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Compare Pixel 2 and Galaxy S9 photos with your own eyes

Yeah, we know -- they both look good.

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Patrick Holland
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Patrick Holland
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Galaxy S9 vs. Pixel 2 camera comparison

The Galaxy S9 and Pixel 2 are two of the best phones you can buy, especially if you're a photographer. We spent six weeks taking pictures, videos and time lapses with them to see how they compared.

Check out my Galaxy S9 vs. Pixel 2 story for a more detailed comparison.

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Pixel 2

Pixel 2 photos have good dynamic range and details. Check out the clouds and the clock tower.

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Galaxy S9

The Galaxy S9 is excellent at getting bright shots with little to no image noise -- those blurry specks in shadows.

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Pixel 2

Notice the contrast here.

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Galaxy S9

Here the Galaxy S9 renders the shot a touch brighter. But notice how clean the sky and clock tower are.

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Pixel 2 - portrait selfie

The Pixel 2 takes excellent selfies. This one uses portrait mode to blur out the background. I love the detail in the faces.

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Galaxy S9 - portrait selfie

The Galaxy S9's selfie has a softer look.

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Pixel 2 - low-light

These next two photos were taken in a dark living room.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

The Galaxy S9 switched from its narrow aperture to its wide aperture to let more light in and minimize noise.

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Pixel 2

Notice the color saturation in this photo and the next.

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Galaxy S9

The Galaxy S9 doesn't oversaturate colors.

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Pixel 2

Sometimes the Pixel 2 can underexpose an image to protect highlights.

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Galaxy S9

The Galaxy S9's shot is brighter and more true to life.

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Pixel 2

Every camera has its own signature. The Pixel 2 renders photos with a bit of a blue-green hue.

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Galaxy S9

...While the Galaxy S9 has a warmer orange hue. This is what the light actually looked like.

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Pixel 2 - zoom

Both the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S9 only have digital zoom. Here is the Pixel 2 at 2X digital zoom.

Notice the difference in the way each phone handles white balance.

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Galaxy S9 - zoom

Here is the Galaxy S9 at 2X digital zoom.

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Pixel 2 - zoom

And here is the Pixel 2 digitally zoomed all the way in. It's soft but usable.

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Galaxy S9 - zoom

The Galaxy S9 oversharpens when it's zoomed all the way in.

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

The Pixel 2 takes some of the best portrait mode photos on any phone.

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

The Galaxy S9's portrait looks softer and more natural. But it has trouble with the glasses.

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

The next 16 photos are shot with portrait mode with each phone.

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

Here the Galaxy S9 blurs one shoulder, but not the other.

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

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Pixel 2 - low-light

The Pixel 2 does pretty good at low-light shots.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

But the Galaxy S9 with its dual-aperture camera was built for low light. Notice how much less noise there is in the clouds.

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Pixel 2 - low-light

The Pixel 2 handles dynamic range better even in low light.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

Notice how the Galaxy S9 blows out the highlights on the left side of the sky.

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Pixel 2 - low-light

This was taken in a pitch-black room. Notice the noise on the walls and ceiling.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

And no noise here.

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Pixel 2 - low-light

The Pixel 2 shot has noise in the clouds and on the building.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

The Galaxy S9 doesn't.

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Pixel 2 - low-light

The Pixel 2 handles high-contrast low-light scenes better. Notice you can read the menu here.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

And in the Galaxy S9 shot the lights on the menu are blown out.

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Pixel 2 - portrait mode

The Pixel 2's portrait mode works okay on food.

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Galaxy S9 - portrait mode

The Galaxy S9 didn't nail it here. The blur is uneven.

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Pixel 2 - low-light

This low-light shot by the Pixel 2 has a little noise, but keeps the highlights in the window in the background.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

The Galaxy shot blows out the window.

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Pixel 2 - low-light

In medium light, I think the Galaxy S9 does better. Here the Pixel 2's image is underexposed.

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Galaxy S9 - low-light

And here the Galaxy S9 exposes it just right.

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Galaxy S9 photos vs. Pixel 2 photos

For more comparisons, including video and slow motion, take a look at my in-depth Samsung Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 2 camera comparison.

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