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We compared the Galaxy S6 camera with an iPhone 6 camera: the result will stun you

galaxy s6 vs iphone 6 07
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Samsung very publicly shamed the iPhone 6's low light performance at Galaxy Unpacked during MWC 2015. On stage, the Korean manufacturer showcased the all-new and very impressive Galaxy S6 camera alongside laughable shots from the iPhone 6 Plus. Here's the real Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 camera comparison, along with a surprise revelation from the LG G Flex 2.

galaxy s6 vs iphone 6 07
The Galaxy S6 (left) and the iPhone 6 (right) go head to head in a dark alley. / © ANDROIDPIT

Let me set the stage: at Samsung's media demo booth they had a little box set up with a small scene inside. On one side was a small hole through which you point your camera to see just how well it can pick up objects and detail in extremely low light environments.

The idea is simple: the Galaxy S6 will pick up the scene so well compared to your paltry pedestrian smartphone that you'll be utterly floored and immediately start saving your pennies to pre-order an S6 and cast your existing phone off a cliff. So let's see just how well other phones managed to pick up the scene inside the box.

AndroidPIT GalaxyS6 iPhone6 Unpacked slides
This was the slide that got a great response from the crowd at Galaxy Unpacked at MWC 2015. / © Samsung

Of the many phones I took to the demo booth with me that day, the iPhone 6 and the LG G Flex 2 were the ones I wanted to see side-by-side with the Galaxy S6. The iPhone 6 because it was the benchmark, and the G Flex 2 because, as you may recall, it has the same camera hardware as the LG G3 but with improved software and the results I've seen so far have been outstanding. Those comparison shots are at the bottom of this story, but let's start with the iPhone 6 first.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 iPhone 6 low light camera comparison 1
Galaxy S6 (left) and iPhone 6 (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 camera comparison: low light

First things first: the iPhone 6 has a camera resolution of 8 MP (3,265 x 2,448 pixels) at a 4:3 aspect ratio. The Galaxy S6 has a 16 MP (5,312 x 2,988 pixels) camera shooting at 16:9. So the shot you see above from the iPhone 6 has been zoomed a little and cropped to show the same section as the Galaxy S6 photo at the same on-screen size.

While this may seem unfair (all images lose detail as you zoom in), there isn't really a fair way to compare an 8 MP and 16 MP photo so they are the same physical size on screen. You can see the untouched originals on my Google+ page in any case.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 iPhone 6 low light camera comparison 2
Zooming in more, you can see the iPhone 6 lacks contrast and color. / © ANDROIDPIT

As you can see, the Galaxy S6 is clearly much better than the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 admittedly still does an admirable job and is certainly much better than many other phones out there, but the S6 is far and away the superior low light shooter. Chalk one up for Samsung.

In fact, the Galaxy S6 low light shots are so good they could rival some DSLR's, with good contrast, great color and and very detailed shadows. As we zoom in you can see how well the Galaxy S6 handles the bright patches too. There's a little noise in the darker areas, but again, the results are truly exceptional. Keep in mind though, that we're having to zoom much more on the iPhone 6 shots to show the same area.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 iPhone 6 low light camera comparison 3
Zoomed right in, the Galaxy S6 beats the iPhone 6 in terms of detail, color and noise. / © ANDROIDPIT

Galaxy S6 vs LG G Flex 2 camera comparison: low light

When the attendant in the demo booth first asked me to pull out a phone I grabbed the G Flex 2, my primary phone for the show. I took one shot and couldn't see much difference between it and the S6. The attendant balked and wanted to take another shot. Again we couldn't see much on-screen difference (remember that the G Flex 2 has a Full HD display compared to the Galaxy S6's QHD screen).

The attendant then scuttled off to grab a different unit; she was obviously quite used to being the clear victor. We took a third and final shot and had to agree that the the LG G Flex 2 is an extremely good low light camera as well.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 LG G Flex 2 low light camera comparison 1
Here's the same scene with the Galaxy S6 (left) and LG G Flex 2 (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

Again, the Galaxy S6 was shooting at 16 MP at 16:9 (5,312 x 2,988 pixels) in auto mode without HDR mode or any filters or whatnot. The LG G Flex 2 shot is 13 MP (4,128 x 3,096 pixels) at 4:3, also on auto with no HDR, filters or editing. Like the iPhone 6, we've had to zoom in a little more on the G Flex 2 image to show the same area.

On first glance the two shots are quite indistinguishable. If you look at the noise in the black parts of the shot you can see that the Galaxy S6 has less noise (or grain) visible, but you could get almost identical results simply by pushing the contrast ever so slightly in editing software. The S6 is the better native result, but only by about 5 percent (whereas it's 15-20 percent better than the iPhone 6, in my estimation).

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 LG G Flex 2 low light camera comparison 2
Zoom more and you can see the LG G Flex 2 (right) shows more noise in the dark areas. / © ANDROIDPIT

When we zoom in more you can see that the Galaxy S6 has a different colored orange as well. This same orange color also appears in the iPhone 6 result. Without being able to check with the naked eye I can't say which is more true to life, but it is worth noting the G Flex 2 produces a deeper orange color. 

Zooming in even further we see more details of note. Looking at the highlights, for example, on the text on the fuel tank, you can see the Galaxy S6 handles the reflection of the light source better than the G Flex 2 (but only by a little) and that on the forks of the bike you can see a softer gradient of shadow on the S6 photo than the more blown out result from the LG camera.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 LG G Flex 2 low light camera comparison 3
Up real close and it's hard to pick a winner, but the Galaxy S6 (left) just wins out. / © ANDROIDPIT


All in all, it's easy to say the Galaxy S6 has the best camera on any smartphone anywhere (I sadly didn't have a Nokia Lumia with me). This is a truly remarkable feat that should be applauded. An honest test shows the S6 is the superior camera to the iPhone 6.

On the other hand, LG made no grand claims about the G Flex 2 camera when it was presented, whereas its results are just as impressive when compared side by side with the iPhone 6. LG simply said it had improved the software. What all this ends up telling you is that the S6 has the best camera on Android but the G Flex 2 isn't far behind it. 

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Kris Carlon

Kris Carlon
Senior Editor

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

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  • 2
    PattoBandito May 18, 2015 Link to comment

    I think all you people really need to pull your heads out of your asses. Seriously youse all speak like youse all could design a better looking and equipped phone.... so what if the phone has no sd card slot or you cant no longer change the battery... whom really cares if you own a dslr camera... this review is about the differences between 3 phones cameras... its much easier walking around with your phone in your pocket to get that nice camera shot... try putting a dslr camera with multi zoom lenses in your pocket and walk around for the day... Why dont youse all also try appreciating the hard work these technicians go too to bring us all these mini computers that make our everyday tech lives easier... Or youse could design your own and have the same people criticise your so called smartphone too..... ive owned many of these smartphones over the years and i appreciate all the software and photo memories theyve help me capture.... oh and this Samsung Galaxy S6 has sold record numbers among all the past smartphones that have recently been introduced to the buyers market...

  • An Droid 14
    An Droid May 17, 2015 Link to comment

    I bet that none of the doomsayers bitching about no SD card and no removable battery in the S6 never needed more than 128Gb storage, or carry an extra battery abound with them. Theyre just jumping on the "expert" bandwagon trying to sound all hardcore. Pathetic!

  • 2
    joz diz Mar 12, 2015 Link to comment

    I have an s4 but will leave samsung for Apple or another brand. The whole point of getting android for me was bigger screen and expansion slots with batteries and sd card . now that those options with samsung are gone....not much reason to stick around. I have a several thousand dollar dslr and a go pro don't really care about camera phone. Can just put on a prime what ?

    Edit, lol...just saw comments below mine...not good for Samsung when this many people had same reasons.

    Greg R.

    • 5
      Cory Weston Apr 22, 2015 Link to comment

      Get the One M9. It has a SD Card slot. Amazing battery life. An awesome camera. In fact it has the same camera Nokia used in the Lumia 930. The screen is beautiful and BoomSound is still awesome.

  • 3
    Cyrus MD Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

    S6, NOT FOR ME.

    I always liked my Camera on the S3 a lot better than the iPhone 5 but who cares about the camera. If I wanted a good picture I would use my Canon DSLR.

    The morons at Samsung must have hired someone from Apple to design the S6. I have been a Samsung user for a long time but Samsung removing the SD slot has pissed me and a million other off. They went back in time. People preferred Samsung over Apple because of certain features like external memory, removable battery. I use the my 64 GB SD Card a lot by storing my business documents that I can attach to emails when I am on the road.

    Hopefully the S6 will tank for Samsung and maybe the S7 will have the SD card slot back. Someone was smoking some bad sheet (I have to spell it this way so that the discussion police will not kill my thoughts).

    Shame on Samsung for letting their customers down and screwing up a nice lineup of the Galaxy phones.

    Greg R.joz diz

    • 5
      Cory Weston Apr 22, 2015 Link to comment

      The S5 tanked for Samsung. S6 is selling higher than anticipated so you are wrong their. And to be honest no one needs a SD Card slot. If you do go with the best and get HTC. Also removable batteries offer worse battery life than non removable ones. Also the vast majority of Samsung customers never used an SD Card or swapped the battery. Samsung wasn't successful because of those thing. What made Samsung successful was marketing.

  • 8
    Clive Richards Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

    I don't care how good the camera is - the lack of exchangeable battery and no SD card support kills both at the starting block for me. If I want photographic extremes then I will pull out my SLR

    joz diz

  • 2
    Steve L Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

    this comparison looks like absolute bullshit. I came here looking for a legitimate camera review (I still have an iphone 5) and thought the s6 was looking great. you really sold the s6 camera and in these photos, it clearly looks better than the iphone photos.

    except i went to a less biased site (everyone go check out the camera article on phonearena) and they took the exact same photos with the phones and the comparison is nowhere near what your photos look like. its like you purposely took the worse possible iphone photo to use as a comparison.

    go look at the photos over at phonearena. the s6 vs iphone 6 photos are VERY comparable and there really isnt a clear winner in their examples.

    JD Pruitt

    • 1
      Jarrod Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

      I am not finding an article on phonearena that compares low-light pictures between the S6 and the iPhone. Are you sure the article you're referring to on that site is comparing low-light pictures like this article is?

      EDIT: Never mind, found it.

    • 5
      Cory Weston Apr 22, 2015 Link to comment

      Only on PhoneArena the Lumia 930 came in first place and HTC One M9 came in in like 6 place even though the Lumia 930 and M9 uses the exact same camera sensor so it isn't exactly a trustworthy site either.

  • 3
    George L. Mar 9, 2015 Link to comment

    Really good article and for all you ppl out there with iPhones this will be good news as Apple will try to up their game on the 6s! Competition breeds excellence

    • 2
      Steve L Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

      i thought it was a good article too until i saw another article taking the exact same comparison shots. only theirs was WAY less biased. go look up the photo comparison on phonearena. the results are actually VERY similar. it looks like this author literally tried to take the worst iphone shot to use and compare with.

  • 2
    Denis Cheremisov Mar 8, 2015 Link to comment

    First, 16×9 is not a photography format at all, the best universal one is square, and then the closer to square - the better.
    Second: since 4×3 better suits general photography, you rather need to crop crappy 16×9 to 4×3 than vice versa. And read the next point
    Third: cropping degrades image quality (pixel level means nothing, you can only compare same dimension and same format pics). So, because of the #2 samsung shot will worsen.

    General properly procedure would be: crop idiotic photography choice of 16×9 to generally better photography oriented 4×3 and then downsample it to 8mp. Then compare.

    • 2
      Steve L Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

      go check out a less biased camera review where they take the exact same shots. for example go to phonearena and look at their article. the iphone 6 and s6 photos look very comparable and aren't as insanely exaggerated as they are on this site.

      JD Pruitt

  • 2
    Ace Mar 7, 2015 Link to comment

    No offence to the author but he could've set the megapixel size to 8 on the S6. Then it would be fair.

    Denis Cheremisov

    • 2
      Romuald Biedron Mar 8, 2015 Link to comment

      So how about setting up an IPhone 6 camera to 16 megapxels? Ouch! no such option on IPhone!?
      That's not fair,Samsung wins Lol

      Ian Slater

      • 2
        Denis Cheremisov Mar 8, 2015 Link to comment

        Samsung loses if it really install 16×9 sensor into their crapware device.
        PS Nexus 5 owner where HDR+ mode puts both in a shame in low light conditions.

      • 1
        Jai EleKtra Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

        Nexus 5 owner here too and i agree HDR+ mode does put both to shame oh not the mention we have also had lollipop since the day it came out while my father with the Samsung Note 4 has been waiting and waiting for Lollipop and still does not have it.

      • 2
        joz diz Mar 13, 2015 Link to comment

        Megapixels don't matter that much except for cropping or printing large. it's the sensor and lens. My old d80 with 10mp takes better pics than any camera phone.

        JD Pruitt

      • 5
        Cory Weston Apr 22, 2015 Link to comment

        Well the software also matters in smartphones. For example the HTC One M9 uses the EXACT SAME camera sensor as the Lumia 930 which was universally praised and was considered by many tech blogs as having the best camera. However the One M9 has been bashed for the camera. Again the sensor is the exact same one found in the Lumia 930. So the sensor does matter. Lens does but the software does as well. And thankfully HTC has fixed the software.

        JD Pruitt

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