Which smartphone camera is better, the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max or the new Samsung S23 Ultra?
In the $450 billion smartphone business, cameras are king. Who is sitting on the throne?
At that time “Unpacked” event in San Francisco Samsung made an ambitious play for the throne today. Its new flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, boasts a 200-megapixel primary camera, more than any other device available in the US.
It has nearly double the detail capacity of the 108MP flagship camera on last year’s S22 Ultra. And more than four times the resolution of his current top-of-the-line models from Apple, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
“With this (200-megapixel) sensor, we are confident that we can deliver some of the best photos and videos in the world,” Joshua Sungdae Cho, executive vice president of Samsung’s visual solutions team, told me. rice field.
As the 15-year-old smartphone market matures, the camera has emerged as one of the few features that are making big leaps each year. After inflation and an economic slowdown weighed on consumer spending on big-ticket items last year, Apple, Samsung and others are counting on the latest camera technology to help revitalize demand.
Without a doubt, having an ultra-high-definition camera in your back pocket can be life-changing. When I was evaluating the S22 Ultra last year, I took some pretty exciting shots from distances that smartphone cameras in the 50MP range can’t handle.
But every resolution has a dark side. And it comes out mainly at night.
Night Shot and Good Photo Calculator
To squeeze more pixels into the sensor under one of the glass lenses on the back of the phone, the pixels have to be smaller. Also, the smaller the pixel, the less light it can capture. No problem during the day. But it’s in the dark.
For example, when taking pictures at an evening barbecue, you may want to keep your camera shutter open longer to let in enough light. The longer it stays open, the more you risk blurry shots due to subject movement or camera shake.
For the past 4-5 years, smartphone makers with at least 40-megapixel cameras have addressed the low-light conundrum by pooling light from four or more pixels. The result of this technique, called pixel binning, is a lower resolution shot, but with enough light to keep things sharper.
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With the S23 Ultra, Samsung can pool 4 or 16 pixels, depending on the amount of light available. If you keep a score, it will be a photo with a resolution of 50 megapixels (200 divided by 4) or 12.5 megapixels (200 x 16).
Apple iPhone Pro Camera vs. Samsung
Until the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Apple stuck with a primary camera resolution of 12 megapixels.
more than this. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max main camera is 48 megapixels. In low light, Apple uses 4-pixel binning to produce 12-megapixel shots.
There are other ways to make nighttime shots as sharp as possible. Apple and Samsung use different methods for image stabilization. And both have stepped up their tech with the latest phones. Likewise, both rely on more powerful image processors and artificial intelligence to get the most out of their cameras.
But wait, there’s more…
The S23 Ultra also has other camera enhancements. For example, the S22 Ultra records steady 8k video of him at 30 frames per second instead of 24. Not many people are making 8k videos yet. However, if you’re editing a video, 8k recording allows cropping to create a full 4k video of him. The S23 Ultra’s extra-wide field of view gives you more flexibility to do so.
Cho noted that despite the much improved resolution, the S23 Ultra still takes less than a second to get photos and videos ready for review and editing.
“This time, we focused specifically on the journey from camera to gallery,” Samsung’s Cho said. “The road has become very short.”
Is this enough for the S23 Ultra to be the new king of cameras? Cho thinks so. You’ll know right away. The S23 Ultra will launch on his February 17th.
USA TODAY columnist Mike Feibus is president and principal analyst at FeibusTech, a market research and consulting firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. Please contact him at [email protected] follow him on twitter @Mike Faivas.