Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs. Google Pixel 2 Camera

Samsung has launched their flagship for the year 2018 and looks like Samsung has finally taken the use of dual lenses seriously, along with some other improvements that are one of the first of its kind. Till now, we have seen some DXOMark scores being thrown by Google and now, Samsung shocked everyone by achieving a score of 99 on DXOMark, whereas Google hit 98, but, do these benchmark tests and scores really matter? Can we just say that either of these two phones is better than the other? Or should anyone be cautious and think about their requirements before picking up any of these two? Well, we will try to help you out.

In terms of the camera hardware, there is one fundamental difference- the number of sensors on the back. The Galaxy S9 still features a 12MP SuperSpeed Dual Pixel camera with a variable aperture between the range of f/2.4 to f/1.5, and this is something which can be found usually on a DSLR camera priced under 40000, but there is also a secondary sensor, which is a 13MP telephoto with a f/2.4 aperture and both the lenses are optically stabilised.

Now, The Pixel 2 sports a single 12.2MP sensor with f/1.8 and optical image stabilization. So, here’s how these phones have a different kind of dependencies, while the S9+ relies on hardware, Google Pixel 2 does many tricks with the help of software. So, which one is better? Which one should you pick? We will see in a step by step process how these two provide quite similar but noticeable results.

Outdoor Condition

If you don’t capture a photo using both of these phones and compare them side by side, both of the images would look good. However, the photos taken with the Galaxy S9+ are a bit brighter, but this is not favored in all situations like when you’re taking a photo on a sunny day, it’s quite sure that the color of the sky is just washed away!

The Google Pixel 2 is perhaps the most balanced results in outdoor conditions, as the brightness level isn’t as high as the S9+ but neither it’s dark, also with the Pixel 2, the photos came out with better color reproduction and wide contrast.

The exposure level is a bit high on the Galaxy S9+, and well, in that case, you will have to sacrifice dynamic range and contrast. In terms of sharpness, the shots taken with the Galaxy S9+ and Google Pixel 2 look almost same, but while you zoom in a bit you will find that the details are sharper on the Galaxy S9+. Though, this level of consistency is not desirable in all situations, especially when you want to highlight the texture of the subject.

Low Lighting Condition

This is the battleground because there are many phones out there which actually works good in good lighting conditions, but sucks in low light. In this scenario, the Galaxy S9+ gives a great competition to Pixel, and for that, the sensors are to be praised. The shots from the Galaxy S9+ are sharper and have a lesser amount of noise.

But, here as well the exposure level is higher on the Galaxy S9+ and the colors and contrast levels of the photos taken with Pixel 2 are better than S9+. The Pixel 2 camera has a wider dynamic range and also, the photos look neutral, while the photos from the S9+ look a bit to be on the warmer side.

Surely both the phones perform well in low light and perform like a true flagship, but now it depends upon choices of users, like, I would prefer more accurate colors, wider dynamic range and perfect white balance, rather than a bright photo which lacks these corrections!

Portrait Mode

The Galaxy S9+ has a standard portrait mode using two lenses to measure depth and apply a background blur although at the edges, Galaxy S9+ is not that perfect as Pixel 2 XL is.

But, Google Pixel 2 just wins this round when it comes to perfect portrait shots, achieved with one single lens whereas Samsung uses two lenses to pull that off.

The Pixel 2 relies entirely on software to take portrait shots, and this shows that all these tricks can be pulled off using just one single lens and better algorithms. And guess what’s the best part? You can make changes to software and improve it, but you can’t do the same with hardware. So, Samsung can match their software level to that of Google, but then, I guess the use of the secondary lens is completely useless.

There are also instances of irregular edges or incorrectly-placed blur (as shown above) while taking some portrait shots with the S9+, but till now, the Google Pixel 2 never let me down in this case. A clear winner with just one single lens!

So, which one’s better? The Samsung Galaxy S9+ or the Pixel 2?

It is not just possible to just tell anyone that one of these phones is the best. In terms of outdoor shots, the Pixel 2 is better for sure with wider dynamic range and better color reproduction. While, in low lighting conditions, the Galaxy S9+ also capture better shots, but again it makes some sacrifices. In terms of the portraits and bokeh, the Google Pixel 2 is unbeatable and well in case of the zoom, you already know it’s not just fair to compare these two!

An optimist to the core, I always see the glass half full. I like to take life as it comes and not to become too serious on the harsher aspects of it. Apart from this, I am an Engineer, a Blogger & a Researcher....

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1 Comment

  1. How to match pixel 2 on their portrait mode?

    Hi. You said “samsung can match their software level to that of Google” in portrait mode. How can i do that on muito s9plus?? Thanks in advance

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