I'm not gonna lie here, my pick would definitely be the Sony. Despite some apparent noise, the detail and colour are definitely true-to-life. It's not Nokia/Microsoft Lumia PureView-level natural detail and colour, but it's nearly there. Really not happy with the iPhone's over-the-top oversharpening mess. The Huawei looks too soft to my eyes. Samsung's lowlight shot is a real disappointment for me.
ithehappy, 28 Nov 2020It's not even a photo shootout without a Pixel, cannot be.I mean Pixel 5 would do a decent job in most scenes, but obviously fall behind in zoom and suffer from more noise due to a small sensor size.
Anonymous, 28 Nov 2020Direct to the point.
- Despite the biggest camera, in daylight Huawei was the worst of the... more1). I disagree.
2). You're wrong. Xperia 1 II's stock camera indeed activates auto HDR in the stock camera app, but does so far less frequently than Note or Mate.
3). I partially disagree. Samsung did tone down the saturation quite a bit on Note 20 Ultra.
4). I agree.
Warning: Incoming massive wall of texts! Scroll past it if you don't have time to read it.
It definitely seems that Samsung upped their game with Note 20 Ultra and the sample photos definitely show - noticeably less oversharpening and better texture retention compared to S20 Ultra in general, and decent (though not the best among these 4) trade off between noise and details at night. UWA camera is very wide which is nice, but the telephoto camera especially at night needs some work. The intermediate zoom range in still photo is a mess and colours are still a bit oversaturated in some photos, but in video it's easily the most consistent & versatile performer that should be the primary choice for anyone who wants an Android phone with great video recording capability. Selfie camera isn't too bad either; overall extremely solid showing from Samsung.
iPhone 12 Pro Max is really good I guess, but I'm not a huge fan of how images are processed this year. So called Smart HDR 3 is a regression from 11 Pro's processing, and while it's definitely harder to see it in this comparison, an excessive clarity boost and noise reduction is really hurting the fine textures during the day. At night it's a great performer, though personally I find its tendency to blow out highlights for the sake of brightening up the shadows somewhat questionable. Telephoto is great, but UWA camera is usually a mush and I choose the one on Note over this any day.
In video recording iPhone really excels, keeping pace with Note in terms of dynamic range, detail & noise and doing very well in stabilisation as well. As a whole, it's still a good camera, but I don't support Apple's decision to go with more "instagram-friendly" exposure and colour tuning.
Mate 40 Pro has a clear borderline between the area it excels and it falls short. Excellent textures (and this is after Huawei's stupid crop + upscaling has been applied) as well as the best noise reduction in still photo, but strong contrast boost and oversharpening in video recording. The most accurate rendition of bright red at night, but yellow tones look a bit too greenish giving an excessively cold whiter balance in some scenes. The highest quality UWA camera with the least ultra-wide field of view. The best telephoto camera in still but falls behind Note in video. A largest, the most light sensitive main sensor out of the bunch yet also the only one that does not have OIS for it, which hurts the video stabilisation and, to a lesser extent, low light performance.
Huawei did so many thing right yet messed up a lot of stuffs at the same time in this regular "Pro" model. Mate 40 Pro+ would've been far better suited for this comparison, but as we all know.. awful lack of availability. Hopefully P50 series won't be facing a shortage in components like Mate 40 series is.
I don't really think Xperia 1 II excels in any one category: at least in this comparison there's always a device that does a certain job better than this phone does, but its outputs are still solid and, most of the time, predictable. It has some glaring shortcomings though, such as occasional serious underexposure in UWA, weak corner sharpness, left side of the frame consistently being very soft in low light etc. From the looks of it, the phone also has a tendency to add red cast in yellow tones as well (like yellow autumn leaves turning red in Xperia's samples only). The samples really speak of how this phone was not made for general snap-and-go smartphone photography, and how Sony is not deeply interested in the concept of computational imaging like other companies do.
Video recording performance is good, but it's sad to see that GSMArena decided to test all phones at 4K30 solely because this phone was somehow incapable of recording videos at higher settings. Though it's also the one with the least effective stabilisation, and that explains why they decided to omit the 4K60 entirely from the stock camera app. It's a bit ironic considering Xperia used to be known for its great SteadyShot EIS back in 2015-2017.
Oh, and it's time for them to upgrade a selfie camera - it kinda sucks.
These phones would have been no match for MI 10 Ultra in the camera department. Review folks should have included this in place of Xperia ...
Anonymous, 28 Nov 2020You take a photo. Then 10s later you take another. There is no guarantee the conditions ... moreIt could be circumstantial, which is why it is always better to go with hardware centred technologies than software as they are more consistent.
Mate 40 pro won this quite clearly. The surprise for me was the Samsung which was better than I thought. The iPhone and Xperia had too many irregularities and strange colouring (particularly the iPhone) to be rated as best camera smartphones, but for the casual user who don't pixel peek and only post on Facebook, they are good enough.
Nick Tagataka, 28 Nov 2020I agree, Mi 10 Ultra DEFINITELY deserved to be included in this comparison. With the dedicated... moreBarely anyone outside of China has that phone, so it'd be a waste of time to include it in a shootout.
Here before many fanboys say that their favourite phone was not favoured. There's no way the writers take bad photos intentionally. They might write it unfairly, but photos given, i don't think you can fake it and they shouldn't.
Kudos for the great review article. It's really interesting when all the flagship phones are compared side by side. One feedback is that I wished the same method used in the portraits section used in the daylight and lowlight sections as well where there is an actual camera photo taken to compare with to better show the difference between camera vs phone camera.
Great article nevertheless, a great way to close out 2020 phone camera wars
Direct to the point.
- Despite the biggest camera, in daylight Huawei was the worst of them.
- Sony does not use, nor ever will the auto HDR for regular cam app
- Samsung will never give up on fake colours
- Apple gives samples worse than last year for main camera.
deadworms1620, 28 Nov 2020I was comparing the dayight sample shots from your xperia 1 ii review and the daylight samples... moreYou take a photo.
Then 10s later you take another.
There is no guarantee the conditions were the same.
The amount of light, angle of light, if any cloud was up there for a moment.
This is why some ppl only do studio comparison.
Now imagine photo take months later than the previous shot.
Photos of s20 ultra for example have very strong blue, if they use again it does not mean it will do equaly blue.
I was comparing the dayight sample shots from your xperia 1 ii review and the daylight samples here and it isnt as underexposed here. I wonder what happened here.
mars3486, 28 Nov 2020If there is no Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra then where is Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro in this comparison? You are m... moreI agree, Mi 10 Ultra DEFINITELY deserved to be included in this comparison. With the dedicated intermediate 2x telephoto lens and the largest sensor used for 5x periscope camera, it could've been easily the best device for both still photo/video zooming.