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Smartphone camera blind test: which flagship is the best shooter in 2019?

AndroidPIT camera blind test q4 2019 hero
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Which smartphone has the best camera? In this blind test, you choose the winner! The favorites should be the Google Pixel 4 (XL) and the Apple iPhone 11 Pro (Max), closely followed by the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (Plus). But also the OnePlus 7T Pro and the underdog Realme X2 Pro want to have their say.

How we did the blind test

We have photographed five different scenarios with each smartphone and will show you the pictures in this article. The idea: we don't tell you which photo comes from which smartphone - and you vote on which picture you like best. Next week we'll have the full reveal, so you'll find out if your favorite has won the race.

For the photos we have reset all devices to the factory settings. Unless otherwise stated in the respective motif, we have only photographed with the automatic mode in order to reproduce the behavior of the vast majority of users. We took three photos of each subject on each smartphone and then selected the best one from each of the three to avoid any outliers caused by accidental shaking or similar.

Clicking on the photos shows the picture in maximum resolution. In order not to give you hints by slight differences in the focal length, we have cut the pictures partially.

Scenario 1: Portrait photo

In this scenario, we immediately deviated from the default settings of the smartphones: If available, we have selected the portrait mode here. Many camera apps automatically switch to the telephoto lens for a more flattering display, so we have also preferred this setting here. Only one smartphone in our test refused to zoom into the portrait image, so the perspective of one image differs.

Comparative pictures: portrait

Kamera-Vergleichstest Portrait 1.1Figure 1.1 Kamera-Vergleichstest Portrait 1.2Figure 1.2
Kamera-Vergleichstest Portrait 1.3Figure 1.3 Kamera-Vergleichstest Portrait 1.4Figure 1.4
Kamera-Vergleichstest Portrait 1.5Figure 1.5 Kamera-Vergleichstest Portrait 1.6Figure 1.6
Welche Portrait-Aufnahme ist am besten gelungen?
View results

Scenario 2: High contrast image

If not used artistically, the backlight is the arch-enemy of mobile photography. In this scenario, we challenge the HDR capabilities of our smartphones. Which device can deal best with the low sun and bring out as many details as possible both in the sky and in the foreground?

Comparative pictures: high contrast image

Kamera-Vergleichstest HDR 2.1Figure 2.1 Kamera-Vergleichstest HDR 2.2Figure 2.2
Kamera-Vergleichstest HDR 2.3Figure 2.3 Kamera-Vergleichstest HDR 2.4Figure 2.4
Kamera-Vergleichstest HDR 2.5Figure 2.5 Kamera-Vergleichstest HDR 2.6Figure 2.6
Welches HDR-Bild gefällt Euch am besten?
View results

Scenario 3: Telezoom photo 5x

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the OnePlus 7T Pro have a more or less true triple optical zoom. This gives them, at least on paper, a head start when it comes to image quality at fivefold magnification - because they are simply closer to the hardware requirements. But who knows: in the age of computational photography, Google & Co. algorithms may be able to catch up. We are looking forward to your votes on this one!

Comparative pictures: zoomed photo (5x)

Kamera-Vergleichstest Telezoom 5x 3.1Figure 3.1 Kamera-Vergleichstest Telezoom 5x 3.2Figure 3.2
Kamera-Vergleichstest Telezoom 5x 3.3Figure 3.3 Kamera-Vergleichstest Telezoom 5x 3.4Figure 3.4
Kamera-Vergleichstest Telezoom 5x 3.5Figure 3.5 Kamera-Vergleichstest Telezoom 5x 3.6Figure 3.6
Welches 5x-Telezoom-Foto ist am besten gelungen?
View results

Scenario 4: Night scene

Poor light and a tiny sensor: night shots are the biggest challenge of smartphone photography. Each of the phones compared here has a special night mode, which of course we activated. The differences are clear - but will there also be a clear winner? At least one smartphone drops significantly in quality in the low light.

Comparative pictures: night shot

Kamera-Vergleichstest Nacht-Modus 4.1Figure 4.1 Kamera-Vergleichstest Nacht-Modus 4.2Figure 4.2
Kamera-Vergleichstest Nacht-Modus 4.3Figure 4.3 Kamera-Vergleichstest Nacht-Modus 4.4Figure 4.4
Kamera-Vergleichstest Nacht-Modus 4.5Figure 4.5 Kamera-Vergleichstest Nacht-Modus 4.6Figure 4.6
Welche Nachtaufnahme überzeugt Euch am meisten?
View results

Scenario 5: Ultrawide Angle

In the beginning, these shots were an LG specialty, but now they are available from almost every manufacturer. Ultrawide-angle lenses are everywhere these days. However, it is not easy to design good and at the same time compact optics for such extreme image angles. Accordingly, there are also noticeable differences when it comes to quality. Only one smartphone in this blind test does not have an ultrawide-angle lens. We used the panorama mode instead, albeit with very modest success.

As the smartphones in this test sometimes offer a lot of different picture angles for ultrawide-angle shots, we didn't cut the photos in order not to give any smartphone an unfair advantage.

Comparative pictures: ultrawide-angle

Kamera-Vergleichstest Ultra-Weitwinkel 5.1Figure 5.1 Kamera-Vergleichstest Ultra-Weitwinkel 5.2Figure 5.2
Kamera-Vergleichstest Ultra-Weitwinkel 5.3Figure 5.3 Kamera-Vergleichstest Ultra-Weitwinkel 5.4Figure 5.4
Kamera-Vergleichstest Ultra-Weitwinkel 5.5Figure 5.5 Kamera-Vergleichstest Ultra-Weitwinkel 5.6Figure 5.6
Welches Panorama-Foto ist am besten gelungen?
View results

Who do you think will win the race in this blind test? We are looking forward to your comments - and of course to your votes!

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Go to comment (16)
Stefan Möllenhoff

Stefan Möllenhoff
Head of Content Production

I have been writing about technology since 2004 with a strong passion for smartphones, photography, and IoT, especially in the world of smart homes and AI ever since they debuted. I'm also an avid cook and bake pizza at least three times a week using my Ooni Koda 16. In order to compensate for all the consumed calories, I indulge in sporting activities on a daily basis while strapping on at least two fitness trackers. I am strongly convinced that you can DIY a lot of things if you put your mind to it - including a photovoltaic system and power station.

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  • 2
    Bakar Narimanidze Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Could you tell us which phone is 5.3? We must know the true "champion"

  • 5
    Bestusefulitps Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Almost 1 is better compare to others from my opinion.

  • 3
    KING DAVID Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    And why does Phil t make me nervous

  • 3
    KING DAVID Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Only 13% really..I must need glasses

  • 3
    KING DAVID Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Omg 13% really.. I

  • 3
    KING DAVID Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    I think this is

  • 2
    PhilT Nov 4, 2019 Link to comment

    A really laudable attempt by the folks who run this site to involve users in a test that is always and by necessity going to be more subjective than objective. The latter group -- including those who focus in on the definition of plants and plant-pots in one of the blind tests, and others who shudder at chromatic failings and artefacts in another (that test being the one referred to in these comments, where images 3, 4 and 5 in the night-time selection are said to be the best of the bunch when to others, at least 2 of those pictures are downright horrible -- are more likely than not to take into account stuff which non photo enthusiasts may not even recognise (image noise, for example). It's unlikely that the ultimate result will represent a consensus of opinion, but at least an effort has been made here to shift 'reviewing' out into the hands of the public instead of retaining it within the grasp of a favoured few. It'd be nice to see more of these so-called 'blind tests' in future, bearing in mind that I grow tired of the dismal quality of the average tech site and its reviews -- (though never this one!) Kudos to all concerned for coming up with this clever innovation!

    • David McCourt 16
      David McCourt Nov 4, 2019 Link to comment

      Thanks for your feedback Phil! We will definitely try to do more of this type of thing in the future.

  • 1
    Igor Nov 3, 2019 Link to comment

    interesting test

  • 1
    Stefano Lisi Nov 2, 2019 Link to comment

    Which device is number 5?

  • 1
    Kasallamacher Oct 31, 2019 Link to comment

    People constantly vote for the first even if it obviously isn't better. See the night time for example. 3,4 and 5 are definitely better

  • marco sarli 39
    marco sarli
    • Admin
    Oct 31, 2019 Link to comment

    I keep thinking that a real camera is better to take photos

    Dean L.Deactivated Account

    • Dean L. 34
      Dean L. Nov 1, 2019 Link to comment

      That's true and I agree because of sensor size and the optics in the larger lens, but the saying goes that the best camera is the one you have with you. Which for most is the camera on their smartphone. My two pfennig......

  • 11
    Chris Laarman Oct 30, 2019 Link to comment

    Yes, I understand what you mean, but "camera blind test" has something silly about it. ;-)

  • 1
    Phinelly Oct 30, 2019 Link to comment


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