Last week, we let you vote on which of the 6 best smartphones of the moment takes the best photos in several different situations. Of course, there was no bias, since it was a blind test and the order of the photos was totally random in each section. The people have spoken, and the results may surprise you.
The 'best' is subjective
The world of photography is an art. Therefore, it is full of subjective points and depends a lot on personal taste. But on the other hand, it also has features that can be measured objectively, like the focus or dynamic range, not to mention the specifications of the camera.
To better understand what I mean, DxOMark is usually the reference in the quality of smartphone photography. It is a very technical ranking that often does not match up with the lists of best cameras published by reviewers like us. And the results of our blind test are yet another illustrative example of this fact. You can find the original blind test from last week here:
We've made a ranking, from best to worst, of all six smartphones using a points system for each category and adding them up. (The best of a category gets 6 points, the worst gets 1, and ties mean the next rank is left out.) Here is the overall ranking result:
I should say first that they all take great photos and there is a good quality jump from the lower range. That said, the LG V30s ThinQ, which is a new version of the V30 with AI enhancements, is number 1 only in two sections, but still ranks best overall. On its heels is the iPhone X in second place. Tied for third place is Google's Pixel 2 and Sony's XZ2 Compact. And, in last place, we have the S9/S9+ from Samsung and Huawei's P20 Pro. The latter was ranked best camera of the moment by DxOMark, showing the contradiction I mentioned above.
1. The best colorful fruits in daylight: S9/S9+
While the Galaxy S9 didn't fare so well overall, the colors of the fruits in this scene shined enough to win it first place for the category. Samsung has clearly done something right with the color representation and dynamic range here, although the race was nearly tied with the LG V30s, iPhone X and XZ2 Compact.
2. The best white balance in a city landscape: Pixel 2
The Google smartphone only has one camera (with a Sony sensor), but for a software giant, it offers photos with extraordinary quality. In this image we can see the shapes of the clouds and the windows in the shadows clearly. The Pixel 2 portrays the scene very faithfully.
3. The best details in dark areas with backlighting: iPhone X
The iPhone X secured the most votes for the backlight scene, and I must say it was hardly a contest compared to the other cameras' results. I do think it flattens the shadows too much, in fact there are hardly any left in the photo, but of course it is the photo where the whole scene is best seen.
4. The best portrait: LG V30s ThinQ
In the portrait scene, we were looking for the best skin tone and also the performance of the bokeh effect on the phones where it was available. For the LG V30s ThinQ, the skin tone is fairly accurate, but there isn't a lot of detail compared to the shot taken with the XZ2 Compact, for example. The lack of detail is either a good or bad thing, depending on how sensitive you are about your own wrinkles, I suppose.
5. The best low-light indoor shot: LG V30s ThinQ
Here the LG device wins by a landslide with almost 50% of the vote. I must admit that the scene was much darker to the human eye than what the LG V30s captured. For the little information that the sensor could receive, the colors are the most accurate.
What do you think of the results? Were you surprised?