You’ve spent close to a week analysing them, and now it’s time to reveal the results of the blind camera comparison from last week’s article. Which smartphone took which photos of New York after the Samsung Galaxy S8 global launch?
Of course, some of you have already figured it out by virtue of the EXIF data on the photos, but for those who have been waiting, well, here you go.
Right off the bat, the Galaxy S8 captures images that are “darker” than the Galaxy S7 edge, despite sharing a large f/1.7 aperture. This set of photos are a clear demonstration of that. However, the more true-to-life representation of the scene is from the S7 edge – the lighting was not as dark as the S8 portrays it to be.
Samsung Galaxy S8
The Galaxy S7 edge’s camera was known for having a warm tinge on its photos, which thankfully appears to have been fixed on the Galaxy S8. Interestingly enough, some photos ended up with a cooler tint; some other photos with the S8 that aren’t in this post had a similar tinge of blue. The actual lighting is somewhere in the middle between the two photos.
The two phones produced largely similar results here, but once again, the S8 yields a less exposed image that better reflects the mood and lighting. There’s also a better sense of “depth” in the S8’s photo – this is visible in the rocks at the bottom right and the WTC tower at the background.
Once again, the Galaxy S7 edge surprisingly captures the better image here – the Galaxy S8 again did not capture the right exposure just like in the first sample image.
The brick walls are perfectly exposed on the photo taken with the Galaxy S8, while the S7 edge’s photo makes them look washed out. Detail preservation on the S8 is also better, as can be seen on the clock face at the top of the tower.
But really, that is not to say the Galaxy S7 edge is poor compared to the S8. The Galaxy S7 edge’s camera remain an excellent one, with only a tendency to over expose in certain conditions. In fact, detail preservation is very hard to compare until you do some pixel peeping.
The challenge, of course, is in less than ideal lighting situations.
It is usually tough to capture images in low light; even more so when there are plenty of artificial lighting from billboards around. That said, both cameras actually performed very well, with the S7 edge only slightly over-exposed. Meanwhile, the S8 captures the overall scene very well, with only a slight hint of warmth.
Frankly speaking though, the S7 edge’s photo looks really good – the S8’s just looks better.
Here, we see the biggest improvement to the S7 edge camera. When a source of light is directed straight at the S7 edge camera, the flare effect is quite severe – which is evident in the image above. But when we take the same shot on the S8, there is literally no issue with lens flare – just look at the limousine’s headlights.
In many ways, this set of photos (and the ones below) demonstrate the very important improvements on the S8 camera: no lens flare, more accurate exposure, and better colour temperature.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Colour temperature remains a weak point for the S7 edge – with warm lighting a particular problem.
While we must stress again that the photos taken with the Galaxy S8 were from a pre-production sample (and therefore not yet running on retail software), it must be said that there are visible and tangible improvements over the Galaxy S7 edge.
The most immediately noticeable are in colour temperature and exposure level in Automatic mode. The new Multi-Frame Image Processing algorithm increases dynamic range and aids in detail preservation, too. The lack of lens flare is a welcome surprise as well. The camera does, however, tend to veer to be cooler than in real life – though this should be easily fixed via a software patch.
What’s important to note is that the S8 camera retains the best features of the S7 edge camera: near-instantaneous autofocus lock, and the Quick Launch shortcut has been moved to a double-press of the power button.
We will be taking a much closer look at the Galaxy S8 and its camera capabilities once we get our review unit, so stay tuned for our review. My brief time with the Galaxy S8’s camera gave me the impression that if you enjoyed using the Galaxy S7 camera, the improvements here are rather small – but we suspect it will be a joy to those interested to upgrade to the S8 from virtually any other smartphone.