Announced at the end of February, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus were launched with the focus on the quality of their cameras. So much so that the Korean manufacturer even got to create an advertising campaign to emphasize the resources of its sensors this week. And one of the most outstanding functions is the presence of variable apertures, which allows you to capture better images in low light conditions.
According to the company’s representatives, the newly launched handsets can take photos with 28% more light than the Galaxy S8 family models. In addition, they would come out with 30% less noise.
To test whether the Galaxy S9 Plus truly excels at the top competitors, the Phone Arena site has decided to compare the images captured by Samsung’s latest flagship with three other top-of-the-line: iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL and Galaxy Note 8.
In this comparison, we are pitting the Galaxy S9+ against the iPhone X, the Pixel 2 XL, and the Note 8, in order to find out just how better it is than the others, if at all. The photos were taken in different scenarios, while the results of the four smartphones were placed side by side. Check below:
Without pixel peeping, I can tell you that each one phone, except the iPhone X, that for some reason has left us with this unnaturally orange shot, do a decent job at capturing the light on the facade. when we zoom in, however, the differences between how the four devices treat detail and texture become apparent. As you can see from the crops for this scene, Samsung has toned down the sharpening for the S9.
The Note 8 photo exhibits many sharpening in the finer details, that makes the bumpy texture of the stones pop, however it looks quite unnatural when you examine the image in full size. The iPhone X renders detail on the building in a similar fashion to the S9. It doesn’t look bad, nonetheless the orange cast, but many people would like the over-sharpened image from the Note 8. The pixel 2 XL, in my opinion, does the best job out of the four in this scene, because it manages to preserve detail without relying on excessive sharpening.
This scene is trickier than the previous one because there’s little to no direct light being cast on the church. in this situation, the S9 does an extremely fine job at producing a clean, sharp-looking image. simply take a glance at the branches on top of the dome – they’re razor-sharp in the S9+ image. Of course, this comes at the price of some ringing artifacts around the branches, however, that’s nothing out of the normal. The Note 8 shot is clearly darker, but it’s still sharp enough and appears much better than the one from the iPhone X. The iPhone, in this scene, produces a rather unpleasant, murky image with noise in the sky and other solid-colored areas of the image. The pixel 2 XL does an alright job here, but not as good as the S9+. The image appearance clean all-around, but detail could be much better.
This is where it gets attention-grabbing. Neon signs, the affliction of smartphone photography! There’s not a lot of to mention regarding the S9+, Note 8, and iPhone X, as the results are terribly similar, but the pixel simply kills it in this scene. the sole photo where the neon signs aren’t blown out is the one from the pixel 2 XL. simply examine that “Segafredo” sign on the left. the other 3 do a commendable job of capturing detail and suppressing noise in darker areas, but the pixel 2 is way ahead in this scene. Exposure stacking at its finest.
This one is a close race between the four. The Note 8 is that the sharpest of the bunch, which comes down to the aggressive post-processing it employs. However, in this scene, I think, it’s for the better. looking at the statue, you can make out subtle details in the Note 8 shot that you can’t see in the others. The downside is that there are some nasty lens flares in the shot. The Galaxy S9+ produces a picture that’s sharper than the iPhone X and pixel 2 XL photos, but not quite up to par with the Note 8. The iPhone X does an alright job, but blows out some of the highlights on the horse, while the pixel 2 XL nails the exposure perfectly.
Alright, thus what did we learn here? Well, for one, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ isn’t that big of an improvement over the Note 8/S8, however, it does produce more natural-looking results since Samsung has clearly toned down some aspects of its post-processing algorithms. The pixel 2 XL, while not the sharpest of the bunch, is very smart at stacking exposures and producing well-balanced images, even when handling high-contrast scenes.
Neon signs against a darker background will usually come out blown out when shooting on “Auto” (or the background will be pitch-black if you expose for the sign), however, the pixel 2 XL manages to pull through and deliver commendable results, because of Google‘s impressive exposure stacking trickery. The iPhone X isn’t as good as the rest when it comes to shooting at night, the pictures often times come out soft and too noisy for my opinion.
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