Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs iPhone 6s Plus: which one takes better pictures? Photographic comparison

As you have been able to read calmly in the review of the Galaxy S7 Edge, this 2016 has brought us a very powerful contender in the photographic field. So we couldn't pass up the opportunity to put him to the test and face his great rivals. The first comparison we will offer you will be with the iPhone 6s Plus, the number one public enemy in the history of the Galaxy S, and the model with which it most directly competes for the focus of mobile photography: fair resolution and automatic mode of the best on the market.

After our complete comparison with the best camera smartphones today, we move on to the direct confrontation to see which photographic mobile is better: the new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or the iPhone 6s Plus. We started this competition with seven sample photos.

Video comparison

The photographic numbers on the table

Before moving on to major issues, it's time to stop and capture on a table the main arguments of the cameras of the Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s Plus. Right now they are the high-end models that offer fewer megapixels in their sensors, 12, the same as for example the Nexus 6P, with which it will play comparatively soon.

The iPhone has never had a rival in automatic mode. The Galaxy S7 Edge is the first to attack you directly on that terrain with great success

In the number of megapixels and the commitment to automatic mode as a benchmark for taking photos, it is already almost the only thing in which the photographic bets of the Samsung and Apple model coincide. In the rest of the details they are quite far apart, starting with the brightness and ending with the interface and standard options.

Beyond sensor sizes and resolution, each manufacturer has emphasized different sensor solutions. Samsung has focused on so-called Dual Pixels, which is nothing more than improving phase detection focus with technology directly from SLR cameras. In its sensor all the pixels collaborate in the focus, which is really fast.

iPhone 6s Plus Galaxy S7 Edge Sensor resolution 12 MP 12 MP Sensor size 1/3 1/2.5 Photodiode size 1.22 microns 1.4 microns Focal Dist 28 mm 26 mm Opening f / 2.2 f / 1.7 Secondary chamber 5 MP 5 MP Optical stabilization Yes Yes

For its part, Apple seeks to make the images as realistic and faithful as possible. To do this, slightly separate the pixels to avoid contamination between them, and the color filter is placed directly on top of the pixels with the same final reason: a more faithful color. In exchange, it has lost the size of the photodiodes, which translates into less light is night scenes and where it puts its powerful A9 processor to work for the treatment and image processing.

Don't be swayed by the sensor's megapixel count alone. There is technology within it that each manufacturer takes to the field in which they want to stand out

Another section in which the proposals of Apple and Samsung collide is in the interface and control options that they leave in the hands of the user. Apple continues in its thirteen respect to offer a clear and direct interface to take photos and where the user neither should nor can alter almost any section. Not even the resolution of the images you are going to take.

On the opposite side is Samsung. The basic interface is quite similar in simplicity to that of Apple, but without giving up that we can modify certain parameters, including image resolution. Logically and since the Galaxy S7 Edge allows memory cards, we have direct access to indicate where we want to store the photos and video that we take, except in bursts, which to ensure proper operation, Samsung always stores in its internal memory.

Other than the technical section, it is the details that make the difference: quick start with the screen locked or manual controls and RAW file

As for the advanced modes, Apple does not include any beyond the panoramic ones. Meanwhile Samsung includes several of them but especially one that makes a difference: the Pro. In it the most significant thing is that we can choose to take images in jpg and RAW at the same time, and have manual controls of all kinds: sensitivity, focus, speed shutter, exposure control, metering ...

In use, the experience in both shooting and focusing speed is quite on par, but it seems to me that Samsung manages to focus, shoot or recover in a slightly more agile way than the Apple iPhone. Here I also consider an advantage of the Samsung side that with just two quick taps on the start button we can start the camera instantly.

I am very quick to take the smartphone out to take photos, I appreciate how easy it is to take the Galaxy S7 Edge out of my pocket (the curve slides that it is a pleasure) and without having finished removing it, I execute the double click on the start button without looking and when I put the terminal in front of the face, the camera interface is ready to focus and shoot. With maximum technical equality and results, it is these details that can and should make a difference.

Photographic comparison between Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 6s Plus

After the long introduction where I have told you how the numbers of both cameras are and my experience using both smartphones to take photographs, it is time to show you what the results of a photographic comparison between the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s Plus are like. That's where you have to make a difference.

We have taken to the streets to test both terminals in different situations, shooting in both cases in automatic mode and with the highest available resolution.

Minimal focus

Both terminals boast a very fast approach and are absolutely right. But how far are they able to get close to an object without losing focus? In the following image we see that the Galaxy S7 Edge gave us a more precise focus and detail in the 100% cut, just at the moment when the iPhone 6s Plus was no longer capable of achieving sharpness.

We can also see that thanks to the f1.7 aperture, the depth of field that we get with the Galaxy S7 Edge is quite less than on the iPhone, which helps us focus attention on what we want to highlight from the approach, such as the case.

Image taken with iPhone 6s Plus

Image taken with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

General scene detail level

We chose the following scene to check what level of detail each of the smartphones managed to preserve when there were no apparent complications in the photograph. Both exposure and white balance or color reproduction go hand in hand, but if we look at the 100% cut we have made of the same area in the photos, the Galaxy S7 Edge takes advantage of its more aggressive processing to further define the area .

On the right, the image of the iPhone 6s Plus. On the left, the one of the Galaxy S7 Edge

The detail that each camera retains after the general processing does not have a clear winner. Sometimes we have obtained better results with the iPhone and others with the Galaxy S7 Edge. In any case we would opt for the Samsung solution, which takes a very small advantage in this section.

In another general scene, again the Galaxy S7 Edge leaves us more information by detail and dark areas, but it passes and is not capable of controlling the general overexposure or especially of the light areas such as those of the sky, which are completely burned. In the case of the iPhone, the loss of light from the sensor is evident against this rival, but it is a better solution, although neither of the two snapshots has convinced us 100%.

iPhone 6s Plus

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

And we leave you with a third general image, with the automatic HDR mode activated in both terminals and where in addition to being able to verify that with 12 megapixels the lack of detail when enlarging is evident, we also appreciate the best work done by the Galaxy S7 Edge in general .

iPhone 6s Plus

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

HDR image

A good part of the success of a general image when there is a lot of dynamic range is the HDR mode that both iPhone and Galaxy S7 Edge enhance and want us to use automatically. In general the results are very acceptable in that mode. If we force the HDR mode and see what happens with a panorama with harsh lights in the cloudy sky, we check two things: that both terminals lose enough detail due to their low resolution, and the superiority of the HDR of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which gives us much more information in dark areas than the Apple model.

In the cut we can hardly differentiate tones in the leaves of the trees in the case of taking the iPhone while it is possible to do it with the image of the Galaxy S7 Edge.

iPhone 6s Plus

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Personal close-up

On the left, the image taken by the iPhone 6s Plus, while on the right is the Galaxy S7 Edge

In this example we can check at once two important aspects of both terminals. On the one hand we have the good white balance of the iPhone, which also boasts little pollution between pixels and leaves us with a perfect color. Quite the opposite happens to the image taken by the Galaxy S7 Edge, where neither the whites are white (look at the wall and especially the wardrobe), nor do I have that warm tone pulling for orange that the photograph is wrong in this case of the Koreans.

Night scene general exterior

When the light is not excessively low, the advantage of the Galaxy S7 Edge is less and the iPhone shows its great image processing, which is accentuated when the S7 Edge artificially colors the part of the facade of buildings. Fairly equal here.

Galaxy S7 Edge on the left, iPhone on the right

The same is no longer the case in a more complicated scene, with large differences between dark and bright areas. Only the Galaxy S7 Edge is capable of showing us details in the palm tree without noise ruining the scene at all. The tonic of the Galaxy S7 Edge in night scenes: much more information than the rivals.

iPhone 6s Plus

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Interior night detail

To check how far the Galaxy S7 Edge is able to take advantage in low-light interior scenes, actually almost none, we have the following scene. Here we check that, despite everything, the white balance of the iPhone is more adjusted to reality and that the Galaxy S7 Edge is true that it collects more light and with less noise, but also colors the scene.

iPhone 6s Plus

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Now we see the details of each of the cuts, with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge occupying the left part and the iPhone 6s Plus, the right. The ability to extract details from a very complicated scene and with very little light without the need to introduce noise or reduce it drastically with the loss of detail that this implies is quite evident.

Logically this sample of what these two terminals are capable of doing is small, and we have focused on looking for situations that would put them in trouble. It will depend on each user, what they look for in a smartphone camera and the type of photography they take (more automatic than manual, more outdoors with light than indoors), who opts for one or the other. And to you, which one has convinced you the most?

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