Four smartphones, twelve subjects, 48 sample photos, and now it’s your turn to assess image quality. Before we dive into the photos and votes, we’d like to briefly explain the rules and requirements of the blind test.
The two new flagships Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max Y Google Pixel 7 Pro participated in this blind test, forming two of the best candidates for the title of The best smartphone camera of 2022. The flagship of spring Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is more than ready as a challenger, along with the Xiaomi 12S ultra with its 1-inch sensor.
For all four smartphones, we made sure that the latest available firmware version was installed via OTA. We also always take pictures with factory settings, unless this is specifically stated for the respective subject. We photographed each subject three times with each phone and then selected the best image.
Scene 1: Daylight, main camera
To warm up, we start with what is probably the easiest exercise: a photo taken in broad daylight with the main camera. There are some strong contrasts with the dark bushes in the garden, but overall neither the dynamic range nor the lighting conditions are a challenge here, even though all the photos were taken around 15 minutes before sunset.
Scene 2: Daylight, ultra wide angle
We continue (also still with a low degree of difficulty) with the ultra wide angle camera. Due to the typically low-light optics and smaller image sensors, smartphones already give up a bit here in terms of image quality. Which smartphone is your favourite?
Scene 3: Daylight, portrait
By now you should be familiar with this place: the NextPit balcony. For the third sample, the challenge was to take the most beautiful portrait photo possible. Our Creative Producer Ezequiel tested the focal lengths offered in portrait mode and took different photos of me, each with the same detail. We then select the best photo for each smartphone. However, you decide which smartphone performed better here.
Scene 4: Daylight, 2x zoom
All smartphones in the blind test have high-resolution main cameras and thus sufficient capacity for digital zoom. For this scene on Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, we set it to 2x zoom and took a picture. Which smartphone offers the best image quality for this autumn scene? It’s up to you!
Scene 5: Daylight, 5x zoom
The fifth scene with 5x zoom: Which smartphone took the best photo of the Berlin TV tower here? On paper at least, the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra may have a harder time here, as Xiaomi and Google offer this focal length natively with their telephoto lens. But is there really a noticeable difference here?
Scene 6: Daylight, 15x zoom
Our sixth scene was custom made for the Galaxy S22 Ultra. After all, the Samsung smartphone theoretically offers the best zoom capabilities with a 10x telescopic lens. Consequently, we are curious to know if you can determine a difference here.
Scene 7: tungsten light, ultra wide angle
Welcome to the NextPit living room. In this scene, the smartphones must prove that they can cope with poorer lighting conditions in our blind camera test. Also, pay attention to how the software manages the white balance – here we have mixed lighting conditions due to daylight and artificial light from the kitchen next door.
Scene 8: Artificial light, main camera
In the Berlin subway, the four smartphones have to prove themselves in unpleasant neon conditions. Which of the four devices shows the best image quality at Nordbahnhof: iPhone 14 Pro Max, Galaxy S22 Ultra, Pixel 7 Pro or Xiaomi 12S Ultra?
Scene 9: Artificial light, 2x zoom
As you can see, the difficulty level increases slowly but steadily. Our ninth scene is a living room lit with warm artificial light. In addition to correct white balance, smartphones must control image noise and ensure sufficient dynamic range.
Scene 10: Tungsten light, macro
For our tenth motif, we walked over to the dining room table and photographed the bouquet from above. You already know the lighting conditions of the previous scenario. Now though, it’s all about capturing fine detail and good sharpness. Also, this scene showed that large image sensors do not necessarily offer advantages over a smaller sensor.
Scene 11: Night, main chamber
Spoiler alert: All smartphones performed impressively well in this scene, because here you can hardly see anything with the naked eye. We take three photos with each smartphone in standard camera mode and three photos in night mode and select the best image in each case. Now is your turn!
Scene 12: Night, ultra wide angle
The biggest challenge at the end: with the previous lighting conditions maintained, we shot with the ultra wide angle camera. As you can see, the image quality of almost all smartphones has dropped noticeably when they can’t use the big main camera. However, one smartphone stands out: which one is it?
If you’ve clicked this far, I’d like to start by saying thank you so much for participating! As always, we will collect the results of the blind test within a week, that is, next Wednesday. If you have subscribed to our newsletter, at 6:30 in the morning you will receive the resolution of our blind camera test along with the technology stories of the week.