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Camera Comparison: iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge

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Today, we’re having a shoot-off. No, this doesn’t involve pulling a fake gun out of your pocket and shouting, ‘PEW PEW!’ This involves pointing and shooting a smartphone. 

Let’s be honest, under the hood most flagship smartphones are very similar. They all have great screens, a reasonable amount of storage, similar amounts of ram and generally enough battery to last you a day of medium use.

However, the smartphone camera is still a point of contention for many consumers. The iPhone has long reigned supreme in this department. With its 8 megapixel camera, sapphire crystal lens cover, 2.2 aperture, simple user interface and true tone flash, it is easy to see why the iPhone is leading the pack.

As a photographer, when picking a new phone, the camera is something that I take into serious consideration. As shown earlier this year with the HTC M9, it doesn’t matter how many specs you pack into a camera. If the quality hardware isn’t there, the camera will be sub-par.

Whilst I’ve been an iPhone user for the past five years, I’ve recently switched my daily driver over to a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s super fast, the AMOLED screen is amazing and the 16-megapixel camera is, in my opinion, better than the iPhone. In fact, I don’t think that I could use my iPhone for taking pictures ever again. Which, for an Apple fangirl, is a pretty big thing to say.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken some amazing pictures with my iPhone, along with many other people around the world, but I think that the clarity and overall quality of the images I take on my G6 Edge are better.

So without further ado, I think that it is high time that I put my money where my mouth is, and we have an old-fashioned smartphone camera shoot-out!

**DISCLAIMER: All photographs were taken with the same resolution in HDR mode and are unedited**

Landscape:

Take a guess, which photo was taken with the iPhone?

If you guessed the left, you would be correct.

From analysing these two images, it is clear that the iPhone processes images very differently to the Galaxy. The iPhone favours a higher saturated image with more magenta colours compared to the muted greens found in the photograph on the right. 

Naturally, my eye gravitates towards the image taken with the iPhone because the colours are very aesthetically pleasing. The photo taken with the Galaxy would allow for further editing later on as the dynamic range is higher. However, comparing the images straight out of the camera, the photo taken with the iPhone is overall, a better image.

iPHONE ON THE LEFT, GALAXY ON THE RIGHT 

 

One important factor when photographing landscapes is ensuring that you have a crisp, clear image. Both phones sharpen their images differently. The iPhone clumps similarly coloured pixels together so that the file size isn’t as large, but a lot of the sharpness is reduced. The Galaxy is very crisp. Lines are straight and the houses on the horizon are very clear.

Winner: iPhone

Although the Galaxy coped better with zoom, the iPhone’s colours straight out of the camera made it the clear winner.

 

Portrait

iPHONE ON THE LEFT, GALAXY ON THE RIGHT 

 

One very important aspect when it comes to photographing portraits is ensuring that the skin tone is correct. In this instance, the iPhone’s tendency to over saturate the colours is detrimental to the image. The model’s skin tone is very patchy and red compared to the colours used by the Galaxy.

Winner: Draw

Although the Galaxy captured better skin tones, the iPhone’s overall white balance, exposure and clarity make up for the patchy skin.

Low Light

iPHONE ON THE LEFT, GALAXY ON THE RIGHT 

 

Upon reviewing these images, I was very surprised by the differences between the iPhone and the Galaxy. For not having optical image stabilisation, the iPhone 6 coped very well with the low light. There is minimal noise, the moon on the right-hand side is very clear and the colours are very true to life. 

I find the image taken by the galaxy to be very interesting. You can see in the shadows just how much the Galaxy favours green hues. The image is very, very yellow. I like the colours, but the processing of this image is not something I was expecting straight out of the camera. The right-hand side of the image is blurred, this could be for a number of reasons; I could have been shaking, there may have been something on the lens, or the wind may have affected the photo more than I realised it would.

Winner: iPhone

The Galaxy didn’t seem to cope with the changes in exposure as well as the iPhone. You can see gradient lines through the image as the image slowly gets darker. Although I love the colours, I feel that if the black tones were darker, the image would have been a lot stronger.

 

Selfie Cam

iPHONE ON THE LEFT, GALAXY ON THE RIGHT 

 

The selfie camera is my favourite feature on the Galaxy. It has a wider resolution so that you can fit more into the image so naturally, it is great for group shots. The front camera also has a beauty filter which makes you skin look so nice. Whilst I would normally hate this feature on any other camera, it works well for the selfie camera and is a very big selling point for the phone.

We were looking into the sunset whilst taking these images and I definitely prefer the skin tones captured with the iPhone over the Galaxy. The Galaxy image is very warm compared to the iPhone. I've also found that, in general, the iPhone is much better at capturing an accurate white balance. 

Winner: Galaxy

Although the skin tones were warmer than I would have liked, I just can’t go pass the 5-megapixel camera on this beast compared to the iPhone’s measly 1.8 megapixels. 

Macro

iPHONE ON THE LEFT, GALAXY ON THE RIGHT 

 

I’m going to be frank with this, the Galaxy wins this section hands down. The clarity is stunning and I was really surprised at how this image turned out. It just looks so good. 

The iPhone’s image is also very good. Again, the colours are a little nicer because they are slightly more saturated, but the larger aperture on the Galaxy makes this image great. Look at how nice that blur is behind the flower?!

Winner: Galaxy, obviously. 

 

The verdict

 I went into this experiment convinced that the Galaxy would reign supreme, but instead, I was very surprised and impressed with the iPhone. Both cameras are fantastic and have their strengths and weaknesses. The iPhone is better for landscape and general photography whilst the Galaxy's strengths lie with the selfie camera and the larger 2.2 aperture.

Purely based on the images I took for this blog post, I would pick the iPhone hands down. However, no matter what model you choose to go with, you can be sure that you will be able to take some amazing pictures. 

 

Thank you for Paul and Gabby for modelling.