The Ultimate Camera Comparison Between iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Google Pixel 5 & S20 Ultra
Welcome to the ultimate comparison between the Samsung galaxy s21 ultra the iPhone 12 pro max, the Samsung Galaxy s20 ultra from last year and the Google pixel five. We now have 35 individual tests from HDR shots. Do slow motion to Panorama to night mode, night mode would flash nightmare time-lapse and pretty much anything that you can think of.
Also, this comparison is no longer a blind camera test, so you’ll always know. Which phone is which so without any further ado, get a popcorn ready and let’s find out which phone has the best. Yeah.
Okay. So what I’ll be looking for in every shot is a balanced image. So if an image has 2d shadows, then the details would be lost. So they will need to be brighter. But if they’re too bright that he image would be too flat, same thing goes for the highlights. So if we take a look at the first image right here, you can probably tell that the S 20 ultra.
Just crushed the shadows to the point where a lot of details have been lost. The other three phones actually performed quite well. However, yes. When you want ultra has a lot of noise in the upper portion of the image, whereas the iPhone 12 Promax and the pixel five, the knots, and between the pixel and the iPhone.
I actually prefer to pixel as the iPhone has a very blue tins. Especially if you look at the concrete pylon now in the second HDR shots, they all look very similar. However, if you take a look at the brick wall on the left, the STNR ultra and the pixel five actually retains the most amount of detail while the iPhone and yes, galaxy s20 ultra they both crushed the shadows to the point where a lot of the detail has been lost.
And between the sun and ultra and the pixel five. Uh, the Donald Trump messed up the sky quite a bit as there were some processing errors while the pixel five was perfectly smooth. So the pixel five nails this one again, but the SNL Ultra’s image is sharper than the pixels and also wider. So I can see why some of you might prefer one over the Otter.
Next up we have an indoor shots. And same thing here. I’m looking for a balanced image and here, I think that’s the iPhone actually has the most balanced image. The pillows are sharp and well exposed. Same goes for the glass and the flowers. Yes. When you old tracks, they blew the flowers quite a bit. Um, and same goes for the Galaxy s21 Ultra.
The pixel five did well here, but if you take a look at a table, it wasn’t as sharp as on the iPhone. So the iPhone takes this one for me. Next up, we have another indoor shot in notes. We less light than before. And here the galaxy ultra messed up the texture of the wall. I don’t know if you guys can see that, but it looks super muddy.
The Galaxy s20 ultra kind of did the same, just not as bad. Uh, the iPhone and the pixel were both good, but I do prefer to pixel just the colors in general, look more even, and Ren looks better on the pixel two. So the pixel takes this one. Okay. Now we have a very interesting test. So all of these photos are raw.
Photo is straight from the phones. And the point of this test is to see which phone can recover the most amount of detail. So we increase the shadows by a hundred, we dropped the highlights by a hundred. We balanced the exposure and just take a look at these results. The iPhone ministry cover a ton of shadow detail.
What you need to know about iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Google Pixel 5 & S20 Ultra cameras
This was that it said in the native photos app on the iPhone, by the way, As Lightroom or Photoshop do not support pro RA yet. Sky detail is superbly well-preserved on the iPhone too. Especially if you take a look at the lower clouds. So the iPhone takes this one next up, we have the Metro test and essentially what we tried here was getting a close as possible to the subject in order to find.
The minimum focal distance. And as you can probably tell the ultra just blows everything else out of the water. Surprisingly, the iPhone 12 pro max had the weakest macro, as you had to be quite far away from the object you focus. Um, the S 20 ultra was better, but it had a very shallow depth of field. The pixel five was the second best after the s21 ultra next up, we have the zoom test taken at 10 X on each of these phones and the pixel five was by far the worst as it doesn’t even have a telephoto module.
Also, it only has seven zoom digitally. So we had to punch in, uh, when editing the video, by the way to 10 X, the iPhone was better, but surprisingly not by that much, even though the iPhone does have a 2.5 X optical zoom lens. Yes. 20 ultra has four X and then the rest of the zoom has done digitally things to that 48 megapixel sensor.
However, the ultra has a 10 X optical zoom. So everything in this shot has been done. Optically and, you know, I got to say there isn’t as much of a difference between the ultra that I was expecting to see, uh, the ultra is in the charper, but only by a tiny bit. Still. Yeah. So when an old truck takes this one, but something that each of these phones has is an ultra wide angle module.
And here, if you just take a look at the viewing angle alone, the pixel is the narrowest and the other ones are basically the same. And because of that, I cannot give a point to the pixel here. However, between the other three, I do prefer it. Yes. 21 ultra the most, the iPhone is good. Um, But the shadows are quite crushed.
Galaxy s21 Ultra and galaxy s20 ultra have much better shadows, but yes, Tony on ultra is sharper. If you take a look at a concrete wall here, unfortunately, the S 21 doesn’t have a lot of noise in the water, but overall, I still prefer the shots coming out of it. And now we have a second ultra wide shots. Which was taken in much more difficult lighting conditions.
And here it is pretty clear that both the iPhone and the S 20 ultra have failed as the crushed shadows way too much, the pixel and galaxy 21 ultra have dealt with shadows much better. Uh, but if you take a look at the highlights on the pavement, you can see that a pixel blew them out almost entirely the S 21 on the other hand hazards.
So, Galaxy s20 ultra takes this one. Next time we have the Panorama test taken with a main lens. And what I’m looking for here are essentially three things. Number one, the stitching quality, number two, the overall exposure and number three, how wide the Panorama actually is now in terms of the stitching.
The iPhone essentially takes this one. If you take a look at a rail on the left, it was pretty much perfect with absolutely zero distortions. Now, in terms of the exposure, it is the iPhone, again, as it was the only one that perfectly exposed the sky. And when it comes to the viewing angle, it was pretty much identical on all of them.
So the iPhone takes this one. If you’re on two 4k 60 video, I expected this to be an easy win for the iPhone. As most of you probably know, the iPhone is known to have the best video on a smartphone, but it wasn’t really like that you see, while the iPhone is in the do really well would balance shadows and highlights.
The S one on ultra does almost exactly the same, like the image. It looks almost identical with exception that the S one on an ultra is brighter. But even though it is brighter, it does not blow out the highlights. So I do have to give the win to ultra here, even though the iPhone was actually a close second.
Also take a look at how the iPhone blew out some of the highlights and the parking while the S 21. Hasn’t Oh, and we did remove HDR from, and Jacqueline’s video for it is so it looks just like it does on the phone itself. And now we have a 4k 60 video, but taking on the ultra wide camera and here the iPhone just did the best.
If you pause the video, you can tell that it has, by far the sharpest image, there is a lot of shadow detail preserves. Whereas on the other phones, especially the Samsung ones, they lost a lot of detail. Actually the ultra wide angle video on yes. Going on ultra looks worse than even on the S 20 ultra.
Okay. So, so far IDs went on. Ultra is in the lead with five points, followed by the iPhone would for the pixel three and, uh, the S 21 ultra with zero. But let’s take a look and see how that changes with the slow motion test. So here, what I’m looking for is just which phone had this. Slowest slow-mo and that’s definitely this one on ultra and Galaxy s20 ultra, both of which can shoot at four 80 frames per second.
And then they upscale the footage to nine 60, uh, the iPhone and the pixel can only shoots into 40, by the way. And here I actually do prefer the S 20 ultra. It just seems that the highlights on the bowl are preserved compared to the Galaxy s21 Ultra. Which blows them out. So finally, a points for the a S 20 ultra moving on to the 4k stabilization test shot in 4k 60.
Some technical details of iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Google Pixel 5 & S20 Ultra cameras
They’re all really, really good here. The ultra and the iPhone 12 pro max are the best with the iPhone being slightly better. Not massively though, as the S 21 ultra still performed really well, but the iPhone does take this one. Now, when it comes to the autofocusing speeds as surprisingly the S one, one ultra seems to be the fastest when focusing up close and that’s thanks to that laser focusing module, which all the other phones lack by the way over it, when it comes to focusing on something in the distance, the iPhone is the fastest.
So I’m actually going to give a points to both here. Next up, we have the time-lapse test and here both the ultra and the pixel five have a 4k resolution while the iPhone. And Galaxy s20 ultra are only 10 NDP. So the Galaxy s20 ultra, the iPhone are immediately disqualified because of this and between the ultra and the pixel.
I actually do prefer to pixel. It seems like the images of our old sharper and the shadow details are much more preserved. Whereas the S 21 old truck let’s have a lot of noise. So yeah, the pixel takes this one and she has a portrait mode starting off with a photo of Ren as each of these phones can recognize.
Pets that pixel unfortunately had a really poor background separation and same goes for the Galaxy s20 ultra the iPhone and Galaxy s21 ultra, both did an amazing job. The S 21 ministry separate ran from the background better as the iPhone messed up around the years. Uh, but I do prefer the overall colors on the iPhone more and that extra blur that we get in the background.
So. That’s actually my pick here, when it comes to a portrait shots of an actual person in this case, me, uh, they were all fairly good. The iPhone was the most believable one where it kind of looks like you actually took it with a DSLR camera. Whereas all the other ones kind of looked like they were photo-shopped in one way or another.
However, my codes looked blue and the sky was super blown out on the iPhone. So my choice here is actually the ultra, as I think as an overall image, it is by far the most pleasing one. Okay. Moving on to some low light shots thinking with nightmare mode. What I’m looking for here is a natural nightmare, right?
I don’t want the shot to look as if it was taken in daytime. And I think that’s all phones actually managed to achieve that. Look, if you take a look at a sky, which does remain quite dark on all of them, the S 20 ultra messed up the shadows again, the iPhone did better, but Galaxy s21 Ultra and the pixel were by far the best would a pixel being my choice here, as it retained a lot of the detail in every single part of the image, especially when it came.
Did it break work in the second, I tried to hear it. Galaxy s20 ultra and I stopped completely as it was super soft and noisy. The Galaxy s21 Ultra then no suite better, but there was still a lot of noise in the sky. So in terms of this shots, the iPhone and the pixel did best with my choice, actually being the pixel here again.
If you take a look at the sky, you can see how the iPhone started having this yellow tends to it while the big sole kept everything more natural, which I do prefer. And finally, we have our third night shots and same thing here. The Galaxy s20 ultra messed up entirely. The S 21 ultra was miles better, but still very noisy in the sky.
The pixel and the iPhone were both cleaner, but the iPhone was just way too warm in terms of the sky. So again, I do prefer to pixel here too. Okay. Now we have a low-light child taken with a flash. And the whole point of this is to see which phone manages to brighten up the image while also maintaining a natural look like I don’t want to see that horrible flashlight effect here.
And unfortunately, Galaxy s20 ultra has just ads. So it’s immediately out the has a two, just not quite as bad. So it’s between the iPhone and the pixel. And I got to go with a pixel here again, you see the lights around this canal were actually yellow and the pixel managed to preserve that color. While also brightening up the image without giving you a flashlight look.
So, yeah, I’m quite impressed in terms of the pixel here. Next up we have low-light zoom at 10 X. Now, since the photo taken was of a lamp, the S 21 ultra actually switched to the 10 X optical zoom lens. And it just destroys the compensation. However, if we actually had less lights, it would have just used the main sensor and the results wouldn’t have been as good.
And now we wanted to see which phone had the best load performance when using the ultra wide camera. And here they’re all pretty bad. To be honest, I actually think that the iPhone is the worst here just by the fact that it has so much noise in the sky. And the image itself is very soft to the pixel.
Five is fairly soft too, but then the S 21 ultra is way too sharp. So surprisingly. I actually think that Galaxy s20 ultra is the best here as it has the least amount of noise while still maintaining a natural look, moving on to a live portrait. This is where it gets really interesting. It was just getting dark.
And I was in this wooden huts where there was barely any lights and interesting enough, the pixel did the best, but it also cheated. You see all these phones use a telephoto module. Whereas the pixel used the main module as it doesn’t have a telephoto module. So I will give the points to the pixel, but at the same time, I think the ultra that amazing from all the phones that did use their telephoto modules.
Okay. Now we have low-light video, but taking out a full 60 FPS in 4k. Why 60 FPS? Well, most people wouldn’t switch to 4k 60 daytime just to switch back to 4k 30, when you should a night video. Um, and here, yes, tournament ultra was a horrible mess as it just cannot do pixel binning when shooting video, the S 20 ultra was basically the same only that it applied a ton of noise reduction.
That pixel was still noisy, but the iPhone on the other hand was so, so much better with almost zero noise, any super sharp image overall, however, the iPhone was. Not as bright as the other ones, still the iPhone takes this one by the fact that it had to cleanest image by far. And then we tried doing good astrophotography shot, but, um, not only was it cloudy, but it was also still bright outside that a phones just would not enter astrophotography mode, even though they were all on a tripod.
So it just ended up being a long exposure tripod shots and here the S 21 and the pixel managed to preserve the most amount of shadow detail would a pixel five, even having noticeably less noise than the ultra. When it came to the sky. So the pixel is definitely my choice here. And now we have a night mode time-lapse and CMS, the daytime won the pixel five and Galaxy s21 Ultra we’re in 4k while the iPhone and Galaxy s20 ultra were in 10 NDP.
Also the iPhone and galaxy s20 ultra have almost no detail in the shadows. And the pixel five is super noisy. So out of all of these, the ultra is by far. The best move you onto some front facing camera stuff here. I’m not a fan of the pixel as it’s far too dark. And also take a look at the blue tins of my coats, which was actually black in real life.
Singles for the iPhone, which for some reason made my face too orange and my codes looked gray. Galaxy s20 ultra managed to both get a colors. Right. And between the two, I actually do prefer the S 21 ultra as it was a much sharper in terms of the front facing video. It’s probably obvious that the iPhone is just way too bright here.
And by the way, We did fix the HR file. And even on the iPhone itself, it’s still looks way too bright the pixel and get our hand just crushed the shadows way too much. So I actually do prefer a galaxy s20 ultra here. It has a wider angle than the rest. The colors were good and he image was super sharp overall in terms of the front portrait mode.
Uh, what I’m looking for here is a nice. Background separation. And I think that all of them did a really good job here. That pixel messed up my hair on the left a bit and singles for the iPhone. The ultra seems to be the only one that got my hair. Right. And it also has the sharpest image with more true to life colors.
So definitely the as 21 ultra here. So what about a low light selfie? Now this was taken with night mode on all of these phones with the flash disabled. And the pixel was way too green and too fuzzy here. So definitely not a pixel. Galaxy s20 ultra was way too dark. The iPhone was way too bright. So I think I’m going to go with Galaxy s21 Ultra here, as it seems to be the most balanced image.
And also the one with the most amount of detail. If you take a look at my facial hair, okay. Now we have a selfie and low lights, but would flash on. And what I’m looking for here is a bright photo that doesn’t give you the impression that it was taken with a flash. So. I’m not a fan of Samsung phones here as they look to flashlight and between the pixel and the iPhone, I’m going to have to go with the iPhone.
And this one, although I honestly think they’re all really, really bad. Okay. Next up we have the front facing low-light video and here. I’m assuming that most of you would just pick the pixel because it has the brightest image, but it does that at the expense of a lot of noise. Galaxy s21 Ultra, the iPhone or the closest, you all just looked in real life.
And out of the two, I prefer the iPhone as it’s just a bit brighter, but without the mass amounts of noise that the pixel short hat. And finally, when it comes to the microphone test, I believe that the iPhone sounded the best. Uh, you’ll hear that in just a second, but the iPhone actually managed to cancel a specific boat’s noise.
Much better than the rest and my voice had more base and more depth than the other ones. So, yeah, just listen for yourselves. Okay. So this is a microphone says on all of these four phones, starting off with a Samsung galaxy S 21 ultra there’s actually a boat passing it a distance. So I’m curious to see how each of these phones will cancel that and amplify my voice.
Concluding the results
Uh, this is the iPhone fold pro max, which, uh, well you’ll tell me how that actually sounds like. Um, next up we have the Samsung galaxy S 20 ultra. So especially with the intention, how this compares to you. Galaxy s21 Ultra, if it’s any better or worse. And then finally we have the pixel five, which is the least expensive phone out of all of these four.
So let’s take a look at how the microphone sounds on the phone. Excellent. Okay. So I have the results in front of me and Galaxy s20 ultra dates. The worst am I only getting three points out of 35? And then I was surprised you see the pixel five got 10 points followed by the iPhone at 11 points. And then the ultra, which gods 12 points.
M final thoughts
So in conclusion it is pretty obvious that. All of these phones are a major improvement over the S 20 ultra from last year, a phone, which was priced at $1,400 at launch. And no matter which phone you get, you’ll still receive a very good camera experience with some unique advantages for each. Like for example, the iPhone has the best raw processing and the best low-light video.
Whereas the ultra has the best zoom and the best macro the pixel has the best night boat photos, and galaxy s20 ultra has the best slow motion, I guess. But no, really. I think this video just concludes that no matter what smartphone camera you get in 2021, you’ll always get very good results. So thank you for watching.