Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel Camera Comparison

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel Camera Comparison

In recent years, Samsung has made great improvements in terms of camera performance with its flagship Galaxy S smartphones. Last year, the Galaxy S7 had the most impressive cameras found in a smartphone until the Google Pixel arrived. Google, which was known for putting potato cameras on its smartphones all these years, managed to completely change the game with the Pixel’s camera performance last year. 

Unlike other OEMs, Google used computational photography to deliver a camera performance with its f/2.0 aperture 12MP shooter than the likes of Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 with their far superior camera setup were unable to match. Six months later, Samsung has launched the Galaxy S8 and while its camera setup remains the same as the Google Pixel, the Korean company has taken a cue from Google’s book and used a similar HDR mode on its latest flagship handset to offer improved camera performance in low-light and better dynamic range.

So, how does the camera of the Galaxy S8 compare to that of the Google Pixel? Has Samsung managed to end the Pixel’s camera supremacy and set new benchmarks with its new flagship? Let’s find out.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel Camera Specs Comparison

Comparison Samsung Galaxy S8 Google Pixel
Resolution 12MP 12.3MP
OIS Yes No, EIS
Pixel size 1.4um 1.55μm
Focus Type Dual Pixel PDAF + LaserAF
Aperture Size f/1.7 f/2.0
Flash CRI LED Flash Dual-LED Flash

Comparison Photos

Let’s get one thing out straight away: With ample amount of light, you will struggle to find any noticeable difference in the photos taken from both phones. They both do a great job, though there might be a slight difference in their overall color tones.

The larger aperture of the Galaxy S8 allows it to capture close up photos with a better bokeh effect. However, its photo is a bit too warm unlike the Pixel.

Another sample where the Galaxy S8’s photo has a more pronounced bokeh effect. On the Pixel, I had to take the photo twice as the first time around, the phone failed to focus properly. This is a common issue on the Pixel especially in low light. The Galaxy S8’s Dual Focus AF tech is more superior and never struggles to focus on point irrespective of the lighting condition.

The above comparison camera samples clearly show the difference between the camera performance of two devices. It also clearly shows just how differently the 12MP shooter of both handsets handle a scene especially in terms of color temperature. The photo taken from the Pixel clearly has more details but it is slightly out of focus. The Galaxy S8 photo, in comparison, looks ‘cleaner’ but with all the details washed away.

Another low-light scene where the Pixel’s HDR mode flexes its muscle. The handset is clearly able to preserve more details and represents the scene more accurately, while the Galaxy S8’s photo is lacking some color and fine details due to excessive post processing.

In the above photo, the larger f/1.7 aperture of the Galaxy S8 allows it to capture the subject with a better bokeh effect. However, I will say that it’s the Pixel that has nailed the exposure as the photo from the S8 feels a tad underexposed.

Another low-light sample that clearly shows how Google Pixel’s HDR processing allows it to capture better photos than the Galaxy S8 despite the latter packing a superior camera setup. It looks like the color from the Galaxy S8’s photo has been simply sucked out. The Pixel, in comparison, does a much better job of representing the scene while capturing more details as well.

The Google Pixel is the Winner But…

The Google Pixel seems to be the clear winner, but there are other factors to consider here as well. The Pixel’s focus is just not as fast and accurate as that of the Galaxy S8. This is especially evident in low-light where the Pixel’s slow focus speed and accuracy can be especially frustrating. The Galaxy S8, on the other hand, has blazing fast autofocus that never struggles to focus on the subject irrespective of the lighting conditions.

Additionally, the camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S8 is much better than that of the Google Pixel. While Google’s Camera app on the Pixel is not bad per se, the Galaxy S8’s camera app is much more intuitive, feature-rich and easier to use. Plus, the Pixel’s magical HDR mode is only available in the stock camera app, so photos taken from third-party apps don’t turn out to be as impressive. As if that was not already enough, the Galaxy S8 packs features like subject tracking even while recording 4K videos which the Google Pixel lacks.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Camera Closeup

Conclusion

In the end, when you compare the camera performance of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Google Pixel purely based on the photos they take, the latter is the clear winner. And that’s no small feat considering the Pixel is six months old and its camera setup is much inferior to that of the Galaxy S8. However, when you factor the overall camera experience, I will say the Galaxy S8 edges the Pixel pretty clearly.

Ultimately, both phones have excellent rear shooters and you cannot go wrong with either of them. Which phone’s camera photos do you like more though? And which one would you spend your money on? Drop a comment and let us know!

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  • Toqeer Sethi

    which photo belongs to which phone? Also worth mentioning here is that you can frame a landscape shot easily in the s8 using the pro mode to produce results tailored to your liking. Google pixel does a great job but is limited to the phone ISP which migh not be what you always want to see. For moving objects or when needing to frame a shot quickly the pixel might have the edge as its going to expose really well but the slow focus could mean you have lost a shot where as the s8’s lightening fast focus allows you to frame and shoot and then edit later to tweak the results…..In summary. If you want to point and shoot and not care about post processing the pixel will be fine but if like me you want to tweak your photos later easily on your smartphone, then the s8 is the way to go. I imagine in the next iteration of the pixel phone you will see a wider aperture with faster focusing but we will have to wait. Until then, im sold on the s8.

    • Hover your mouse over the photos and you will see the device name from which it was taken.

    • For the Pro mode thing, you can achieve similar functionality on the Google Pixel using a third-party camera app like Manual. The biggest bummer for me with the Pixel is its slow focus times in low-light. It just fails to focus properly in such scenarios. Very frustrating.