Apple iPhone 6s’ and Samsung Galaxy S7’s Camera leads imaging test

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    It’s difficult to justify paying for a high-priced, top-end smartphone these days — unless, that is, you want to take good pictures and nothing else.

    Samsung s7 and IPhone 6s leads imaging test

    In this Age of Instagram, a great camera is one of the few
    reasons to pay $650 or more for the latest smartphone, instead of $200 or $300 for a budget phone that does texting, Facebook and Web surfing just as well as its high paid counterpart.

    Samsung’s phone cameras have shown tremendous improvement in just a few years. The new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones take much better pictures than last year’s S6 models. In fact, they’re now basically neck and neck with Apple’s iPhones, meaning that you no longer have to compromise on picture quality if you prefer Android. I took more than 2,000 still shots and a few videos using 10 smartphones from Samsung, Apple, LG, Huawei and Motorola. To make the comparison clearer, I focused on indoor and night settings, such as parks, bars and hotels. Even budget phones can take great shots in good light, but only great phones take good shots in places with poor light.

    Better Lighting, Better Focus
    I was impressed with the S7’s ability to capture Central Park’s unlighted Bethesda Fountain at night. Shots from most other phones appear pitch black, save for a faint outline of the fountain’s statue and some distant light from building windows.

    The S7 was also more likely to get the focus right on its own, without having to choose a focus area first by touching the phone screen. Even with touching, focusing sometimes takes a second or two on other cameras. I don’t get that lag with the S7, meaning fewer missed action shots.

    s7 vs iPhone 6s
    Shots taken by iPhone 6s in left, Galaxy S7 in the right.
    (AP Photo/Anick Jesdanun)

    s7 vs iPhone 6s
    Shots taken by iPhone 6s in left, Galaxy S7 in the right.
    (AP Photo/Anick Jesdanun)

    The lens and image sensors on the S7 aren’t large enough to match the capabilities of full-bodied SLR cameras, but the phones borrow some of the focus and light-capturing technologies found on more sophisticated shooters. These technologies combined result in brighter, sharper images in low light.

    Comparisons
    Of all of the phones I tested, the S7 and iPhone 6s produced the most consistent low-light photos. The S7 shots typically had better focus, while the iPhone pictures looked more natural, with colors typically mirroring how you see things.

    The S7 has also cloned Apple’s Live Photos feature, in which the camera captures short video clips as it’s taking still photos. The feature is on by default on the iPhone, but you need to turn it on with the S7. Unlike the iPhone version, Samsung’s Motion Photo has no sound.

    The latest Apple and Samsung phones are comparable in many other ways. One impressive non-camera feature is the S7’s fast-charging capability. With the included charger, I get a full charge in just 80 minutes, and that’s enough for nine hours of Hulu video streaming on the S7, 10 hours on the S7 Edge.

    The camera, though, is where these phones really stand out from the pack.

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