Mobile photography has come a long way; it’s amazing how much smartphone cameras have improved over the years. While we were in London for the European launch of the honor 7, we brought along the honor 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge to the trip. And, thanks to honor Malaysia which passed us a review unit of the honor 7, we decided to do a quick camera shootout.
Before I started the shootout, I ensured that all devices were set to shoot in auto mode, and that the frame is similar on all three devices. It’s worth noting that the inclusion of the honor 6 Plus is to show how the honor 7 compares against it – but I realised later on that the former was actually shooting at 8MP instead of the full 13MP 4:3 aspect ratio mode. Hence, a comparison in terms of detail between the honor 6 Plus and the other two would be unfair.
Without further ado, here are the comparisons. Let’s see how the honor 7’s 20MP camera compares against the Galaxy S6 edge’s 16MP sensor. Click on the respective images for full resolution shots.
From top to bottom: honor 7, Galaxy S6 edge, honor 6 Plus.
These photos are a great opportunity to test the cameras in outdoor conditions with challenging lighting. The honor 7 manages to capture plenty of light for good exposure compared to the S6 edge and honor 6 Plus. It must also be said that the S6 edge has a warmer tinge than the actual conditions.
When viewed up close, the S6 edge’s 16MP sensor with optical image stabilisation (OIS) really proves its worth here, producing a surprisingly detailed crop of the boat on the left side of the frame. Despite the larger megapixel count, the honor 7’s output was noticeably blur.
Here we can see that the honor 7 manages the exposure levels between the dark hues on the left statue and the bright sky much better than the honor 6. Compared to the Galaxy S6 edge, the colours are more muted – Samsung’s cameras have long been known to increase saturation to make them look more attractive.
Samsung’s colour saturation is again apparent here, making the honor 7’s output looking terribly bland (even if it is a lot more true to life). It is really a matter of personal preference.
In good lighting, the honor 7’s sensor yielded more detail, but again Samsung’s combination of a superior sensor and processing algorithm on the S6 edge…edges the honor 7.
Dinner at a restaurant in warm lighting – a scenario that’s increasingly important for smartphone cameras to be able to handle. The honor 6 surprisingly took a better-exposed image than the honor 7, and arguably more appealing colours than the S6 edge – the lobster was redder than what the S6 edge thinks it is!
This set of images was the most surprising. While both the honor 6 and S6 edge produced images that were warmer than the actual scene, the honor 7’s shot was surprisingly accurate for a night-time shot in terms of colour reproduction. It also balanced the shadows on the buildings very well, resulting in an image that’s neutral and appealing at the same time. The S6 edge, however, proved its photography prowess once again with amazing detail output – it is no wonder that the Korean giants’ latest flagship is touted as one of the best mobile shooters in the market.
Although image quality is important, the user experience is just as crucial – one of the reasons why the iPhone is so popular as a photography tool is in the ease with which you can shoot an image and almost always come up with a good shot. Not surprisingly, the Galaxy S6 edge offers the best photographing experience out of the three. Its camera is much more responsive compared to the other two honor devices, and it captures images almost immediately after pressing the shutter button; there was a noticeable shutter lag with the honor 7 and honor 6 Plus. However, it’s worth noting that the honor 7 suffers less shutter lag and is more responsive than the honor 6 Plus.
While these images do show some of the honor 7’s camera performance, we’ll be delving deeper into camera performance (among other things) in our full review. Stay tuned!