Blind Camera Comparison 2021 results: iPhone 12 vs Galaxy S21 vs ZenFone 8 vs Pixel 5

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Blind Camera Comparison 2021 Edition: Time for the big reveal!
UPDATE: It's time for the big reveal, guys! The polls are closed and our contenders - exposed! The results are quite interesting but as many of you pointed out - all four phones take decent pictures. The daylight shots are a mixed bag with a slight advantage for the Galaxy S21, although the Pixel 5 impresses on several occasions. There's no room for debate in the ultra-wide category - the Galaxy S21 wins hands down. Things look more or less the same in the zoom shots - the Galaxy S21 wins by a margin.

The night shots are also very interesting - every model shines in one frame or another, with the exception of the iPhone 12 which lags behind in low light conditions. The selfie shot race is won by the Galaxy S21, even though I personally prefer the natural shadows that the iPhone 12 produces. So there you have it! Surprised? 

FINAL OVERALL SCORE:
1. Samsung Galaxy S21 - 40.9%
2. Google Pixel 5 - 25.3%
3. Asus ZenFone 8 - 19.0%
4. Apple iPhone 12 - 14.7%


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Ah, the smartphone camera. Such a powerful thing. Some argue it can even replace a dedicated DSLR. With smartphones reaching a plateau in design and innovation, phone cameras remain one of the last active battlefields for manufacturers to show muscles, clever software algorithms, ingenuous hardware solutions, etc.

Last year we did a blind test, comparing 2020 flagship phones and it was quite fun to see you guys pick your favorite photos. Spec sheets are one thing, but there’s nothing like a good blind study, as every scientific person would tell you. This time around we’re pitting against each other four phones with very similar price tags and camera configurations. Let's see if you can tell which is which. 

In the Apple corner we have the iPhone 12. Representing Samsung in the phantom violet corner - the Galaxy S21. The Pixel 5 will fight for Google in this gruesome battle. And finally - the underdog - Asus has sent to the arena the ZenFone 8.

We’re doing this using full Auto mode, just point and shoot. Pick your favorite shot among the four options and vote in the poll below each batch of photos. We’re going to let this one run for a while and then make the big reveal.

Let's go! We're kicking off with some nice shots from the main camera in bright lighting conditions.

Daylight photo #1

Daylight #1: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
5.13%
Samsung Galaxy S21
27.74%
Apple iPhone 12
27.88%
Google Pixel 5
39.25%

Daylight photo #2

Daylight #2: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
33.49%
Samsung Galaxy S21
31.72%
Apple iPhone 12
12.24%
Google Pixel 5
22.54%

Daylight photo #3

Daylight #3: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
5.21%
Samsung Galaxy S21
52.95%
Apple iPhone 12
27.26%
Google Pixel 5
14.58%

Daylight photo #4

Daylight #4: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
15.34%
Samsung Galaxy S21
37.88%
Apple iPhone 12
12.88%
Google Pixel 5
33.9%

Daylight photo #5

Daylight #5: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
2.42%
Samsung Galaxy S21
48.69%
Apple iPhone 12
26.46%
Google Pixel 5
22.42%

Daylight photo #6

Daylight #6: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
14.56%
Samsung Galaxy S21
39.4%
Apple iPhone 12
19.06%
Google Pixel 5
26.98%

Now let's check out the ultra-wide snappers of our challengers. Bear in mind that the wide angle is slightly different in each model, so the pictures aren't perfectly framed. 

Ultra-wide camera #1

Ultra-wide #1: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
11.6%
Samsung Galaxy S21
44.55%
Apple iPhone 12
22.27%
Google Pixel 5
21.58%

Ultra-wide camera #2

Ultra-wide #2: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
7.58%
Samsung Galaxy S21
62.59%
Apple iPhone 12
13.69%
Google Pixel 5
16.14%

Ultra-wide camera #3

Ultra-wide #3: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
15.48%
Samsung Galaxy S21
48.48%
Apple iPhone 12
18.78%
Google Pixel 5
17.26%

Next we're zooming in and taking close ups with our four challengers. Just like with the ultra-wide shots, the actual zoom will differ between the phones, even though we're using the exact same zoom numbers.

Zoom photo #1

Zoom #1: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
15.59%
Samsung Galaxy S21
51.98%
Apple iPhone 12
11.63%
Google Pixel 5
20.79%

Zoom photo #2

Zoom #2: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
26.38%
Samsung Galaxy S21
49.75%
Apple iPhone 12
13.32%
Google Pixel 5
10.55%

Let's not go crazy with the zoom samples. Moving on to the macro - things are even more complicated here but we're doing one macro shot, just to add some spice to the mix and maybe throw you guys off guard.

Macro photo #1

Macro #1: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
30.85%
Samsung Galaxy S21
28.11%
Apple iPhone 12
5.97%
Google Pixel 5
35.07%

It's time for the night shots. We're not going to specifically turn any modes on (or off). We're letting the phones handle this on their own. Everything is on Auto - just like you'd use it if you needed to snap a photo fast. No preparation, no tripods, no nothing. 

Night photo #1

Night #1: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
17.73%
Samsung Galaxy S21
53.43%
Apple iPhone 12
13.95%
Google Pixel 5
14.89%

Night photo #2

Night #2: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
40.91%
Samsung Galaxy S21
4.07%
Apple iPhone 12
3.83%
Google Pixel 5
51.2%

Night photo #3

Night #3: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
59.61%
Samsung Galaxy S21
10.22%
Apple iPhone 12
3.89%
Google Pixel 5
26.28%

Selfie photo #1

Selfie #1: Which photo do you prefer?

Asus ZenFone 8
2.56%
Samsung Galaxy S21
63.4%
Apple iPhone 12
2.1%
Google Pixel 5
31.93%


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Related phones

iPhone 12

PhoneArena Score:

9.0

User Score:

8.3
  • Display 6.1 inches 2532 x 1170 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A14 Bionic 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2815 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x
ZenFone 8
  • Display 5.9 inches 2400 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 64 MP (Dual camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 6GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 4000 mAh
  • OS Android 11 Zen 8 UI
Galaxy S21

PhoneArena Score:

8.5

User Score:

8.5
  • Display 6.2 inches 2400 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 10 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 8GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 4000 mAh
  • OS Android 11 Samsung One UI
Pixel 5

PhoneArena Score:

8.7

User Score:

8.7
  • Display 6.0 inches 2340 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 8GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 4080 mAh
  • OS Android 11

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