Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera Test Comparison.
A little different we’ve got 12 categories and then we’re gon na crown one winner and i feel like i need to start by showing this. This is samsung’s camera app versus apples and there’s such a gap between them. Whilst every generation apple is just constantly thinking. How do we keep this simple? Samsung is just cramming features into every corner like portrait mode, video, super steady, recording, possibly the best pro video mode out there, multiple camera shooting, at the same time, 8k video and a second version of their single take feature, which means that i can just tap the Shutter once and get from that, every type of photo and video in one go. What does the iphone have portrait mode slo mo, but like so does the samsung? And yes, the main purpose of this video is to test core image quality, but you can’t ignore that disparity. I think that, just by having this many options give samsung a slightly higher starting point and when i say options there’s much more to it than just surface level. Software gimmicks like zoom. I don’t need to tell you that this camera has better zoom functionality than this camera. I think samsung made that pretty clear, but to show you just how much better i’m actually hiding in this photo. You probably can’t, see me on the ultrawide cameras, so this is one times this is three times this is ten times and ah it’s, like i’m, not even there and you’ll be pleased to know that if, for some reason you did want to do 100 times on The samsung you can now this is kind of to be expected, because apple does not care about zoom.
In fact, the only context apple ever talks about zoom cameras in is just in how they can be used to take great portrait shots. So as far as zoom distance is concerned, whether it’s photo whether it’s video it’s not even close and that’s, not to say that the iphone is bad at zooming. I would actually put this phone in the definitely adequate ballpark it’s, just that samsung’s devoted a lot of resources into making their phone special at it. But i will say it’s kind of ironic that a phone so specialized on zoom still can’t seamlessly transition between lenses without some sort of little lag, like the iphones have been doing for years now, it’s not like a huge deal, but it just loses a little bit Of that perceived polish, but the cool features continue. If you watched my first impressions, video of this phone you’ll know they’ve done something pretty clever with it. They’Ve made the ultrawide camera double as a close up macro camera. You just approach a subject and it will automatically switch and, as you can probably tell it’s good it’s rare, that you see disparities this massive when you’re comparing two super high end phones, but look at it. I mean these look like before and after photos to be clear. I’M, not saying that i think macro shots are anywhere near as important as shots from the main camera. It’S not like i’ve ever really had a moment using the iphone 12 pro max, where i thought.
Ah, do you know what i really want to do? I want to take a close up shot of the texture of this table, but i can’t stupid iphone. But what i am saying is that sometimes it takes seeing how something could be done to realize how it should be done and now, having used samsung’s macro camera and seen shots like this, going back to the iphone and a lot of other phones. Something feels wrong. I just kept moving further and further back from the subject. Thinking, surely it’s going to focus now it wasn’t this bad was it. I do have to say, though, even with all its lenses and tech and software magic. There is one thing that samsung has not nailed on this phone portrait mode. I took portrait after portrait after portrait and i just couldn’t escape the same feeling that i had when i was using the s20 ultra last year that this looks fake and on one hand it is fake, it’s, a phone. What do i expect, but on the other hand, the iphone could make you think. Otherwise, you could hand someone a portrait mode photo, take on an iphone and possibly convince them that it was in fact taken on a 1500 dslr. You couldn’t on this phone and what makes this more frustrating is the fact that samsung has done portrait mode just fine before like take these two photos, which one do you prefer this one right, there’s less distortion and the background blur just looks a little more natural.
Well, this photo is actually taken on the 2019 base galaxy s10, a phone that you can now get for like four hundred dollars. This one is the 2021 ultra. Why well? The important thing to remember is that photos of people, and i would almost argue photos in general, look much more natural when taken on zoom cameras, and so i think at least ninety percent of the problem comes from the fact that, since the s20, ultra samsung has Put such high magnification zoom cameras on their phones that they’ve disabled using those zoom cameras to take portraits, but given that this new phone has not just a crazy 10 times, but also a pretty normal three times, optical zoom, i think it would work you just can’t. Try it so. This is why the iphone’s portraits always look a little bit more zoomed in than the samsung’s. The iphone is using its dedicated 2.5 x zoom lens and the samsung is just using its normal main camera and then, for some reason, decides to digitally zoom. In two times, i guess just to try and make it look similar, but that’s going to result in even worse quality and nothing makes it clearer that this is the problem. Then the fact that when you take portrait mode on the front cameras where both phones use a pretty similar type of lens, they look about the same. There are some shots. I would hand to the iphone. There are some, i would hand to the samsung, but there isn’t enough of a cohesive pattern.
For me to say: oh this one takes better shots than this one and that actually carries through to normal selfies as well it’s. More of a question really of do. You prefer the iphone’s flatter look or do you want something that’s, a bit contrastier and by the way, if you are enjoying this video, then a sub to the channel would be Music good, it’s. A very similar situation with video too. Both phones can record 4k on the front, which is fantastic, and the biggest visual difference is just that. Samsung is punchier, i think, on a technical level. The iphone’s footage is actually slightly better like it seems to be losing a little bit less detail in the really dark areas and the stabilization does seem a little bit smoother. But at the same time i did ask four other people what they thought about it and three of them picked the samsung, and this is an audio test. So now, you’re listening to the microphone from the galaxy s21 ultra the car moving in the background now you’re listening to the microphone on the iphone, let me know which one you prefer as far as i’m concerned. Audio is extremely good on both of these and it shouldn’t be a reason to pick one over the other. But now, as we start to see some proper differences, i spent a lot of my time with this phone taking night mode photos because for me at least that’s a big category.
Hence why we’re representing it with a bigger sized dot but apple still wins with the iphone 12 pro max apple jumped from pretty good at night mode, like kind of middle of the line for top tier flagships to right at the very top, and even with this S21 ultra, i don’t think samsung’s topped it. Its photos do have a sort of a grunginess, a grittiness that you might actually quite like, but without fail just the fundamentals of the night mode shot like texture like detail, the iphone is winning it’s almost like samsung’s, become ultra aggressive, all of a sudden with its Noise reduction, like they’re, somehow afraid of there being even a single speck of grain in their shot, but the result of that is it’s just a little bit softer. I am pixel beeping yes, but you kind of have to when you’ve got two phones that are just this consistently high end. I will give to samsung that it’s nighttime zoom shots usually look better it’s nighttime ultrawide shots are surprisingly crispy, given the lack of light. Its general ability to brighten is also a little bit greater, but i do just want to stress that i don’t think the quality of a night mode photo should be about how much like day time it can make things. Look. It really should be about embracing night and making the night look good, and the iphone does a better job of that it handles night mode in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re using some sort of special mode, and so the photos that come out As a result, they they don’t feel needlessly edited not to mention that nighttime portraits look better on iphone.
Just because i guess portrait mode in general is better on iphone the color tones. It manages to keep them more realistic, even as the lighting starts to get pretty abstract and sometimes even the zooms look better, just thanks to an impressive resistance to blurring and softening so this one’s going to the iphone, and so is video the entire category. Take a look at this. Nothing immediately seems off to start with, but as the phone gets further and further into this dark tunnel, now you’re – probably starting to see it or take a look at this one. This is shot in pretty low light, and with that in mind you might look at the samsung and think wow that’s impressive, but then you look at the iphone and you’re like oh right, yeah that’s, really impressive. I realized i’ve never shown anyone me driving a car before, but i’ve been testing one for a few weeks now and i’m, just showing you this shot, because this is the perfect example of what i’m talking about, and even this one. This was shot about an hour before it got properly dark and on the iphone you can’t even tell that the situation is not well lit. You know the most interesting part of this, though, is the fact that this disparity has nothing to do with the cameras themselves. Like if both of these phones, cameras were being pushed to, the absolute maximum samsung would crush apple at every photo.
Every video it’s, just because apple, has just about every major component custom made for their iphone. They can create these. These really streamlined algorithms to process the feed from the camera it’s a bit like having a a really well oiled, really efficient four cylinder car engine versus having just an incredibly tanky eight cylinder one. I do think, though, that some part of this is just the fact that the s21 ultra is a new phone and it’s also the first time ever that samsung is using this image. Sensor like it does seem unusually grainy, so i would expect it to get better and i’ve got to give a big thumbs up to the stabilization on this phone. If you record, with both phones at 4k resolution – and you just try pacing it downwards, you’ll find the samsung is slightly ahead. You can see the iphone’s lens kind of struggles with the motion, but the real difference comes when you turn on super steady mode i’m about to show you some footage that was effectively filmed while the phone was actually going like this, and this is kind of an Interesting one because it’s really good, but i don’t think i’d ever use it because it severely limits dynamic range and it caps. The resolution at 1080p, which, in an age where we’re recording 4k and 8k video, is not good enough. But this is just to say that if you did want an extreme level of stabilization, this can do it and just before the final showdown, both of these phones can take slow mo when you’re taking normal slo mo.
I would say the iphone is a head. It manages to make things look a little brighter a little bit better defined, but then samsung has the option to go much slower than iphone. So on balance, i think it’s roughly fair, to call this one a draw okay, it’s time to talk about photos. The final and probably the most important category, it’s also actually probably the easiest. I generally found that, for the most part, even the galaxy s20 ultra could take better photos than the iphone, and so given that the s21 has a better sensor, a faster shutter time and a more advanced image signal – processor, yes, i’m, giving this section to samsung. So one of the first things you’ll – probably notice when you start taking photos on it, is the fact that, because the sensor is still big by today’s standards, you get even more natural background blur this lovely separation between foreground and what’s happening behind. Secondly, the samsung can be more detailed and i wouldn’t mark this down as a huge plus because for the most part, you’ll be shooting on auto and when you are shooting on auto they’re about the same really. But just because this is a 108 megapixel camera. When you turn on 108 megapixel mode, then yes, you will capture more detail and, thirdly, dynamic range in photos and in photos only. It seems like samsung’s able to draw out just a little bit more detail in the really bright spots.
It does also produce photos that you could see are punchier, but to be honest, all this extra sharpness and color and contrast you could take it or leave it. It can sometimes mean photos that look slightly better when taken straight from camera. I think the iphone’s photos are a little bit at risk of looking flat, but if you want the beauty you got, ta live with the beast, because, with this scene, optimizer turned on every now and again, this phone will just pump out some of the most disgustingly Oversaturated garbage you’ve ever seen, but it is mostly good. So where does that leave us because samsung’s won five apples won three, but obviously not every category has the same weight and not every victory is by an equal amount. So what i would say is this: using these two cameras feels a bit like using yin and yang. At the same time, it almost feels like each failing of one of these phones is something that the other one is particularly good at. But i realize that it’s not very useful advice to say screw. The mortgage buy both so i’m, giving this one to the samsung it’s, not just the more enjoyable camera to use, but it’s. Also, the more versatile you can get everything from five mile zooms to two centimeter close ups, and it also is just generally brilliant when it comes to photos. But i would just say that, if you’re not in any rush to buy it, then i would hang on until you’ve seen they’ve announced some sort of major update to video because i’m pretty sure it’s coming, but at the same time, just in case it isn’t.
I don’t think video quality is that great right now so that’s it. I realized that camera tests can be kind of boring, and so i spent like the last year trying to figure out how to make them more fun. So if this was it then please do let me know – and i will try and make this a thing thanks for watching my name is aaron.