Studies show that most of the people who opened this article will skip straight to the conclusion part. This makes you a cool person if you're still reading this paragraph, and you probably smell nice too!

But does the Galaxy Note 8 take good photos? That's one of the questions we aim to answer here. And we'll compare it against the iPhone 7 Plus and the Galaxy S8+ while we're at it.

Before we proceed, there's a few things we should clarify. For starters, keep in mind that we'll focus solely on these three phones' main cameras. Telephoto lens shots haven't been used in this comparison. Also, we had all cameras set to "Auto", with automatic HDR, though we did intervene on rare occasions when a tap to set the exposure straight was needed – you know like a normal person would. 

Scene 1


When we asked Samsung about the camera hardware inside the Galaxy Note 8, we were told that the main camera is identical to the one on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. The software part, however, appears to have been tweaked. Taking a closer look at the Note 8's photo reveals that image sharpening is less aggressive. 

Sharpening is applied to accentuate details in an image. Its use in moderation is perfectly acceptable, but too much of it spoils fine details and produces an unnatural look. Samsung's image processing algorithms are known for excessive sharpening, so seeing less of it in the Note 8's photo is a sign of things turning for the better. 

In this scene, the iPhone 7 Plus can't quite match the clarity or the lively colors presented by the Note 8, so we're giving it a slightly lower score.


Scene 1: score
Galaxy Note 88.5
iPhone 7 Plus7.0
Galaxy S8+6.5

Scene 2


Here's how much of an impact software processing can have on a photo's appearance. The images out of the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 might look impressive and eye-catching, but they're also unrealistic with their oversaturated colors, as if they've gone through an Instagram filter. By comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus delivers a more faithful look. 

Again, the Note 8 goes easier on the sharpening compared to the S8+, most noticeable in the upper left corner of the images. But at the same time, details in the garden are softer, most likely due to camera software approaching the shots differently. 


Scene 2: score
iPhone 7 Plus7.5
Galaxy Note 87.0
Galaxy S8+7.0

Scene 3


This is a dynamic scene were all three phones switched on their HDR mode, just as we expected them to. As a result, all managed to deliver a proper exposure, without "burning" the clouds in the sky. Yet some differences are easily noticeable. For example, the images from the Galaxy Note 8 and the S8+ are more saturated – not as much as in the previous set of photos, but still quite colorful than the iPhone's view of the scene. Also, shadows are brighter and more detailed compared to what Apple's handset delivers. All of this makes it tricky to pick between the rather natural look of the iPhone's image or the spiced-up presentation from the two Galaxies. We lean towards the latter, as we trust many would.


Scene 3: score
Galaxy Note 88.0
Galaxy S8+7.5
iPhone 7 Plus7.0

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36 Comments

36. halim101

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 06, 2017

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35. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

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34. firebird820

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 01, 2017

I still don't get how on scene 4 you said the s8+ won yet it got a lower score than the iPhone... Plus in most of these images the colors are completely faded on the iPhone yet it got a higher score than the s8+... Some images even looked almost exactly like the Note 8 yet still the s8+ came in last on those scenes.. Biased?

32. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Does it matter that the iPhone 7 is a year old? Many reviews of the iPhone 7 camera, including on PhoneArena, said the iPhone 7 cameras were worse than the iPhone 6S cameras. In fact, Consumers Reports said so -http://www.zdnet.com/article/consumer-reports-iphone-7-camera-does-not-outperform-iphone-6s/ So that means, it couldn't even beat the Galaxy S7 or S6 cameras either. It fact it was very similar to the S5 which took better pictures in better lighting. The S5 simply sucks at low light. So it stood no chance against the S8 or Note 8. Even though your terrible pictures, you try to paint the iPhone 7 as being better than the S8, unbiased side by side phones on a stick, shows that even though the iPhone 7 offers some pluses above the S8, it wasn't enough to secure any type of lead. Even DXOmark rates the S8 camera as being better than the iPhone 7, even though they claim slightly better. Note 8, first phone to offer dual OIS on both the wide angled and telephoto lens is a huge plus. The dual pixel auto-focus introduced with the S7's is only rivaled by the original Pixel. You will never miss a shoot thanks to the quick launch camera and using any button to snap the shot or even using your voice. I still think the telephoto lens is a pointless gimmicky concept. All they have to do is take the making sensor and give it the same optical zoom capabilities as a DSLR. Samsung already has such a lens on the Galaxy S4 Zoom. All they have to do is make it smaller. Here Sony makes the smallest camera with a 30X lens -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aioG40c_k6E For 2X you can keep the camera the same size it is now. Digital zoom has always been hit or miss and by now for what phone cost, should have been improved. Optical is the best way to go, and tech exist already for a 2X sized lens on a phone. The Note 8 offers the benefit of taking a photo with both the main and 2X camera at the same time. That's a huge one up on everyone else. When you get their first, others will follow. The S6, S7 and S8 and the Note in between them, all offered at least one industry first.

31. alexvoinica

Posts: 5; Member since: May 12, 2017

I am reading this site for over 3 years. The only reason I am following it now is for the 2k wallpapers. The rest of the articles are crap. I remember one good article though - the one regarding Google Photos - if the photo quality changes when uploaded in Photos or not aaand that's it.

30. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

So the S8 in the previous comparison had the best camera when compared to other phones, once the Note 8 is now out then the S8 Camera becomes one of the worst performing ones suddenly. RIP I wonder how different the normal camera is on the Galaxy Note 8 vs Galaxy S8

29. AriEru

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 06, 2017

You got the final score wrong. GN8 should be 7.8, SGS8+ should be 6.9 and IP7+ should be 7.2. Check the scores again and take the average.

25. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

7 Plus, just got owned.

26. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1186; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

thank you for stating the obvious.....no s**t, darkstein

27. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Your post made zero sense lol. That was stupid.

23. kopkiwi

Posts: 102; Member since: May 31, 2013

I'd love to know what you guys are looking at (or how much you're being paid) to think the iPhone comes even remotely close to either Samsung in any of those shots. It's like you think we are blind. The difference in detail and clairty is huge. The iPhone doesn't even put up a mild competition.

24. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

You need to take off those "S" glasses lol!

21. jacky899

Posts: 434; Member since: May 16, 2017

I spent half an hour pixel peeping the zoomed in photos and I found that on average, the Note 8 takes slightly better detail than the other two. However there were many specific areas where the S8 and sometimes the Iphone 7 had sharper detail than the Note 8. Kind of disappointed, because I was expecting Note 8 camera would have U11 level of detail. I don't care about colors since that is preferential. Pixel peeping many full size photo comparisons between the U11 and the Iphone 7 and S8, the U11 captured far more detail than the other two and in some cases text could only be made out int he U11 photos. I really hope the Iphone 8 and Pixel 2 will be able to push the smartphone camera boundary beyond the U11.

17. erabe13

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 02, 2011

Wow s8+ is 2nd place. I had seen that its on tje 3rd spot all the time I guess

13. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2291; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

It looks like the Note 8 and all Galaxy phones over expose their shots. You can correct this through software touch ups. Apple took the more natural approach towards their shots as they look less dynamic. Now in terms of close up shots and low light the iPhone lags in that area as you notice tons of noise in the pictures.

16. Macready

Posts: 1832; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Not really. Exposures are similar but the iPhone has its blacklevels elevated (barely any 0 rgb values) to give the appearance of less dynamic range compression (output format almost always has less DR than the scene, hence compression a fact of life in photography), yet suffers more from highlight clipping, especially in low light. See the statues on the building for example.

12. Medoogalaxy

Posts: 232; Member since: May 25, 2017

f**k comparison with iphone 7 crap

11. nightfury

Posts: 82; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

note 8 and s8 own iphone in details in all the shots , agreed shots from them are bit saturated though

10. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Galaxy Not8 pretty much has this one in the bag.

8. Landon

Posts: 1249; Member since: May 07, 2015

It will be interesting to see the Note 8 vs iPhone X vs V30 vs Pixel XL2 vs U11.

7. AwesomestMaximuss

Posts: 148; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

Whats up with scene 4?? You say S8+ has the best image and you give it the lowest score!!

9. nightfury

Posts: 82; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

i was gonna ask the same thing

20. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Wondering the same

22. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1620; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Typo in the article i assume but was wondering the same thing.

28. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Was about to say the same, then I remembered that this is PA.

4. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

It has to be Iphone in "every" comparison so you can get your spice :) But we all know U11 and Pixel had to be there instead.

3. talon95

Posts: 1012; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

They really improved the Note over the S8. That's impressive. I would say the Note 8 is far better than iPhone in every image. In detail there is no question, but even the iPhone neutral WB is given too much credit, many scenes don't have neutral light so why should their images look so neutral. I want it to capture the scene as it appeared, not shifted neutral. The improved detail without over-sharpening over the S8 is what's really nice to see. Granted the over-sharpening looks pretty good on screen when not pixel peeping.

15. Macready

Posts: 1832; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

The sharpening level looks similar but they really refined it with a smaller radius (plus better masking) and greatly reduced artifacts (halos etc).

2. 314NTMD

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

Compare against pixel or U11 please

1. maherk

Posts: 7101; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Funny how the regular lens on the Note 8 is wider than that on the iPhone 7 Plus, yet you mentioned it as a con in the review and how it isn't wide enough.

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