This is a big one: the oneplus 9 pro versus the iphone 12 pro max versus the samsung galaxy s21 ultra. So since the oneplus 9 pro is priced very competitively with both of these it’s, a big boy flagship now with the pricing we’re gon na see, if that hasselblad collaboration makes a real difference. So let me know which front facing video looks better. Let me know which microphone sounds better and then i’m gon na compare these cameras in every condition and i’ma. Let you know if the oneplus 9 pro is better than these two reigning champs let’s do this first let’s start with the daytime photos and just as you would expect, any flagship device is going to take a great daytime photo, and that is absolutely true here. All of these cameras create a sharp and detailed image with lots of dynamic range, but the thing that we’re going to focus on first is color, since oneplus really touted color accuracy, with the first step forward with the hasselblad collaboration. So we will see if that is true with this comparison again, i took way too many photos about 300 for this comparison so make sure you hit that thumbs up. So more people can find this video and subscribe to the channel for a lot more camera comparisons. Just like this one, the first set of pictures are shot with default settings with scene. Optimizer left on every picture that you see here in this comparison is shot using auto mode.
The oneplus 9 pro and galaxy s21 ultra both have pro modes to tweak your settings for that perfect shot with 12 bit raw and the iphone 12 pro max has apple pro raw. So you have choices on all three phones for the ultimate flexibility in post, editing. Normally there isn’t this much variance in the daytime shots and maybe to an average consumer. You won’t notice a ton of difference, but here are some of the major differences that i noticed. First is the overall exposure of the picture. The iphone 12 pro max seems to produce the brightest picture more consistently, which i think a lot of people will like, but this really does flip flop depending on the scenario it changes so much throughout the comparison. So i wouldn’t worry about that part. So much the white balance also is inconsistent all throughout, but i did notice that the oneplus 9 pro is the one affected by it, the most since it leans towards the warmer tones which in some pictures look really great, giving it a very nice balance. So i can see where oneplus was going with this. I was impressed that a scene with this much water, the oneplus, was able to capture the scene accurately, and some might even think that the oneplus approach is flatter with the colors, but it really works in certain shots. The iphone 12 pro max with the most saturated take while the samsung meets somewhere in the middle here, the iphone really likes to take the cold tone this year, but the representation of the wood and overall scene is really fantastic on the oneplus image.
Now, if every result was like this, then oneplus would have had a clear win in my book, but consistency is where the problem lies. Sometimes the sky is the most saturated on the oneplus. In certain scenarios like this and then at times the image is just too warm in this beach area shot the sand just looks off and then look at the clouds. It looks extremely flat. The iphone with the best in between, in my opinion and the most accurate in terms of representation, but the galaxy s21 ultra just with that super crisp white sand, looks the best in my opinion and then just look at this shot. The oneplus goes really deep, blue with the watercolor not saying that that won’t be a great look for some people, but shows you that a lot of times the iphone is still more accurate with the overall scenery, but the galaxy s21 ultra. Is that perfect? In between of accuracy and color vibrancy, the same thing happens with skin tones too. Here are some portrait mode shots. The warmer white balance does give more saturation to the skin on the oneplus, but i hope they improve this in the future. Software updates the iphone isn’t perfect, either it’s just way too cold on this, including my skin. Since i was in a shaded area, but i think the s21 ultra does the best job for balance on the skin tone and overall picture. The reason that i know it can be fixed to a software update is because i took some pictures of my wife for comparison and it’s much better here, but tuning that white balance with saturation levels is going to go a long way moving forward, because in the Front facing camera shots it’s the total opposite the skin, rendering is more like where samsung was a few years ago, where it looks too bright and the iphone is really making me.
Look like i’ve been stranded on the island for two weeks and the s21 ultra coming out with the best rendition, but not all the time, because this is a weird tone on my skin from the samsung on this shot front facing cameras are tricky. Okay, so oneplus owners. I know exactly what you’re going to want to know next, how is that magenta or purplish cast on the images? Is that gone this one’s a little bit complicated, it’s a yes and no? I noticed that on some of the pictures it wasn’t as noticeable or even there when the oneplus 9 pro hits. I really preferred that image, especially with that ultra wide it’s, really good. That high resolution sensor creates some of the best ultra wide shots with better distortion control, but it all depends on the scenario because it was an absolutely beautiful day and it’s most prevalent on the sky. The thing is, you probably won’t even notice this. If you don’t have a side by side comparison like this one to look at so i wouldn’t worry too much about this. If this is your primary device – and i know that a lot of you will contribute this to the scene optimizer being on, so i turn them all off for these next set of pictures here’s an example of a shot with it on and here’s an example. Without it, the iphone and oneplus really don’t see a huge difference, but the samsung actually does a lot more saturation and vibrancy to the shot, but taking 50 or so shots with the scene.
Optimizer off really didn’t do much for the magenta cast. It was still there in a lot of the photos and again there are some shots that look flatter and you don’t notice it as much in some shots again. The oneplus 9 pro just does a great job, but i still found it to be there if anything. At this park and the scenery i found it to be consistently worse with the magenta tone. I’M sure it can be 2 0 through software updates. Because look at this portrait shot, you don’t even see it at all, and then you move to that same scenario with the main camera, and then you get it again so it’s wild that the same camera system can shoot. This photo where it’s perfectly balanced to this. Where the dynamic range is suffering and the colors being off with dynamic range, all of them are good, but in harsher conditions the iphone seems to be doing the best with smart hdr, but sacrificing in shadow detail. But the oneplus does a nice job with balancing the shadow detail in the foreground, so it’s a capable camera system. When the lighting changes to a sunset scenario, it completely changes. So this is where i can see the potential of the oneplus 9 pro. I consistently prefer the colors replicated by oneplus here, and this wide angle shot does so much better with the sky and the trees in the middle. The galaxy s21 ultra goes a little wild with the saturation where the iphone lands in the middle.
This is definitely gon na, be a preference thing for sure, but i like what the oneplus 9 pro camera is doing here, where the galaxy s21 ultra really shines is in the zoom. The iphone has a 2.5 x optical and the oneplus 9 pro defaults to a 3.3 x, but the s21 ultra has that really great 10x optical way sharper than the digital zooms on the other two and it can go up to 30x as well, where it’s still Usable and then 100x, if you want to so, i can’t, go without showing you these moonshots. They actually work during the day too, but the samsung turns the sky into a gray color, which i hope they change that in the future. But it’s really meant for night time, because the daytime 100x shot from the s21 ultra is pretty noisy. The others are maxed out at their digital zooms and they look pretty terrible in comparison to the samsung that 30x moonshot is legendary and, of course, that 100x looks good also. But i think the 30x is the one to use the oneplus 9 pro and the galaxy s21 ultra have a higher resolution mode. The s21 ultra has the higher resolution sensor with 108 megapixels and cropped in slightly. You don’t see a huge difference, but you can see where the iphone’s 12 megapixel resolution is much softer, but at 1 000 scale. You can see better detail on the s21 ultra at certain points, but not bad at all for detail on the oneplus 9 pro either it’s just crazy what we can carry in our pockets today before we go to low light.
Let’S talk about daytime video. They all can shoot 4k 60 frames per second, which i think is a staple now in modern camera systems and the oneplus and the samsung can shoot up to 8k video as well, but the oneplus 9 pro can shoot 4k 120 frames per second, which is incredible. It doesn’t look like stabilization is supported because it’s pretty shaky, but this can make some legendary slow motion if used right. So i can’t wait to use this more in terms of color. It will be personal preference, but the oneplus 9 pro is the most vibrant out of the three a little too wild. In my opinion, look at the hyper saturated watercolor, the iphone with the most accurate color here neutral, with tons of dynamic range and shadow detail, and the s21 ultra is somewhere in the middle. I still think the iphone 12 pro max has the best video available on a smartphone, so it’s the phone to beat here we will zoom into their respective secondary lenses. The iphone again, i think, looks best here with the best balance of sharpness and colors. The samsung looks nice too, with a bit more sharpening and more color vibrancy, where the oneplus looks the softest and also with the worst exposure here is a stabilization test. They all look very similar when it comes to picking up bounce while walking. So let me know if you see a significant difference here, they’re all doing a pretty good job with stabilization, so let’s jump into low light, and i know it’s been a while since i’ve been to citywalk.
So this was a nice change for scenery, and this is where oneplus really surprised me and we will get to why, in a minute, their single snap with no modes is almost on par with the best out there, with decent noise reduction. Look at the noise level here on the iphone 12 pro max, though it’s a little bit surprising. The galaxy s21 ultra still has the better overall noise reduction, but with that little bit of noise allowed look at how sharp the overall image is on the oneplus 9. Pro after looking at a bunch of images side by side, the s21 ultra consistently produced the most balanced shot with better noise reduction. While it is a little bit softer, you can always add sharpness later, but noise is harder to get rid of and when you get even darker, the noise is really hard to unsee, where the s21 ultra handles it much differently. But i do love the fact that the center focus metering is nice and aggressive. So here is the shot without center focus. It looks very similar to the others, but if you tap to focus in the middle look at how that metering changes and you get a shot, that actually looks like a nighttime shot same thing here. The sky is black, but you can still see some of the cloud detail and i personally really like this look or you can kick it into night mode or shoot it without center, focusing to get a brighter image.
So i think, having that flexibility is really nice. Sometimes it can be a little too aggressive, but it handles the light, bleeds so well. The other two cameras as well, i tapped in the center to focus and then here’s a shot without tapping in the center. So let me know which one that you prefer. I took a lot of shots without night mode and i took them again with night mode. They all do a great job of cleaning up noise and improving sharpness, but the one thing i want to talk about is how long the exposure is to get these results. Most of the time, the iphone and samsung will expose anywhere between two to four seconds, but the oneplus is about one second, but the results are so impressive for a short exposure. It was really dark here. The oneplus and the iphone do the best without any modes, but here the oneplus exposed for one second and the iphone for about six seconds and the ultra for about the same amount. So that is really impressive for the short capture and in a lot of cases, the single snapshot on the oneplus 9 pro looks very similar to nightscape shots, so you don’t get that super drastic change as the other two now, of course, there are times where it Does create a totally different picture, but you just don’t have to wait for that result with long exposure times. But if i had to call a winner on night mode, i, like the s21 ultra the best it’s, really a nice mixture of shadow, detail, exposure and color same thing with the wide angle as well.
The oneplus and the s21 ultra really do well without night mode, but kick in that night mode and the s21 ultra looks the best overall, in my opinion, in terms of ready to share right out of the camera. But the oneplus 9 pro has the most accurate interpretations so, depending on how you see that the oneplus is the best in the scenario, but in this shot of the dock, the iphone does the worst. With this weird noise pattern in the sky i’m. Not sure why this has become more prevalent, but the s21 ultra here has the best shot with more detail on the palm tree. Better noise reduction and better dynamic range, but i can’t say i’m not impressed with the iphone 12 pro max as well, because this is the oldest phone out of the three and when it hits with the perfect white balance, the image just looks incredible and the iphone Is still so consistent between the lenses here is the mainland shot, which looks the most natural out of the three, the first zoom choice. You can see that the other two already switched up on white balance where the iphone stays the same 10x zoom. The s21 ultra is the most detailed because it’s optical, but the iphone is impressive for digital zoom and with the noise and detail, i would say that the oneplus underperforms here, but in the second example from across the water, is better again. You can see the samsung just nailing it with the first zoom level with the 3x and then at 10x optical.
The samsung looks incredible, very sharp and detailed, and you can really see it in the bird. But the oneplus comes in second this time and the iphone is the softest with the most noise but regardless it’s impressive for digital zoom. The color differences aren’t as big as they are during the daytime, but you do get times where the oneplus 9 pro will over saturate, but the other two also accentuate colors at night. So a lot of times the results will be very similar in this single snapshot. I think the oneplus has the best mixture of color vibrancy and noise reduction. The sky is still black, but you get the cloud details. Still, the iphone does great centrally, but the noise is heavy in the clouds and you can see those green dots from the light reflections. The samsung lands in the middle with a little bit of a flatter approach, which i think some people will appreciate as well. So if you haven’t picked this up by now, this comparison is going to heavily rely on preference where the iphone and the s21 ultra pull ahead is in the night mode portrait feature. I would love to see this added in the future, because night mode portrait looks so much better. The oneplus doesn’t look horrible here on the portrait shot there’s a lot of skin, smoothing there from the noise reduction. But again it is the most accurate to the scene. So an addition of a night portrait mode would be very welcome.
The galaxy s21 ultra is the only phone out of the three to support night portrait mode on the front facing camera, and it makes a huge difference. You do have to stay still for a while, but it’s totally worth it. Night mode is supported on the iphone and the s21 ultra, but no option for the oneplus. So i hope they bring a nighttime solution to the front facing camera in a future software update, because it makes a huge difference to results and until we get bigger sensors on the front, software is our best option. Last thing is nighttime video, the oneplus 9 pro has the most contrasty video out of the three. This looks better when you get into areas where the sky and water can be crushed to reduce noise. So i can see people really liking this, because again it has the most saturation and color pop, so that does work for low light video. But once you start moving into a more mixed scenario, the noise is more visible, but it’s no worse than the other three. So you can see it getting aggressive with this metering when it goes back. Unfortunately, the s21 ultra with the worst low light, video tons of noise and the iphone again, i think, with the best video just look at the building back there. The best dynamic range from apple here, but the iphone does have the worst lens reflections again watch. As i move the camera, you can see the flipped universal sign reflection.
The s21 ultra has a 2 but it’s very slight it’s hard to see but very noticeable on the iphone. There is a nightscape feature for video on the oneplus, so i wanted to test it here. It is without that feature for reference it’s important to see it without it in this scenario, because as soon as you kick it in the oneplus 9 pro really cranks up that iso to make a brighter image and while it’s noisy, you do have this option to Brighten up that nighttime video with just one tap. This is a drastic difference in light and you can see that in the trees and the trees actually have color here as well. So that’s really impressive, it’s not going to be accurate, but i think this mode is useful when it’s just too dark to get good footage from your phone. When you go into a mixed lighting area back into the main scene, you can see what this mode is doing, but take a look at the overall video. The balance and dynamic range is so much better on the iphone and it’s accurate to the scene as well. So video again overall goes to the iphone 12 pro max. So all of these phones have their strengths and weaknesses, but this video was made to show how the oneplus 9 pro compares to the best of the best and cliche yes. But this is the best camera system that oneplus has ever made.
I think they are going in the right direction and if this hasselblad partnership wasn’t so hyped, this would have looked like a major win for oneplus. I still think the galaxy s21 ultra and even the iphone 12 pro max are better camera choices overall. But there is no denying that the oneplus caught up to the industry leaders and i would have zero hesitation to recommend the oneplus 9 pro to people who want to buy it, but the almost 1 000 price tag. They are priced like the other phones as well. So you have to consider the entire phone and ecosystems and all that before making a decision, if you are considering a oneplus 9 pro look at it. This way the hasselblad hype didn’t make much of an impact on this release, so i wouldn’t focus on the hype or even buy it. For that reason, but oneplus is moving in the right direction for their camera system, and i think this hasselblad partnership will make changes more evident in the next few years. I say the ball is finally on the court now and it’s up to one plus in what ways they want to score. I want to see them make consistent baskets with frequent software updates to improve the launch camera faults and strengthen the positives like the color science. Moving forward, so let me know what you think of the oneplus 9 pro camera.