Posted on Mar 14, 2018
This is the first of a series of post in which I’m going to do a camera comparison between three of the top-selling smartphone of the begin 2018: the OnePlus 5t, the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2.
For this first blog post, I want to compare the quality of the photos shot in the daylight.
I know it sounds odd to compare the smartphones in the daylight since every smartphone produce today excellent results when we shoot with enough light. But, still, I would say that there’s a difference between the smartphones.
This test especially, point out some interesting results in the differences that every producer use about exposure metering.
I remind you that to see the differences between the photos, you should zoom-in close enough in the photo. For this reason, for every shot, I’ve decided to publish a 1:1 zoom close up on the details.
So let’s see how the OnePlus 5t, the iPhone X, and the Google Pixel 2 camera compares on daylight photos!
The exposure dilemma
Yes, you’ve read correctly the title of this section. Let’s start saying that working 15 years with photography and teaching for more than 8 year, I should know quite well what means manual exposure and the correlation between Aperture, Shutter speed, and Iso.
Well, my doubt arise at the moment I’m looking at the picture shots and the exposure data in the file’s Exif.
If we look for instance the first shot comparison, we can observe how every device uses a different exposure value on the same light situation.
For instance, let’s start looking at the OnePlus 5T: it uses 1/1000 sec, f/1.7 and ISO 160 to get the correct exposure.
In the exact same light situation, the iPhone X exposes the scene with 1/1150 sec f/1.8 ISO 20.
The Google Pixel 2: 1/1500 sec, f/1.8 and ISO 52.
I’m quite confused: if the OnePlus 5t use a relative conservative ISO value to be able to use a fast shutter speed, the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 uses the same shutter speed but with a lower ISO value.
We can do the math that between the OnePlus 5t Iso value of 160 and iPhone X Iso value of 20 there’s about 3 stop of a difference in light. With the Google Pixel 2 there’s about 2.5 stop of difference.
So how is possible that in the same light situation, the iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 use a very lower Iso but, at the same time, they set a comparable shutter speed as the one on the OnePlus 5t?
I don’t have at the moment the answer.
My guess is related the shooting algorithm that the producers use.
We know that at the moment we press the button for taking the picture, the camera takes some different exposures. Then it blends those shots to get a better dynamic range (HDR) and a lower value of noise thanks to the noise average.
So my idea is that the iPhone x and Google Pixel 2 write on the Exif data the information from the underexposed shot, while the OnePlus 5t write the exposure of the central photo.
I hope to have more information about this doubt in the future, but If you have an opinion about this fact, please write your comment on the section below.
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OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 camera comparison: looking at the details
Looking at detail shot we can look how the different camera perform. Let’s start to say that from the three smartphones, the Google Pixel 2 has an advantage resolving more details and textures on the roof of the buildings.
In this shot, the OnePlus 5t tend to have the stronger contrast and for this reason, some details look a bit as overexposed. The iPhone X has a good balance, but I find the final picture a bit too warm (personal taste) and less contrast compared to the other two.
On this second shot, we can notice how the iPhone gives, as usual, a warmer picture. I’m a bit surprised that in this shot situation, the Google Pixel 2 doesn’t give so many details in the shadows. If you notice the bush on the left side, it’s almost totally black without any detail.
On this third example, that was shot on the same location but on the sunset, we can notice again how the iPhone X shot gives a more warm and flat result compared to the OnePlus 5t and the Google Pixel 2. In my opinion, I find the Google Pixel 2 final photo to be a bit too much contrast.
Comparing the 2x zoom mode
For this first OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 camera comparison, I want to see also how the 2x photo mode performs.
We know that at the moment, these three producers use a different approach: OnePlus got rid of the second telephoto lens that was present on the OnePlus 5 to get a second sensor that works only on low light photo situation. So when we shot the 2x photo on the OnePlus 5T, we get a digital zoom of the portion we’ve selected.
The same happens when we shot with the Google Pixel 2 camera since there’s only one lens setup. On this three smartphone comparison, the only real 2x lens is present on the iPhone X.
Looking at the details of these shot, we can notice how the iPhone X has a clear advantage over the details thanks to a real lens, compared to a digital interpolation on the OnePlus 5T and Google Pixel 2.