The Google Pixel 6 Pro’s digital camera has a whole lot of client expectations behind it given the Pixel 5’s success and the brand new Tensor processor, nevertheless it additionally faces a whole lot of work to do to compete in opposition to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the most effective digital camera Samsung has ever placed on a telephone. I took each the Samsung and Google telephone out for the day to take a choice of pictures, to reply the query: Which Android flagship has the most effective digital camera?

Camera specs and testing process

The Google Pixel 6 Pro’s 50-megapixel major digital camera is joined by a 48MP telephoto digital camera with 4x optical zoom, plus a 12MP wide-angle digital camera. How concerning the Galaxy S21 Ultra? It was launched in January 2021, however nonetheless has an enviable specification with a 108MP major digital camera, a 12MP wide-angle, a 10MP telephoto digital camera for 3x optical zoom pictures, and a 10MP periscope digital camera for 10x optical zoom pictures.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

For this comparability, pictures have been taken back-to-back utilizing the automated mode, that means all I did most often was press the shutter button. I examined the principle digital camera, 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 bear in mind this when wanting on the examples under.

If you’re on the lookout 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 lined too.

The major digital camera

At the seashore

This picture was taken mid-morning with the solar to the left of the picture, with the principle digital camera on each telephones. It units the tone for the photographs that observe, 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 beach photo.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There’s a hotter tone to the S21 Ultra’s picture once 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 private choice for which one appears finest.

Beach photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I discover the Pixel 6 Pro captured the scene in a barely extra life like approach. 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, nevertheless it’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 shade to the clouds, not like the extra pure gray within the Pixel’s picture.

Main camera photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The 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 may increasingly contribute to the distinction.

Main camera photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The S21 Ultra’s picture is usually 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 recognize not everybody will really feel the identical approach. 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 related pictures in regular circumstances and the place the strengths of Samsung’s digital camera can generally win over the Pixel 6 Pro.

Pixel 6 Pro photo of a church.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The 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 approach.

Photo of a church taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Pixel 6 Pro is arguably higher balanced, with extra element seen within the entrance window and once you zoom in on the clock face, however my eyes are continuously drawn to the S21 Ultra’s picture resulting from 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 completely different from the 2 cameras.

Pixel 6 Pro photo of a dog.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I completely love the best way the Pixel 6 Pro has captured this scene, with gorgeous element on the canine’s fur, immersive depth of discipline, and simply the best tone and heat to the colours.

Photo of a dog taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The S21 Ultra’s picture is sweet, nevertheless it 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 approach.

Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro

The wide-angle digital camera

Beach scene

The Google Pixel 6 Pro has higher consistency between the principle and wide-angle digital camera 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. instance is the picket seashore wall within the backside left of the body, which exhibits extra grain and texture within the Pixel’s picture.

Wide-angle photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Look 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, nevertheless it’s extra placing within the pictures taken by the Samsung telephone. You do need to look intently to identify it, although.

Wide-angle photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Like the principle digital camera 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, nevertheless it 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.

Wide-angle photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Leaving apart the distortion, the sand, on the whole, has extra texture within the S21 Ultra’s image, though the Pixel’s cooler tone is extra consultant of the real-life circumstances.

Wide-angle photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

If left to decide on which one to share immediately, with no modifying, it could 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 major digital camera pictures above, this wide-angle picture additionally exhibits how shut the 2 cameras proceed to be.

Wide-angle photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The similar variations in tone apply right here as they did with the principle digital camera’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.

Wide-angle photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Pixel’s picture can also be a lot sharper, with the S21 Ultra introducing a whole lot of surprising blur within the background. While this may increasingly have been all the way 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 timber aren’t sloping to the facet 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 screen to determine the topic, leaving it to the cameras to work out.

Portrait mode photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both get the colour and tone proper, though the S21 Ultra actually boosts the purple 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 portrait photo.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Edge 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 obtrusive error on the sting of my hand within the S21 Ultra’s picture provides the factitious 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.

Portrait mode photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The 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 screen to pick the publish this time. It’s not excellent although, with a bit of seaweed floating in midair on the best, which was blurred out utterly within the Pixel’s image.

Portrait photo taken with the Galaxy S21 UltraGalaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I truly took a number of variations of this picture, all from barely completely 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 digital camera extra versatile.

Pixel 6 Pro photo of chestnuts.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The digital camera switched to macro mode once I received nearer to the chestnuts, leading to a transparent, sharp, and detailed {photograph} from the S21 Ultra.

Photo of chestnuts taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t have a macro mode, and fails to concentrate on 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 enormous distinction between the outcomes. This concern typically 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 might name darkish outdoors. Cars had headlights on, and the streetlights have been lit.

Night mode photo taken with the Pixel 6 ProPixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both cameras routinely chosen Night mode and set the publicity time, and all of the pictures on this part have been taken handheld.

Night mode photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

This 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 way more pure.

The restaurant

Surprisingly, the sky in these footage is broadly similar wanting, however the remainder of the Pixel 6 Pro’s colours are way more pure in comparison with the S21 Ultra.

Night mode photo taken with the the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The pavement and road are literally gray, the yellow automotive is extra life like, and the white stability is excellent. Zoom in and the small print are sharper within the Pixel’s picture — the license plate on the automotive, for instance — however the distinction in the principle content material is minimal.

Night mode photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both of those are actually wonderful, and it’s laborious to separate the pictures of the bench both, regardless of the completely different look. However, the third picture provides us a winner.

Monster within the tree

While the colour accuracy is superb 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.

Night mode photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The 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 elements of the monster which are completely in focus within the S21 Ultra’s picture, leaving much less of an opportunity the topic was transferring.

Night mode photo taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The variations are as an alternative prone to be all the way down to software program and processing, and the Pixel 6 Pro clearly wins right here. While the opposite two pictures are related sufficient to name it a draw, the third picture suggests the Pixel 6 Pro will present extra constant lowlight digital camera efficiency.

Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro

Optical zoom

Abandoned constructing

The Pixel 6 Pro has a stronger fundamental 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 4x optical zoom photoPixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Getting nearer utilizing an optical zoom just isn’t all the time the most suitable choice, and a 3x optical zoom typically looks like the most effective compromise between a largely ineffective 2x optical zoom, and a far too robust 5x optical zoom.

Galaxy S21 Ultra 3x optical zoom photo.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The 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 stability within the S21 Ultra’s picture give it barely extra environment.

The pub signal

The Pixel 6 Pro’s wonderful white stability exhibits up on this image, whereas the distinction within the S21 Ultra’s picture provides the constructing extra age.

Pixel 6 Pro 4x optical zoom photo.Pixel 6 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

What issues is the textual content on the signal, which is readable in each. Zoom in and the S21 Ultra is maybe barely sharper, however the distinction comes once 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 by way of shade because the Pixel 6 Pro’s digital camera.

Galaxy S21 Ultra 3x optical zoom photo.Galaxy S21 Ultra Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both these examples look nice, however the 3x optical zoom does really feel extra usable, and there’s no lack of high quality even once you zoom in. If something, the S21 Ultra’s zoom pictures impress much more once 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 (nevertheless it’s shut)

Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Google Pixel 6 Pro are wonderful digital camera telephones, taking incredible pictures anybody might be pleased with, nearly whatever the surroundings 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 executed by way of its extra pure shade palette and tone.

Galaxy S21 Ultra and Pixel 6 ProAndy Boxall/Digital Trends

Interestingly, 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 most effective of the competitors is shorter than ever earlier than.

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