Samsung S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Comparison!
When I tested the iPhone 14 pro-Max against Samsung’s last s22 Ultra it was a clear winner the iPhone took better video it took better night shots it was a way more stable camera but this new s23 Ultra is a direct response to Apple.
Samsung’s dialed up the resolution to an astronomical 200 megapixels
And focused on taking
True 8K video bright tonight shots and completely overhauling the stabilization system.
Selfie Cameras Phone + Video
So starting off with the selfie camera because Samsung’s fitted the s23 with a new one the video quality definitely looks like a step in the right direction and when you going to capture you this will bring clean texture.
I’m impressed I was even slightly taken aback by how decent the video looks in low light it’s still not quite got the smoothening anti-grain power of the iPhone though which is enough for me to say that Samsung is still behind at this just not nearly as much as they used to be and then you flick over to selfie photos.
It is a different story entirely it’s a bit of a weird one in that
The s23 ultra actually has a lower resolution front camera than the s22 ultra that came before it but there’s something quite Magnificent about how it always seems to land I’ve taken over 300 selfies on both of these phones and thanks to the new dual pixel autofocus on Samsung not a single one of my s23 ones are out of focus.
I mean the iPhone is already pretty good at this but every now and again when even that struggles Samsung’s got it plus it gets skin tone spot on brightening and smoothing your face a little to make you the center of attention it sharpens up face details like eyelashes and beards but it does so while nailing that balance between wanting a crispy detailed realistic photo and then going for so much realism.
When you’re sat there evaluating your entire skincare regimen Samsung can now also instantly cut you out of your photos by just holding down on the screen but the iPhone’s end result is in a different legal together like literally good enough to instantly use that cutout in a YouTube thumbnail for example so that’s one Point each.
This new stabilization system is because the S3 Ultra has both an improved software-based stabilization combined with the lens itself having two times the physical Optical image stabilization.
It’s got to do something and let’s put it this way I could not believe the difference from last year I’m so used to testing brand-new revolutionary video cameras only to put them next to the iPhone and then this is different the minute you open this phone’s camera it becomes very clear that stability is now a priority.
And it actually does translate to video that is practically free from all the micro stuttering that comes with not being able to hold the camera still or having a bit too risk of a walk it’s like having a car with a really powerful suspension it just Glides and nowhere is that more apparent than when you’re moving around at night.
Where the electronic image stabilization tends to fail this has in a single generation gone from one of Samsung’s kiwi uses to one of their key strengths even a full-on Sprint isn’t too much for it this is the kind of jump that you don’t expect to see within a one year time frame but where the company really far behind in last year’s tests.
Super Steady Mode
Where when you’re using the phone’s dedicated super steady modes where it wasn’t really that Samsung’s was bad it’s more that Apple’s action mode software is just really shockingly good but yeah Samsung’s new stabilization system has entirely bridged that Gap enough to turn a previous loss in the stabilization category.
Zoom Comparison Samsung S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max
Do you want to guess which phone wins the zoom category? It might be the iPhone I don’t know if it could be the iPhone it’s not the iPhone I mean while apple has a single three-time zoom camera.
Samsung has both a three times and a 10 times camera and you can actually see the phone’s improved AI layering in extra detail even after the shot has been captured now I will say this while the s23 ultra Zoom is in some cases better than the s22 ultra Zoom this is far from what I would call a next-gen experience.
Like the stabilization was or like some of the stuff you’re about to see it which is to say the phones are about equal at early magnifications Samsung then falls behind between 3x and 10x because while both phones have three times optical zoom cameras apples can see further and then as soon as you pass 10x and Samsung’s second zoom camera kicks in it’s a whitewash.
It is a bit of a shame though that you know this is the fourth generation of phone for which Samsung’s been quoting their 100 times Zoom abilities and yet. We’re still not really close to 100-time shots being usable but make no mistake the s23 ultra is the better camera for all of those big zoomy folk out there.
I’ve tried zooming all the way into the moon and the difference is not small so at this point Samsung is absolutely dominating but if you had to put down money on one category being the end of that streak it would be the quality of the video itself the fact that Apple designs the chips for their phones.
And then has almost an entire year where they know everything about these chips
To then build their software around them compounded by the fact that they make such a small number of phones per year means that they just have more time than any other company to make sure that their video processing pipeline is really optimized.
And that the video is reliable in every possible condition and because video is one of the most complex things to master more so than photos I think this is where you most feel the fact that Samsung and most other Android companies have had to rush.
Now all I said it takes a total of five seconds using the Samsung Galaxy s23 Ultra to see that this is the smoothest least green-filled video a Samsung phone has ever recorded and one of the first things that I was really surprised to see is the real-time High dynamic range in Samsung’s video.
That’s pretty huge it’s not enough for me to say that it’s ahead of the iPhone because like if you go to a more extreme lighting environment you can see the simple fact that Apple has spent more time tuning start to kick in those Fringe cases the way that Samsung goes about achieving its noise reduction in low lights is by capturing multiple frames.
And then layering those frames on top of each other it’s usually strong but if you then start to move your phone erratically it doesn’t get time to perform this properly and breaks down revealing all the green plus Apple Still Remains slightly more detailed in almost all cases it’s getting close closer than.
I ever expected it to be to the point where Apple should be worried but they do just Edge it out for now but then Samsung does have a bit of a secret weapon this time something that the iPhone just straight up can’t do.
Let me be very clear 8K is not a little bit more than 4K. 8K is four times the number of pixels of 4K and while this isn’t the first phone that can shoot 8K on everything I’ve tested it on over the last few years it has been clearly a tacked-on junky experience.
Samsung is saying it will be different this time and they’re kind of right if you are shooting under really bright conditions like broad daylight or under a really powerful lamp then I can confirm that 8K is now a legitimate option that does add detail to already detailed 4K video.
But then in anything less than optimal lighting you just end up with a technically higher resolution clip but one that’s actually grainier because the phone just has more pixels to light up without enough light to know what to do with them the way that.
Samsung talked about the 8K I felt like this phone might be the turning point where the masses start using it but having properly tested it.
I think we’ll be waiting at least another year to see the benefits however as any movie director will tell you when it comes to video audio is 50 of the package.
So which one sounds better well it’s actually pretty cool that Samsung is also silently upgraded the microphones on this phone not a huge update but what you’ll actually notice more is that because the speakers of the phone are now upgraded.
When you’re listening back to the videos taken on the phone they now easily keep up with the iPhone.
This is pretty exciting stuff but then I remembered to wait this phone has a brand new 200-megapixel camera it’s optimized to shoot quicker more detailed shots.
Than ever before surely the biggest Improvement is going to be in just photos well.
Okay let’s start with detail both phones have a normal auto mode and then they own separate super-resolution modes Samsung’s 200 megapixels Apple’s is 48. and Apple’s is more often than not slightly more detailed Samsung does have a lot of different high-res options you’ve got 200-megapixel mode 50-megapixel mode.
You’ve got an entirely separate app called expert raw where you can take high res Raw photos but the funny part of it is that it didn’t seem to matter which one of these I used the iPhone is ever so slightly ahead when it comes to those super zoomed in nitty-gritty finer details it feels like a similar problem to the 8K video.
You can actually tell Samsung has more pixels to work with but you can also tell that in most lighting conditions it doesn’t quite know what to do with them okay fine well what about just auto mode what you’re going to be using for 98 of photos on these phones well I have taken 226 side by sides and let me just say for starters.
You can take amazing beautiful cinematic photos on both of these guys they’ve both got pretty large pretty equivalently-sized camera sensors so both of them get that lovely foreground background Separation by default but attempt to prefer Samsung it’s the personality the rich colors the warmer skin tones it’s a weird way to describe it but.
Samsung’s photos are almost friendlier and I think for the vast majority of people who aren’t going to be doing as much photo editing after capture you’ll be more impressed by the almost pre-edited photos that this phone turns out by default.
Let’s not forget that Samsung is also far more aggressive with dynamic range in photos this phone pretty much never misses in terms of keeping those bright Skies well controlled and it’s quite the contrast to Apple who’s been really slow to integrate aggressive processing like this I mean I can see why it feels like too much tampering of the raw image but.
I do also just think it looks better I think it’s pretty clear what Samsung’s trying to do here the core messaging of their marketing with the s23s is can you send me that Samsung wants these phones to be the ones that all your friends are jealous of the ones that are so obviously better than the competitors that you by default become the photo capturer of the group and well.
I think that this whole extra crispy highly colorful photo processing is the way to get the masses to agree with that sentiment both phones also have 12 megapixel ultra wide cameras which honestly I have been starting to use a lot of anytime I’m with friends or at a party being able to just go wider is so much easier than having to get up take five steps back and then tell everyone to now turn to face the camera both ultrawides are just as wide as each other
You can feel just how much Samsung’s image processing has improved. when you inspect it closely the category photos is such a tight battle though because then I was like Samsung’s shutter lag it’s better than it was before but it’s still no match for the iPhone you can and you do still miss things every now and again just because.
It takes that extra Split Second to capture so overall in photos I’m gonna give these two Titans a draw oh yeah and we can’t forget the only thing that Samsung was talking about before these phones launched Night Moves I mean their entire strapline was made for moonlight.
So to get one thing out of the way up until this point the iPhone 14 pro had the most technically impressive nighttime performance I’ve ever seen on a smartphone to the point where I’ve actually with my own eyes seen this phone outperform even six thousand dollar professional cameras.
All thanks to the intelligence of the image processing well there are two things you need to know about this s23 Ultra one it’s really good at controlling the bright spots better than the iPhone we tried to find the most challenging scenarios you could possibly get and yet there basically isn’t a single Overexposed pixel.
Which is super cool and the second thing is that on average it is getting a slight amount more information in those shots and pixel peeping I’m only noticing these things because I’m pulling up both images on a 30-inch screen and zooming into them but the point is they’re there if you look for them and this also applies to portrait mode shots taken in super low lights plus.
I am so glad that Samsung’ shaken that bad habit of almost trying to show off how much the phone can brighten your night shots my photos should look like photos taken at night and I can safely say they do that here the only thing that I would say apple does better is a feature they introduced last year called adaptive flash that can adjust itself.
Based on how close or far you are from the person you’re shooting and it’s such a perfect quick smart simple fix that instantly solves the issue of your flash photos looking like this so Apple still retains that lead this time but in night mode photos there’s an overall category.
I think it’s time to hand over that crown for the first time in years and you know what else Samsung just does better.
The fun this is an important category for me because ultimately I take photos for the fun of taking photos trying new modes and experimenting with filters that’s the soul of smartphone cameras in my opinion and I think in the process of trying to streamline everything for the Casual user.
The iPhone does also lose some of that its cinematic mode is a little better still but honestly the Gap is closing with the improved intelligence of Samsung’s new chip and when you’re using the Samsung camera just generally and things like director’s View and AI-based photo editing and the fact that when you see something in the distance.
You can just zoom into it you definitely feel like you’re more in control if that’s important to you and so fun is also going to Samsung.
There was a time when iPhone portrait mode shots were in A League of Their Own where I would enviously peer over at my iPhone friends putting no thought at all into their shots and them still turning out amazing compared to my Samsung ones.
But that day my friends is long gone Samsung’s really improved both the realism successfully simulating all the subtle signs that you’re actually using a big old DSLR camera and also Edge detection at this point the phone is distinguishing each individual hair on my arm it’s almost too good and when you pair that with the fact that Samsung makes faces just generally look better this is definitely the portrait mode that.
I would want to use I’ve tried it on animals too and while the edge detection doesn’t work quite as well since these portrait mode algorithms are mostly trained on people’s faces the s23 genuinely still makes them look.
iPhone and Samsung have some of the best close-up macro modes from any phone camera but then you might remember with the iPhone 14s Apple added a feature called photonic engine.
Which means any photo you take the phone will go back scrub through and enhance the textures that really helps Apple out in this case leading to on average the iPhone’s close-ups being both a little closer and a little sharper.
There’s not too much to say about slow motion apart from Samsung seems to have nicely caught up with the iPhone.
Slow-mo quality if you’re in ideal lighting conditions I still think it’s such a shame though these current phones are like five times more powerful than the phone’s slow-mo was launched with their storage is 10 times faster the camera is up to 16 times.
The resolution if slo-mo was actually given some care and attention you could make it so much slower without having to use artificial effects like Samsung does so this s23 Ultra is well the least impressive looking phone upgrade I’ve ever seen but it looks like what they’ve done is redirected the effort.
That would have gone into making the phone look different into actually addressing some of the key fundamental problems.
So this is all please let us know what you have thoughts about all of this.