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Galaxy S10+ camera test vs Nokia 9, iPhone XS, & Pixel 3 | Last Cam Standing XVII

Galaxy S10+ camera test vs Nokia 9, iPhone XS, & Pixel 3 | Last Cam Standing XVII


In the previous episode of Last Cam Standing
we saw the iPhone XS’ camera win its second straight victory over Huawei, Xiaomi, and
Sony. In this matchup, Samsung steps into the ring
with its S10+, Nokia pushes boundaries with the Nokia 9 Pureview, and Google’s Pixel
3 is back for a rematch. Let’s start this epic photo fight! Last Cam Standing is PCWorld’s video series
that determines the best phone camera for still images in a King-of-the-hill style battle. Whichever phone wins moves on to face the
next contender – so subscribe for future shootouts! First up, let’s meet the competitors. Apple’s iPhone XS has held the top spot
for 2 rounds now thanks to it’s computational photography chops. But now it’s up against some stiff competition,
so we’ll see if it can stay on top. The first challenger is Samsung and its S10+. It features a triple camera system, with the
main lens maintaining that ‘dual apeture’ gimmick. Samsung has never done well in Last Cam Standing
thanks to aggressive processing – so hopefully it’s toned back some. Next in line for the title is Nokia. The Nokia 9 Pureview and it’s 5 camera lenses
could be a game changer for smartphone photography. Nokia has partnered with Zeiss and Light to
push the boundaries of what’s possible, so let’s see if it works out well in our
testing. And last but not least is Google. The Pixel 3 lost to the iPhone XS a couple
rounds ago, but since then it’s gotten patched up and upgraded so it’s looking for a rematch! As always, I’ll be focusing mainly on the
standard camera of each phone, using them in auto mode as they were configured out of
the box. This allows for consistent testing and shows
just how each company puts its own flavor on camera processing. The tests will be broken into four categories:
Color, Clarity, Exposure, and Extra Features. Extra features is where I dive into suplimentary
tests for things like portrait mode, extra lenses, and low light modes. And we hired the fabulous Natalie to model
for us – be sure to check out the link to her Instagram page in the description. But enough with the build up, we’ve got
a lot of test results to get through! First up is color, and we’ll be looking
at things like color reproduction and white balance accuracy. Starting with this first shot of Natalie chilling
on the bricks, let’s note the differences in color temperature – illustrated mainly
by the concrete. The iPhone is the warmest, followed by the
Nokia. The Pixel is the coolest, and the S10 is somewhere
in between. The concrete in the S10’s photo is cool
but the siding of the house is the warmest of the bunch. I’m going to give the Nokia the edge here
as it offers a great balance. But switching to this next shot, Nokia really
ramps up the warm tones way too far for my tastes. The iPhone has the most saturated red shirt,
as well as a reddish hue on her skin, which is typical for Apple. And of course the Pixel is the coolest, but
is pretty great overall. I think the S10 did the best here thanks to
punchy, warm colors that don’t feel overexaggerated. I feel the same about this shot across the
bay – the S10’s photos just haven’t been as saturated as past Samsung phones and that’s
a good thing. But the Nokia falls flat on it’s face yet
again and makes a very odd choice in white balance – I’m not sure what to think. Against this wall of vines, the Nokia struggles
yet again, coating the entire photo in an orangish hue that isn’t flattering. The rest of the phones look fine, but I’d
give the slight edge again to the Pixel. Strangely enough, Nokia did the best in this
situation, thanks to the prevalance of brown tones in most of the scene. It’s not accurate but it is pleasing, giving
Natalie’s skin a nice warm glow that’s missing in the S10 and Pixel’s photos. Her skin tone is far too red in the iPhone’s
shot, a horrible quality Apple just can’t shake. So overall, Nokia has flashes of briliance
when it comes to color, but it’s inconsistent and unpredictable. The iPhone leans too warm too often, and I’ve
never liked the way it handles skin tones. The Pixel won this category last time and
continues to impress with deep colors and pleasing tones – even when it’s the coolest
of the bunch. But I was surpised by just how muted the S10
was compared to older Samsung phones, performing great in almost every situation. I’m going to have to call the color category
a tie between the Google Pixel 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S10+. The next category is clarity. Here we’ll be looking at things like the
sharpness of each camera, and how well they stay sharp in low lighting situations. Starting with some scenes that don’t include
any people, let’s zoom in on this building and focus on the bricks. Right off the bat we can see Samsung’s signature
noise reduction in play, taking away detail and smoothing textures. Nokia’s shot is clear enough but features
some jagged edges and doesn’t really impress. The Pixel has the most definition in the bricks,
but it’s highly sharpened which produces artifacts. The iPhone isn’t too far behind on this
one, pulling in a solid performance. At this closer distance we see a striking
amount of detail on the pole and in the wood grain in Nokia’s photo. I’m impressed by just how sharp this photo
turned out without looking oversharpened. The Pixel is the only phone that comes close
to that kind of clarity but it’s hampered by the sharpening style that produces this
swirling pattern. But that S10 photo is horrible. Not only does it remove noise, it also removes
any chance of showing fine detail. And the iPhone doesn’t do great here, but
at least it’s better than the S10. Moving on to my favorite building in San Francisco,
I do need to point out a problem in some of Nokia’s shots. Zooming in on the power lines we notice haloing
around these cables. But it’s not just in this photo, it’s
present in others as well. This haloing happens around edges with high
contrast because of how sharpening works. It essentially increases the contrast of edges,
causing the edge pixels to overlighten when pushed too far. Like I said, it only appears in photos that
feature hard contrasting edges so it’s not a huge problem, but it does reveal what Nokia
is doing in its software. Checking out some photos in this dark garage,
we notice that the S10 is almost the brightest of the bunch, but zooming in reveals a pretty
soft image. There is some detail in the S10’s photo
at least, more so than Nokia, which turns in a blurry mess. Nokia’s five cameras are supposed to bring
in more light, but it doesn’t seem like the system knows how to keep the photo sharp. And the Pixel’s photo exhibits some serious
chroma noise in the darkest parts of the image, which is a real bummer. The iPhone does the best here – especailly
in the corner. Before I zoom on this dark photo I’ll point
out that when I was standing there shooting, I couldn’t even tell if Nokia even captured
anything, as the screen was completely black. I thought I messed something up but this is
really how poorly it performed – its horendous and an absolute waste of a jpeg. Zooming in reveals pretty crappy performance
across the board, each breaking down in their own ways. The Pixel’s noise is out of control and
the S10 is super soft and lacks definition. The iPhone holds up the best but it’s still
not anything to write home about. And if you are wondering how night mode shots
perform here, stick around for the extra features category. Now let’s move onto some examples with Natalie. For this wider shot let’s focus on the bricks
as well as her face. The results are fairly similar to what we’ve
seen so far, espeically on the S10, where it’s smoothing over details like strands
of hair. Luckily the Nokia does just fine here and
remains a viable option in some cases. But moving to a closer shot I’m a bit concerned
by some of these results. The Pixel’s oversharpening isn’t very
flattering to skin. The Nokia’s photo has the most background
blur, almost indicating it’s applying blur even though it wasn’t in portrait mode. But it’s the S10’s shot that’s the most
extreme, smoothing over her skin to the point of her looking like a doll. Its noise reduction has been heavy this whole
time but the amount of smoothing on her face seems to go past basic noise reduction. Moving in even closer, the effect on the S10
is obvious. The details in Natalie’s iris and eyelashes
are clearly sharpened yet the skin on her cheek and forhead are smoothed over and exhibit
barely any detail. This is just far too extreme in auto mode
— seriously, this type of beautification should only be applied in a dedicated beauty
mode. But what about that Nokia shot? It appears to be trying to replicate a DSLR
with shallow depth of field by having most of her face in focus while bluring everything
else. Once again, this isn’t in Portrait mode,
this is from auto mode and it’s going too far for me. Of course the Pixel doesn’t flatter Natalie’s
skin, and it’s the iPhone that looks the best in all the shots with her in it. So this category has been defined by extremes. The S10 applies heavy amounts of noise reduction
and appears to smooth skin. Nokia is hit or miss, and tries to add depth
to photos of people whether you want that or not. The Pixel can be the sharpest of the bunch,
but uses sharpening to get there, which doesn’t flatter skin. So it’s the iPhone that’s consistent and
performs well in almost every scenario. Apple’s iPhone XS takes the clarity category. The third category is exposure. Here we’ll be looking at dynamic range and
how each camera chooses to expose for a scene. Checking out this construction site we notice
right away that the Nokia 9 is the flattest of the bunch. It has the most info in the shadows toward
the bottom of the frame, but it doesn’t protect the highlights as well as the iPhone
does on this sign here. Overall the Nokia 9 is a bit underexposed,
whereas the S10 is the brightest, but completely blows out the sign. This street scene illustrates the differences
even more, with the Pixel having the most contrast and Nokia being a bit underexposed
and flat. The iPhone and S10 are pretty similar, though
Apple keeps those shadows pretty dark. The S10’s shot looks washed out, but in
a good way for this scenario. For example, both the S10 and Nokia images
allow me to pump up as much contrast as I want when I go to post the photos on Instagram But this is where the processing of each camera
becomes obvisouly clear in a high-contrast, back-lit scenario. The highlights are blown out in the S10 and
Nokia photos, while the Pixel and iPhone keep the exposure right where it needs to be in
order to retain information. But the Pixel’s HDR is too aggressive and
looks too processed, a trait in Google phones that I’ve never loved. The iPhone does the best here, and gives me
editing flexibility and a well-balanced photo. This next example is similar, but each phone
fails to retain those highlights. That’s fine though, because I knew it would
be a really hard scenario that forces the cameras to make a choice. Samsung seems to choose to keep Natalie properly
exposed in all of these shots, regardless of what happens to the rest of the image. Nokia tries its hardest to keep the most dynamic
range, which pleases the photographer in me, but results in editing becoming a necessity,
not a choice. But that iPhone photo has the best balance
of contrast and dynamic range in mind. I do really appreciate what Nokia is doing
here by protecting hightlights and offering a flat image. Out of all of these photos, Nokia’s version
is the closest to how I would capture this scene with a DSLR. The rest have a phone capture quality to them,
while the Nokia feels unique and professional. But for the average user, it might be too
dark. This last example is interesting, as Natalie’s
all-black outfit confuses Nokia into blowing out the sky in order to retain the shadows. I still prefer that to what happens in the
Pixel’s photo, turning her into a black slab of nothingness. So if this category was defined as ‘most
dynamic range’ the Nokia would win hands down, but it’s more than that. There needs to be a balance between a flat
and editable photo, and one that can be posted with minimal editing required. On top of that, the Nokia just tends to underexpose
too often, which makes correction a necessity. On top of that, the five-sensor system doesn’t
deliver on the promise of bringing in more light, which is most likely a faliure of software
tuning. So all in all, it’s the iPhone that does
the best in most scenarios, providing enough information for editing, but a pleasing photo
even without it. The S10 isn’t too far behind, but its tendancy
to push exposure too high results in some problems. And the Pixel’s results are still to highly
processed for my taste. So Apple’s iPhone XS wins the exposure category
as well. The fourth and final category looks at extra
features, and here we’ll go over some of the trademark features that set each phone
apart. I’m going to tackle this category a bit
different this time, and annouce the winner up front and explain why. So when I laid out all four phones in front
of me and honestly asked myself which one I preffered to use and has the most features,
it was the S10. When talking about lenses, sure the Nokia
9 has five of them, but only one effective field of view. Meanwhile, the S10 has three cameras dedicated
to three different fields of view – the only one in this fight to do so. And by this point, fans of Last Cam Standing
will know that I’m a huge fan of wide angle lenses, and the one featured on the S10 is
great. The 123 degree field of view is wide enough
to capture very large scenes with minimal distortion. And it’s f/2.2 lens is wide enough to let
in plenty of light. Speaking of light, Samsung’s Night Mode
just wasn’t as useful as the one found on the Pixel and never produced a widely better
image over the standard shot. But luckily the S10 is no slouch in the low
light department even without Night Mode, so it’s not a huge knock. Maybe Samsung can do more in future software
tuning. But even though Night Mode wasn’t that impressive,
I was impressed by Live Focus – Samsung’s version of portait mode. Out of all four phones, the S10 delivered
the best edge detection, even better than what Nokia offers with its unique five camera
setup. And Samsung’s extra options like Spin and
Color Point are way more fun than Apple’s Portrait lighting. I also appreciate depth modes are available
for the main wider lens, and not just limited to the telephoto lens. It offers more creative possiblities and ensures
the best quality possible. All in all, Samsung’s camera app is easily
the most robust and feature-rich. You can choose to hide unused camera modes,
save RAW files when shooting in Pro mode, and export directly to Instagram if you wanted
to. Add in the speed and reliablilty of the app
itself, and it’s hard find much fault. I will say that the Scene Optimizer is nowhere
near as powerful and useful as something like Huawei’s Master AI and I will never use
Bixby Vision, so it’s just taking up space on the screen. But those downsides are very minor gripes
and don’t have an impact on how I used the app daily. Not that the other phones don’t have great
things going on for them, I just can’t say any of them are as reliable or feature rich
as what’s going on in the S10. So yeah, Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ wins the
extra features category. And with that, it’s time to crown a winner
of this epic match up! First, I do want to give a special award to
the Nokia 9 Pureview. While I can’t recommend anyone buying into
this camera system, it does have flashes of brilliance and shows a promising future for
multi-lens systems – especially for camera lovers. But if we are talking about the best of the
best available today, look no further than Apple’s iPhone XS! This marks Apple’s first back to back win,
and the longest streak they’ve held in Last Cam Standing. The XS marks a very important turning point
for Apple and its thanks mainly to computational photography. The photos that come out of this camera are
consistently sharp, feature plenty of dynamic range to play with, and look great even with
minimal editing. Apple is at the top of it’s photography
game right now, and is worthy of the crown. But there will always be new and exciting
Android phones to come out like Huawei’s P30 Pro. Subscribe and tune in next time for more camera
testing on Last Cam Standing.

100 thoughts on “Galaxy S10+ camera test vs Nokia 9, iPhone XS, & Pixel 3 | Last Cam Standing XVII”

  1. My question is, was the depth sensor on when it comes to the Nokia 9? That feature makes all the difference!

  2. Never use the Nokia with Auto mode. Nothing to do with professional photography but I'll just say that stock Android allows HMD to save in the software side.

  3. I say the s10 wins because the features it packs are very nice and you can literally install gcam (Google's camera) onto the phone itself and it works quite effectively

  4. its PCWorld stick to PC's who picked this biased a hole for this? Now I get it why iPhone XS keeps on winning
    Everyone in World : Pixels are best Camera phone
    This Mofo : No iPhone XS wins the round

    Suggests to buy XS lol when buyer can grab Nokia or Pixel with entry level DSLR instead of one product!!!!

    What the hell happened to Night Photography ??? I feel like I watch apple ad

    petition for more dislikes!!!

  5. Am I the only one who thinks this is bulshit and that pixel had more details and overall better pics than Iphone…

  6. All i hate in Samsung's processing is the green's idk why but they never did a good job of showing the green color…. may be its the sensor which must be changed

  7. Nokia : pure flat color
    Pixel : very auto, capture and ready to upload
    Iphone : natural color
    Samsung : bright and beauty

  8. Its pronounced as Nokia (noʊkiΙ™) with emphasis on O and not on the i. Its like you say knockia but not like nokea. Even in US English should not be read and pronounced as the way you pronounce it. Please don't slaughter the name.

  9. I'm doing graphic design n photo editing for about 10 years now and by looking at those 4 pictures comparison, I can easily say nokia 9 shows the best quality picture for photo editing bcoz of its natural color vibrance and balanced exposure. Xs and s10 although both looks 'nice', those pics are already digitally exposed missed many original details. Pixel is somewhere in between nokia and those two

  10. Nokia 9 is professional photography phone without using editing tool you cannot compare with others. Nokia 9 is unique.

    Watch this how to use editing tool.
    https://youtu.be/8n0-4NsV6u4

  11. Bosdike in all categories u will tell iphone.. after seeing all ur pics colour, exposure, clarity, s10 plus only wins..

  12. The problem for nokia pureview is that most phone photograph users are not professionals and most professional photographers dont want to use a phone for photography. As such, nokia really needs to work on the auto mode software to make this phone work.

  13. keep going dude, you make the best comparisons. haters gonna hate and I think alot of people do not really understand photography.

  14. I think the fact that he was using all the phones in AUTO mode meant that he was doing a comparison for the general masses and honestly, why would you pay almost a thousand dollars for that Nokia if you can just buy a dslr and a lens with lesser money? some people just boggle my mind. Pixel 3 consistently had overly processed images with too much contrast and people still prefer that over the fantastic iPhone XS. the only place where the iPhone really falls apart is in low light photography. Low light video however is better in the iPhone and if this video included the video quality I have no doubts that the iPhone would take the crown. I think the Pixel 3 has a serious competitor and need to do something about their overly aggressive processing as iPhone releases their next phone with 3 cameras with better low light performance and allegedly even a Night mode.

  15. I dont know why this isheep cant see Nokia 9 is performing the best with all natural and real life colors ,With the lightroom non of the readymade pictures of these devices can compete with Nokia 9

  16. The 9 does smash everything to dust…

    When editing the 9 just has way more to work with way more data and when editing it doesn't lose detail

  17. it's an unfair battle for pixel 3 since it has a single lens, however pixel 3 wins if its contender was a single lens too

  18. Halo like at 5:36 usually comes with aggressive HDR too, but if you take a closer look, you can see that Samsung has similar problem with its photo.

  19. I don't think you're very knowledgeable about cameras, are you? If some photos have shallow depth of field, does it necessarily mean it has been produced with software? No, it does not. And at 3:07 you blame the white balance of Nokia?? Sure, the photo might be overexposed a tiny bit, losing color on the sky and water, but that has nothing to do with white balance. The colors of the photo, like gold and red on the fence, and her skin, look natural.

  20. the iphone was the worst in every section .. but PCWorld says its was the best ! … PCWorld = dedicated Sheeple .

  21. I think iphn is the most hated phone πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ lot of hate for it everywhere in the comments.
    For my eyes every photos were good 😍😍 except for few underexposed pics from nokia…

  22. nokia 9 takes more detail pictures then the other smart phones that is why i think that the nokia 9 is best for the camera phone in the world

  23. I have background in professional photography and all I can say nokia 9 have high dynamic range, and the iphone xs, s10, pixel looks like over contrast and over sharpening and color looks like false color

  24. U really don't know anything about camera man
    Nokia 9 camera is for Professional
    More accurate colour natural
    Pixel Samsung iPhone just a camera not professional camera

  25. Bruh all this guy says is always the exact opposite of what I think. I have the s10+, and I can whole heartedly say, that when it comes to pictures of people the iPhone tops it purely for the preservation of skin tones. The pixel being a close second and Nokia clearly being intended to be editable. The s10 always overexposes, the pixel tends to crush blaacks, the iPhone doesn't try too be the best and by default ends up being the best from the overedited flops of other companies. Point ant shoot iPhone and pixel are a tie. Pure capabilities it's the Nokia. S10 while amazing for objects and landscapes, it flops hard when people or animals are introduced

  26. 》 Pixel should've won the clarity round. It's not the most flattering round, nor does the tomato skin tones look flattering.
    》 Galaxy S10 should've won the exposure category.
    It's keeping all the detail in shadows and bark of the trees, while Iphone Xs max isn't.
    Look at the histogram of Iphone itself.

    Pixel takes better night shots. Samsung is better from portraits to photos to dynamic range and equal in videography to iphone.

    Plus Samsung is more verstaile and feature packed with wide angle lens, super steady mode, 4k front video rec, night mode, super slow mo.

    Wtf is this comparision seriously ?? !!!!

  27. I feel like this motherfuckers is a iphones biased bitch. He has no fucking clue about photography. Nokia 9 pure view is not for auto but for pro. Samsung only works well if you know how to expose it. Google pixel 3 and s10+ Are tops not iphones u idoit.

  28. How about shooting images in RAW (which is what the Nokia 9 was created for) and then editing / processing the images in Photoshop / LightRoom ??

  29. can u do blind test?
    give us survey which photos does everyone like, after that u can tell which phone whos taking by.
    auto mode is auto judge.

  30. I was just wondering if you turn off the "beauty" function on galaxy S10 plus or if you were just complaining about it now knowing this feature could be turned off…

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