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Almost 50,000 votes: The smartphone that takes the best photos is only available in China!

NextPit Blind Test 2022 Xiaomi
© NextPit

Four smartphones, 12 subjects, 48 sample photos, 47,197 votes, and only one winner! You voted and decided the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the smartphone that shoots the best photos in 2022.

As part of NextPit's last camera blind test of 2022, our team photographed all sorts of subjects using the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Google Pixel 7 Pro, and Xiaomi 12S Ultra during the day and at night. As usual, you voted which picture you liked best without knowing which camera took the photo. Here are the results at a glance:

  • 1st place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra (36 points, 13,997 votes).
  • 2nd place: Google Pixel 7 Pro (30 points, 10,772 votes).
  • 3rd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (28 points, 13,244 votes).
  • 4th place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (26 points, 9,184 votes).
Wir sehen das Xiaomi 12S Ultra.
The camera array of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra takes up a whole third of the back—and it seems that this made the difference in our blind test! / © NextPit

We calculated the winners for you using two different ways: one based on a point system (1st place gets four points, 2nd place receives three, and so on) and once by taking into account the total votes. As we have seen in the past, while the distance between the candidates varies depending on the calculation method, the final order remains the same: The Xiaomi 12S Ultra prevails with a decent lead in each scenario.

Before we move on to the analysis of each scene, I would like to share the participants of the blind test and their camera setup in the table below:

  1st place 2nd place 3rd place 4th place
Device Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Photo
Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Camera configuration
  • Main: 50 MP | f1.9 aperture | Sony IMX989 | 1 inch | 23 mm focal length | 4:1 pixel binning for 3.2 µm pixel size | OIS | Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Ultrawide: 48 MP | f/2.2 aperture | Sony IMX586 | 13 mm focal length | 1/2.0 inch | 128° viewing angle | PDAF
  • Telephoto: 48 MP | f/4.1 aperture | Sony IMX586 | 120 mm focal length | 1/2.0 inch | 5x optical telezoom | OIS
  • Selfie: 32 MP | f/2.4 | OV32c
  • Main: 50 MP with Octa PD and Quad Bayer | f1.85 | 1.2 µm | 82° FoV | OIS | Sensor size: 1/1.31''
  • Ultrawide: 12 MP with Autofocus | f/2.2 | 1.25 µm | 125.8° FoV
  • Telephoto: 48 MP with Quad Bayer PD | f/3.5 | 0.7 µm | 20.6° FoV | 5x optical zoom | 30x SuperRes
  • Selfie: 10.8 MP with Fixed Focus | f/2.2 | 1.22 µm | 92.8° FoV
  • Main: 48 MP | quad pixel | 2.44µm | f1.78 aperture | 24 mm focal length | sensor-shift OIS
  • Ultrawide: 12 MP | f/2.2 aperture | 1.4µm | 13 mm focal length | Macro
  • Telephoto: 12 MP | f/1.78 | 48 mm focal length | 2x optical zoom | Sensor-Shift OIS
  • Selfie: 12 MP | f/1.9 aperture | Autofocus | Photonic Engine
  • Main: 108 MP / f/1.8 aperture / FOV 85° / Dual Pixel AF
  • Ultrawide: 12 MP / f/2.2 aperture / FOV 120
  • Telephoto 1: 10 MP / f/2.4 aperture / 3x optical zoom
  • Telephoto 2: 10 MP / f/4.9 aperture / 10x optical zoom
  • Selfie: 40 MP / f/2.2 aperture / 80° FOV
Rating
Xiaomi 12S Ultra review
Google Pixel 7 Pro review
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max review
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
Offers*

 

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The only drawback of the winner is, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is unavailable for purchase in the U.S. or Europe. To purchase this model will require you to perform a grey import through a reliable e-commerce site.

I would like to remind you that in our last blind camera test, the Google Pixel 6 Pro was voted as the smartphone with the best camera performance. That said, let's get to the analysis of the results.

Scene 1: Daylight, main camera

This was probably the easiest exercise: a shot photo in bright daylight using the main camera. Here, the iPhone 14 Pro Max prevailed over Xiaomi, Google, and Samsung. Looking at the four photos, Apple's smartphone offers higher contrast and slightly warmer tones.

  • 1st place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 
  • 2nd place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra 
  • 3rd place: Google Pixel 7 Pro 
  • 4th place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Scene 2: Daylight, ultrawide angle

Still offering a low degree of difficulty, we have a good variation in the results when it came to the ultrawide camera, and Samsung takes the lead here. Right at first glance, we can see warmer colors and richer detail in the image captured with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes in second, but still far from all the nice colors that Samsung delivers.

  • 1st place:  Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 2nd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 3rd place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 4th place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Scene 3: Daylight, portrait

For the third sample, the challenge was to shoot the most beautiful portrait photo possible. As we can see, Google respects skin tones very well here and manages to blur the background without compromising the edges of the object in the foreground too much.

  • 1st place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 2nd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 3rd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 4th place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Scene 4: Daylight, 2x zoom

All smartphones in this blind test have high-resolution main cameras and thus boast sufficient capability for great-looking digital zoom shots. At the very first close-up challenge (2x), both Apple and Samsung clearly intensified the colors. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra offers more natural colors, while the Pixel 7 Pro seems to lose a bit in sharpness and contrast. No doubt the Xiaomi 12S Ultra performed better here.

  • 1st place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 2nd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 3rd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 4th place: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Scene 5: Daylight, 5x zoom

Now, using the full potential of the telephoto camera's 5x optical zoom, the Google Pixel 7 Pro offers far superior image quality compared to the runner-up. Already as anticipated by my colleague Stefan, the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 Ultra had the hardest time here, since Xiaomi and Google offer this focal length natively with their telephoto lens.

  • 1st place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 2nd place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 3rd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 4th place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

Scene 6: Daylight, 15x zoom

Contrary to expectations that the Galaxy S22 Ultra would perform better in this test because it offers the best zoom capabilities with a 10x telescopic lens. The Xiaomi came in first place by a whisker as the percentage of votes was almost the same. The real laggard was Apple's device.

  • 1st place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 2nd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 3rd place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 4th place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

Scene 7: Tungsten light, ultrawide angle

In the NextPit living room scene, the smartphones had to prove that they can cope with poorer lighting conditions and while managing the white balance because of mixed lighting conditions. Here, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra offers the best balance between color and contrast, followed by Google's AI. Unfortunately, it is very clear that the iPhone favored the artificial light coming from the NextPit kitchen over the natural light in the living room.

  • 1st place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 2nd place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 3rd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 4th place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

Scene 8: Artificial light, main camera

In Berlin's underground, the four smartphones have to prove themselves in nasty neon light conditions, and once more the Xiaomi 12S Ultra shows the full capacity of the 1-inch sensor.

  • 1st place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 2nd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 3rd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 4th place: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Scene 9: Artificial light, 2x zoom

Our ninth scene was a living room illuminated with warm artificial light. In this spot, the challenge was to keep the image noise in check and ensure sufficient dynamic range. And once again the 12S Ultra stood out with excellent white balance and high contrast. Samsung once again overdoes it with warm colors and loses the naturalness of the scene.

  • 1st place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 2nd place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 3rd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 4th place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Scene 10: Tungsten light, macro

Our tenth scene was all about capturing fine details and nice sharpness. Clearly, the Pixel 7 Pro took the upper hand here, capturing detail in the petals and leaves of the roses in the vase, and correcting the light brilliantly. Despite showing more natural colors, the runner-up loses out in terms of sharpness to the first. The Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone, on the other hand, go overboard with their warm tones.

  • 1st place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 2nd place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 3rd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 4th place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Scene 11: Night, main camera

Although all smartphones performed pretty well in this scene, smartphones from Xiaomi and Apple received the most votes. With the Xiaomi 12S Ultra standing out once again, it showed a nice balance between contrast and brightness. Here, Samsung and Google lagged far behind based on our readers' preferences.

  • 1st place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
  • 2nd place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 3rd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 4th place: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Scene 12: Night, ultrawide angle

And in the biggest challenge of this blind test, our champion came in last place this time. More than that, it received only one vote among all the NextPit domains! The images were taken at night using the ultrawide angle camera, which in itself already drops the image quality considerably compared to the main camera. However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max's lenses were able to capture more light and work in conjunction with the software to create an image that manages to retain detail without losing too much sharpness.

  • 1st place: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • 2nd place: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • 3rd place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • 4th place: Xiaomi 12S Ultra

That concludes our last camera blind test of the year! Of course, the result of this test takes into account the collective opinion of the NextPit community, but I'm curious to know if it reflects your vote: Was the Xiaomi 12S Ultra your favorite?

If you want to know which smartphone has prevailed as the best camera smartphone in the NextPit editorial team, you can find the resolution in our article on the best camera smartphones in 2022

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi

10+ years testing smartphones and other gadgets. Even though I dove into the Apple ecosystem recently, Android is still one of my passions. Previously editor-in-chief of AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, now I write for the US market. I’m (still) on Twitter (@apequenarinaldi)!

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