During the launch event of Apple, the company focuses on the improved camera on the new iPhone 7. It’s the same 12MP megapixels size but with wider aperture setup that could toe to toe against the Android flagship camera phones. But how does the iPhone 7 camera stack up against the established shooters like Samsung Galaxy S7, Sony Xperia X Performance, and Asus Zenfone 3? We put it on our in-depth camera comparison and review to find out which is a better shooter.
More camera reviews and comparisons
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- Xiaomi Mi5 vs iPhone 6s, Lumia 1020,Galaxy S7,Xperia Z5
Camera specs and features: iPhone 7 vs Galaxy S7, Xperia X, Zenfone 3
|23MP f2.0 aperture||12MP f1.7 aperture||16MP 2.0 aperture||12MP f1.8|
|1/2.3″ size||1/2.6″ size, 1.4um pixel||1/2.8″ size, 1.12um pixel||1/3″ size main, 1.22um pixel|
|1080p video||4K video||4K video||4K video|
|Predictive Autofocus, LED flash, Hybrid IS||Dual Pixel Focus, LED flash, OIS||Phase Detection, Laser Focus, LED Flash, OIS||LED flash, OIS|
|13MP f2.0 selfie, FHD video||5MP f1.7 selfie, QHD video||8MP f2.0, FHD video||7MP f2.2, FHD video|
The Samsung Galaxy S7 photo shows a really good dynamic range and detail preservation but the color is very unrealistic with a saturated sky. On iPhone 7, the colors are pleasing but a little pale. If you look closely at the cropped image, the noise is very apparent although the dynamic range is as great as on Galaxy S7.
The Sony Xperia X Performance shot has the most naturalistic color in this round. It has the widest angle among all lenses too. The details, however, is noticeably smoother over the crispy shot of Galaxy S7.
Next is the Zenfone 3 with good sharpness and noise control but the white balance seems to lean on warmer or reddish side. This is particularly similar to Lumia cameras like the 950XL.
On this round, the Xperia X Performance is a clear winner with its accurate colors.
Macro or close-up shooting
We immediately noticed that the colors on both Galaxy S7 and Zenfone 3 depicted closest to real life scenario. The iPhone 7 gets a too warm white balance while the Xperia X Performance shows greenish output.
In terms of details, we think the iPhone 7 and Zenfone 3 have the best preservation. Because by looking closely to the flee and flower, only these two have a crispy focus on two mentioned areas.
It’s a tough job picking the winner here, but we’re definitely giving this round to the Zenfone 3.
HDR or dynamic range test
In the third shot at sunset, which is basically an HDR test on four, both the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 showed really good dynamic range handling. Meanwhile, the Xperia X shot is noticeably overexposed and an underexposed on Zenfone 3.
For the details and colors, the iPhone 7 photo shows smoother details and more natural colors as to the spotty and a slightly bland shot of Galaxy S7. So without question, the iPhone 7 wins followed closely the Galaxy S7.
Low light without flash
On our first low light shot, the Galaxy S7 produced the most details and brightest photo. But as usual, the color tends to oversaturate here. For the iPhone 7, the sharpness is as good as the Galaxy S7 but the photo looks paler and the noise level is more apparent.
The Xperia X Performance nails the color reproduction but just with a finer, smoother algorithms. Meanwhile, the Zenfone 3 was able to produce a decent low light photo but it’s not par to the exposure of Xperia and Galaxy cameras.
Again, it’s a tough choice between the Galaxy S7 and Xperia X Performance so I think it’s a close tie for the two.
Low light with flash
Using LED flash at a low light scene, the Quad LED setup on the iPhone 7 noticeably provides brighter fill of light but it tends to overexpose at the center. Coming next in terms of brightness is the Xperia X Performance. What’s good is that it mildly fills the scene without overexposing the subject unlike on the iPhone 7.
On the Galaxy S7, both foreground and background are unfilled by the light while the Zenfone 3’s photo look very warm.
With a wider dynamic range control, the iPhone 7 takes the cake on this round followed closely by the Xperia X Performance.
Night landscape shooting
Another low light scene but different color, white balance, and noise control in every camera phone. For the color, the Zenfone 3 is the closest to the amber light only it’s downed by mediocre exposure control as you can see most areas are underexposed.
Coming second in color reproduction is iPhone 7 with a slightly pale amber over the white and yellow colors on Galaxy S7 and Xperia X, respectively.
Overall, the iPhone 7 shot is the most decent followed by Galaxy S7. The Xperia X Performance could have pulled away if its color detection system was stable. Meanwhile, the Zenfone 3’s caveat was the exposure control producing an underexposed photo.
Selfie or front-facing camera
For the front facing camera test, the Xperia X and Galaxy S7 obviously take better selfie photos with their wide angle lenses. The color on the X Performance is a bit greenish but it was able to maintain the vividness and enough brightness over the Galaxy S7. Coming third is Zenfone with reddish tint but has decent detail. The last in selfie shooting is iPhone 7 with a very narrow-angle and lack of beautification control although most of its selfie photos are natural-looking.
Video and stabilization test
In video mode, all camera shoot up to 4K and paired with OIS except for the Xperia X Performance with a proprietary hybrid image stabilization. The quality of the video is pretty much close to the still shots. So there’s not really much of difference in details. They only differ in color reproduction and noise control. Overall the Xperia X Performance shooter has best stabilization control.
Verdict: Which is the best camera phone?
Picking the best shooter among the four is a very challenging task with each shooter edging out in a specific scene. But to narrow it down, we felt the Zenfone 3 is on the last but we can’t deny it is just close behind these expensive camera phones. Its biggest advantage, however, is the price which is half of its competitors.
The choice will depend on your preference if you wanted to get a natural looking shot then go for the iPhone 7. For a pale but bright photo that would be the Galaxy S7. It’s also as good as the Xperia in selfie shooting. On the other hand, the Xperia X Performance is a reliable camera phone especially in video shooting with its unbeatable stabilization control.
So between these four, let’s know which camera phone do you think is the best.