And here we have another result of our latest camera clash, this time pitting the Galaxy S22 Ultra against the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Xiaomi 12 Pro. Will the new Korean cell phone outperform its biggest rivals? To make the contest more interesting, we put the Galaxy Z Fold 3 in the fray to see if there was a big leap in camera from a top-of-the-line Samsung 2021 to a 2022 model.
It is good to remember that our comparison was attended by the public and also by the TudoCelular team. The votes were blind, that is, no one knew which smartphone had captured each photo to ensure maximum impartiality.
|Galaxy S22 Ultra||Xiaomi 12 Pro||iPhone 13 Pro Max||Galaxy Z Fold 3|
|Resolution||108 MP + 10 MP + 10 MP + 12 MP||50MP + 50MP + 50MP||12 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP||12 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP|
|Opening||f/1.8 + f/4.9 + f/2.4 / f/2.2||f/1.9 + f/1.9 + f/2.2||f/1.5 + f/2.8 + f/1.8||f/1.8 + f/2.4 + f/2.2|
|pixel size||0.8 µm + 1.12 µm + 1.12 µm + 1.4 µm||1.22 µm||1.9 µm||1.8 µm + 1 µm + 1.12 µm|
|Frontal camera||40 MP, f/2.2||32 MP, f/2.5||12 MP, f/2.2||4 MP, f/1.8 (UD) + 10 MP, f/2.2|
The photos were captured with smartphones using automatic mode, except for the scene in HDR (where HDR was manually activated if it was not in automatic mode) and night mode. All at maximum resolution allowed in the 4:3 aspect ratio, which is usually where we reach the sensor’s full potential. Voting can be checked by clicking here.
Now find out the order of smartphones used in the test:
The results listed below are the result of the following methodology with the creation of the individual and final ranking. Each smartphone received a score in each individual comparison, where the sum of all points revealed the winner. The following weights were used:
- First place: 4 points
- Second place: 3 points
- Third place: 2 points
- Fourth place: 1 point
Explained the scoring method, let’s move on to the results!
Photo 1 – Daytime selfie
We started our fight with something that many love: selfie. Apple has always stood out with the front camera of its devices and still continues to give work to the competition. The 13 Pro Max narrowly beats the Galaxy S22 Ultra and captures the image with the best balance of light, shadow, contrast and skin sharpness. In addition to having the background blur with less glitches. The camera under the screen of the Fold ends up hurting its performance in selfies and comes in last.
Photo 2 – Distant details
For those who enjoy photographing landscapes and seek to record all the smallest details, it is good to have a cell phone with a high resolution sensor and this is where the 108 MP of the S22 Ultra makes a difference and we have a more detailed photo than the others. In second place comes the Xiaomi 12 Pro with its 50 MP, leaving the Fold in third and the iPhone in last.
Photo 3 – Short zoom
And when it’s a little far away and you need to zoom in on your phone? Many devices have optical zoom, but not all have the same range. This is where the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a huge advantage over its rivals in capturing the sharpest photo. The iPhone comes in second for sharper photo capture than the Fold, while the Xiaomi was the weakest.
Photo 4 – Long Zoom
If you enjoy shooting from afar it is important to have a long-range zoom and this is where the Galaxy S22 Ultra really shines with its powerful 10x optical zoom. It captures the sharpest photo with the best colors. This time it’s the Galaxy Z Fold 3 that wins our silver medal, despite not being able to get as close as the others. Xiaomi and Apple phones even have good range, but the drop in quality is huge.
Photo 5 – Ultra-wide
Ultra-wide camera is something common in any current top-of-the-line cell phone, but not everyone hits on a good sensor capable of recording beautiful photos with a wide angle of view. We tested all four models in the worst possible situation, which would be a person against the light, and were surprised to see that Samsung comes out on top with the S22 Ultra and Fold 2 struggling less to get the right balance of light, color and shadow. The iPhone was the one that lost the most detail with the darkest photo.
Photo 6 – HDR
But it’s not always Samsung that gets the better of shooting against the light. If you use the main camera with HDR enabled, here is the iPhone that has little advantage against the Korean duo in capturing the most balanced image. The S22 Ultra takes the silver medal, while the Xiaomi takes last with the clearest image, but with the worst contrast and colors.
Photo 7 – Telephoto
We don’t always use the telephoto camera only when we want to photograph something that is far away. Sometimes we just zoom in slightly for better framing and here’s where the iPhone beats the S22 Ultra that got the better of it in previous shots. Xiaomi’s sinned in the colors, but it didn’t miss the contrast like the Fold, which is last.
Photo 8 – Wide Macro
And which one gets the best when shooting up close? Apple has greatly improved the ultra-wide camera to be used for macros and it was precisely the 13 Pro Max that came out on top in our comparison. Interestingly, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 stood out more than the S22 Ultra, showing that the most current is not always the best. The Xiaomi 12 Pro also got the worst in this comparison.
Photo 9 – Macro details
We did another macro comparison to prove it, but this time with something smaller to shoot and, once again, the iPhone got the better of it. He managed to get quite close without losing focus and presented the most natural colors. The S22 Ultra tended towards cooler colors but captured more detail than the Fold 3, while Xiaomi’s once again came in last.
Photo 10 – Contrast
A cell phone doesn’t always get the contrast right and when there is excess we have very dark shadows that lose detail. This is where the Fold excels, despite overdoing the saturation a bit. Either way, it preserved the most photo detail, while the iPhone was second best at this point. The Xiaomi 12 Pro was the one that weighed the most on the contrast and ended up darkening the photo.
Photo 11 – Dusk
When the light falls is where we see the real limitations of each cell phone. The iPhone was the one that suffered the most when shooting in the late afternoon, with a dark photo and with few preserved details. Xiaomi’s captured a much clearer image, but with distorted colors. With that, we are left with the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Z Fold 3 tied for the best photo at dusk.
Photo 12 – Night
Samsung and Apple have been fighting to see who offers the best night mode with their phones, but in our comparison it was the Xiaomi 12 Pro that came out on top. Not only was it able to brighten the image, but it avoided noise without compromising colors. The Galaxy S22 Ultra was second best and shows a nice jump compared to the Fold 3 which came in last.
Photo 13 – Night Zoom
And at night zoom, is the S22 Ultra king too? Yes, in our comparison we saw that it captures the sharpest image of the four, in addition to having the best colors. The iPhone is second in sharpness, but lacks clarity. Here is where the Fold ends up falling behind and losing to the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
Photo 14 – Portrait mode
When using portrait mode at night we almost had a tie between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The Korean model recorded the best photo overall, but it didn’t have as sharp a blur as the Apple model and here the choice is up to each one. The Fold is the worst in this scenario and has barely managed to blur what is close to the model.
Photo 15 – Night selfie
And finally, we have night selfie with portrait effect. If the iPhone was the best when using the front camera during the day, in dark places is where the S22 Ultra takes a small advantage with a sharper selfie. The Apple model comes soon after with a selfie with great colors and a neat portrait effect. Xiaomi takes the third position, leaving the Fold in last.
After analyzing 15 different situations, it is clear that the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the phone with the most balanced set of cameras. He won in most matches and was not the worst of the four at any time, which shows that Samsung has evolved a lot since the last generation. This is even clearer when we compare it with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 which lost to the iPhone in third place. Xiaomi, however much it has evolved, is still eating dust for Samsung and Apple in camera.
Order of the most voted
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: 32.9% of votes
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max: 27.3% of votes
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: 20.4% of votes
- Xiaomi 12 Pro: 19.4% of votes
But we know that not only a good photo is made a really worthy camera and we will also analyze which one takes the best in videos.
In resolution, we have victory for the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Xiaomi 12 Pro for being able to record in 8K, while Galaxy Z Fold 3 and iPhone 13 Pro Max shoot at a maximum of 4K. With the front camera, only the Chinese top is limited to Full HD.
When shooting with the rear camera we see that the S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro Max fight equally in quality, stabilization and focus. When recording at night, Maçã has the advantage with sharper footage. The Fold is the most disappointing in quality and sound capture of the four, while Xiaomi’s has the worst stabilization and focus, but it beats Samsung’s foldable in other respects.
The front of the iPhone not only stands out for selfies, it also makes recording more fluid and with better white and color balance, even with the sun in the background. At night it is the least affected by noise and artifacts. And once again, the Fold comes in last, its under-screen camera greatly limits the quality of footage.
We could tie the S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max on the camcorder, but the Apple model has greater integration with Instagram and makes posts with higher quality, is capable of filming with Dolby Vision and even has better background blur. Which makes it the most complete of the four.
And now, which one won our comparison? The Galaxy S22 Ultra is best for photos and second best for videos, while the iPhone is just the opposite. It’s up to you to decide what’s most important.
What matters is that it’s clear how much Samsung has evolved from its 2021 foldable to its most advanced 2022. While Xiaomi is still struggling to try to compete with the competition, but that’s not to say the 12 Pro’s cameras are bad, they just don’t do justice to the size and price of the device.
(Updated April 29, 2022 at 4:14 pm)