Camera Review Claims that the iPhone 12 Pro Max Generally wins over the Galaxy S21 Ultra for Photo Quality with one Major Exception
Andrew Hoyle is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. Last Friday he did a comparison review video on the cameras found on Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max. Who was the ultimate winner? Well, that's a little complicated because the Galaxy S21 Ultra has one major advantage.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max impressed Hoyle the most by being able to take incredible images that could rival what you might see from a DSLR. But Samsung's new Galaxy S21 Ultra packs an incredible camera array, boasting zoom skills that comfortably outstrip what Apple is offering.
Hoyle presents a number of shots taken with both cameras and assessed that the iPhone tends to produce more natural colors and less digital sharpening. But where the Galaxy S21 won hands down was in being able to deliver 10X optical zoom power which is a minimum 4X Apple's telephoto at 2.5X.
Samsung is able to deliver superior zoom using a periscope lens that Apple is rumored to be working on for the 2022 iPhone. Better yet, Patently Apple posted a patent report on this new lens last Thursday demonstrating Apple's work on their own custom periscope solution in-the-works.
In the big picture, Apple's iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a great camera package that extends through to shooting high-end film-quality videos as seen in several 'Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max' videos (01, 02, 03 and 04). For most, Apple's new camera package is a big winner, especially shooting in dark mode.
If you were hoping for a higher-end telephoto lens with at least 10X optical zoom for this year's iPhone, it's apparently not in the cards.