Samsung says that its new Galaxy S9
series “redefines” what a phone camera is.
In a way it does: the S9 and S9+ are the first modern smartphones with a variable aperture lens that can open as wide as f/1.5, the widest ever on a smartphone, and this makes it possible to capture a ton of light at night and allows shooting videos at nearly pitch dark conditions. At the same time, this f/1.5 camera is only used in those super low light scenes, while the majority of time the phone shoots at its other, f/2.4 setting that captures actually sharper photos.
How well does this setup work in real life?
A couple of days ago, we asked you to blindly pick the best photos. We did not tell you which phone shot these photos, though, you only knew that we used one of these four:
Today, it's time for the results! Let's take a look at who wins our blind camera comparison...
Day Scene 1: Early spring at the beach
The first scene we shot was at the entrance of a beach bar in early spring. The dark hallways contrast with the bright and cheerful skies and bar, a perfect test for the phone's auto HDR capabilities.
Day Scene 2: Church walls on a sunny day
In this picture of an old church, you can clearly see the different ways the cameras interpret color.
Day Scene 3: HDR to the test
Another high-dynamic scene, this more solitary beach scene highlights good and bad HDR one more time.
Day Scene 4: Spring colors
The green grass and blue skies are something that will inevitably end up in your pictures, and here is how different phones capture this scene.
The Apple iPhone X wins two rounds conclusively, the Pixel 2
XL wins one (where the iPhone trails closely), and the Galaxy S9+ wins another one.
All four phones support Portrait Mode in one form or another, but the differences really come to light when you try to take a portrait photo at night. Here are the results.
Night Scene 1: Neon lights
The first of four night scenes, the neon lights are a challenge for every smartphone camera.
Night Scene 2: Sea garden
Once again, when night settles, smartphone camera don't perform as good as during the day. But which one is best?
Night Scene 3: Fancy restaurant at night
The bright lights are a particularly challenging thing to photograph at night.
Night Scene 4: More night colors
One last night-time picture. Pick your favorite below.
Night Photos Conclusion:
The Pixel 2 XL, however, wins the night comparison decisively. It wins 3 out of 4 rounds, and almost won the fourth one, but the Note 8 came slightly ahead. It's clear that whatever Google is doing with the camera works much better at night than any of its rivals.
So... did you vote for your favorite phone? Are you surprised by the results?