Camera Comparison: The Galaxy S24 Ultra Takes On the iPhone 15 Pro Max video

Camera Comparison: The Galaxy S24 Ultra Takes On the iPhone 15 Pro Max

Speaker 1: This is the Samsung Galaxy S 24 Ultra. It has four rear cameras, and here’s Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max. It has three rear cameras. How do they stack up against each other? Let’s find out the shiny titanium cladding color Galaxy S 24 Ultra has a starting price of $1,300 and two cameras dedicated to zooming apple’s, titanium clad and colored. iPhone 15 Promax starts at $1,200 and [00:00:30] has one Zoom camera. Look, let me just say the obvious either of these phones, take some of the absolute best photos you can get from any phone today, especially in challenging environments like high contrast scenes or places with low lighting. Take a look at some of my favorite photos and videos from each phone.

Speaker 1: [00:01:30] Pretty impressive right now. Behind those photos is some truly cutting edge camera hardware. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a main camera with a 48 megapixel sensor and the equivalent of a 24 millimeter lens with an F1 0.78 aperture. There’s also an ultra wide camera with a 12 megapixel sensor and [00:02:00] an F 2.2 13 millimeter lens and a five x telephoto camera with a 12 megapixel sensor and an F 2.8, 120 millimeter lens. Then there’s the Ultra. Now think of it as if Apple took the 15 Pro Max and added the dedicated three times telephoto camera from the iPhone 15 Pro to the back, thus creating an iPhone 15 ultra of sorts. The S 24 Ultra has a main camera with a 200 megapixel sensor [00:02:30] and an F1 0.7 23 millimeter lens. There’s also an ultra wide camera with a 12 megapixel sensor and an F 2.2 13 millimeter lens.

Speaker 1: A three x telephoto camera with a 10 megapixel sensor and an F 2.4 69 millimeter lens, and a new brand new, absolutely new five x telephoto camera with a 50 megapixel sensor and an F 3.4, 115 millimeter lens. That’s a of damn cameras. [00:03:00] Remember the days with phones just had one. Both Apple and Samsung use the main camera’s higher resolution sensors, as well as Samsung on its five x telephoto camera to combine pixels for brighter photos with more detail and less image noise. In terms of shooting experience, I have to shout out the S 24 Ultras new screen, which is far less reflective than the iPhone. I have no trouble seeing what’s on the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s screen, but the Ultras display feels more immersive because I don’t [00:03:30] see as much glare when I’m taking photos. The camera apps on both phones are packed with familiar options like dedicated photo, video and portrait modes, the ability to shoot raw files and change resolution on some of the cameras.

Speaker 1: Now the iPhone has the ability to capture ProRes video files and spatial videos, which can be viewed on the Vision Pro and MedQuest three VR headsets. Samsung’s camera app has dedicated pro modes for photos and videos and is more customizable. I can [00:04:00] move the modes around to my liking. Use the S pin as a remote shutter button to take a photo and one of my favorite options. I have the ability to use a floating shutter button that I can position anywhere on the screen to take a photo in terms of photos. Let’s get into some head-to-head comparisons. Now, for this video, I’m only going to highlight a handful of photos, but check out my full written comparison on CNET four more. Let’s start with a challenging high contrast scene at sunset [00:04:30] over the mission. I’m impressed with both of these images from each phone’s main camera.

Speaker 1: The biggest difference is the way each handles the glare from the sun, which is more obvious in the iPhone’s photo, but the S 24 Ultra snap is a tad brighter, especially when you punch in a bit. You can see how the S 24 ULTRA boost their shadows and the detail. Notice the trees at the bottom right in the iPhone’s picture. They get lost in the shadows, but in the ultra’s image, you can actually make out more [00:05:00] of the individual branches. Here’s another set of photos from the main cameras. This time of a plant in a window. Again, first glance very similar, but I like how the S 24 ULTRA rolls off the highlights on the leaves. If we look at the books that the plant is on, the text is readable in both images, though it’s more crisp in the iPhone’s photo. Here are pair of photos from the ultra wide cameras from my CNET colleagues, Amy and Jessica playing foosball.

Speaker 1: Now compare to the main camera. There’s definitely a step down in image [00:05:30] quality, but compared to each other, they are both very similar. Both phones applied a bunch of noise reduction. Notice the ceiling of the iPhone’s photo is riddled with image noise, and in the ultra’s photo, the noise is gone, but looks overly soft and almost blurry. But if we focus on Jessica, notice that the iPhone’s photo looks more natural, albeit soft from motion blur, whereas in the Ultra’s image, she looks almost like a painting from the noise reduction and over sharpening. Let’s move on [00:06:00] to some portraits. Now. I absolutely love this one from the ultra of my CNET Pal Celso taken with the dedicated three-Time Zoom camera. There’s a good balance between detail and the highlights. I mean, they look so good. It’s subtle, but the cutout effect looks clean with the transition between in-focus and out of focus looking natural.

Speaker 1: The color is a bit saturated, but I don’t mind that. And speaking of three x, here are a pair of three x photos from both phones. Now remember, the Ultra has a dedicated three times [00:06:30] camera, whereas the iPhone is using three times digital Zoom to get the same image, and you can see the difference. The iPhone’s photo isn’t bad, but has artifacts from the digital Zoom, especially around the flag. Overall, the iPhone’s photo looks softer. Notice the details in the ornamentation on the building in the background, but also in the bricks in the building on the right side. Here’s another pair of three times zoomed in photos of a Star Wars figurine on my desk. The Ultras photo [00:07:00] looks better in every way. Now, before we jump to looking at the five times Zoom cameras, do me a favor and please comment, but let me know what phone you have and how much you use the telephoto or zoom lens on it.

Speaker 1: Here are some photos of downtown San Francisco that I took from a rooftop with the five times Zoom cameras on both phones. Now, right away you can see that the iPhone nails focus and look, I don’t know if it was the sun reflecting off Salesforce Tower, but the [00:07:30] Ultra struggled to grab focus and hunted for it. In this particular setup, anytime I was using the five times Zoom camera, especially when I started to zoom in digitally, here are images in focus from both phones at five times Zoom. Now I like the Ultras more. It feels like the iPhone is protecting the highlights by ramping down the exposure. And as a consequence, the shadows are darker. The Ultra has good detail throughout. Notice the trees in the foreground and the windows on Salesforce Tower. [00:08:00] Now here are 10 X Zoom photos from both phones, and here are photos taken at 15 times.

Speaker 1: Zoom from the iPhone and the Ultra. And again, with the Ultra, I struggled with it getting focus. All four photos are out of focus. And the fourth one is the least out of focus. And here are photos from both phones at 25 times Zoom, which is the Max Digital Zoom on the iPhone. Now, you could definitely get away with sharing these on [00:08:30] social media, but neither photo looks good. Now I have to give the edge to the Ultras photo, which looks cleaner, but the Ultra can zoom in even more and the quality of the photo deteriorates even more. Here’s a 50 time Zoom photo, and as you can see, the noise reduction is making the image look more like a painting than a photo from a $1,300 phone. And here’s one at a hundred times Zoom. It is so processed and so soft, it doesn’t even look [00:09:00] like a photo.

Speaker 1: And again, the phone struggled to get focused and here are a pair of five times Zoom photos of Maisie the Cat. Now both photos look good. The iPhone captured more of the texture in her fur and is overall brighter. And here’s a pair of five times Zoom photos of Jessica. The Ultras photo looks softer and yet more natural because of it, whereas the iPhone SNAP looks a tad sharper and skews the color temperature cooler. So let’s wrap up. As you saw, both phones take excellent photos and by time [00:09:30] with the Ultra, I have been blown away by the quality of the photos, especially those from both of the Zoom cameras. And I absolutely love that low reflection screen. It’s a small but significant difference. But that’s all I have. If you’ve enjoyed this video, please give it a like and thank you for watching.


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