Camera blind test results: Samsung and Apple on top as Pixel 2 tanks

Camera blind test results: Samsung and Apple on top as Pixel 2 tanks

Seven high-end smartphones, six photographed scenes and around 3,000 votes - in the past few days, you have diligently voted to determine which manufacturer has the best camera in its smartphone. In this article, we present you with the winners and losers of the blind test.

As in our previous blind test from the middle of this year, Samsung and Apple are once again at the top of the podium, this time with the Note 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. However, Google's score tanked significantly: The Pixel 2 fell to last place this time. In my opinion, Google should have even had a few penalty points taken away for its limited camera app. But, there will be more on that topic in the detailed evaluation below.

Before we jump into the results, I would like to briefly explain the scoring system. The smartphone whose photo has received the most votes for each scene gets six points. Second place gets five points, third gets four, and so on.  In case of a tie, both smartphones get the same higher score, and the following rank is eliminated. 

AndroidPIT LG V30 iPhone 8 plus Galaxy Note 8 One Plus 5T HTC U11 Google Pixel 2 Huawei Mate 10Pro 5630
These high-end smartphone are competing against each other in our blind test. / © NextPit

Samsung and Apple at the top

The iPhone 8 Plus secured first place with a total of 28 points, closely followed by the Galaxy Note 8 with 26 points. Apple and Samsung are among the top three in five out of six scenes that we shot. The iPhone 8 Plus had weak results in the night scene, while the Note 8 was unconvincing in the mixed-light scene shot in the AndroidPIT office's kitchen. 

Bottom line, the result is clear: The two smartphone giants have outclassed the assembled competition in this comparison, building on their dominance from our previous blind test.

The big disappointment: Google only shines in the dark

From first place to last place: In contrast to the last blind test we conducted, Google could not impress you this time, at least not in daylight. The Pixel 2 lands once in last place and once in first. The rest of its scores are middling. Only at night was the Google camera able to capture the top spot. 

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Strong at night: Only with this picture was the Google Pixel 2 was able to prevail against the competition. / © NextPit

While the shots taken by the Google Pixel 2 are good in a technical sense, the results clearly still don't manage to sway voters. I'm curious to find out what our readers didn't like about the Pixel 2's shots. What bothers me most about the Pixel 2 isn't the results, but the fact that the camera app lacks options for manual adjustment or saving RAW photos. That's more of a disqualifying criterion than the image quality to me.

The rest: OnePlus, HTC, LG and Huawei

Although the Pixel 2 surprised us by taking last place, the gap is not large among the competitors. Only four points separate third place from seventh place. Overall, the trend we've seen in our recent blind tests has continued: the 'little guys' are increasingly losing ground when it comes to cameras.

Part of the blame lies with Google, which offers a comprehensive software solution with its Android operating system, but keeps some of its own developments under wraps. Developing a competitive camera app is now up to each manufacturer. Samsung and Apple simply have more resources here than HTC or LG. 

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In this and the fifth scene, the LG V30 made it to second place - below the iPhone 8 Plus, but above the Galaxy Note 8. / © NextPit

The third place goes to the OnePlus 5T, with 18 points. Three devices tied for fourth place, the LG V30, HTC U11 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro, with 17 points each. The distance from the top is clear, as the Note 8 is 9 points ahead and the iPhone 8 Plus is even 11 points ahead of the middle of the pack. The Pixel 2 is dead last, as mentioned above. 

The results at a glance

Here you can see the results of the camera blind test at a glance. If you want to know more details about the respective smartphones, then just follow the links to be taken to our in-depth reviews of each.

Expensive phones shoot beautiful photos

Nowadays overall photo quality in the cheaper flagship phones has gone up so much, that without such a direct comparison, it is much more difficult to notice dramatic differences in photo quality, especially during casual, everyday use.

That makes it all the more amazing that the Galaxy Note 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus can consistently set themselves apart from the ever-improving competition. Only by testing in different situations and paying very close attention to detail can we see how the premium flagships of these two manufacturing experts really hold the cutting edge of smartphone photography.

What do you think of the results? Will this influence your next buying decision? Let's discuss in the comments!


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  • Gary Conrad Dec 18, 2017 Link to comment

    It appears to some of us that Google did a massive campaign to influence buyers into thinking the Pixel 2 had a superior camera. Faulty displays. and now a suspect camera, lead me to realize why the new Pixel 2 has been heavily discounted at Verizon and other retailers.

  • Ultraman1966 Dec 16, 2017 Link to comment

    So how much did Samsung and Apple you guys to post this kind of rubbish?
    Credibility of this website is now ranked zero.

    • Bastian Siewers Dec 18, 2017 Link to comment

      Hi, as the article states pretty clearly, the results are based on the votes of our community. Honestly, there is not much we can do to influence that. We simply took the pictures and posted them :)

  • Terie Mumby Dec 14, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm sure the pictures were all taken in auto mode. This makes it hard to judge phone camera's that were specifically created with "manual mode" in mind. Like the LG V30. Someone knowing what they are doing, which probably isn't the author, could do some tweaking and create photos that would blow the top two off the chart.
    Really bad way to judge. As far as I know the LG V line has the best manual controls of all the phones tested.
    This another biased test. Blind or otherwise.
    The video capabilities were not even mentioned which would include sound recording. Including this would put the V30 at the top. Try going to a concert and record it live with the top two winners. Can't be done and have the sound audible afterwards.

    • Bastian Siewers Dec 14, 2017 Link to comment

      Hi Terie,
      everything you say would mean this wouldn't be a blind test anymore, at all. Using the manual mode of the phones doesn't really make any sense if you want to compare them. For example, the Google Pixel 2 doesn't even have a manual mode. The whole reason for such a test is to see what the cameras do in certain situations, fiddling with the manual settings completely changes the outcome. The idea is to see what the cameras do in auto mode, not what you can do after working through the settings for quite a while.
      It is obviously interesting to compare the video capabilities of the phones, that's actually an interesting idea that we will keep in mind, thank you! The thing is though, this was a comparison of the photo capabilities, including videos in here would not have made a whole lot of sense :)

  • Ellett Dec 14, 2017 Link to comment

    I've always cringed at this series of "tests". Regardless of who places where, the web comparisons don't show the capabilities of any of the cameras. Please, just stop it.

  • Cornel Atomei Dec 13, 2017 Link to comment

    Review was flawed from conception. Pictures need to be side by side to notice noise levels, detail and sharpness, colours, etc. Most of us who voted clicked blindely on thumbnail sized pictures on mobile, or endless scrolling on desktops. I am a iphone 8 plus user, but there is no question in my mind, pixel 2 is far superior in photos department

    • Jay Viper Dec 14, 2017 Link to comment

      All the pictures were in the same situation...

    • Randy Magruder Dec 14, 2017 Link to comment

      Yeah I am not giving a lot of credibility to this test. When someone comes out which contradicts pretty much every other comparison, some scientific, some not, you kinda smell something is off. And there's going to be a question of what the photos were viewed with, how they were arranged, etc.

  • Savona Dec 13, 2017 Link to comment

    I agree with Johnny D. It was NOT possible to efficiently choose a photo while having to scroll through six pages, and I stated this in the original post. It was WAY too hard to scroll through 6 giant images and notice any difference let alone nuances. I gave up after the second "scene".

  • László Pál Dec 13, 2017 Link to comment

    hey, this review is a shame.... close the shop and try to find a real job

  • Johnny D Dec 13, 2017 Link to comment

    This whole review was worthless. You expected us to be able to efficiently choose which photo was best when the photos weren't even side by side. Five or six photo choices on five or six different pages. These results would have been believable if the photos were side by side. I took the test but the people that did not, would have no way of knowing how unprofessional this so called test was.

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