Camera test

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra camera test gets intense

The iPhone 14 Pro has been one of Apple’s most beloved camera upgrades in years. It brings an all-new 48-megapixel camera, an improved image processing method, and more. But how does it compare to the similarly priced Galaxy S22 Ultra? The new iPhone doesn’t have a fancy 100x zoom like Samsung’s flagship, but how does it stand up to the competition? Let’s find out.

iPhone 14 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Camera specs

Prakhar Khanna/Digital Trends

The iPhone 14 Pro is finally upgraded from a 12MP camera. The latest iPhone Pro lineup features a 48MP main camera with a 24mm wide lens and f/1.8 aperture. It comes with dual-pixel PDAF and sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS).

The main camera is accompanied by a 12MP telephoto lens that supports 3x optical zoom and 15x digital zoom. You also get a 120-degree ultra-wide-angle camera with dual-pixel PDAF. And finally, there’s a 3D LiDAR sensor for depth calibration. The camera system is capable of recording video up to 4K at 60 frames per second (fps).

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sports a quad-camera setup. It tops the iPhone 14 Pro with a 108MP primary camera that has laser autofocus and OIS. A secondary 10MP periscope telephoto lens offers 10x optical zoom with OIS and is accompanied by a 10MP regular telephoto lens for 3x optical zoom. Lastly, you also get a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera with a 120-degree field of view. As for videos, you have the option to shoot in 4K at up to 60 fps, like the latest iPhone.

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra: main camera

Let’s start with portrait mode. Both smartphones were able to achieve edge detection in artificial light. If you zoom in, you’ll notice the S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro smoothing out the strands of hair on the top of my head. It’s a tricky shot with indoor lighting in the evening. Look at the locks of hair on my arms; the iPhone 14 Pro does not blur them incorrectly like the Galaxy S22 Ultra does.

Neither phone has the right skin tone. If I had to choose, I would go for the iPhone 14 Pro because it’s closer to what my skin actually looks like. I’m not that pale, but overall it’s closer. As for Samsung, it gives my skin a rosy tone. And with the high contrast, it looks artificial. Apple’s software blur is also a bit better, especially in warm lighting conditions.

When it comes to portrait mode on objects, both smartphones take seconds to get the right product. If sat parallel to the camera, both phones are able to detect edges, but Samsung does a better job clicking photos of objects in portrait mode, as I mentioned in my dedicated comparison in portrait mode.

Both smartphones click awesome pictures of food. You won’t be disappointed with either. With the pasta in the photo above, it’s hard to choose one (and the pasta was as good as it looks, by the way). The Galaxy S22 Ultra is closer to the real thing, but you might want to go with the slightly warmer iPhone photo for social media.

The images above are prime examples of how the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra take different stances on what an image should look like. While the sky captured on the iPhone appears paler, it’s closer to reality. On the other hand, Samsung is going for a more saturated sky – and that’s the one I would choose for my social media.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra exposes trees better and you can see brighter leaves in its image. There is shadow detail in the image captured on the iPhone 14 Pro, but it doesn’t expose the subject as much as it should have. These photos are examples of point-and-shoot photography – the way most people capture images. If you press to focus, the iPhone’s dynamic range is pretty inefficient.

Finally, in the image above, Samsung has overexposed the backgrounds a bit. As a result, the blue decorative pieces lack detail. On the other hand, you can see a more detailed shot on the iPhone 14 Pro.

All in all, it’s hard to pick a winner. The iPhone could take better portraits of humans, but lacks the ability to do it right on food and objects. The iPhone 14 Pro captures more realistic skin tones, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra gives my skin a dewy hue. The iPhone opts for a warmer color palette, while Samsung opts for a more saturated look with more contrast. It’s all about preference and the image you would choose for your Instagram post. However, sometimes the iPhone manages to click more details.

Winner: Tie

iPhone 14 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: ultra-wide camera

The same story continues with the ultra-wide camera. The iPhone 14 Pro clicks on more real skies, but at the cost of underexposing the subject, which in this case is the flowers. The Galaxy S22 Ultra exposes the flowers better and therefore the colors pop. While the S22 Ultra’s photo may look better, the sky colors are more accurate on the iPhone 14 Pro.

I would choose the Samsung image if I didn’t know what the building looked like when the images were clicked. Samsung gives it a rosy tint, but the iPhone 14 Pro keeps the true colors. Samsung is again opting for a more saturated image – that’s how the company’s camera processing works. But again, the iPhone 14 Pro took a sharper image. The S22 Ultra’s image is an easy choice for social media, even if it’s not the most realistic.

If I had to pick a winner, I’d pick the iPhone 14 Pro because of its more realistic colors and true-to-life photos.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 14 Pro versus Galaxy S22 Ultra: telephoto

The images above summarize how the 3x optical zoom colors work on both smartphones. Red is generally harder to capture than green. And the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s telephoto lens struggles to capture the red on the Levis logo, while the iPhone 14 Pro does it well. The iPhone image is closer to reality and red appears.

Again, if I didn’t know what the sky looked like that day, I would have chosen the image clicked by the Galaxy S22 Ultra. But the iPhone 14 Pro gets the right color from the sky. The dynamic range of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is better and there’s more detail in the building.

That said, there is no competition in 10x zoom and 100x zoom. Samsung easily wins. If I had to choose one, I would go for the Galaxy S22 Ultra for the different perspectives I can take with the smartphone. I took some pretty good 10x images with the S22 Ulttra, and it’s my go-to phone for taking magnified photos.

Winner: Galaxy S22 Ultra

iPhone 14 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: who has the better cameras?

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra camera.
Prakhar Khanna/Digital Trends

The iPhone 14 Pro clicks warmer, more realistic shots, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra opts for a more saturated look full of contrast. It all depends on what you prefer. In some cases, the iPhone 14 Pro is better, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra knocks it out of the park with its 10x optical zoom periscope lens.

If you want flexibility and more perspective with still photos, the Galaxy S22 Ultra should be your choice. However, if you prefer more realistic photos and want to shoot videos, the iPhone 14 Pro should be your smartphone of choice. There’s nothing quite like the video capabilities of the iPhone 14 Pro, and features like Action Mode and Improved Cinematic Mode only go a step further than the competition.

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