The brand new Galaxy Note 9 and the eleven month old iPhone 10 have a lot in common.
Especially when it comes to photography.
Both have dual rear cameras, portrait mode.
Dual optical stabilization and cost $1,000 in the U.S. Photos and videos from both phones are fantastic.
Yet, with so many similarities, I was interested in the differences.
So I took them around San Francisco to see how they stacked up to each other.
Essentially, the Galaxy Note 9 has the same cameras found on the Galaxy S9+, including that nifty dual aperture.
But the Note 9 adds scene capture software that optimizes photos for 20 different subject categories.
For example, when I first framed this photo, the camera detected a person.
Notice the tiny icon of a person at the bottom of the screen.
And the Galaxy Note 9 optimize its settings accordingly.
The results are good though a bit [UNKNOWN] The scene optimizations are not obvious like Instagram filters, sometimes there are very little noticeable difference when the scene optimization is on or off.
Take a look at these pictures I took at the croissant, the first one had it turned off
And here's the same croissant taken with it.
The Galaxy Note 9 identified the croissant as good which it is.
Notice the one taken with a scene optimizer has richer looking colors and is better exposed.
The iPhone X does its own optimizations for textures, patterns, colors.
But unlike the Galaxy Note 9, you can't turn it off.
Here's a shot from the Galaxy Note 9 of Salesforce Tower on the left and Fremont Tower on the right.
The iPhone X adds a lot of contrast and chooses a color temperature that seems a bit off, making the windows on the building on the right look aqua-green.
The Note 9 gives a much more faithful representation of the scene and even holds the highlights in the clouds better than the iPhone.
Something I noticed during this comparison is how photos from the Samsung devices, like the S9, the S9 Plus, and in this case, the Note 9 Look on the phone screen versus my computer screen.
So here's the picture of [UNKNOWN] at the Trans Bay Terminal.
I would say the picture looks a little too bright.
Almost like it was a little over exposed.
However, when I go back to the Note 9 screen, it looks perfectly exposed.
And the colors look saturated and the temperature looks accurate to the way it was in the real life.
The iPhone 10 on the other hand seems to be optimizing the colors to make them more vibrant And these chairs is kinda popped out.
But that's not the way they look in real life and into my eyes, they look a little off specially comparing to the Note 9.
As far as low light goes, the Galaxy Note 9 with it's [UNKNOWN] aperture opening to a super wide at 1.5 has the edge over the iPhone X Take a look at these photos taken inside of a dark bar with red lighting.
The iPhone X's photo has noise in the walls and is starting to look a bit painterly with all that noise reduction.
While the shadows are crushed, the iPhone X handles the bar lighting pretty well.
Now, here's the same scene taken with the Galaxy Note 9. It looks brighter, has less noise, but is also much softer.
Notice how the bar lights become white blobs.
So let's talk portrait mode, or Live Focus as Samsung calls it.
It basically blurs out the background, making your shot look more like a DSLR.
Neither phone is absolutely perfect, but both can yield some killer results.
The iPhone 10 has portrait lighting mode, which allows you to change lighting looks for your photos before or after you take it.
When the iPhone X nails a portrait like it did here, you see wonderful sharpness in the face and eyes in a nice focus fall off in around the head and the shoulders.
The live focus shot from the Galaxy Note 9 does a good job separating the foreground and the background, and you can even adjust the amount of background blur before after you take the photo I should note that beauty mode was turned on for this portrait.
Video quality is good from both phone is good I'd be happy with filming with either one of these on most situations.
As far as video stabilization, whether it's 4k, or 1080p, the iPhone 10's video stabilization just looks Is better.
Also, I still can't believe that both of these phones can record slow motion video at 240 frames per second at 1080p resolution.
Slow mo video for the iPhone 10 has better colors and dynamic range than the Galaxy Note 9.
But the Galaxy Note 9 also has super slow motion.
Which allows you to film at a whopping 960 frames per second, albeit at 720p resolution.
So, to wrap everything up, it seems to me that, when the Galaxy 9 was announced, people were disappointed that Samsung hadn't radically changed up the cameras.
But the small additions that were made, like scene optimization for photos, are really nice.
The iPhone 10, even after almost a year, still takes phenomenal photos and videos, and has one of the best all-around cameras on any phones.
But if you're considering an iPhone 10, I would say wait.
Rumor has it, Apple might be announcing some new iPhones pretty soon.
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