flagships, and, honestly, we probably would have chosen iPhone 7 Plus for this specific photo-shoot, too. Here’s why.

What are you shooting? 


We don’t really pick our smartphones based on the type and set of photos that we are going to take. We are more concerned about bling-bling looks and price. Looking for a phone with just a "good camera" is the same like looking for a smartphone to make calls - you must consider what shooting environment you aim for, in order to have the results you expect from your phone's cam. 

In the case of Condé Nast, those guys apparently took pics out in the Mexican sun (Oaxaca, to be precise), and at the beach – outdoor places with lots of light, natural colors and a minimum of shade. Both covers required strong contrast capabilities, even though the color transitions on the ‘Traveler’ cover are a lot smoother.

In our cameras comparison, iPhone 7 Plus certainly excelled in settings with abundant light, showed sharp contrasts and plainly delivered superb image quality. 

iPhone 7 Plus cam vs Samsung Galaxy S8+ cam


Both phones deliver the same aspect ratio and resolution, so that’s not a point of debate. However, iPhone’s cam features a slightly smaller sensor and smaller pixels than the new Galaxy flagship. Samsung has also improved the image processing aspect of shots you take, which digitally clears blur in pics. Sometimes too much, though, giving photos a slightly artificial look.

Samsung does have a good touch on photo processing algorithms that will separate colors and shapes better than your eye. However, like we said above –it’s more important what you are shooting than what you are shooting it with. 


Why sometimes iPhone takes richer pics?


The duo of 12MP lenses on iPhone 7 Plus can pull off some tricks that the 3-photo comparison on S8 just can’t quite attain, in terms of optical quality. Yes, in low and indirect light, iPhone lacks the richness in image that the Galaxy produces, but in abundant light, the optical zoom can produce some true masterpieces. And covers of magazines, apparently.

Notice how both magazine covers have solid focus on a large primary object that fills most of the composition? Notice how the woman’s colorful attire blends smoothly with the deep blue background; and how the boat’s red rim naturally transits into bland sand colors? Even though the sensor takes in less light than that of S8+, the optical rendering delivers superior natural looks, with well-balanced, but sharp shading.

Where Samsung’s digital processing would worry about pixel noise, and thus create some weirdly looking edges, iPhone’s optics would blend lines so well, that you’d have to wonder whether Photoshop played a part. Had a Galaxy S8+ been used in place of iPhone 7 Plus, the left rim of the ice-cream might have had a much sharper, darker pink depth line. When zoomed, the red rim on the boat probably would have had a vague, but very real, hue of a handful of pixels, garbage of digital rendering. 


A new era of photography


$2000 DSLRS are making room for much cheaper artworks of technology, in the face of some truly magnificent pieces of smartphone cameras. Condé Nast’s choice to use an iPhone for the shoot of covers for its magazines is not a novelty, as last year’s Culture issue was also shot by iPhones. The trend is here to last. And why not?

Samsung certainly takes its cam game to a next level with the Galaxy S8. The phone does really well in low-light conditions and when shooting moving objects, thanks to state of the art image processing that chooses the best out of three possible variants for your snapshot.
However, when light is not an issue, and shooting a close-up or portraits, iPhone 7 Plus has more on offer than you would think, considering its “age”. Even though the sensor and the pixels on iPhone are smaller than the ones on Galaxy S8, the 7 Plus benefits strongly from its optical prowess. Images look natural, colours are full, zoom mode is fun. We just can’t wait for Apple’s next flagship to make a splash later this year. It will be interesting to see whether the folks at Cupertino will bet on the double-lens plan again, as it proved to be a winner in the last iPhone.

Related phones

iPhone 8 Plus
  • Display 5.5 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera)
    7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A11 Bionic, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2691 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x
Galaxy S8+
  • Display 6.2 inches
    2960 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh
  • OS Android 9.0 Pie
    Samsung One UI

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40 Comments

39. amasog

Posts: 552; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

the answer is simply BECAUSE THEY WANT IPHONE. What is the big deal with it, if they use iphone? This site is just making intrigues. LOL!

38. shafayatsohail

Posts: 55; Member since: Jan 14, 2016

Not Samsung, because Samsung phones don't produce natural images. They are over sharpened, over saturated and artificially brighter. And why are trying to promote S8/+? Samsung pays billions for marketing and advertising, have you got something from that amount?

35. redmd

Posts: 1969; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Because S8+ is not yet released. How simple was that?

30. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

In other news UPS just dropped my Galaxy S8's off...I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Time to crack them open and see Beauty and the Beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I

31. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

36. redmd

Posts: 1969; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

How lucky you are! Mine will arrive next month.

29. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

The thing is I don't notice what is better until I put them side by side. So all these flagships get the job done for me. I do think the Samsung takes better pics. But to each their own.

26. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

All I can say is, the true test of a photo to me is taking a picture of nature spots that are open and have varying degrees of colors, shades, tones and shadows. The iPhone is the only phone I have used in recent years, that can take a beautiful natural location, and make it look dull and washed of real color. The Galaxy takes that same, and then over-saturates the colors to be to livelier but less real. But I rather have that vs dull and boring. I mean look at the grass on the iPhone. Its looks dry and void of color, while the Galaxy makes it look like evergreen vs real green. The water on the Galaxy shot, look far more alive vs the iPhone where it looks like Lake(River) Placid. Black and lifeless. Yet the fanboys will swear by the iPhone photos. For me the best thing about the Galaxy, isn't its color reproduction. But the sharpness and crispiness of the photos. How it doesn't miss the shadows. How it doesn't take grass and trees and blend the blades or leaves together as if they aren't separated like the iPhone does. The Galxy takes very vivid colors even if they are wrong and the iPhone takes natural looking photos, but they look more lifeless vs what I see with my own eyes.

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

because it just came out. it hasnt been officially released. here is PA trying to start trouble again. How about, why does a professional magazine company, use a cheap smartphone for pictures and not a fancier professional shooter like a DSLR camera?

20. drazwy

Posts: 378; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

Exactly. Like a couple people here said, The S8+ isn't available. Stupid ass article.

18. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

,'We couldn’t help but ask why didn’t they use a Samsung Galaxy S8+' Maybe because it's not even out yet.

13. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

How could they use a Galaxy 8+ when it isn't even out for another two days?

10. Talhamid

Posts: 61; Member since: Jun 13, 2009

Oh, easy answer: All those Apple dollars have to go somewhere, especially magazines, which shoot crappy covers and make a news out of it, to be reported by "tech sites' like PA, which in turn entices more readers to think that iPhone is the best, so they line up like lemmings to buy them, providing more money to Apple, which again pays review sites (such as PA) and magazines to pretend that nothing but iPhone is worthy, which.... you get the idea

14. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

Dude, if you're sick of this websites, I suggest you move to somewhere else like Android Authority. The only reason you and some people are heated up is because your egos can't take a jackass without Apple being mentioned.

8. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Ha ha it is amazing how low iphonearena can go. It is so pathetic, it is beyond anything.....

17. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

you could always leave you know.

7. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

This could make a run for the dumbest article ever on PA. First off.. you assume through the entire article that the photo was shot and sent right in for publishing. "Had a Galaxy S8+ been used in place of iPhone 7 Plus, the left rim of the ice-cream might have had a much sharper, darker pink depth line." and "maybe photoshop played a part" Ya think!?! I can assure you that there is NO WAY that this photo wasn't processed in photoshop, or some other tool. Skipping it in publishing just doesn't happen, unless it was a specfic "no retouching!" assignment. This photo was more than likely color corrected for the publisher, sharpened, softened, manipulated on whatever manner the photog and publisher wanted for the magazine. Again - stupid article.

15. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

*shows a doll* Show us where phoneArena touched you and we'll provide therapy.

6. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1622; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Considering my S7 is absolute garbage compared to my Nikon, I can't believe professionals are using an iPhone for a photo shoot.

16. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

If i were a professional i wouldn't use a phone either but nowadays its all in the software afterwards.

5. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

You say the image from S8 of the woods is natural looking? If I say what I percieve would have been the actual image, the iPhone clearly has the more natural-looking image with great dynamic range, better colours,and the sky can easily be told apart from the clouds. That said, the exposure seems to be better than the S8. However, that's what I percieve would have been the actual scene. If someone thinks the image from S8 is more realistic, then that's their own opinion. I am totally fine with it.

19. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

I agree. The iPhone pic of the wooded scene is much more natural and realistic looking. Ive been hunting and playing in woods since I was a lil kid. The tree trunks and grass and all that don't look that bright. The tree trunk in the left foreground looks much more realistic in the iPhone pic. The S8 pic is too bright. I do however think the water looks better in the S8 picture.

4. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Simon closely monitoring comment section. Words that kill any valialbe journalism "... produce some true masterpieces." . Rise of the courtesan.

3. kumar1234 unregistered

Galaxy phone's camera produce unrealistic and fake looking photos whereas iPhone produce pleasant and natural looking photos. iPhone camera is better than Galaxy camera and one of the reason most professional photographer prefer iPhone over galaxy phone.

9. SaRPeR

Posts: 173; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

You'r wrong. One of the world's best photographer chosed S6 Edge+ and both the S7/Edge and S8/S8+ are better than that. https://www.sammobile.com/2015/09/14/galaxy-s6-edge-camera-put-to-the-test-by-award-winning-photographer-proves-spectacular/

12. Unordinary unregistered

Except he's not. Everyone knows that the iPhone has the most accurate colors when compared to a galaxy. Everyone knows the Galaxy's results are altered and manipulated to give a better image.

21. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1128; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

It's called Pro Mode on the Galaxy devices, you can adjust settings for a better color. If you're a professional photographer and using Auto mode on your camera, which the above pictures are using.... you are not a professional

24. peace247 unregistered

Ikr... Professional and auto? Thats like using automatic gears in formula 1. Iphone camera is the most overrated camera. Every protog use iphone bcos duh its a fashion statement. That thing compliment their wealth.

25. peace247 unregistered

Ikr... Professional and auto? Thats like using automatic gears in formula 1. Iphone camera is the most overrated camera. Every protog use iphone cos duh its a fashion statement. It compliments their wealth.

40. Macready

Posts: 1834; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Horrendous nonsense, since there is nothing accurate about a yellow veil to fake golden hours in every shot and end up with people looking like they have a liver disease. The average deviation in colors is actually measurably worse on iPhones. Let's not mistake marketing for proof of quality. If you want acurate colors, you shoot RAW, forget the fluffy talk in this article, based on assumptions, fallacies and stuff irrelevant for RAW shooters (most professionals).

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