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- Every high-end smartphone takes good photos now, but smartphone makers have different ideas of what your photos should look like.
- Apple plays it safe with balanced and more accurate “real-to-life” photos that don’t pop as much, but rarely ever disappoint.
- Samsung is high-octane and likes to boost everything to make your photos pop more, which can lead to some great results, but it doesn’t always work out, and it might not be to everyone’s liking.
- You can clearly see Apple and Samsung’s camera philosophies in the photos I took below.
Smartphone makers have their own ideas of what your photos should look like — that much becomes clear after you’ve looked at innumerable photos taken by dozens upon dozens of smartphones over the years, like I have.
Samsung and Apple, the two biggest names in the smartphone industry, have very different ideas of what your photos should look like. Both Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series and Apple’s iPhone 11 series have their own signature identity and characteristics when it comes to the photos they produce.
Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro takes nice, reserved photos that don’t appear like they’ve been overly processed, and you get a pleasing natural look of what you’ve captured. Samsung’s Galaxy S20, on the other hand, is like a high-octane energy drink — it boosts everything, including brightness, contrast, sharpness, HDR, and colors, resulting in a photo that looks far more processed than the iPhone.
There’s no right or wrong look to a photo. It’s as subjective to you as it is subjective to the companies who make the smartphones in your hands. It’s up to you to decide which one fits what you’re looking for.
Author’s note: I tested using Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra. While camera hardware differs between models within a series, the resulting photos are largely the same across each phone series. Thus, the following photos below accurately represent their respective model series, including the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S20 series. Also, these two phones were the only ones I had from each series at the time, as other models are with other colleagues. Given current events, sharing review units between coworkers is significantly more difficult.