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David Imel / Android Authority
Budget phones are all the hype, and these two are industry favorites. The Google Pixel 4a is known for its simplicity, a drop-dead $349 MSRP, and the same amazing camera performance Pixel phones are known for. It could very well be the best camera phone at its price range, but there is another main competitor with an incredible camera already in the mid-range market: Apple’s iPhone SE.
We decided to pit the two phones against each other in a Pixel 4a vs. iPhone SE camera shootout to find out which comes out on top. Be sure to cast your vote for the winner in the poll at the end of the article. Let’s take a look at some images.Google Pixel 4a vs. iPhone SE: Camera specs
Things look very similar in the Pixel 4a vs. iPhone SE camera spec sheet. Both have single cameras on the rear and front, and megapixel counts are also very much alike. The main differences between the Pixel 4a vs. iPhone SE camera specs become more apparent when you start looking at video shooting options. The iPhone SE has much more video quality options, giving Apple’s smartphone a slight upper hand in the video department.
We shot a mix of photos with both smartphones at the same time. The variety of scenarios should help us find quality discrepancies and ultimately come up with a winner. Both devices were on their latest software versions as of writing, and both were set to “photo” and “portrait” modes for the given tests.
See also: The best budget camera phones you can buy
Let’s go to a darker area, where we can truly test a camera’s dynamic range. Many cameras will struggle to take a photo like this one because there is strong light in the sky and darker areas in the brick walls. The camera needs to shoot a well-balanced photo, reduce highlights, and increase shadows to achieve more uniform exposure.
Neither did great, but the iPhone SE seems to have captured a better exposure with a brighter wall and a more vibrant sky. Meanwhile, the brick wall’s level of detail and crispness is better captured by the Pixel 4a.
How about portrait mode? They both do relatively well, or as well as most other good camera phones perform. Bokeh is great in both instances, but I can definitely see a difference in the subject’s outline. The iPhone SE seems to do a little better in this department, as it outlines the hair a little more efficiently, making the fall-off seem more natural.
On the other hand, The Google Pixel 4a did a much better job pulling out detail in the shadows, such as in the hair and mask. Not to mention the eyes, eyebrows, and even the shirt looks much more crisp and clear.
This selfie was shot in bright sunlight. Again, they both did alright, but the iPhone camera seems to shoot much softer and warmer selfies.
Next: The best camera phones you can buyGoogle Pixel 4a vs. iPhone SE camera shootout: Vote for the winner!
So, which phone wins the Pixel 4a vs. iPhone SE camera shootout? Will Google come out on top, or will it fall against its biggest rival. You decide! Cast your vote in the poll below and we’ll let you know the results very soon.
If you want to know how the Pixel 4a and iPhone SE stack up outside the camera realm, be sure to check out our longer comparison, where we look at the specs, features, design, software, price, and more.Which phone takes better photos: the Pixel 4a or the iPhone SE
You're reading Google Pixel 4A Vs Iphone Se Camera Shootout: You Pick The Winner!
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
The Google Pixel 4a was one of our favorite budget-friendly devices of 2023, and it showed that small Android phones could be hot again. Now, its successor is here in the Pixel 5a, and it packs a whole host of changes. With two rear cameras, a larger display, and 5G connectivity, some might call it a closer successor to the Pixel 4a 5G.
If you have the older affordable Pixel, is it time for an upgrade? Let’s compare the two in this Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 4a battle and find out.
Our verdict: Google Pixel 5a review
Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 4a
See also: The best Google Pixel 5a cases you can get
The display on the Pixel 5a measures 6.34 inches, while the one on the Pixel 4a comes in at 5.81 inches. Both offer a Full HD+ resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
The growth spurt allows the Pixel 5a to pack more punch into an affordable package.
The Pixel 5a is the first A-series Pixel to offer an IP rating, coming in at IP67. The Pixel 5a’s aspect ratio changed slightly, going from 19.5:9 on the Pixel 4a to 20:9. You might notice that the Pixel 5a is quite a bit heavier than its predecessor as well, though that’s not unexpected with the increase in size.
Hardware and cameras
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Neither the Pixel 5a nor the Pixel 4a pack flagship-grade processors, but they were never meant to. Instead, the Pixel 5a keeps the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G as you’d find on last year’s Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. It comes equipped for sub-6GHz 5G, though there’s no mmWave 5G support. The Pixel 4a, however, skips the 5G bandwagon, as it comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset.Price and colors
Google Pixel 5a: $449 / 51,700 Japanese yen
Google Pixel 4a: $349 / £349 / €349
As mentioned before, there’s only one version of both the Google Pixel 5a and the Pixel 4a available. No matter where you are, you’ll get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage starting at $349 for the Pixel 4a. The Pixel 5a comes with a $100 premium, but that’s not a surprise given the larger display, faster processor, IP rating, and 5G connectivity.
Read next: The best Pixel 5a cases to get
Right now, you can grab the Pixel 4a fully unlocked straight from Google. It’s beginning to sell out at several retailers as the Pixel 5a becomes available. As for color options, the Pixel 4a launched exclusively in Just Black before rolling out in Barely Blue a few months later.
Google Pixel 4a
Pixel on a budget
Getting the Google experience has never been more accessible. A compact phone that’s easy to use, a beautiful screen, and one of the best cameras in this price range. The Pixel 4a is hard to beat.
See price at Amazon
Pixel 5a pre-orders opened on August 17, 2023, and those who pre-ordered should expect their phones to arrive around August 26, 2023. So far, it is available in Mostly Black, which almost looks green in the right lighting. Google has only launched the Pixel 5a in the US and Japan for the time being, but it may make its way to new markets in the future.
Google Pixel 5a
Water resistance comes to the Pixel A-series
Google’s Pixel 5a offers a few quality-of-life upgrades over its previous devices that may make you want to join Team Pixel. It has a metal unibody design, an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, and a battery that just won’t quit.
See price at Amazon
If you want the power of Pixel at an affordable price, the Pixel 5a is the way to go.
The Pixel 5a offers 5G connectivity, nearly half an inch of extra screen real estate, an IP rating, and an extra camera on the back. Not to mention the battery with an extra 1,500mAh of charge.
If you want the power of Pixel at an affordable price, the Pixel 5a is the way to go. It’s tough to ignore the $349 price of the Pixel 4a, but it comes with some sacrifices. The Pixel 5a is built to keep up for years as 5G rolls out to more and more locations, while the Pixel 4a will eventually see 4G LTE fall behind.
It has been a long time coming, with more rumors than you can shake a stick at, but Apple’s newest low-cost iPhone is finally here. Please welcome the iPhone SE.
While there had been plenty of speculation that Apple would call the new handset the “iPhone SE 2” or even the “iPhone 9“, the company has opted to keep things simple and just go with iPhone SE (again). Apple is keeping things pretty familiar in some parts, with the price tag considerably lower than its other current iPhone models go for these days. And the device looks familiar, too, sharing plenty of design cues from the iPhone 8. But there are some key differences we’ll get into.The features
Apple announced the new phone on Wednesday. As usual, there is a lot to go through. Apple says the new iPhone SE features an aerospace-grade aluminum and glass design, and the front of the phone is all-black. So even if you pick the white model, you’ll get black bezels above and below the display. And that display measures in at 4.7 inches, and it’s a Retina HD panel with True Tone technology. It even supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 for High Dynamic Range (HDR) support.
The physical Home button below the display is made from sapphire crystal, which also features a steel ring around it to read the owner’s fingerprint thanks to Touch ID support.
As expected, the new iPhone SE features an A13 Bionic processor, the same chip featured in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro series.
A13 Bionic was built with a focus on machine learning, with a dedicated 8-core Neural Engine capable of 5 trillion operations per second, two Machine Learning Accelerators on the CPU and a new Machine Learning Controller to balance performance and efficiency. Together, A13 Bionic and iOS 13 enable new intelligent apps that make use of machine learning and Core ML.
The new iPhone SE is certified for wireless charging, and supports Qi-certified chargers. It also supports fast-charging and can give the new iPhone SE’s battery up to 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes. The handset also supports Gigabit-class LTE and Wi-Fi 6 support. There is a Lightning port on the bottom of the handset for wired charging. The new iPhone SE supports Haptic Touch and not 3D Touch — which means 3D Touch has effectively been retired now.
The handset is available in three colors: white, black, and (PRODUCT)RED. It will also be available in three variants with either 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of built-in storage. Pricing will start at $399.
Meanwhile, around back, the new iPhone SE features a single 12-megapixel camera. Apple, of course, says the new camera is the best single-camera system it has ever produced in a smartphone. I’m just going to get out of the way and let Apple brag a bit:
iPhone SE features the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone with a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture Wide camera, and uses the image signal processor and Neural Engine of A13 Bionic to unlock even more benefits of computational photography, including Portrait mode, all six Portrait Lighting effects and Depth Control.5 Using machine learning and monocular depth estimation, iPhone SE also takes stunning Portraits with the front camera. Next-generation Smart HDR comes to iPhone SE, intelligently re-lighting recognized subjects in a frame for more natural-looking images with stunning highlight and shadow details.
Here’s a sample of the new iPhone SE’s camera:
The front and rear cameras both feature “cinematic video stabilization”. The rear camera can record 4K video up to 60fps, and extended dynamic range is supported with up to video captured at 30fps.
Apple touches on the familiar near the end of its announcement, including the fact that the handset still features the Secure Enclave for boosted security, Tracking Prevention in Safari, and the built-in Photos app will organize photos on device through Machine Learning. And of course the new phone has access to Apple’s range of services, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, iCloud, and more.Pricing and availability
As I mentioned above, the new iPhone SE starts at $399 in the United States. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing:
64GB iPhone SE: $399 or $16.62 per month (without any trade-in)
128GB iPhone SE: $449 or $18.70 per month (without any trade-in)
256GB iPhone SE: $549 or $22.87 per month (without any trade-in)
Apple says with a trade-in customers can get the new phone for just $9.54 per month, or as low as $229 — depending on the trade-in, of course, and that’s the base model. Prices will vary on model chosen and trade-in offer.
The new iPhone SE will go up for pre-order on Friday, April 17, at 5:00 AM PDT. The handset will be available from Apple directly, authorized resellers, and “select carriers” beginning Friday, April 24, in the United States and in over 40 other countries and regions.
This story is developing…
Google finally unveiled the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL at its Made By Google event in New York City today, and frankly, there weren’t many surprises left after months of leaks and teases, many by Google itself.
Here are five things you need to know about the new Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.Dual camera lenses, at last
The Pixel 4 is taking a page from the iPhone 11’s design with a rotund backside hump that’s home to not one, but two camera lenses. Finally. Google leans heavily on software tricks to power the Pixel’s amazing photography, but the lineup lingered on a single camera lens for far too long now.
Both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be outfitted with a 12MP dual-pixel sensor as well as a new 16MP telephoto camera—not a wide-angle lens. They’re “roughly 2x” and support Google’s Super Res Zoom technology.
Google is pairing the multi-lens setup with its computational photography chops to support features like Live HDR+, White Balancing for truer colors, and Dual-Camera Exposure—all in real time. You’ll have separate sliders for shadows and brightness while you compose your shots.
Want to feel like Harry Potter? The Pixel 4’s “Motion Sense” technology lets you “skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls, just by waving your hand.” On-stage, a presenter even showed how you can wave to Pikachu in Pokemon Go.
Google will include an array of cameras and sensors in the Pixel 4.
Google revolves around software, though, and the company showed a video describing how much work went into training the “Project Soli” motion sensor to avoid unintended gestures. Google also says that Motion Sense will evolve over time, so fingers crossed (get it?) that this winds up being more than just a mere gimmick.
Motion Sense swipe controls.
“As you reach for Pixel 4, Soli proactively turns on the face unlock sensors, recognizing that you may want to unlock your phone. If the face unlock sensors and algorithms recognize you, the phone will open as you pick it up, all in one motion. Better yet, face unlock works in almost any orientation—even if you’re holding it upside down—and you can use it for secure payments and app authentication too.”
Your face unlock details will stay on your phone, protected by Google’s Titan M security hardware. Biometric data won’t be sent to other Google services. The Pixel 4’s biometric security sounds promising, especially after the ho-hum attempts by other companies at bringing Face ID-like technology to Android. We can’t wait to test it out.The latest Android and Assistant software
The Pixel 4 serves as the debut for the faster, more context-aware Google Assistant revealed at Google I/O earlier this year, allowing you to carry out fast-paced conversations to drill deeper into topics. At I/O, Google claimed that the next-gen Assistant is 10x faster than before and much more aware of your needs thanks to a new Personal References setting that taps into your Google profile.What’s inside the Pixel 4
Google has never wowed us with specs like Samsung, so if you’re were waiting for a Pixel 4 with 12GB of RAM and a terabyte of storage, you’re going to be disappointed. Google didn’t reveal many firm hardware specs at its event, but the Pixel 4 tech specs page goes much deeper. Here’s what’s inside:
Processor: Snapdragon 855
Co-processors: Titan M Security, Pixel Neural Core
Display: 5.7-inch (Pixel 4)/6.3-inch (Pixel 4 XL), variable 90Hz refresh rate
Battery: 2,800mAh (Pixel 4)/3,700mAh (Pixel 4 XL)
Audio: Stereo speakers
Of course, there’s still no headphone jack. All the specs align with earlier rumors, so we’re going to quote our analysis from our Pixel 4 preview:
“A couple of things stand out here. For one, there’s a new chip called the Pixel Neural Core that will likely handle the Visual Core’s precious computational photography duties, as well as AI tasks. There’s also no headphone jack, but that’s hardly a surprise.
What is surprising, however, is the battery capacity. The Pixel phones have never blown us away with battery life, and the Pixel 4 likely won’t either. Assuming these numbers are accurate, the Pixel 4 XL only has 270mAh more capacity than its predecessor, and the Pixel 4’s battery is actually smaller by 115mAh. We’ll have to see what wizardry Google is cooking up in Android to optimize battery life, but on paper, these cells look woefully small.
Otherwise, the Pixel 4 should be a good, if not great phone. It doesn’t use the the newer Snapdragon 855+ like the OnePlus 7T, but the 855 should be plenty fast. Thankfully, it has 50 percent more RAM than the Pixel 3, but it still lags behind the Galaxy S10+, Galaxy Note 10+, and other high-end premium phones. And the 64GB of based storage (with no expandable memory slot) is starting to feel a little cramped.”It’s still the same price
Like we said, the Pixel lineup never focused on having the latest and greatest hardware inside, so Google’s phones usually cost a bit less than Samsung and Apple’s four-figure flagships. And they still do, despite some early rumors to the contrary. The Pixel 4 starts at $799 for a 64GB model, while the larger Pixel 4 XL costs $899. Tack an extra $100 onto each if you want to upgrade to 128GB of storage. They’ll be available in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and a limited edition Oh So Orange.
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
We rated the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra the best camera phone of 2023, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra lives up to those high expectations. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so how does the phone stack up against its competition?
For this camera shootout, we’ve pitted the Galaxy S22 Ultra against other 2023 flagship smartphones like the OPPO Find X5 Pro, Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the much more affordable but no less excellent Google Pixel 6 Pro. All of these are capable camera phones, but each has its pros and cons. Can the Galaxy S22 Ultra comprehensively best any of them? Let’s find out in this Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera test.
If you want to see the full-res image samples, check out this Google Drive link.
Editor’s note: Since the original publication of this article, Samsung has released the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It replaces the S22 Ultra in early 2023, bringing along a new 200MP primary camera and a host of other improvements.
Galaxy S22 Ultra camera specs compared
Let’s dive right into the general look of images captured from these four high-end smartphones.
The shots above really stress how each phone handles color processing. The OPPO Find X5 Pro leans most heavily on saturation for added pop that looks over the top. Pay attention to the grass greens and blue hues in the sky. Highlights are also slightly clipped on this phone, which is very undesirable.
Apple’s latest iPhone and Google’s Pixel 6 Pro sit at the other end of the spectrum, with more reserved and realistic colors. Although you may have spotted the iPhone pushes the highlights and yellows a little more while the Pixel 6 is slightly darker than the rest. The Galaxy S22 Ultra sits somewhere in between, with a bit more punch but certainly not as over the top as OPPO’s color profile.
Photography terms explained: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and more
Google Pixel 6 Pro — Colors and white balance are generally very realistic. Some occasional underexposure issues, but not a major complaint.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — Offers great exposure and white balance in daylight. Colors are a little more saturated than is strictly realistic, but it’s not strong enough to ruin your pictures.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max — Has slight problems with exposure and white balance, particularly with bright backgrounds and a slightly yellow tint. Colors are otherwise accurately presented.
OPPO Find X5 Pro — Heavy oversaturation and highlight clipping make this the least accurate phone in this shootout, although the phone’s white balance is otherwise good.
You won’t have a problem with general snaps from any of these phones, as you’d expect from some of the best in the business. But what about trickier HDR shots, where balancing bright highlights with deep shadows is not so straightforward?
Except for the iPhone, our handsets tackle this tricky subject rather well. However, let’s take a closer look at the highlights and shadows to see which phone extracts the most detail from this scene.
The iPhone struggles the most, failing to pick out much detail in the scene’s shadows. Apple’s algorithm seems to prioritize not clipping the clouds, despite me highlighting the darker area as our subject. On the other hand, some shadow stretching in the Find X5 Pro’s shadows produces a washed-out look. That said, the phone picks out more detail than the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which offers an extremely high contrast look that’s not very realistic. Despite the slightly clipped clouds and more saturated look, the Google Pixel 6 Pro balances this tricky HDR scene best.
It’s a similar state of affairs in this second shot. Apple’s iPhone again captures the least amount of color and detail in the shaded parts of the scene. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro and Find X5 Pro extract the most detail in these areas. However, OPPO’s punchy colors are, once again, a bit over the top. The Galaxy S22 Ultra sits somewhere between, balancing the scene’s highlights against the shadows but, unfortunately, crushing the darkest parts of the shot.
See also: What is computational photography?
Google Pixel 6 Pro — Super potent HDR technology extracts maximum detail from highlights and shadows. It’s not perfect, however, as the Pixel’s HDR technology can overdo it and produce images that lack a little depth.
OPPO Find X5 Pro — Although virtually on par with Google’s technology in terms of HDR balance, the phone’s overzealous color processing takes the shine off the results.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — Samsung seems to have changed its HDR implementation this year, which now underexposes some parts of the scene, producing an unnatural look in places. It’s an unfortunate backward step for an otherwise capable shooter in challenging scenarios.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max — While its pictures look fine, the lack of shadows exposure and occasional highlight clipping indicate that Apple’s HDR technology still lags behind the competition.Detail and macro
Turning to macro photography, the iPhone, Find, and Galaxy handsets all switch to their ultrawide cameras when you move close to a subject. This works well enough but does mean you lose the shallow depth of field effect you may want from a macro shot. Both OPPO and Samsung offer the option to turn this off and shoot from the primary camera if you like, but neither can focus as close up without switching to the ultrawide.
All these results look very good for macro shots. However, the Find X5 Pro struggled the most with focus even when moving slightly further back, which is disappointing. Overall, Samsung’s image comes off best here, capturing plenty of detail, color, and white balance. The iPhone is a bit too yellow, again.
Unfortunately, the Google Pixel 6 Pro has a fixed-focus ultrawide camera, making it unsuitable for macro photography. The main camera won’t focus at this distance either, meaning you’ll have to take a step back and use the zoom camera. That has changed with the latest Pixel 7 Pro, which offers autofocus on the ultrawide camera. Fortunately, Google’s zoom technology hands in results that are every bit as competitive as the ultrawide cameras used by the other phones.
But let’s see what the main cameras can do.
In good daylight, color balance is a more significant differentiator than detail. The iPhone’s image is slightly soft, and shadow details are slightly less pristine than the other three. The Find X5 Pro is a little heavier on the sharpening pass than the competition, which we can see in the slight haloing around the tree branches and aliasing on the flag pole.
All these results look very good for macro shots.
The Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra are surprisingly close, but each has its intricacies. The Pixel has Google’s better HDR algorithm and therefore captures more detail in the highlights, but details look a little oversharpened. The S22 Ultra has a few blurry spots and the tree branches seem more artificially sharpened.
This next look at detail takes place in less ideal overcast lighting conditions. Again, each phone’s color balance and exposure are more obviously different than any noticeable detail issue.
Cropping in, there’s not a massive amount between any of them even when peering into the shadows under the bridge. Again, Google’s Pixel 6 looks a little artificial thanks to a detail sharpening pass, as does the OPPO Find X5 Pro. Meanwhile, the iPhone is softer yet still seems to rely on denoise and sharpening to polish its images, which makes the brickwork look flatter than on other phones. The Galaxy S22 Ultra would nudge it here for the most realistic look. However, there are some weird sharpening artifacts in the green tree and more noise than the competition. Overall, it’s tough to pick out any of these phones as clearly superior to the others, at least in daylight.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — It’s certainly not perfect, as it’s noisier in low light and has a clear sharpening pass that’s noticeable on complex textures like trees. Still, the phone is very consistent and hands in reasonably realistic details for landscapes and macro shots.
Google Pixel 6 Pro — Occasionally oversharp details aren’t great to crop in on but generally it holds up very well. Sadly the phone can’t do macro photography without using the zoom camera.
OPPO Find X5 Pro — Heavier dose of sharpening than the competition and the camera can struggle to focus on macro shots. Otherwise, there are no apparent issues, and it’s very tight among the top three.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max — Details can be pretty soft, and reliance on post-processing in lower light leaves complex textures too blurred. Macro shots look great, though.
Lower lighting conditions have historically separated the good from the best, but with each of today’s competitors packing a good-sized primary sensor and a wide aperture for light capture, the battle could be closer than ever.
Our phones perform surprisingly OK without night mode, except the Find X5 Pro, which struggles with detail and color. The Pixel 6 seems to capture less light than the iPhone and Galaxy handsets due to its narrower aperture. The iPhone’s exposure is surprisingly good given its smaller sensor, but its colors are washed out. Again, we see a slight over warming with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but otherwise, it’s the most accurate given the very dark conditions.
The iPhone didn’t want a long night exposure for any of these shots, but the ultrawide lens would have benefited. Its comparatively tiny 1/3.4-inch sensor doesn’t capture anywhere near as much light as the Find X5 Pro’s big ultrawide sensor, which performs nearly as well as the primary camera. However, the colors are a little washed out. OPPO’s 3x zoom shot is a little too dark. The iPhone’s zoom image is comparatively brighter but also oversharp and more heavily processed from the use of night mode. Both are reasonable efforts, but there are some small compromises here.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — Has some issues with red tint but otherwise performs acceptably in low light even without the aid of night mode. Samsung’s night mode works well across all its cameras, even though it doesn’t always produce the brightest exposure.
Google Pixel 6 Pro — The camera doesn’t perform as well without night mode, resulting in low-light noise. Google’s Night Sight is extremely powerful and produces the best exposure here. However, the technology can leave pictures looking blurry and heavily processed, especially when zooming in.
OPPO Find X5 Pro — The phone is entirely reliant on night mode, which takes a couple of seconds to capture. Even then, the phone struggles with white balance. Still, it hands in good-looking low-light snaps from its ultrawide and telephoto cameras.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max — Can struggle without night mode, as the camera is a little noisy, but its results can look oversharp when enabled. The ultrawide lens is too dark to use in low light, making it marginally weaker than its competitors.
Related: The complete guide to ultrawide camera phones
OPPO Find X5 Pro — OPPO doesn’t offer the widest lens here, but it handles tough shooting conditions better than the rest and controls lens distortion. You’ll have to live with the phone’s saturated colors, though.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max — Apple offers a really good ultrawide setup here with a very wide field of view and minimal lens distortion. However, the small image sensor exposes the phone’s so-so HDR capabilities.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — It’s close within the top three, but Samsung’s ultrawide snapper suffers from marginally more edge distortion than the iPhone and Find X5 Pro.
Google Pixel 6 Pro — With the narrowest field of view, fixed focus, and most noticeable signs of edge distortion and noise, the Pixel’s ultrawide camera is a class below today’s competitors.Zooming in
With 2x, 3x, 4x, and 10x camera hardware available across the phones, we should see an interesting mix of capabilities play out here. We’ll start with a closer range shot.
Thanks to their native telephoto cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra are the cleanest at 3x. Details are sharp and focused, while color balance and exposure are also reasonably good, glossing over the iPhone’s continuous yellow hues, of course.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s super-resolution camera zoom technology is competitive here, but the software solution comes off a little harsher and oversharp compared to optical zoom. Its white balance is also too warm in this shot. The OPPO Find X5 Pro doesn’t quite find the right color balance either, and its details are a little soft. Its small 2x telephoto zoom is still perfectly serviceable at 3x, but it already looks like OPPO’s lack of long-range optics will hurt it here.
It’s crystal clear who the winners are at 10x. The iPhone 13 Pro Max and Find X5 Pro are well past the point of use for this shot — their digital upscaling leaves very little detail in the image. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x periscope camera wins here with excellent detail and colors. Google’s super-res algorithms are really not far behind, though. There’s a very competitive level of detail, albeit slightly oversharpened, but the more muted colors give away the lack of optical zoom hardware. Still, the Pixel 6 Pro punches well above its hardware specs and outperforms everyone except the S22 Ultra at long range.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — Whether you’re zooming near or far, the Galaxy S22 Ultra hands in consistent and good-looking results up to about 30x. Its software zoom isn’t always perfect but has improved this generation.
Google Pixel 6 Pro — Comes in hot on the heels of the S22 Ultra despite only offering a single zoom camera. Google’s super-res zoom algorithm punches above its weight but even the best software zoom is still not quite as clean as optical.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max — The 3x telephoto camera holds up well to above 5x, which is good but not entirely comprehensive.
OPPO Find X5 Pro — With the weakest zoom hardware of the group, OPPO’s camera was always going to struggle to compete. It’s fine for short distances but isn’t much use beyond 4x.Portrait and selfies
I grabbed a quick snap of a statue using portrait mode. Each of the cameras offers a slightly different crop factor when shooting in portrait mode, with the iPhone being the most stubborn in preventing you from changing it. So matching the frames exactly isn’t possible here.
Despite the tree branches that snuck their way into the foreground, all four cameras handle the background bokeh well here. However, the Find X5 Pro can’t quite decide which branches should be blurred and which shouldn’t, while the other phones are more decisive. You’ll probably have spotted that the Pixel 6 Pro looks a little sharper than the rest. Disappointingly, everything you shoot with the Pixel 6 Pro’s portrait mode looks too heavily processed, whether it’s the stone statue or skin textures. I think the iPhone and Galaxy are the marginally better portrait shooters here.
Now for some selfies.
Shooting in the shadows is trickier for these cameras. The Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t blur the gap between my hair and headphones on the left. It’s also really punched up the green of the grass and made my face a little too orange. It’s a fine but not brilliant selfie. Apple has a similar issue with slightly too much saturation on the grass and it doesn’t quite handle the HDR backdrop as well. But it’s hard to argue with Apple’s skin textures — they’re very good.
Overall, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best here, balancing skin tones and texture against the bright backdrop very well. Unfortunately, OPPO’s bokeh effect completely blows out the background highlights. It appears that the phone can’t do bokeh and HDR processing simultaneously. That’s a shame because otherwise, its skin tone and subject exposure put it among the best selfie camera phones on the market.
There are some clear winners and losers when it comes to low-light selfies. The iPhone is the worst, handing in a very noisy shot that fails to expose my face correctly. The Find X5 Pro is notably better, but there’s a lot of noise and a somewhat unflattering white balance. Google’s selfie camera and night mode come to the rescue, handing in solid exposure and colors even though the selfie is still too blurry. This leaves the Galaxy S22 Ultra as the best of the bunch by quite a margin, even though it too is a little soft. Still, Samsung nails the proper exposure, colors, bokeh, and skin hue to produce a usable selfie in some pretty difficult conditions.
Portrait and selfie rankings:
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — Not always the very best but takes first place for consistency. Solid portraits, smooth bokeh, and selfies that look good whether you’re in bright daylight, a backlit environment, or in low light.
Google Pixel 6 Pro — Edges into second place for the low-light selfie but the Pixel’s skin textures don’t always look great on close inspection. Still, the phone performed better than the iPhone in both bokeh accuracy and low-light performance, making it a more consistent if not always better shooter.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max — Portraits and selfies are Apple’s specialty and the phone provides solid skin tones and textures. Just don’t try to use the selfie camera in low light as it’s really awful.
OPPO Find X5 Pro — Last place feels harsh on OPPO’s flagship as its portraits and selfies are very good. However, the phone’s bokeh effect isn’t quite up to scratch and neither is the selfie camera’s low-light capabilities. That’s disappointing given the fuss OPPO made about its RGBW selfie image sensor.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera shootout: The verdict
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Overall, we have four excellent camera phones here, but it would be a cop-out not to crown a victor. There’s no out and out winner of every category in this shootout but totaling up the scores gives us two phones that rank consistently near the top — the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Google Pixel 6 Pro. Neither is the perfect all-around package, but if you’re looking for the most consistent and versatile shooter, Samsung’s latest flagship earns our recommendation. Its color balance, low-light shooting, selfie, and zoom capabilities are all very good to excellent.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra may be the marginally better shooter, but the Pixel 6 Pro is the better bargain.
However, the Google Pixel 6 Pro is hot on its heels, especially in the zoom department, and actually edges out the S22 Ultra in this shootout’s HDR scenarios. Most importantly, it performs almost as well while retailing for a fraction of the price — just $899 versus the Ultra’s $1,200 tag. That’s a considerable saving and almost certainly makes Google’s flagship the better buy for all but the pickiest of mobile photographers.
Editor’s note: The Pixel 6 Pro has been replaced by the Pixel 7 Pro since the publication of this article.
Oppo’s Find X5 Pro puts in a solid performance and would have done a lot better if not for a couple of persistent problems, namely, the overzealous color pallet and lack of a decent quality zoom. The former could be fixed in a software update, but at this price, the phone really should be more competitive at a distance. I’m yearning for the return of OPPO’s periscope camera.
This leaves us with Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro, a fair camera phone but one I feel is a bit overrated these days. Its HDR and zoom capabilities are a little off the pace, and the camera’s consistent yellow tint is an annoying bugbear that Apple seems in no hurry to address. That said, it’s still an excellent phone for portrait lovers or night owls who avoid selfies, and it has one of the better ultrawide cameras on the market right now.Which phone takes the best pictures overall?
I’m sure each of these phones will find their fans for their given strengths and weaknesses. But if you’re after a robust shooter that will seldom let you down, spring for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. If you’re on a tighter budget, you can’t go wrong with the inexpensive Google Pixel 6 Pro.
Google Pixel 4 leak looks shockingly like iPhone 11
Images of the Goole Pixel 4 appeared today in a series that should remind you of another notably leaked phone this Summer season. The angle of the round corners, the shape of the hardware, the extreme similarities in placement, size, and possibly internal structure of camera modules… all of this says iPhone. But this is no iPhone, said this tipster, this is a new Pixel 4.
The tipster that showed the Google Pixel 4 today generally has leaks that are to be trusted. The images come from OnLeaks, a notoriously accurate early-info leaker presented these images with Pricebaba, and OnLeaks usually works with CAD files that otherwise go to case-makers (and the like). But this time things are a little different.
This time the information comes with an additional disclaimer on the part of the leakster. This time it would seem that there’s a little bit more hesitancy than normal when it comes to these images being the final-final versions of the phone. Per OnLeaks, these aren’t necessarily the same CAD drawings normally used, these are “based upon early prototyping schematics.”
The hesitant nature of the leak may be because the imagery popped up so early. These phones don’t normally hit the racks until October each year. Or at least they’ve not been revealed until around October in the first three years they’ve been shown by Google.
There’s also the fact that OnLeaks doesn’t work with photos of the original device, only schematics of the exteriors. This means that he’s seeing the features that are relevant to an accessory-maker, so some items of interest are hidden. The sensors, for example, aren’t necessarily shown in the CAD drawings, so they’re not pictured in the renderings made by OnLeaks.
The same is true of the camera lenses. Because the backside camera array uses one big piece of glass to protect multiple lenses, the original creator of the phone schematics does not need to show the case-maker what’s inside. They don’t need to show what’s under the glass, because the case-maker shouldn’t need to decide what to cover up and what to reveal – the whole array is protected without need for a case.
The frontside MIGHT have a notch, it might not. It could just be that the case-maker should assume that the whole frontside should remain unprotected, much like it was with the Pixel 3 XL, which also had a notch. One big pane of glass there, too.
We’ll keep investigating here – this is a strange sort of situation, and not one we’ll be easing up on any time soon. The Google Pixel’s been the most major single-camera phone player in the game for the last couple years – more than one camera now seems strange.
We’ll still be expecting the Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL to come in October, for reveal at least. Release dates for the Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL will likely happen in late October 2023 or early November – we’ll see!
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