Sony Xperia X vs Samsung Galaxy S7: which has the better camera?


Remember how back in the old days people took pictures of their dinner, brought the film to Wallgreens to have it developed, then sent dozens of copies to their friends over the mail? No, of course you don't because nobody was crazy enough to bother. Then smartphones came along, and all of a sudden, we started sharing more than just food photos. We now document every major and not-so-major event – be it a birthday party, an exercise routine, or the act of walking the dog in the morning – all accompanied by the appropriate #hashtags, of course. This is why camera quality is of utmost importance to most smartphone buyers. This is also why we do camera comparisons all the time.

The Sony Xperia X is now the star of another camera comparison. On its back resides one of its key stand-out features – a 23MP camera with super-fast autofocus and extra-wide lens. In the opposite corner, the Samsung Galaxy S7 will be standing its ground with its 12MP shooter. Samsung's flagship is known for its excellent camera and image quality, but who knows, perhaps the Xperia X might give it a run for its money. That's what we're here to find out.

Here's an overview of what these two phones have to offer in terms of camera specs:

Camera Specs
Sony Xperia XSamsung Galaxy S7
Resolution and
aspect ratio
23MP @ 4:3
5520 x 4140 pixels
12MP @ 4:3
4032 x 3024 pixels
Sensor and
pixel size
1/2.3"
1.12 μm
1/2.5"
1.4 μm
Focal length
and aperture
24 mm
F2.0
26 mm
F1.7
Focus and
stabilization
Phase detection AF
Object tracking
Optical stabilization
Dual Pixel AF
Object tracking (off by default)
Optical stabilization

It should be noted that while Xperia X boasts a 23MP camera sensor, we've taken the photos at 8MP of resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. This is the default shooting mode set on the device and the one most people are likely to use. Also, the slide-over galleries used below contain cropped-scaled down photos for easier general comparison. The original, full-resolution photos can be found in a gallery at the very bottom of this article. With all of this cleared up, let us comment on some photos.

Scene 1: Ivy



The original, full-resolution photos can be found in the gallery below.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: more pixels don't always translate to a better camera. The Xperia X is an ideal example of that. Despite the higher megapixel count, its camera has not resolved details very well, especially if we look at areas far from the center of the frame. Of course, the image is perfectly usable, but the better detail captured in the Galaxy S7's photo should be easy to see. As far as color accuracy goes, it could have been better with both cameras. The warmer hue presented by the Galaxy S7 looks somewhat artificial, while the Xperia X has gone for a colder, somewhat overexposed look. Overall, the Galaxy S7 scores a point this round for its clearer, sharper image.

Winner in Scene 1: Galaxy S7

Scene 2: At the cozy corner



The original, full-resolution photos can be found in the gallery below.

We took this photo later that day, right after a moment of chillaxing at the office's cozy corner. Disappointingly, the Xperia X has captured a colder image, which isn't particularly eye-pleasing. this is why the red firetruck looks pink and the white cabinets at the bottom appear blueish. On top of that, details aren't particularly great. This makes it an easy round for the Galaxy S7, which is providing us with both better details and better colors. 

Winner in Scene 2: Galaxy S7

Scene 3: Pretty in pink



The original, full-resolution photos can be found in the gallery below.

This time around, we're finding it much harder to name a winner. Both photos have turned out great, with life-like colors and plenty of detail to be explored – the petals, the raindrops are just begging us to zoom in on them for a closer look. We must also point out that colors are life-like in both photos. If we could change anything about any of them, we would have added a bit of sharpness to the Xperia X's image, but we would have also reduced the amount of sharpness applied by the Galaxy S7. 

Winner in scene 3: tie

The gallery below contains all of the photos used in this comparison – uncompressed, in their original resolution. On PCs, use double-click to zoom and the fullscreen option to get a closer look at the images.



Related phones

Xperia X
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2620 mAh(14h 3G talk time)
Galaxy S7
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(28h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

62 Comments

1. Unordinary unregistered

I like my women better when they don't have 6 lbs of makeup caked on their face. This is Samsung, and they are quite known for their obvious "auto fix" over-contrasted images that look unrealistic. They need the "make-up'. http://d28mt5n9lkji5m.cloudfront.net/i/W2MyPc3fYd.jpg To each their own.

7. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Except in these pictures they were not glossed in lipstick. It doesn't matter what they are known for. if you don't want over-saturated photos, you can set the camera to not take them. To complain about something you can change at any time just makes you look dumb! The S5 was the last Samsung on the highend that I saw that takes over-saturated photos. But it can be changed too. many people like it, many dont. But you have the option to not take them that way. Or you dont have to buy it. Either way, the Galaxy S/Note take better photos than any phone in its class. PERIOD. Even the ones pretending to be in the same class.

25. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

When PA will stop leaving the camera on 8 mpix and will use the full 23 mpix sensor i will beleive result they give. In full resolution the Sony X take MUCH MUCH better picture. So PA stop been ignorant and do following : Setup the camera in 23 mpix manual mode. Leave all others setting in automatic. This will be equivalent to automatic on any other non sony phone as its will still be automated and result will be more what they should be. The superior automatic mode is not like other phone automatic. Techie we wont beleive you because we know how biased you can be. We tested many phone thats have raw support and even in RAW format S7 picture are oversharpen way too much but yes the color are toned done. S7 is like having automatic photoshop of pictures. Every tech review website say the S7 is oversharpen and sometime overblown colors. Personally i dont like artificial picture but other can like and i sold S7 to ppl who liked to use photoshop a lots to fix picture they liked thats the phone did it by itself.

36. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Again, just liek you suggested taking the X out of automatic mode, you can do the same for th S7. if you don't want over-sharpened and over-saturated colores, then you can change the camera settings. For the peopel complaining, they need to learn how to be smart enough to make those changes it easy. "Techie we wont beleive you because we know how biased you can be. " Biased? I stated a fact. The S6 and S7 don't take over-saturated pictures like the S5 does. Over-sharpened?Subjective. The fact is brush, everyone doesn't have the same eyes or same tastes in photography. I set my Note 5 to take pics the way I like them. They are nice and sharp, nice and colored, but none are over the limit. As I said, the settings can be changed. Unlike some phone wheer when taking the phot, you can't pick resoltion, shutter speed or similar. The S7 takes better photos than any smartphone in it class. That isn't biased dude, IT FACT. So far no phone on PA tests have taken all around better photos. The HTC 10 too a better wide shot thanks to a second camera. The rest of the photos wre better on the S7. With this one all of the photos were better than the Xperia. That isnt biased. THAT'S FACT! You can call it bias, you can call it fanbiyism, you can call it whatever you want. Until you show me a phone in the same class as the S7 that takes better pictures, then my point stands as fact. I am not biased to Samsung phones. For the features that matter to me, the fact si no phone beats them. The display, the camera an the feature-set. No phone in the world matches those or beats those. That is being biased. I don't care how many phone stores you've worked it :-)

42. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

"SOMETIMES" overblown/...."SOMETIMES" ovber-sharpened...is not equal to EVERYTIME. I rather have over than none. I rather have a vibrant color that looks mor enatiral than some washed out POS that most acmeras do. To each his own. But your claim is BS. I checked on YouTube and I watched 5 random videos of the S7 cameras vs the Xperia X even using manual mode at 23MP, and overall the S7 came out on top. if the only way the Xperia can beat the S7 is using 23MP, then that's just lame. I guess I would expect a 23MP camera SHOULD take a better picture than the 12MP. Hwoever I recall you said this same carp with the S6. I also recall PA did a test showing the 23MP vs the S6 @ 16MP and the S6 still did a better job. So your claim is BS. Every blog has proven that having MORE megapixels doesn't always lead to a better photo. Samsung proved that both ways with more and less they still did better than the competition. The only camera I have seen that NO ONE HAS BEATEN is the 41MP shooter on the Lumia. The S7 is still the best in its class, whether its 12MP or 16MP, the last cameras on the Galaxy S/Note have been hard to beat in every single scenario. Its just a fact, not bias.

46. Unordinary unregistered

You spent probably 30+ minutes of 5 comparison videos just to prove a point to one random comment on Phonearena? Not to mention another couple minutes typing an essay that hurts to read. Lmfao you need to get a life.

47. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

At least I'm not like you wasting time with snarky, posts with no substance. Just typical bashing rhetoric that offers nothing to said topic. I'm not the topic for discussion, stop making me be so. I can retort however many times I like to whomever. It is a forum. Right?

48. Unordinary unregistered

Exactly. It's a forum. I don't owe any "scientific" or "backed up" posts. No one does. You just sound like a child whenever you say that lol. It's the internet, boy. Btw, you make yourself the topic for discussion when you make yourself sound stupid lol.

49. talon95

Posts: 998; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

If Sony really outputs 8MP in auto mode then isn't that a fail regardless? I know auto won't be as ideal as pro mode (I use a DSLR enough to know what I'm doing) but if every single photo is automatically that poor on auto mode then they deserve the poor review. The point of auto mode is to get it right a majority of the time, and Sony X just doesn't do that.

52. chenski

Posts: 768; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

fact 1: diff in image quality between high end flagships are negligible fact 2: no matter what they still get owned by dslr prove me wrong

55. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

Excellent comment Techie. Never thought I'd say this

14. Jairus24

Posts: 49; Member since: Jan 20, 2012

There's always a RAW mode for the S/Note line so everyone can apply their own post-processing if they don't want Samsung's processing, stop acting like there's no solution to it. And the last time I check, the S7 are more closer to natural, still a bit saturated but not like the S5 days.

26. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

S7 colors are more natural yes but still artificial. What cannot be fixed even in raw is the over sharpening and contrast boosting... even in raw they are still as unatural on thats end.

38. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

NO PHONE ON THE PLANET IS CAPABLE OF TAKING 100% NATURAL PHOTOS. NONE WHATSOEVER! I dont care how much a DSLR or smartphone cost, it is impossible for a camera which is a machine to work like a copier machine. A camera can't see thinsg the way your eye sees them. A machine is trying to do what God did perfectly. IT CAN'T, especially being made by man. GET OVER IT> So phone's camera has come as close to being as natuiral than the S7's so far and i am sure the new Note will improve on it even more. If you want a natural picture? PAINT ONE! So you can see, that even YOU can't do it either. You just don't want to give props where it is due and you don't have too. The facts show right now the S7 camera is the best in its class. Its sad that several phones that are NEWER than the S7 still can't even take better pictures overall. Where is my bias? Maybe you should look by your bias for a brand name and just go with the facts. I could care less who's frikkin name is on the device. Better is better! Once upon a time when Android phones has the shytastic cameras on the planet, then the iPhone was the king taking better photos. Even though I did own an iPhone at the time, I still knew it was talkign better photos. That all ended in 2010 when that was no longer the case. Things change. One day Samsung wont have a phone that takes the best shots. Until that day comes you got to just admit the facts, no matter how much you like it or not. I stated a fact. Facts can't be biased...BROTHER!!!!!

41. kylebelle

Posts: 74; Member since: May 03, 2016

don't waste your time my friend

37. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Which is exactly what I said. The S5 took photos that were so over-saturated with colors, I thought they were painted and not snapped. That si not how the S6 or S7 take photos now. Even the Note 4 was a huge improvement in taking photos.

17. Kumar123 unregistered

LOL, that's a nice pic to depict S7's camera.S7 produce fake color/image. S7's camera make night scene into day scene. It apply heavy NR then apply heavy sharping which their idiotic fanboy believe they have better details. If you like fake photo S7 is for you.

19. kylebelle

Posts: 74; Member since: May 03, 2016

well if real life looks as s**tty as the sony xperia photos then i guess your right. s7 for me.

27. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

look around on the web for review in wich its in 23 mpix mode. Picture look much better and more realistic than S7. Those are 8 mpix picture made in superior automatic wich is anything but superior. They need to put in manual mode with all optios on auto ( basically its become like all others phone ) Go read what superior automatic do you see its like its try to choose others mode and go too far and make big mistakes.

39. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Funny PA is saying the S7 has better results. So how exactly is that being fanboyish? Oh wait, I forgot you're a Samsung hater so anything Samsung is best at, you will hate it. Yeah I see. You're working with an half empty head bruh!

56. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Said idiotic Apple fan, well at least DxOmark agree S7 is the best camera phone you can get right now.

22. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

But even with all the make up it's clear that the xperia is far worse than the S7, both phones offer inacurate tones but while the samsung samples are pleasing to watch, the colors from xperia are too cold, the pics also look blurred and even if PA uses any cnahce they have to tell us how much they hate the processing of the samsung camera and how much they value the natural colors over detail there's just no way the las picture is a tie, I mean in the xperia camera you can't even see the vase of the flowers

28. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

See comment 27.

2. DanishPastry

Posts: 16; Member since: Aug 13, 2014

Just wow. The Xperia X pictures look like something from a few years old midrange phone

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

And yet again Sony failed to deliver. Maybe next year.

20. Chuck007

Posts: 1410; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

I won't keep my hopes up. Have been saying this myself for years now..

29. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Sony only failed because they continue to include thats crappy 8 mpix superior auto mode. If you put it on manual at 23 mpix resolution but dont play with setting ( there is an auto setting for each setting in manual ) then you get real result. But hey easier to bash on sony right?

40. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

What's sad is, Sony makes sensors for Apple and Samsung and themselves. Yet both Apple and Samsung do a better job with Sony's sensors; than Sony themselves do. So how is that hatting on Sony? http://www.sammobile.com/2015/05/05/heres-the-difference-between-samsung-and-sony-camera-sensors-on-the-galaxy-s6-and-s6-edge/ Look at that link. It shows the S6 taken with both Samsung's and Sony's own sensor? Do you see any major difference? NOPE! Its not out fault Sony puts cheap optics with their sensors and Samsung doesn't. Why you so mad. It is what it is Samsung is better at this than anyone...call it over-sharpening, over-whatever. Over is better than under.

3. Zomer

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2013

Galaxy S7 is much better.

4. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

S7 anyday baby!! But quietly waiting for a price drop next year to grab one

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.