Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra didn't beat the iPhone 13 Pro in camera test

Posted:
in General Discussion
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera is nice, but DXOMARK testing proves it to be close to but not quite equal to the iPhone 13 Pro.

Galaxy S23 Ultra from Samsung
Galaxy S23 Ultra from Samsung


Samsung released the flagship Galaxy S23 lineup in early February. They brought several upgrades, and improvements over the 2022 Galaxy line, including a new chip that Qualcomm says offers photography features powered by artificial intelligence.

However, DXOMARK places the Galaxy S23 Ultra in tenth place for worldwide results with a score of 140. Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro has a score of 141 while the iPhone 14 Pro score is higher at 146 in fourth place.

Accuracy -- or lack thereof -- in skin tones
Accuracy -- or lack thereof -- in skin tones


Some of the issues with the Galaxy S23 Ultra involved low contrast in backlit scenes, occasional local loss of detail on faces, and fusion artifacts in all conditions. It also had instability in exposures.

For instance, DXOMARK noted that the Galaxy S23 Ultra had "noticeable exposure differences between consecutive shots of the same scene." In contrast, the iPhone 14 Pro had more consistent exposure and better tone compression on faces.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra did score well in video thanks to its effective stabilization and fast, accurate autofocus. However, in low-light situations, the testers noticed a slight delay between the moment the shutter was triggered and the actual capture.




The device also gave faces an "unnatural appearance" in photos with bright backgrounds, with inaccurate skin tones. And it also created a slight halo effect around subjects under these conditions, making them appear to glow.

Overall, DXOMARK found the Galaxy S23 Ultra was a good all-rounder camera without significant drawbacks. However, Samsung still hasn't managed to best Apple in photography.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,541member
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Mishuwilliamlondonbyronlgrandact73
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Honestly, I'm thinking about switching to the s23 Ultra, it's just perfect for night photos and landscapes. And I just love the natural color It keeps on your photos. Apple's algorithm tends to saturate the colors giving it a fake glow-up. The new iPhone 14 just sucks at taking night photos.
    williamlondonbyronl
  • Reply 3 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Well, you make the point. I submit that there is NO objective way to compare cameras. People are people and we all have built in personal biases and preferences when it comes to color, focus, composition, etc. I sincerely don’t think it’s possible to quantify the quality of a picture, much like audiophiles arguing which speaker reproduces the sizzle of the hi-hat cymbal more clearly.
    muthuk_vanalingambyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,213member
    Mishu said:
    Honestly, I'm thinking about switching to the s23 Ultra, it's just perfect for night photos and landscapes. And I just love the natural color It keeps on your photos. Apple's algorithm tends to saturate the colors giving it a fake glow-up. The new iPhone 14 just sucks at taking night photos.
    Ironically, five years ago the situation was the reverse with the Samsung model the  over saturated one. Although both iPhones and galaxys sucked at night then.
    williamlondonbyronl
  • Reply 5 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,818member
    lkrupp said:
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Well, you make the point. I submit that there is NO objective way to compare cameras. People are people and we all have built in personal biases and preferences when it comes to color, focus, composition, etc. I sincerely don’t think it’s possible to quantify the quality of a picture, much like audiophiles arguing which speaker reproduces the sizzle of the hi-hat cymbal more clearly.
    There are plenty of ways to objectively compare cameras. 

    You can start with the obvious of what cameras can, and cannot do. This was a massive failing on iPhones until they got multiple sensors/lenses. 

    What about autofocus speed and accuracy? 

    Then there was the low light/noise issue that left Apple behind rivals for a few years. 

    Then there was long exposure, hand held scenarios using AI assisted image stabilisation. 

    When you actually manage to take the photo you want, you can also objectively assess many areas of performance such as detail, exposure, distortion etc. 

    Yes, there is also a very subjective part to image evaluation, too. 

    Is the grass green enough for you? Do you like punchy HDR styling or do you prefer everything to be as close to natural as possible. 

    Do you want AI making your teeth whiter, eliminating reflections, compensating for optical limitations etc. 

    Not everybody likes DX0 as a reference site but they do use a suite of objective test evaluations as part of the review process. 

    The iPhone has recently started to climb the rankings in overall performance but it's largely been absent from the best of the bunch for years now and the iPhone 14 will probably be nudged down a slot or two once the P60 series is released (rumoured for next week). 




    edited February 2023 jas99chiabyronlgrandact73
  • Reply 6 of 17
    lkrupp said:
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Well, you make the point. I submit that there is NO objective way to compare cameras. People are people and we all have built in personal biases and preferences when it comes to color, focus, composition, etc. I sincerely don’t think it’s possible to quantify the quality of a picture, much like audiophiles arguing which speaker reproduces the sizzle of the hi-hat cymbal more clearly.
    Yeah, my QuickTake 100 is absolutely the equal for my EOS 5D, and there's no conceivable way to compare the two using any objective facts.  No sir!
    elijahgjas99chiacoolfactorbyronlgrandact73
  • Reply 7 of 17
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,541member
    lkrupp said:
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Well, you make the point. I submit that there is NO objective way to compare cameras. People are people and we all have built in personal biases and preferences when it comes to color, focus, composition, etc. I sincerely don’t think it’s possible to quantify the quality of a picture, much like audiophiles arguing which speaker reproduces the sizzle of the hi-hat cymbal more clearly.
    It’s unusual for one camera to win hands down in every category. Typically most modern smartphones have a “good” camera, with good simply meaning that the average person is happy dumping that photo on Facebook, or sharing it with friends.

    Really it’s amazing just how far phone cameras have come over the last 20 years or so and I look forward to a seeing where they will end up.

    The iPhone 14 Pro Max finally made me give up my Sony Camera and lenses. There are times where my Sony would undoubtedly get far superior photos vs my iPhone. But I just couldn’t be bothered dragging around a camera bag anymore and for 99 out of a 100 photos my iPhone would produce a comparable image.

    Largely, at least with the flagship phones, I think you’re right. There isn’t much in the race and each phone can take better photos than the competition in certain scenarios.
    muthuk_vanalingambyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 17
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Well, you make the point. I submit that there is NO objective way to compare cameras. People are people and we all have built in personal biases and preferences when it comes to color, focus, composition, etc. I sincerely don’t think it’s possible to quantify the quality of a picture, much like audiophiles arguing which speaker reproduces the sizzle of the hi-hat cymbal more clearly.
    There are plenty of ways to objectively compare cameras. 

    You can start with the obvious of what cameras can, and cannot do. This was a massive failing on iPhones until they got multiple sensors/lenses. 

    What about autofocus speed and accuracy? 

    Then there was the low light/noise issue that left Apple behind rivals for a few years. 

    Then there was long exposure, hand held scenarios using AI assisted image stabilisation. 

    When you actually manage to take the photo you want, you can also objectively assess many areas of performance such as detail, exposure, distortion etc. 

    Yes, there is also a very subjective part to image evaluation, too. 

    Is the grass green enough for you? Do you like punchy HDR styling or do you prefer everything to be as close to natural as possible. 

    Do you want AI making your teeth whiter, eliminating reflections, compensating for optical limitations etc. 

    Not everybody likes DX0 as a reference site but they do use a suite of objective test evaluations as part of the review process. 

    The iPhone has recently started to climb the rankings in overall performance but it's largely been absent from the best of the bunch for years now and the iPhone 14 will probably be nudged down a slot or two once the P60 series is released (rumoured for next week). 




    Comparing cameras and “quantifying the quality of pictures” are two entirely different things.
    edited February 2023 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,818member
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Well, you make the point. I submit that there is NO objective way to compare cameras. People are people and we all have built in personal biases and preferences when it comes to color, focus, composition, etc. I sincerely don’t think it’s possible to quantify the quality of a picture, much like audiophiles arguing which speaker reproduces the sizzle of the hi-hat cymbal more clearly.
    There are plenty of ways to objectively compare cameras. 

    You can start with the obvious of what cameras can, and cannot do. This was a massive failing on iPhones until they got multiple sensors/lenses. 

    What about autofocus speed and accuracy? 

    Then there was the low light/noise issue that left Apple behind rivals for a few years. 

    Then there was long exposure, hand held scenarios using AI assisted image stabilisation. 

    When you actually manage to take the photo you want, you can also objectively assess many areas of performance such as detail, exposure, distortion etc. 

    Yes, there is also a very subjective part to image evaluation, too. 

    Is the grass green enough for you? Do you like punchy HDR styling or do you prefer everything to be as close to natural as possible. 

    Do you want AI making your teeth whiter, eliminating reflections, compensating for optical limitations etc. 

    Not everybody likes DX0 as a reference site but they do use a suite of objective test evaluations as part of the review process. 

    The iPhone has recently started to climb the rankings in overall performance but it's largely been absent from the best of the bunch for years now and the iPhone 14 will probably be nudged down a slot or two once the P60 series is released (rumoured for next week). 




    Comparing cameras and “quantifying the quality of pictures” are two entirely different things.
    No one would argue that but my reply was to the claim that you can't compare cameras objectively.

    That said, and as I mentioned, it is entirely possible to objectively quantify the quality of pictures (once you have the hardware to actually capture the image). 
    edited February 2023
  • Reply 10 of 17
    jas99jas99 Posts: 158member
    So the old iPhone beat the newest Samsung flagship. And nobody gave kudos to Apple?
    Well, I will - good job, Apple!
    JFC_PAdanoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,313member
    lkrupp said:
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    Well, you make the point. I submit that there is NO objective way to compare cameras. People are people and we all have built in personal biases and preferences when it comes to color, focus, composition, etc. I sincerely don’t think it’s possible to quantify the quality of a picture, much like audiophiles arguing which speaker reproduces the sizzle of the hi-hat cymbal more clearly.

    This is more subjective, but I can determine the color accuracy and other aspects of a photo if I am the one who took the shot. These days, for example, I can immediately compare the photo to the real world and see for myself if the colors are over or under saturated or how much shadow detail there is. However, the other variable is the screen on which you are viewing the image. The shot could look great on the phone, but look totally different on a monitor or TV that is not properly calibrated. A modern iPhone is the closest most people will ever get to a reference standard screen.

    With music, there is rarely a reference standard available. Any studio work is the creation of the artist/producer that we certainly aren't there when it happens. The most we can hope for is our equipment and speakers can accurately reproduce what was recorded, as the artist intended.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,845member
    Mishu said:
    Honestly, I'm thinking about switching to the s23 Ultra, it's just perfect for night photos and landscapes. And I just love the natural color It keeps on your photos. Apple's algorithm tends to saturate the colors giving it a fake glow-up. The new iPhone 14 just sucks at taking night photos.
    I like how you signed up just to say that lol. 
    coolfactorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    The best way is to take a photo of a photo.
    1. Take a photo using the device being tested and bring up the photo on the screen.
    2. Hold the phone next to the subject that was just captured in a photo.
    3. Using a separate device, take a photo of that scene.
    By doing this, we can clearly see how accurate the first photo was to the subject. Are colours the same, etc.

    Without that side-by-side comparison, we are only left with our personal preferences as we evaluate each photo.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    saarek said:
    One of my friends, who happens to be black, was showing off his S23 Ultra to me today. He bought it for one simple reason, the iPhone takes pictures of him that are about on par with most other smartphones whereas the S23 Ultra takes pictures that really capture his skin tone and features.

    I have to admit, eye balling pictures he'd taken on his Samsung vs a recent picture I had taken on my iPhone that he did look better on the Samsung Pictures.
    The Samsung consistently boosts colors in certain spectrums behaving more like a filter. Being black myself I can tell when black people post pictures of themselves on social media using Samsung technology. They look unnatural to me. My son’s mom switched at one point and the quality of pictures and videos changed. They reminded me of an amateur photographer doing touch ups. I immediately knew when she switched back. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,313member
    avon b7 said:

    Is the grass green enough for you? Do you like punchy HDR styling or do you prefer everything to be as close to natural as possible. 

    The camera should not be making the artistic choices. The goal for any camera should be to reproduce everything as close to natural as possible. Period.
    Any artistic choices come as an adjustment to that standard. Saturated or muted colors, exposure levels, framing, depth-of-field are all adjustments that the photographer can change for artistic purposes. Sometimes in the initial photo, sometimes afterwards.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,818member
    mike1 said:
    avon b7 said:

    Is the grass green enough for you? Do you like punchy HDR styling or do you prefer everything to be as close to natural as possible. 

    The camera should not be making the artistic choices. The goal for any camera should be to reproduce everything as close to natural as possible. Period.
    Any artistic choices come as an adjustment to that standard. Saturated or muted colors, exposure levels, framing, depth-of-field are all adjustments that the photographer can change for artistic purposes. Sometimes in the initial photo, sometimes afterwards.
    I tend to agree with that stance but even in analogue film situations, preferences come into play (film type, processing preferences etc). 

    In digital, everything has to be 'tuned' and whenever you tune something there is a tendency to redefine what is considered 'natural'. 

    For example, there are well known reviewers out there who claim that Apple’s camera processing has actually got worse with the latest phones because Apple moved to new sensors and the ISP software and processing output has yet to catch up with the new hardware.

    Digital obviously leans toward to some profiles simply because it can. 

    No doubt there is also a factor of image perception within the viewer. 
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