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Camera Blind Test 2023: iPhone 14 Pro, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Xiaomi 13 Ultra, and More

NextPit Camera Blind Test 2
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Which smartphone has the best camera in 2023? We took the six most exciting camera phones that are available in the market currently from the stables of Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Google, Honor, and Vivo on a photo tour and let you vote in our major camera blind test to find out who shoots the best photos. The highlight? You do not know which smartphone took which particular photo. Participate now and surprise us!

How does the NextPit camera blind test work?

First, we photographed each subject three times with each smartphone to avoid any inconsistencies. We then selected the best photo in each case.

To prevent these smartphones from giving themselves away, we removed the EXIF data from the shots and adjusted the slightly different picture angles of the smartphone cameras by cropping them. Unless otherwise noted, we took pictures using the factory settings for the camera.

These smartphones participate in the NextPit camera blind test:

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • Xiaomi 13 Ultra
  • Vivo X90 Pro+
  • Honor Magic 5 Pro

One more thing to take note of before we get started: The picture with the same letter is not always from the same smartphone. Thus, there is (probably) a different smartphone behind Photo 1A and Photo 2A. You will discover the results of the camera blind test next Wednesday.

If you don't want to miss out on it, subscribe to the NextPit newsletter, where we will reveal the results next Wednesday morning.

Scene 1: Daylight, Portrait

We'll begin with an easy task: portrait photos in daylight. Even here, different photographic philosophies are already evident among the competitors. Do you want to smooth out the skin, make the background extremely soft, or do you prefer a more realistic and discreet look? Preferences certainly vary here, and we are obviously curious about your choice!

Scene 1: Which smartphone took the best photo?
View results

Scene 2: Daylight, ultra-wide angle

Continuing down the Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, where the Wall once divided the East and the West, is our next subject. Here, too, some smartphones deliver gaudy colors and extreme HDR contrasts, while other smartphone cameras focused more on a subtle image effect and don't completely neutralize the high brightness differences. Which is your favorite?

Scene 2: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 3: Daylight, main camera

A view of the Berlin TV tower in April weather: it feels like it is going to rain any second, and the clouds create a dramatic atmosphere. If you were to enlarge the photos, you will find many fine details, such as tree leaves or the TV tower in the background. Which smartphone captured the scene best here?

Scene 3: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 4: Daylight, 3x zoom

Once again, all smartphones interpret high contrast dramatically differently in this example. While some smartphones concentrate on both the sky and the soldier to achieve the same degree of brightness, other devices preserve the natural brightness difference. If you were to look closely, you can also see some color fringing here and there, as well as lens artifacts created by high brightness differences.

Scene 4: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 5: Daylight, 5x zoom

Now it's getting colorful - and sometimes too colorful. In this view with 5x zoom out of the office window, all smartphones captured a few tulips. Where do the grass and flowers look their best? Which cameras capture the fine details best here? Share your opinion in the poll!

Scene 5: Which smartphone took the best photo?
View results

Scene 6: Daylight, 10x zoom

Exactly one smartphone in this blind test has a native 10x zoom - and should actually perform best by far here in theory. But is there really a drastic difference visible or can the competitors keep up with their digital zooms? We are curious to find out, as so you should be.

Scene 6: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 7: Mixed light, portrait

From now on, the lighting conditions become more difficult. With mixed light, the main challenge is to balance the light of different color temperatures and not bring a nasty color cast to the photos. In addition, skin tones are always a challenge in themselves anyway. So which smartphone was best at putting NextPit founder Fabi in the right light?

Scene 7: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 8: Mixed light, main camera

In our next scene, the main cameras of the different smartphones have to face the mixed light issue once again. This time, however, the individual light sources and their influences can be seen even more clearly. While the room is basically illuminated by daylight coming in through the windows, some lamps provide warm accents. Which smartphone copes best in this situation?

Scene 8: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 9: Mixed light, ultra-wide angle

Where one or two main cameras already break a sweat, the challenge for the typically weaker ultra-wide angle cameras is even greater. Just how big the difference in light temperature between indoors and outdoors is here is shown by the strong blue-like light through the windows. The weaker light conditions are already causing noticeable noise in isolated instances.

Scene 9 Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 10: Mixed light, 5x zoom

Our office dog Luke represents the intermediate endurance test: On the one hand, the smartphones have to cope with high contrasts between the bed and the black fur here. On the other hand, digital zoom is already fiercely at work in most cases at 5x zoom, which sacrifices some detail and results in noise. Which smartphone performed best here?

Scene 10: Which smartphone took the best photo?
View results

Scene 11: Night, portrait

Do you know that feeling when you want to take a picture of someone in the dark, and in the end there is only pixel mush? We do too, and even among flagships, this is a challenge. The differences in this scene were surprisingly major , and we are very curious which smartphone will win the race in this blind test!

Scene 11: Which smartphone took the best photo?
View results

Scene 12: Night, ultra-wide angle

Once again back to the former intra-German border, only this time it will be at night. After all, you already know how this house wall looks like during the day, so hopefully you can judge the night shots a bit better. Which smartphone takes the best photo? Vote now!

Scene 12: Which smartphone took the best photo?
View results

Scene 13: Night, main camera

The same scene again, but now using the main camera. In general, the results should be much better here, since the main cameras can use larger sensors and more light-sensitive lenses in all situations.

Scene 13: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 14: Night, 5x zoom

This scene should also be familiar to you; even if the Berlin TV tower quickly disappeared as pixel mush at night and 5x zoom. Which smartphone camera offers the best result here?

Scene 14: Which smartphone took the best photo?
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Scene 15: Absolute darkness

In this very last scene, there was really absolute darkness. There was hardly anything visible to the naked eye, and basically, there was not even a hint of it on the viewfinder in the camera app on any of the smartphones.

We gave each subject a chance three times with the standard camera mode and three times with the dedicated night mode at maximum setting, before picking the best photo. In almost all cases, the results were identical, as the smartphones activated night mode automatically anyway.

Scene 15: Which smartphone took the best photo?
View results

That's it for our camera blind test for the first half of 2023. What do you think? Which smartphone will win the race? What kind of photos do you like - do you prefer natural looking ones or blatantly colorful results? Do you prefer high-contrast or strong HDR? I look forward to your comments, and of course to the result of the votes!

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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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