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    Google Pixel 6 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Who wins? | Digital Trends

    The Google Pixel 6 Pro’s digicam has loads of client expectations behind it given the Pixel 5’s success and the brand new Tensor processor, but it surely additionally faces loads of work to do to compete in opposition to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the very best digicam Samsung has ever placed on a telephone. I took each the Samsung and Google telephone out for the day to take a collection of pictures, to reply the query: Which Android flagship has the very best digicam?
    Camera specs and testing process
    The Google Pixel 6 Pro’s 50-megapixel important digicam is joined by a 48MP telephoto digicam with 4x optical zoom, plus a 12MP wide-angle digicam. How concerning the Galaxy S21 Ultra? It was launched in January 2021, however nonetheless has an enviable specification with a 108MP important digicam, a 12MP wide-angle, a 10MP telephoto digicam for 3x optical zoom pictures, and a 10MP periscope digicam for 10x optical zoom pictures.
    Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsFor this comparability, pictures have been taken back-to-back utilizing the automated mode, which means all I did typically was press the shutter button. I examined the primary digicam, wide-angle, optical zoom, portrait, and evening modes, however not video. All pictures have been in contrast on a color-calibrated monitor, then resized for a friendlier on-line viewing expertise. Do keep in mind this when trying on the examples beneath.
    If you’re searching for a shopping for information on the Pixel 6 Pro earlier than diving into the pictures, you could find one right here and if you wish to know the variations between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, we’ve received that coated too.
    The important digicam
    At the seaside
    This picture was taken mid-morning with the solar to the left of the picture, with the primary digicam on each telephones. It units the tone for the pictures that comply with, as the very first thing to notice is how the Galaxy S21 Ultra has the next stage of saturation within the sky, darker clouds, and a “flatter” sea within the distance.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThere’s a hotter tone to the S21 Ultra’s picture if you zoom into the water and sand within the backside left, however the seaweed and remaining colours within the two pictures are in any other case virtually similar. The sky is the one actual differentiating half right here, and it might come down to non-public desire for which one seems finest.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsI discover the Pixel 6 Pro captured the scene in a barely extra reasonable manner. It was astonishingly windy on the time, and the cooler tone of the Pixel’s picture higher displays the climate circumstances in my eyes. The sea waves have additionally been higher captured by the Pixel, so I’ll give it the win right here, but it surely’s very shut.
    At the park
    This picture continues to point out how very shut the S21 Ultra and Pixel 6 Pro are to one another. The apparent distinction is the tone of the sky, with the S21 Ultra including a steely gray coloration to the clouds, not like the extra pure gray within the Pixel’s picture.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe S21 Ultra captures the water extra attractively although, with extra texture and depth, particularly within the decrease left of the image. The Pixel 6 Pro does wrestle with sustaining sharpness and element up shut, and this will likely contribute to the distinction.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe S21 Ultra’s picture is often Samsung, with its therapy of the sky and inexperienced grass, and unsurprisingly the Pixel 6 Pro’s picture is significantly extra pure. I’d need to tone down the saturation and distinction a bit of within the S21 Ultra’s picture earlier than sharing it, however I additionally respect not everybody will really feel the identical manner. That stated, I do desire the Pixel 6 Pro’s picture.
    The church
    The picture of a church in good lighting emphasizes how each telephones take extraordinarily comparable pictures in regular circumstances and the place the strengths of Samsung’s digicam can generally win over the Pixel 6 Pro.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe S21 Ultra’s hotter tone actually fits the scene, giving the brickwork extra texture, and it brings out its age and weathering in a extra visually interesting manner.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe Pixel 6 Pro is arguably higher balanced, with extra element seen within the entrance window and if you zoom in on the clock face, however my eyes are continuously drawn to the S21 Ultra’s picture as a consequence of its general look.
    Friendly canine
    As I sat and had espresso, I used to be joined by this pleasant canine, who kindly posed for a number of pictures, and the outcomes are fairly totally different from the 2 cameras.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsI completely love the way in which the Pixel 6 Pro has captured this scene, with beautiful element on the canine’s fur, immersive depth of discipline, and simply the best tone and heat to the colours.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe S21 Ultra’s picture is nice, but it surely doesn’t have the identical emotion because the Pixel’s, with much less element within the fur, a shallower depth of discipline, and fewer emphasis general on the picture’s apparent topic, the canine. All the opposite pictures on this part are too near name, and this one is the one one which pushes the Pixel 6 Pro forward of the S21 Ultra in a significant manner.
    Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro
    The wide-angle digicam
    Beach scene
    The Google Pixel 6 Pro has higher consistency between the primary and wide-angle digicam in comparison with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which ups the saturation much more, creating shadows and a scarcity of element in sure areas of this picture. A great instance is the wood seaside wall within the backside left of the body, which exhibits extra grain and texture within the Pixel’s picture.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsLook extra intently, and there may be much less edge distortion within the Pixel’s picture, whereas within the S21 Ultra’s picture, the pebbles on the backside stay natural-looking however oddly elongated. There’s proof of some edge enhancement in each pictures, but it surely’s extra placing within the pictures taken by the Samsung telephone. You do must look intently to identify it, although.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsLike the primary digicam pictures above, each are actually nice, however the Pixel 6 Pro’s lack of distortion is the tipping level for me because it makes the image seem extra pure.
    Footprint within the sand
    The lack of distortion is once more noticeable on this picture of the sand, but it surely additionally demonstrates how the Pixel can miss out on element up shut, because the indentation within the sand is extra outlined within the S21 Ultra’s picture.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsLeaving apart the distortion, the sand, generally, has extra texture within the S21 Ultra’s image, though the Pixel’s cooler tone is extra consultant of the real-life circumstances.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsIf left to decide on which one to share immediately, with no enhancing, it will in all probability be the Samsung’s picture, because the silvery, cooler tone of the Pixel’s picture is much less visually interesting.
    At the park
    Taken in the identical spot as one of many important digicam pictures above, this wide-angle picture additionally exhibits how shut the 2 cameras proceed to be.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe identical variations in tone apply right here as they did with the primary digicam’s image, with the Pixel 6 Pro’s gray clouds giving the scene a really pure look in comparison with the blue tint within the S21 Ultra’s picture.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe Pixel’s picture can also be a lot sharper, with the S21 Ultra introducing loads of sudden blur within the background. While this will likely have been right down to me, it’s unlikely because the tree on the best is in focus with no blur. Add the minimal edge distortion within the Pixel’s shot — the bushes aren’t sloping to the aspect a lot — and the S21 Ultra has to take second place.
    Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro
    Portrait and Macro mode
    Coffee cup
    I took this picture with out tapping on the display to establish the topic, leaving it to the cameras to work out.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsBoth get the colour and tone proper, though the S21 Ultra actually boosts the pink in my Apple Watch strap, there’s much more element within the cup itself within the Pixel 6 Pro’s picture. It actually brings out the feel of the cardboard in comparison with the S21 Ultra.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsEdge recognition can also be clearly higher within the Pixel 6 Pro’s picture. Both successfully remoted the cup — the S21 Ultra had the added problem of the cup assembly the bench within the background — however a evident error on the sting of my hand within the S21 Ultra’s picture provides the unreal bokeh impact away instantly.
    Seaweed
    This shot as soon as once more exhibits how uncomfortable the Pixel is with objects up shut, even in Portrait mode.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe Galaxy S21 Ultra’s picture is vastly extra detailed in comparison with the noisy Pixel picture, which additionally fails to isolate the topic as successfully too, regardless of me tapping on the display to pick the submit this time. It’s not good although, with a chunk of seaweed floating in midair on the best, which was blurred out utterly within the Pixel’s image.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsI truly took a number of variations of this picture, all from barely totally different angles, and the dearth of element within the Pixel’s picture was the identical in every. I’m glad I did, because it proved this wasn’t an anomaly.
    Chestnuts
    While not shot with Portrait mode, this picture of chestnuts highlights how the Pixel 6 Pro is dangerous at taking pictures shut up, and why the S21 Ultra’s computerized macro mode makes the digicam extra versatile.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe digicam switched to macro mode after I received nearer to the chestnuts, leading to a transparent, sharp, and detailed {photograph} from the S21 Ultra.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t have a macro mode, and fails to give attention to something very shut in any respect. It will merely ask you to maneuver additional again till it finds focus. As you possibly can see from the pictures, I’m at principally the identical distance away in every one, but there’s a big distinction between the outcomes. This subject usually lowers the Pixel’s versatility.
    Winner: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    Night mode
    The bench
    Taken within the early night, about an hour after the solar went down, it was what I’d name darkish outdoors. Cars had headlights on, and the streetlights have been lit.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsBoth cameras mechanically chosen Night mode and set the publicity time, and all of the pictures on this part have been taken handheld.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThis Pixel 6 Pro captures the circumstances higher than the Galaxy S21 Ultra, however I actually just like the sky within the Samsung’s image. However, zoom in and the Pixel 6 Pro’s picture is sharper, and the tone of the grass and the trail are rather more pure.
    The restaurant
    Surprisingly, the sky in these footage is broadly similar trying, however the remainder of the Pixel 6 Pro’s colours are much more pure in comparison with the S21 Ultra.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe pavement and road are literally gray, the yellow automobile is extra reasonable, and the white steadiness is great. Zoom in and the small print are sharper within the Pixel’s picture — the license plate on the automobile, for instance — however the distinction in the primary content material is minimal.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsBoth of those are actually wonderful, and it’s laborious to separate the pictures of the bench both, regardless of the totally different look. However, the third picture provides us a winner.
    Monster within the tree
    While the colour accuracy is excellent in each pictures, and is about the identical between the 2 cameras as properly, the Pixel 6 Pro’s focus and sharpness are far higher.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe S21 Ultra couldn’t fairly match the Pixel 6 Pro’s accuracy right here, and whereas there could have been some motion launched, there are numerous components of the monster which might be completely in focus within the S21 Ultra’s picture, leaving much less of an opportunity the topic was transferring.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe variations are as a substitute more likely to be right down to software program and processing, and the Pixel 6 Pro clearly wins right here. While the opposite two pictures are comparable sufficient to name it a draw, the third picture suggests the Pixel 6 Pro will present extra constant lowlight digicam efficiency.
    Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro
    Optical zoom
    Abandoned constructing
    The Pixel 6 Pro has a stronger primary optical zoom than the Galaxy S21 Ultra, with a 4x magnification in comparison with the S21 Ultra’s 3x. The S21 Ultra does have a 10x optical zoom, which is great, and unmatched by the 6 Pro.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsGetting nearer utilizing an optical zoom shouldn’t be at all times the best choice, and a 3x optical zoom usually seems like the very best compromise between a principally ineffective 2x optical zoom, and a far too sturdy 5x optical zoom.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsThe Pixel 6 Pro’s picture not solely will get nearer, however it’s brighter than the S21 Ultra’s, and that reveals extra element such because the damaged glass within the window. However, the feel and steadiness within the S21 Ultra’s picture give it barely extra ambiance.
    The pub signal
    The Pixel 6 Pro’s wonderful white steadiness exhibits up on this image, whereas the distinction within the S21 Ultra’s picture provides the constructing extra age.
    Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsWhat issues is the textual content on the signal, which is readable in each. Zoom in and the S21 Ultra is probably barely sharper, however the distinction comes if you have a look at the window subsequent to the signal. The creases within the curtains are extra apparent within the S21 UItra’s picture, and I desire the look of the brickwork general, even when it’s not as completely balanced when it comes to coloration because the Pixel 6 Pro’s digicam.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsBoth these examples look nice, however the 3x optical zoom does really feel extra usable, and there’s no lack of high quality even if you zoom in. If something, the S21 Ultra’s zoom pictures impress much more if you look intently. Add the 10x optical zoom choice, and the S21 Ultra wins right here.
    Winner: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    Overall Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro (but it surely’s shut)
    Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Google Pixel 6 Pro are wonderful digicam telephones, taking improbable pictures anybody can be proud of, virtually whatever the setting or time of day. The Google Pixel 6 Pro has taken three out of 5 wins right here, making it the general winner, one thing which it has completed by means of its extra pure coloration palette and tone.
    Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsCuriously, outdoors of Night mode, Google’s lead in options that require synthetic intelligence and machine studying has been eroded, with Samsung producing nice portrait photographs and making an easy-to-use and really efficient macro mode. The Pixel 6 Pro’s lead stays, however the hole to the very best of the competitors is shorter than ever earlier than.

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