PhoneArena site has conducted a practical test of night photography with Pixel 6 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra, to find out which is the best night shooting smartphone at the moment.
Turn Night Mode on and off
We all know that Google’s Pixel relies heavily on so-called photography algorithms, but it has to be said that the degree of dependence is a lot and that’s not always a good thing. Try to see the actual images taken with Pixel 6 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra, with Night Mode on and off to see the difference.
As in the photos above, it can be seen that when the Pixel 6 Pro’s Night Mode is turned off, the resulting image is too dark, the camera can’t capture the details in the dark, and the result is a completely blank photo. leave.
iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra are different, even when Night Mode is turned off, we still have a realistic photo with details and colors. Compared to the naked eye seeing this scene, the images taken by the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra are closer to reality.
But when Night Mode is enabled, the biggest difference can be seen on the Pixel 6 Pro. Even the photo is different like between day and night, you won’t feel like the photo was taken at night anymore.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max, with Night Mode on, handled it in a more subtle way, maintaining realism and the night atmosphere, while still bringing out details. The Galaxy S21 Ultra tries to maintain a balance.
Below continues to be a comparison between Night Mode on and off, but in a much darker scene.
A huge difference can be seen when Night Mode is turned on on all 3 smartphones, helping the photo to clearly see objects, details and colors compared to the original image. But again, the iPhone 13 Pro Max shows more realism and does not overdo it. While the color of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is more flattering.
The Pixel 6 Pro tends to lighten in all areas of the frame, evenly. So in some places where there is a light source, there will be glare and loss of detail, like the area with the light in the photo above.
Galaxy S21 Ultra tends to be more opposite, when it does not try to increase the light excessively and keep the viewer feeling that the photo was taken at night. In terms of detail, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is somewhat superior, when it comes to balancing the brightness and clearly showing all the details in the photo.
Overall, it’s hard to judge which smartphone wins, but according to personal taste, the Pixel 6 Pro’s night shooting feature is a bit fake.
Take night photos with the wide-angle camera
When taking night photos with the wide-angle camera, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has more difficulty and the photo looks quite dark. iPhone 13 Pro Max still does well, but still not satisfied. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro’s algorithm still does well when shooting with the wide-angle camera, almost unchanged compared to shooting with the main camera.
Night photography with the telephoto camera
The Galaxy S21 Ultra might be the champ when it comes to zooming, with its 10x periscope lens. But that’s daytime, and night photography is a much bigger challenge because a large amount of light is required to use a periscope lens.
iPhone 13 Pro Max 3x zoom.
Galaxy S21 Ultra 3x zoom.
The photos above were taken at 4x zoom on Pixel 6 Pro, 3x zoom on iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra. The iPhone is the biggest loser, when the photo details are horribly blurry and you won’t want to post it on your Facebook or Instagram at all. Meanwhile, the cat looks more beautiful and real on Pixel and Galaxy.
iPhone 13 Pro Max 10x zoom.
Galaxy S21 Ultra 10x zoom.
When increasing the zoom level to 10x, we can immediately remove the iPhone 13 Pro Max, while the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S21 Ultra still do well. However, it should be noted that the Galaxy S21 Ultra does not use a periscope lens because it is too dark, instead the smartphone uses digital zoom with its 3x telephoto camera.
Night photography experience
Usually, the photography experience on flagship smartphones is the same. But in this case PhoneArena had to separate the Pixel 6 Pro for comment. The reason is that this smartphone has excellent post-processing capabilities, but also results in very slow shooting times.
While the iPhone and Galaxy require users to hold the device steady for short periods of time to capture exposure, the Pixel requires users to hold for a very long time. That makes it difficult to capture moving subjects, when you have to hold the device for up to 10 seconds.
That’s why the experience of taking night photos with Pixel 6 Pro is not easy at all. It is best to have a tripod and high patience.
The best night photography smartphone is no longer the position of Pixel
Although Pixel is famous for its ability to handle night and low-light photography, the number 1 position is no longer Pixel’s, when competitors have improved and changed a lot. Both iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra deliver quality, sharp and realistic night shots.
Meanwhile, the night photography experience with the Pixel 6 Pro will be very difficult, the shutter speed is very slow, and the image is made too bright in an unrealistic way. iPhone and Galaxy both offer a more comfortable shooting experience and more balanced quality. According to PhoneArena’s assessment, the iPhone 13 Pro Max deserves the No. 1 position, followed by the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Pixel 6 Pro, which are only ranked at No. 3.