com link is down below what’s up everybody. This is danny and today we’re going to be doing the camera comparison that everybody has been asking me for and that’s the xiaomi mi 11 ultra versus the samsung galaxy s21 ultra and we’re gon na throw the apple iphone 12 pro max in there just to spice Things up so 1080p video from the me 11 ultra, which i’m surprised to see here. But let me know what video looks better and what microphone is better and i’m going to test the cameras out in all conditions to see which one is the camera king. In 2021, let’s go ahead and do this let’s jump right into the daytime pictures. All of these shots were taken on auto mode and all the pictures that you’re going to see are straight out of the camera with no edits. So this is exactly what you can expect if you buy one of these phones, the mi 11 ultra and the s21 ultra both have pro modes to dial in that perfect shot. If you have time, but the iphone 12 pro max does not, i usually leave scene optimizers on the cameras because they don’t make a ton of difference usually. But i did take a few with and a few without to see if it makes a major difference and it does have some effect on saturation and contrast. So what i did is, i turned them all off, plus the ai mode doesn’t come on by default on the mi 11 ultra.
So i wanted to make this comparison as fair as possible, but regardless color is going to be very subjective. Everyone has a different preference, but when it comes to skyrendition, i found the me11 ultra to be most accurate. On this day the sky was a very light blue and the xiaomi picked it up the best, but i don’t blame you for liking, apple or samsung’s approach. Better because it is more pleasing to the eye – and i found the s21 ultra and the iphone 12 pro max to be more consistent with the sky renditions. Sometimes the mi 11 ultra would pick up too much magenta, like i’ve, seen on the oneplus 9 pro and personally, i don’t find that to be pleasing, but it does not do this all the time. Two things on the mi 11 ultra that i’ve noticed the auto hdr is very inconsistent. I ended up getting shots like this a lot, so i had to set it to always on hdr for the rest of this comparison. Generally speaking, the mi 11 ultra favors more shadow detail with less contrast, and sometimes this looks really great, but sometimes you end up with a more washed out image where the iphone tends to crush the shadows more drastically and the s21 ultra meets in the middle. So i find samsung’s approach this year to produce the more pleasing shot overall straight out of the camera. The saturation and accuracy of colors does go back and forth.
Sometimes the iphone creates the best balance of reality and appropriate color tuning and sometimes the m11 ultra hits and gives the best rendition, but they all mess up. Sometimes over saturating and miscalculating. The white balance it’s actually crazy. How all of these cameras perform differently depending on what’s in the scene? The dynamic range is excellent on all of these cameras, but i think most aggressive on the hdr is the mi 11 ultra. Sometimes i think the shots have that overdone. Hdr look, but in some scenarios it really works because that boost in shadow detail, especially with the shots towards the sun. I was really surprised that smart hdr on the iphone performed the worst here where the mi 11 ultra handled the harsh lighting through all of these windows. The best and the foreground is also exposed properly. So that is impressive, but i would love to see a software update where it does bring more consistency to the shots on the me11 ultra. Sometimes you get no contrast like this on the flower, and sometimes you get some crazy highlight clipping even with the hdr forced on. I noticed this on some of the portrait shots as well. I would also like to see a little bit of tuning when it comes to the sharpness when it comes to shots like this, since the me11 ultra has the largest sensor out of the three you do get some incredible background, separation or bokeh, and while it’s not Too, widely different, i think the samsung has the best balance of sharpness and depth of field, but you can see the iphone produces the sharpest shot here with less depth of field.
So this is the natural downside of these larger sensors, regardless of sensor size. They all have poor minimum, focusing distances on their main sensors, but the xiaomi and samsung have some features to help with that. They both switch to the wide angle for macro mode, but the s21 ultra can get closer and it doesn’t have that distortion. So i prefer that and it’s also sharper. In fact, i am noticing that in some of the pictures the xiaomi does have the softest shot, especially in scenarios where there’s a central subject at play. Look at the leaves there’s more detail on the iphone and the s21 ultra does the best here. Look at the chicken here on the salad. The meat 11 ultra has the softest image in the center, where the iphone 12 pro max’s time has the sharpest shot but i’m definitely giving xiaomi the benefit of the doubt. Since this device is brand new and i’m sure we’ll see software updates to tune the camera. Further very soon, both the galaxy s21 ultra and the mi 11 ultra have incredible zoom capabilities. The mi 11 ultra has a 5x optical, where the s21 ultra has a 5x and a 10x optical, and the iphone just has one choice at 2.5 x and the rest is digital, but i’m. Very surprised how good the 10x zoom is on the mi 11. Ultra very comparable to the s21 ultra and the iphone’s 12x maximum isn’t bad at all.
The m11 ultra can go up to 120x zoom and the s21 ultra goes up to 100x zoom and while the s21 ultra is more heavily sharpened, it does pick up more detail. Here is another example of how far i am from where the people are sitting. The mi 11 ultra goes to 5x as the first option, where the s21 ultra and the iphone look about the same with their first options. Here is the 10x zoom on the s21 ultra, which looks the best, in my opinion, with the colors, the contrast and detail, and here you can see that 100x zoom still looks the best, but the mi 11 ultra is also no joke. I took these pictures on the safari and animal kingdom. Look at how far the lion is. The m11 ultra looks great at 5x, here it’s amazing, to have that type of zoom range in your pocket. The iphone shot looks great, but i wish there was a little bit more reach, but that 10x on the s21 ultra just nailed it here, so sharp and detailed. So the s21 ultra, i think, is still the most versatile with that 3x and 10x optical. This is a totally usable picture. The flexibility also continues with the portrait mode shots. The mi 11 ultra just has one option as of right now, but the other two cameras have more. Besides the wide option, you get a 2.5 x portrait on the iphone. While you get a cropped in version of the main sensor as the second option on the s21 ultra by default, but the new software update also added a 3x portrait shot for the third option, which is great.
They are all nice and detailed, but the s21 ultra has the best overall look with the colors and sharpness it’s, a really close call between the iphone and the s21 ultra when it comes to skin rendition. The me 11 ultra is just too bright with the worst highlight control, but i prefer the s21 ultra here. They all don’t do super well with the color that is coming off of the rocks. The me11 ultra might have the best shot here actually, but i really like the way that the iphone balanced the entire scenario, the shirt is nice and crisp. White samsung does have the best balance of skin. On my wife. Here, though, the iphone has the best balance. Overall, with the highlight protection and the hair detail is more preserved, where the me11 ultra provides probably the best ready to share the social media shot, but the skin tone itself i’m going to have to give it to samsung. Here, i’m really happy. The samsung gave us the 3x portrait option. I think it’s great the front facing camera is where i would love to see an update on the me 11 ultra as well in high brightness scenes like this. I was getting inconsistent exposures. I thought it was just me, but someone else also has a unit and it confirmed the same issue, so it wasn’t user error, but the s21 ultra here is really making me. Look like i’ve been stranded on an island for two weeks last time.
That was the iphone when you get more into controlled lighting. The mi 11 ultra does a nicer job great with details and brighter exposure. Let me know which front facing camera that you think looks better in this scenario. Again, i think it’s between the s21 ultra and the iphone, but on the mi 11 ultra there is an awesome little oled screen on the back. That allows you to take high quality selfies easily with any of the rear cameras, including the ultra wide. So if you take this route, you can for sure get amazing, selfies so kudos to xiaomi on this option. I really like it before we jump into low light. Let’S talk about video. They all can shoot 4k 60 frames per second, which i think is a great feature to have in your pocket. But this is 8k that you’re seeing right now you can see there’s a hefty crop with the galaxy s21 ultra, but there’s no crop on the mi 11 ultra and you can shoot ak from any of the lenses, including the ultra wide, which you cannot do on The samsung so that’s awesome, the iphone is in 4k here the mi 11 ultra is the most overexposed. You can see that here on the rock, so i hope that is improved in the future. In this scenario, the s21 ultra looks the best overall, the shadow detail is still the best on the iphone because it’s giving you that detail.
Alongside that deep contrast in the video and that’s not easy to do that’s. Why? I still believe that the iphone is the best in the game when it comes to video, and i also think it handles compensating exposures best when the lighting changes regardless. All three of these do very well during the daytime, even though i think that the mi 11 ultra is the most saturated out of the three. It still looks. Great. All of these phones are now set to 4k 30 frames per second i’m, actually impressed with the mi 11 ultras video, the iphone as usual, with the more accurate interpretation and the s21 ultra is somewhere in the middle. With that nice touch of saturation they’re. All doing very well with stabilization as well, so let me know which video looks best to you in the comments below alright, so let’s jump into low light. They all do quite well in low light, but the m11 ultra and the s21 ultra have the biggest sensors here. So this should be a good battle. Surprisingly, the iphone 12 pro max holds up well at night without night mode. The bigger sensors capture more light, as evidenced by the sky, but the iphone also does a great job, still capturing sharp details, keeping up with the other two phones kick in night mode and that improves sky detail for all of them. Capturing more details, the me11 ultra with the brightest overall picture in this scenario also capturing the most detailed two, so that’s really impressive.
The s21 ultra has the best noise reduction, but that does sacrifice some detail. Look at the wall. The iphone surprisingly captured the most detail on the wall, while the me11 ultra picked up the most up here, and you can see all of that texture, it’s crazy. The me 11 ultra most of the time, creates the brightest picture overall from the main lens, but that does create the most noise on the non night mode shot here. It is punched in 300 scale, so you can see it better, but now that noise isn’t as prevalent on the 5x shot. This is also just single snap. Take a look at the iphone is surprisingly detailed, but then you can see that the s21 ultra losing some of the detail and sharpness here already and then jump into the 10x and look at that detail and noise is so much better control than the other two. So i would like to see better noise reduction from the main lens on single snap from the me11 ultra, but this might not be of concern because a lot of people will be using night mode, here’s, a single snapshot from all three of these cameras – and you Can see that the noise from the lamppost is on all three of them, but when you kick in night mode, all of them do a great job of picking up more detail, adding sharpness and reducing noise here’s a punched in look of the lamppost after night mode.
So, with the me11 ultra, you should probably stick with night mode for the best results. Colors again will be very subjective. The white balance, colors and saturation levels do vary, sometimes where they look like completely different shots, but then at times they all look extremely similar. So let me know which one that you think looks better. The processing is consistent and carries over from the daytime. The iphone usually tends to have the most contrast: reducing noise by crushing the shadow details, but it does look more like an actual nighttime shot, while the other two give you more shadow detail, but the mi 11 ultra gives you the most information. It really works here. So for sure we have a contender for one of the best cameras of the year, but in certain scenarios it can give a picture a washed out look. So i would like to see more consistency. For example, red is still one of the hardest colors to replicate at night, and you can see without night mode that the samsung and xiaomi do the worst, but with night mode, samsung recovers the color, but loses some detail. Unlike the iphone where you can still see the individual blocks, but the mi 11 ultra is still washed out once in a while. I came across auto hdr issues like i experienced during the day, so i switched to hdr always on and even then it kept doing it and i couldn’t get the blowouts to correct until i use night mode like on this door, so xiaomi.
If you’re watching this. I would like to see this improved. This is a super dark shot. So this is a great example. This is without night mode. So i understand the background control here, but even when night mode kicked in, it did get better, but the s21 ultra and the iphone both handled the lighting on the distant building better. But the details in the foreground are absolutely incredible. On the mi 11 ultra when it comes to raw sensor capabilities, the xiaomi has tons of potential. This is really dark here and look at how much the mi 11 ultra picked up with just single snap, and here is the night mode shot. The other two are drastically different, because this was on a tripod and they both exposed for 10 seconds, while the mi 11 ultra for only four seconds, so that’s wild. I think with a little bit of software tuning. This camera could really be something, but the large inconsistencies like this that i saw here between the modes they definitely need to be fixed. The ultra wide is great on all of these, especially with night mode on the iphone. I wouldn’t take an ultra wide shot without night mode because it can be extremely noisy and muddy. The s21 ultra is better, but the mi 11 ultra has the cleanest shot. Here. Kick and night mode and all of them improve, but you can’t see what’s going on until you punch in the iphone with a weird noise type pattern on night mode, which i’ve noticed is a lot lately on the ultra wide, the s21 ultra with nice detail and Noise reduction but the mi 11 ultra with the sharpest shot with the most detail.
But you can see that it’s over sharpened quite a bit. While i would like to see sharpening dialed back across the board, with xiaomi cameras, it’s great, to see high quality across all of the sensors here’s, a zoom test at night, the main sensor again super impressive from the m11 ultra so much potential in this camera system. When it hits here is 5x from the xiaomi and 3x from samsung and 2.5x from apple, and here is the 10x test and there’s 12x digital zoom on the iphone since that’s the farthest. It goes and it doesn’t look great, but the mi 11 ultra keeping up with the s21 ultra, which is nice. I did a couple more examples, this time, with night mode across all of the cameras, take a look at the 5x night mode, shot on the mi 11, ultra incredibly detailed and at 10x they are close, but the mi 11 ultra looks sharper than the s21 ultra, Which is surprising, and what about the iphone 12x digital zoom? That does not look that bad i’m going to show you one more. The main lens shot shows you. They all have different approaches to night mode. All of them look totally different in terms of white balance and color, the first zoom again very detailed from xiaomi and at 10x it’s close. But the samsung keeps more consistent detail here at the box, but the me11 ultra is sharper here so good stuff from both of these companies.
When it comes to zoom the front facing camera in moderate low light, they produce very different, looking results. So here is a shot without night mode and then here is a shot with night mode and i think most people would pick the iphone shot and i don’t blame you at all, but the s21 ultra’s picture is more accurate to the scene here. The portrait mode on the mi 11 ultra seems to pick up the sharpest details on my face when it gets darker, though the iphone 12 pro max has the noisiest shot, but the me11 ultra with the most skin smoothing. Even though all beauty modes are off with night mode, the s21 ultra has the best balance with the most detail. The samsung is the only one with night portrait mode for the front facing camera, so it’s the clear winner here no debating, even though you do have to wait and hold your face like this, like a statue for four to five seconds, it’s worth it and the Results are great, here are some selfies with the tripod at home. I only had one lamp on farther away very surprising result from the iphone 12 pro max. It had the best shot here for sure this is how dark it really was. No modes at all and of course you get the option of taking the selfie with the main sensor on the me11 ultra. So i did that with night mode on and while it was the highest quality, it super accentuated the warm light that was on portrait mode.
On the rear, camera again is really between the s21 ultra and the iphone 12 pro max. There is a night mode on the white capture on the samsung and apple, so it does make a difference. There is a shot with the main sensor crop on the s21 ultra it’s really well done, and here is the 3x portrait. It looks fantastic and captures more color than the iphone. I really want to see samsung add night mode to the 3x portrait at night. That would be incredible. The 3x portrait from the s21 ultra overall captures the best looking portraits at night, in my opinion, is slightly sharper than the iphone 12 pro max in most of the pictures that i took so samsung doing a great job refining this camera system. So far since launch last thing i want to talk about is nighttime video. This is 4k 30 frames per second from all of the cameras, and while they all are doing a great job here, the galaxy s21 ultra still has the noisiest video. This is more apparent when you start moving into a mixed environment and even in this hot air balloon scenario, you can see it in the sky just punch in, and you can see the noise level on the samsung. What i am impressed with is the detail on the mi 11 ultra and the balance noise reduction so kudos to xiaomi. Still, i think the iphone has the best overall video, even though shadow detail isn’t as boosted.
This is true to what i was seeing. It was super dark here, look at the dynamic range handled beautifully on the building, even though the two other cameras are letting way more light in and giving you more information, which is amazing. The iphone is very accurate. Exposing the water tower perfectly and captures the scene like, i was seeing it it’s the same thing when you pan over and look at the lake and what’s beyond it. You just can’t beat the iphone when it comes to video. The s21 ultra is super noisy in the sky, and the mi 11 ultra is the mix of the two. So let me know which one that you prefer here is also some walking nighttime footage. I know a lot of you guys wanted to see this. Sometimes i just forget to do this, but i wanted to include it for people that care this fire volcano shot is a benchmark for me when it comes to nighttime, video and again the iphone with the best detail, sharpness, colors and noise reduction. So if you shoot a lot of nighttime video, the iphone 12 pro max is still king. I know that was a long one, but i think that you have a great idea of what to expect if you’re in the market, for one of these three smartphones for photography, i still think that the galaxy s21 ultra is the one to beat with the most Consistent outcomes, i am glad to see the me11 ultra compete with the s21 ultra in a lot of ways, and it has the most potential that i’ve seen so far this year in dethroning samsung as the best android smartphone camera out there.
But it’s going to need some software updates to correct this inconsistencies before we can make it definitive. So i will revisit this comparison when xiaomi pushes out some major camera software updates, which i hope to see also impressive, is the iphone 12 pro max, since it is the oldest phone out of the bunch it’s, still a very consistent camera that remains the benchmark of Performance and the video, while it isn’t 8k still can’t, be beat. It remains the best video on a smartphone so far, so let me know what camera that you think took it in the comment section below. Are you impressed with the m11 ultra, or does this solidify your samsung or apple purchase? Thank you for watching make sure you hit that thumbs up if you enjoyed this or if this helped you out in any way subscribe for more in depth.