Camera comparison: Apple's iPhone X vs. Samsung's Galaxy Note 8

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2017
Both Apple's iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 feature dual-lens rear cameras, but which one takes better photos? AppleInsider puts the two flagship smartphones to the test.





Samsung's Note line of phablets has been around for years, but the Note 8 is the first model to include a dual rear camera array, similar to the one introduced with Apple's iPhone 7 Plus.

Apple's latest iPhone X handset features a dual-camera system like the iPhone 8 Plus and 7 Plus before it, but with some noteworthy improvements such as the addition of optical image stabilization on both lenses.

The specs of the rear cameras on the iPhone X and Note 8 are are pretty similar. They're both 12-megapixel modules with a 2x optical zoom feature, and both phones have dual optical image stabilization.

With the Note 8, Samsung introduces Live Focus, its own version of Apple's rear-facing Portrait Mode feature. Live Focus lets users adjust the amount of background blur in real time, as well as in post, a benefit Apple's Portrait Mode does not afford. With iOS 11, iPhone owners can enable and disable the blur effect, but the amount of blur is a preset standard.

The Note 8 also gets a Dual Capture feature which takes two photo using both lenses while in Live Focus mode, allowing users to switch between wide and telephoto views in post. Additional customization options are also available using Pro mode with the Note 8.

Comparing the phones' front-facing cameras, the Note 8 edges iPhone X out in sheer megapixels with its 8-megapixel shooter. The iPhone X incorporates a 7-megapixel camera as part of the sophisticated TrueDepth depth-sensing camera system, which allows for Face ID authentication and a other features like Selfie Portrait Mode.

To compete with Apple's new selfie feature, the Note 8 also has a selective focus front-facing mode that relies largely on software to achieve the desired effect.




Starting with rear-facing Portrait and Live Focus modes, we instantly noticed that the Note 8 was over-saturating the colors. The iPhone X's colors are much more accurate to what we saw through our eyes. The Note 8 did, however, do a better job of taking care of the glare near the bottom of some photos.

Cropping in, we can definitely tell that the Note 8 looks sharper. The X's image looks slightly out of focus, but it's the best out of three photos that we took, so it may just be a side effect of unwanted glare.




Moving on to the wide lens, we don't see much of a difference save for the over-saturation on the Note 8. We also can tell that the iPhone X has more contrast if you look at the ground. Cropping in, we see a bunch of noise on the hoodie with the Note 8. The iPhone X does look slightly sharper as well.

Moving on to selfie mode, the Note 8's colors don't seem too bad this time, but you can tell that the iPhone X has more contrast. We can also see more detail in the sky on the X, compared to the Note 8 which looks pretty blown out. Cropping in, the iPhone X looks just a bit more detailed than the Note 8.

Looking at a wide photo of a tree, the colors are very different, with the iPhone X being the most accurate. We can also tell that the X has more contrast compared to the Note 8's image, which lacks detail. Cropping in, the X looks more detailed, but it could be due to the lack of contrast on the Note 8.




The same tree with a telephoto lens shows iPhone X's colors are more true to life, and the contrast makes it look more pleasing to the eye. Cropping in, we can actually see that the Note 8 is a bit sharper, but due to the lack of contrast, it's hard to tell at normal viewing levels.

In HDR mode, we can instantly see that the iPhone X holds a lot more details in the sky. The Note 8 again over-saturates the colors, and it's exposed a bit darker. Cropping in, we can see a lot more detail on the iPhone X.




Next up is a couple of selfies using Selfie Portrait and Selective Focus modes.

We can see that the two systems work a bit differently. The Note 8 actually adds a bokeh ball effect along with blur, and it maintains details in the foreground, like the jacket, compared to the iPhone X which holds focus on the face and softens everything else. Cropping in, the Note 8's image looks a bit more detailed.

The Note 8's blur effect is stronger than on the X, which makes for a seemingly better photo.

In low-light scenarios the Note 8 looks a bit over-saturated, but it actually has less noise on the hoodie compared to the X. The rocks in the background are more detailed as well. Cropping in, we can tell that the Note 8's image is sharper, and the X looks soft and the detail is a bit smeared.




With the wide lens, the iPhone X's image looks a bit overexposed and a tad bit blurry. Cropping in, we can tell that the Note 8 is more sharp, and the letters on the hoodie are blown out on the iPhone X.

Finally, we turned on flash to see which photo is more pleasant. The image from the Note 8 is distractingly yellow and completely misses the mark in terms of accuracy. The iPhone X is much more accurate, and it does a better job of balancing the brightness of the background and foreground. Cropping in, we do see more detail in the Note 8's image, with the iPhone X's detail looking a bit smeared.




In conclusion, the Note 8's photos are just as sharp or sharper than the iPhone X in various situations, but it over-saturates colors and has a tendency to lack contrast. The iPhone X does a better job at high dynamic range photos, but detail can get more smeared when in low light than on the Note 8. Interestingly, the blur effect on the Note 8 looks just as good as the iPhone X, if not better, thanks to the bokeh ball effect and stronger blur intensity.
zroger73

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    This test is way too limited to draw any conclusions from.
    racerhomie
  • Reply 2 of 18
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,174member
    Thanks, another great video.    I think the X was better but the note was pretty good.   The only losers are the DSL makers who will lose more and more sales to the camera phones.    Please do one on video and also do a comparison with the Pixel 2 after the software for the "Visual Core" chip is released.

    I think its great that you can get the dual camera on a smaller phone (as the X is smaller than the Note 8).   Wish Apple would put the dual camera on the iPhone 9.

    Do you thing Samsung will come out with the Note 9 and Note XI next year.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,618member
    1 "The iPhone X's colors are much more accurate to what we saw through our eyes. "
    2 "
    Looking at a wide photo of a tree, the colors are very different, with the iPhone X being the most accurate."
    3 "
    The image from the Note 8 is distractingly yellow and completely misses the mark in terms of accuracy. The iPhone X is much more accurate, and it does a better job of balancing the brightness of the background and foreground. "

    Thanks.  This is the kind of test report most camera comarison authors failed. 
    racerhomiedeepinsider
  • Reply 4 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,805member
    Enough with the bullshit camera comparisons. C|net did this with the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 XL. It’s all subjective. Google and Samsung fans will of course find the pictures taken with their phones vastly superior to iPhone X pictures. Apple fans will insist the iPhone X takes the best pictures. It’s confirmation bias on steroids. Stop it.
    revenantcroprphilboogiepeterhartpscooter63dewmejony0cornchip1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 5 of 18
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,618member
    lkrupp said:
    Enough with the bullshit camera comparisons. C|net did this with the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 XL. It’s all subjective. Google and Samsung fans will of course find the pictures taken with their phones vastly superior to iPhone X pictures. Apple fans will insist the iPhone X takes the best pictures. It’s confirmation bias on steroids. Stop it.
    Why are you so emotional with no real facts? 
    bonobobdeepinsidernetmagecornchip
  • Reply 6 of 18
    You are wrong to say 'though it did do a better job at taking care of the glare at the bottom of the photo', glare appears to be the same on both photos, it only looks less on the Note 8 because the sun is poking out less on the top right. Just sayin', this is something that should have been obvious.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,400member
    You are wrong to say 'though it did do a better job at taking care of the glare at the bottom of the photo', glare appears to be the same on both photos, it only looks less on the Note 8 because the sun is poking out less on the top right. Just sayin', this is something that should have been obvious.
    That’s the problem with a lot camera comparisons: the subject is never photographed from the exact same position. 

    Still, looking at these shots, I wouldn’t reject the Note8 due to its camera quality. Unfortunately there are plenty of other reasons…



    revenantpscooter63netmagejony01STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 8 of 18
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,581member
    The colors on the Note are horrific, that's enough to disqualify it, who the hell cares if you lose 0.5% of details (which is very debatable by the way) if you have to work the photo over for 1h in photoshop to make it look OK. The flash one is absurdly bad on the Note and not sure you could fix it unless you photographed a white card at the same time under the same conditions..

    BTW, again, there is no test of dynamic photo taking, with subject moving, or how long it takes to set up the god damn shot.

    It's like people doing those tests have never actually had to take real pictures.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Are you sure the iPhone doesn't have a fault here or some grease on the lens?  All the photos look slightly out of focus to me.  Color and balance is better, but focus far out in all the shots.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,013member
    lkrupp said:
    Enough with the bullshit camera comparisons. C|net did this with the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 XL. It’s all subjective. Google and Samsung fans will of course find the pictures taken with their phones vastly superior to iPhone X pictures. Apple fans will insist the iPhone X takes the best pictures. It’s confirmation bias on steroids. Stop it.
    I agree.  This is getting ridiculous. Both sides of the camp feel they need to one-up the other.  Regardless of the outcome, 99.9% of photos taken with either camera will be useless Instagram and Facebook selfies that contribute pretty much zero to the Internet community.  That .1% seems to be taking an inordinate amount of priority.

    When I want "real" photos that matter, I'll stick with my Canon 5DM3 which on its worse day still takes better shots than my iPhone on its best day.  

    Enough with this nonsense.
    philboogieRayz2016peterhartmacxpresszroger73
  • Reply 11 of 18
    Only the iPhone has 4K @60fps
    I don't need it ,but it is an advantage over the samsung.
    plus ,Flash is much better on the 8,8+ & 10.

    Regular picture wise it seems equal , except more saturated color on Samsung .
  • Reply 12 of 18
    I still prefer more realistic colors
  • Reply 13 of 18
    More blur does not equal better Bokeh. Using my Nikon 105mm f1.8 as a reference there should be a true bokeh effect...it isn't simply a 'blur'. I think the iPhone X does a better bokeh effect. If apple wanted to increase the bluriness, they would have...but it would not longer be a bokeh effect. I think the consistancy of the bokeh effect and the lines around the subject are how to measure the 'goodness' of the bokeh effect that is applied with software on phone cameras. I think Samsungs effect washes out the distance background and makes too much bright white on both the background and on the person's face.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    fracfrac Posts: 477member
    Article omments about sharpness should always come with a warning about standard system-level image file processing. I guess these are jpegs rather than RAW in which case it may be that the Note has more aggressive sharpening as standard. 
    I prefer the least amount of built-in processing, something Apple is somewhat inconsistent about. 
  • Reply 15 of 18
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,843member
    Having both phones, I do think the Note 8 takes really good pictures. There are times when the Note has taken better pictures than the iPhone X and vice versa. One area I think the iPhone X has the Note 8 beat is optical stabilization when shooting videos. The iPhone X does a much better job from my experience. One thing I wish Apple would do is have a native RAW setting like the Note 8 does. 
  • Reply 16 of 18
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,255member
    It’s like the Note 8 doesn’t really care about exact colour recreation.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Rayz2016 said:
    You are wrong to say 'though it did do a better job at taking care of the glare at the bottom of the photo', glare appears to be the same on both photos, it only looks less on the Note 8 because the sun is poking out less on the top right. Just sayin', this is something that should have been obvious.
    That’s the problem with a lot camera comparisons: the subject is never photographed from the exact same position. 

    Still, looking at these shots, I wouldn’t reject the Note8 due to its camera quality. Unfortunately there are plenty of other reasons…



    I think you hit the nail on the head.  None of the comparisons tend to take photos from the same position or the same time.  The only reviewer who seems to come close is Supersaf.  Say what you will about his delivery, I like the fact that he reviews with the phone's cameras primarily side by side during the majority of his reviews.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    My own experience with the iPhone X is that the images rarely needed "adjusting" as I have been accustomed. I routinely crop for what I consider is a better aspect ratio depending on the subject and composition. The photos for the Note8 in this article appear to have a "white balance" problem, and likewise trouble with exposure. And yes, my iMac screen is calibrated.

    The iPhone X won't replace high-end digital cameras, but could have an impact on "compact" cameras sales, which have been decreasing for several years.
Sign In or Register to comment.