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Camera shootout: Pixel 4 against the best smartphone cameras



Google Pixel 4 is finally available and you probably want to know how good the new camera is. After all, the Pixel 4 has some big shoes to fill. Google Pixel 3 was known for its impressive camera features. It beat the competition with a single lens and managed to stay in our list of the top 10 smartphone cameras until the release of Pixel 4.

Aside from hardware enhancements and an additional zoom lens, Google Pixel 4 brings many software enhancements to the table. Will these upgrades be enough to surpass the current impressive camera phones? We have to find out today.

Do not Miss: Pixel 4 XL-Test: Unused Potential

In this camera shootout we measure Google Pixel 4 with its biggest competition: the iPhone 1

1, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Huawei P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Grade 10 and OnePlus 7T. We used these phones for a ramble through New York City, capturing identical photos in different environments and shooting situations.

Let's find out how Google Pixel 4 asserts itself against the competition!

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About This Photoshoot

  Google Pixel 4 XL Camera Design 7

We know the main competitor of Google Pixel 4 (at least what this concerns the general opinion of consumers) is the iPhone 11. Taking this into account, we have placed examples of Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 in slider comparisons, so you can better appreciate the differences between them. Photos taken from the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the Huawei P30 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, and the OnePlus 7T will be smaller just below them for space.

You may also wonder why we chose the Huawei P30 Pro as opposed to the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. This is because the P30 Pro is still the phone we recommend from the two, as it comes standard with Google Apps and the Google Play Store. It's the most user-friendly device in most markets, which we thought was more valuable than the slight improvements made to the camera in the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

Besides, we do not talk too much about wide-angle and telephoto because there are many hardware differences between devices. We can not really compare lenses that some phones have and others do not. This means that the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max achieve nearly identical results in this article. So when we speak of one, we also refer to the other (unless otherwise stated). For the same reason, we're not going to go into any specifics that these phones may have, such as Pixel 4's astrophotography mode or the Huawei P30 Pro's ultra-low-light mode.

We will then select a winner for each photo category. Mark the phone with the most wins at the end.

The size of the images in this Pixel 4 Camera Shootout has been changed, but they have not been altered. See full size examples in this folder from Google Drive.


Daylight

It's difficult to rate images in daylight, as even low-cost smartphones can produce great photos with sufficient lighting. The differences are in the detail. We have to pay close attention to the exposure, color, white balance, dynamic range, details and texture.

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

While the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and OnePlus 7T are the liveliest and brightest colors You may notice that this is a result of intensive post-processing that violates details. Google, Apple and Huawei images show more detail in the buildings, bricks and shadows.

Even with affordable smartphones, great photos can be taken when there is enough light.

Edgar Cervantes

iPhone images were warmer While the Google Pixel 4 and the Huawei P30 Pro showed a more realistic white balance. The Google Pixel 4 showed superior performance in terms of exposure and dynamic range. Take a look under the bridge and you will notice more details in the cars. You will also notice that the highlights of the reflections in buildings are not that hard. Although the picture is a bit darker, it is illuminated more evenly.

Winner: Google Pixel 4

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

The OnePlus 7T has in this Picture series rendered a terrific performance, the shadows were killed and the picture was not properly exposed. Surprisingly, the Huawei P30 Pro found it difficult to find the white balance because it had a cooler hue and a slightly violet hue. As usual, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has a bluer sky, greener foliage and an overall "dreamier" look. This can lead to impressive images, but you may notice loss of data in the shadows, for which we can thank the higher contrast and higher saturation.

Google Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 have done a better job here, but Apple's latest smartphone works this round. Whilst the white balance is more accurate and the details on the Pixel 4 photo are slightly better overall, the iPhone 11 manages to better balance exposure and dynamics and get more details out of the shadows of the trees.

Winner: iPhone 11 [19659037] Color

Color is a more subjective affair, as people will love a highly saturated, vibrant image that bursts. The problem in most cases is excessive image processing, which can also degrade a photo in some other way. What we want is a balanced picture in which colors pop, look realistic and details are not forgotten. IPhone 11

What we want is a balanced image in which colors bloom, look realistic and details do not fall into oblivion.

Edgar Cervantes

The Huawei P30 Pro has fueled this one; Highlights are blown out, the dynamic range is not impressive and the white balance is far away. iPhone 11 pictures are good, but the details are not very good and the color is a bit purple. In the meantime, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has created a very vivid and colorful image, but the details below the flowers disappear due to overwork, the background looks too soft and the colors look unnatural. It still looks beautiful and the deeper colors help to present colorful objects like flowers. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 image is probably the image that most people will pick at first glance.

Regardless, the Pixel 4 image is the most well-balanced, showing more color separation, wider gamut, and slightly better details in the shadows.

Winner: Google Pixel 4


Detail

Capturing details is not an easy task for smaller sensors in smartphone cameras. Devices may have trouble correctly exposing images without causing too much noise. Meanwhile, reducing post-processing noise requires blurring, which in turn eliminates detail.

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 rated this image the worst. The detail is too soft, which you mostly notice at the buildings below and above in the frame. The OnePlus 7T performs better, but is far from the best competitor in the field.

The Google Pixel 4 and the Huawei P30 Pro measured the white balance better, but if we need to focus on details, the real fight is between the Pixel 4 and the iPhone 11. In this case, Pixel 4 is the Winner. Take a look at the lounge on the terrace in the lower part of the frame. You can see many more details in the plants. The building walls on the other side of the street are also provided with a considerable level of detail.

Winner: Google Pixel 4

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

The OnePlus 7T image is underexposed and has only a few details throughout the image area. Huawei has also done a poor job this time to capture data in the shadows. The whole picture looks dark and the trees in the background seem to be washed off. The photo of Samsung is much too soft, but at least better exposed.

The Google Pixel 4 wins again with more detail in the buildings, as you can literally see dirty areas in the walls that are not recognizable on other images. The buildings, windows and textures are sharper. The separation of color and contrast is also better, as you can see in the trees in Central Park. In the image of the iPhone, the trees look blurry.

The Pixel 4 seems to have a small problem with exposing high-contrast images. This makes the picture look a bit darker than it should. On closer inspection, however, there is more to see.

Winner: Google Pixel 4


Dynamic range

To better understand the dynamic range, read our Post information. In short, the dynamic range refers to the ability of a camera to capture details at the extreme exposure points of a scene from the darkest to the brightest areas. Cameras with poor dynamic range can more easily blow out lights or darken shadows.

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

Both the Huawei P30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 produced blurry Images. It looks as if the contrast was off and the Samsung picture shows very clear signs of weakening. This would be compensated if we could see more details in the shadows (since this is the dynamic range), but that is not the case.

At first glance one would say that the OnePlus 7T has a better dynamic range because it has managed to pull more data out of the shadows, but that's exactly what did not happen. Look up (or through the tunnel) and you will see that the highlights have blown away. What happened here is that the camera was exposed for the shadows, but has lost all the details in the lights.

Both the Google Pixel 4 and the iPhone 11 have done a good job here by showing a lot of detail in the shadows and exposing the area behind the camera accordingly. The Pixel 4 exposure is even more balanced. You can also see sharper details in the forest and more information behind the tunnel.

Winner: Google Pixel 4

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

This image is very hard to capture because most of the frame is in the shade, while almost a third of it shows a super bright sky. There are no intermediate steps, making it the perfect dynamic range test. I'll tell you right away that this is terrible. The trick is to find out which is the least ugly.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is the better-exposed image of the bunch. I'd like to say that it's the winner, but you can easily see that the improvements are simply due to excessive editing. The shaded area looks blurry, the trees are too soft, the sky looks like a halo, and the details in people's faces are almost gone. The photo of the OnePlus 7T is sharper, but too dark and the white balance is significantly affected.

Again, Google gains pixel 4. It manages to better expose shadows and lights than the Huawei P30 Pro and iPhones, while the details in the trees and buildings remain sharper.

Winner: Google Pixel 4


Weak Light

It's when the sun sets that we see the real differences between the cameras. These tiny sensors have to struggle to get the most detail possible. The software then takes the picture and has to make some difficult decisions. Eliminate any noise and risk making a photo too soft? White balance should also be respected, and most phones will not get true color tones. Then the device must also find out what it is to be exposed.

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 softens pictures in broad daylight, so you're safe can be that this is also the case in the dark. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 7T photo is very dark and has no details in the shadow. This time, even the Huawei P30 Pro softened the picture a bit too much.

The best rivals are the iPhone 11 and the Google Pixel 4, and I have to say the Apple phone has this round. The Pixel 4 photo has a purple hue. It's not that loud, but Google's image shows less detail in the darker areas of the image. White balance works better with this iPhone 11 photo. And although it shows more grain, it also contains more data (even in the night sky). IPhone 11

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11 [19659108] Google Pixel 4 “/>  Google Pixel 4

I will not bother about it, To include Huawei and Samsung as finalists in this section. Your pictures are far inferior. OnePlus does it better, but on closer inspection we can see that the image is too soft (and still noisy!).

The real battle here is between Pixel 4 and iPhone 11, and it's easy to see why iPhone 11 has won again. While the Pixel 4 image has better white balance, the iPhone 11 photo is far superior in detail. Look at the wood in the table and knife to see the differences in detail. Also look at the fibers in the meat and the texture of the mashed potatoes. The difference is significant.

Winner: iPhone 11


Night mode

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

iPhone has In the previous section may perform better in low light, but Google has a neat trick in the bag. The night mode (Night Sight) of the Pixel 4 is far superior to that of other smartphones. He managed to achieve a good exposure, which also looks more realistic when the photo was taken in a dark restaurant.

The iPhone has better overall performance in low light, but Google has a neat trick up its sleeve: Night Sight. [19659122] Edgar Cervantes

The skin is a bit supple, but that's a common consequence of the night modes, and you can see suppleness in all of the sample images shown above (OnePlus has gone crazy). In addition, there are no strange lighting elements that you can see in the Huawei and OnePlus shots. In the case of the iPhone image, the white balance is wrong and the image became a bit softer than it should have been.

Winner: Google Pixel 4

More posts on Smartphone Cameras


Portrait [19659016] I've never been a fan of portrait mode. While it creates a funny bokeh (blurred background) effect that was previously only possible with special cameras and lenses, it does not really get the camera right. Most fail to adequately describe the topic, and when telephones approach the right course of action, the effect can often seem unnatural. The manufacturers continue to try to improve the portrait mode. These are the results of some of the best phones on the market.

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has been much better at shooting this portrait Results achieved with the iPhone 11, so we will compare it with the other phones. The best competitors are the iPhone 11 Pro Max, Google Pixel 4 and Huawei P30 Pro. While Pixel 4 captured most of the details in David's face, it has more outline defects in the hair and the image also looks a bit processed.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is too soft and warm. I'll have to give this lap to the Huawei P30 Pro. The bokeh effect looks more natural and the picture is not overworked.

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

Google Pixel 4 is in This round on its feet again and much stronger than before. The image of the pixel has the correct hue and surpasses all other phones in terms of white balance. It was also possible to illuminate both sides of Adam's face more evenly, while the other phones overexposed the sun-facing side. In addition, Google Pixel 4 has done a good job of outlining the topic. It was not perfect, but it worked quite well.

Winner: Google Pixel 4

  iPhone 11 Google Pixel 4 iPhone 11

  Google Pixel 4

Huawei has missed the entire portrait mode and nothing blurs (a face must be detected to enable portrait mode). In the meantime, Samsung and OnePlus have lost too many details in the shadows. Of the two iPhones, the iPhone 11 Pro Max outlined the issue better. Pixel 4 did not do that job so well, and it still looks like Google has gone a bit crazy in processing. The smoothest, most accurate and overall better photo must be the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Winner: iPhone 11 Pro Max


Selfie

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 Google Pixel 4

Smartphone camera selfies are usually bad, so we need to find the ones that make it better. "" The best example of this is the Google Pixel 4. "It's sharp, the white balance is almost right, In the meantime, iPhone selfies have a green tint and look over-exposed, Samsung has increased the contrast, and the Oneplus 7T looks too blurry Huawei seems to have missed the focus on David's face completely.

Winner: Google Pixel 4


The Google Pixel 4 becomes the best camera phone

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<p style= Read: Behind the Scenes: Google's Pixel Cameras Try Not to Be Cameras at All

We can thank Google's computer photography and software for much of the camera's performance. The results are obvious as Google has taken this camera shootout by storm. However, this does not mean that the Google Pixel 4 camera is perfect. You can see that it has been beaten several times, especially in low light conditions (without considering the night mode) and in portrait mode. In some cases, the iPhones performed better and the Huawei P30 Pro scored a victory in portrait mode.

Of course, there are a few other factors to consider. Those who prefer iOS may not mind sacrificing the best camera for a damn good one. If you want a wide-angle lens, Google Pixel 4 does not have one. And if all those phones are just too expensive, then you should opt for something like Google Pixel 3a, which has the same award-winning camera as the Pixel 3, but is available only from $ 399.

In the meantime, Google Pixel 4 is here to climb the throne. And that very gracefully.


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