Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
- Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 takes excellent photos, but so does the Google Pixel 3, which has one of the best smartphone cameras of all time.
- Each phone’s camera does certain things better than the other.
- Flick through the photos below to see which phone takes photos you prefer to make the choice that’s right for you.
As any self-respecting tech journalist does, I took photos with the new Samsung Galaxy S10 to compare them to the greatest smartphone camera of all time: the Pixel 3.
As I took more and more photos with each phone, I started to realize that this couldn’t be a battle of which phone takes the best photos. They both take excellent photos, but each phone has different styles, and they each do certain things better than the other.
Google’s style is to give you contrast-y, natural photos that have a lot of depth, even if it means you don’t see every detail in darker areas. Samsung’s style is to brighten up the darker areas so that you can see pretty much every detail, which sounds great, but it can lead to a flat-looking photo.
Of note: I’m using the Pixel 3 XL and Galaxy S10 Plus for this comparison. The XL and the standard-size Pixel 3 have the exact same camera set-up; the S10 Plus and standard S10 have the same rear camera, but the S10 Plus has one extra selfie lens.
But enough talk — check out photos taken with the new Galaxy S10 Plus compared to the Pixel 3 XL:
Indoors in Grand Central Terminal, both phones take great photos.
The Pixel 3 likes to make things dark and contrast-y, which makes for richer colors and better depth. With that said, Pixel 3 photos can appear too dark at times, which makes details in darker areas harder to see.
The Galaxy S10 likes to make everything bright, which helps brings out details in darker areas. At the same time, the Galaxy S10’s image looks a little flatter than the Pixel 3’s because the colors aren’t quite as rich, and there’s less depth as a result.
Here’s a perfect example of what the Pixel 3’s camera likes to do, versus the Galaxy S10.
The Pixel 3’s camera makes for deep and rich colors at the cost of visible detail — or at least easy-to-see detail.
The Galaxy S10 adds a little vibrancy to the colors, and brightens everything up, which makes it easier to see the details. For this kind of setting or scenario where I want to capture details on my subject, I’d prefer the Galaxy S10.
And here’s a perfect illustration of what the Galaxy S10’s camera likes to do. Except here, it doesn’t quite work out.
The Galaxy S10 likes to make sure you easily see details by brightening everything up, but at the cost of depth and contrast. The photo above looks significantly flatter than the Pixel 3’s photo — the shadows on the bottles aren’t very obvious or defined in the S10’s photo, at least compared to the Pixel 3’s photo. It’s clear that the Pixel 3 is obsessed with keeping the shades and shadows cast by its subjects. In this case, the win goes to the Pixel 3.
This bottle shot and the previous basketball shot above show how even the best smartphone cameras don’t handle everything, at least for quick point-and-shoot style shooting.
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