February 24, 2024
An iPhone 15 Pro in Blue Titanium (left) and Google Pixel 8 Pro in Porcelain showing camera modules.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Tendencies

Each fall, there’s a lot of pumpkin spice, spooks, and flagship telephones from Google and Apple. This yr, Google launched the highly effective Google Pixel 8 Professional, whereas Apple upped the ante with the iPhone 15 Professional.

Whereas the Google Pixel 8 Professional is extra akin to the iPhone 15 Professional Max, we needed to see how it might do in opposition to the smaller iPhone 15 Professional as effectively. In spite of everything, the common iPhone 15 Professional remains to be thought of a flagship, and each telephones share the identical $999 price ticket.

So, let’s take a look at how the cameras on the Google Pixel 8 Professional fare with the iPhone 15 Professional.

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Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: digicam specs

A Google Pixel 8 Pro in Porcelain (left) with an iPhone 15 Pro in Blue Titanium held in hand.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Tendencies

Google made some fairly hefty upgrades to the Pixel 8 Professional digicam system this yr.

The primary shooter is 50MP with an f/1.7 aperture and a 25mm lens. The telephoto is 48MP with an f/2.8 aperture and 5x optical zoom, whereas the 48MP ultrawide has an f/2.0 aperture with a 126-degree area of view (FoV). On the selfie entrance, you’ve gotten a ten.5MP front-facing digicam with f/2.2 aperture.

Apple additionally made some enhancements with the iPhone 15 Professional digicam, although it might not look as spectacular on paper in comparison with Google.

The primary shooter is 48MP with f/1.8 aperture and a 24mm lens. The telephoto digicam is 12MP with f/2.8 aperture with 3x optical zoom, and the ultrawide digicam is 12MP with f/2.2 with a 120-degree FoV. The TrueDepth selfie digicam is 12MP with f/1.9.

As you may see, the specs are related in some regards, like the primary cameras (a 2MP distinction is negligible). However Google made a giant improve with the ultrawide this yr, going from 12MP on the Google Pixel 7 Professional to 48MP on the Pixel 8 Professional.

Nevertheless, Apple has additionally made the default pixel decision for images taken with the primary digicam to 24MP as a substitute of 12MP, which permits for extra element and readability. There’s a new Auto Portrait mode, which mechanically captures depth info in a picture when the main focus is on an individual or pet (canine or cat), permitting you to show any picture right into a portrait after it’s taken.

They each have their professionals and cons, so let’s see which cellphone takes higher photos total.

Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: principal digicam

For most individuals, the primary digicam would be the major, most used lens. So let’s dive into that one first.

Right here’s a photograph of some desk decor at an area meals corridor. The Pixel 8 Professional model retains extra natural-looking colours and seems to have extra components of the plant in sharp focus, although there seems to be some random blurriness with the decrease purple flower on the left facet. The iPhone 15 Professional model has a bit extra saturation within the colours, making the crops seem extra energetic and vibrant. Nevertheless, a whole lot of the plant appears to not be in focus and a bit distorted. I want the colours within the iPhone 15 Professional picture, however the Pixel 8 Professional positively got here out higher.

On this subsequent pattern, we’ll check out some extra cute plant decor, this time with some fall additions. The Pixel 8 Professional is a bit darker with extra shadows, particularly on the countertop floor, however the colours are fairly true to life for the crops within the jars. The iPhone 15 Professional model, nonetheless, seems brighter and extra vibrant. It additionally does a bit higher with the smaller particulars this time round, like displaying the feel on the white wall within the background, which is misplaced on the Pixel 8 Professional model. And with Apple’s Deep Fusion know-how, you may see the intricacies of the center bow rather a lot higher versus the Pixel 8 Professional.

On this subsequent picture, we’re trying up at a swath of vine-like crops that type a cover, together with a couple of lanterns hanging from the branches. The Google Pixel 8 Professional fared fairly effectively right here, with good shade stability and sufficient element to distinguish the branches and leaves from one another. The iPhone 15 Professional model seems too darkish with a whole lot of shadows, making it laborious to see the finer particulars within the branches, in addition to the lanterns themselves.

Subsequent is a photograph of my daughter on the native park. The Pixel 8 Professional resulted in an total cooler tone for the picture, and a few particulars within the texture, like with the wooden chips, obtained misplaced as you look nearer to the slide. Within the iPhone 15 Professional model, it has an total hotter shade temperature, making the colours seem richer and extra vibrant.

Once more, there’s extra texture element with the wooden chips, and even the playground stays in focus, not like within the Pixel 8 Professional picture. The sky does look higher within the Pixel 8 Professional picture, although, as it’s a bit washed out in the direction of the playground within the iPhone 15 Professional. Pores and skin tone is fairly correct with each telephones. However total, I feel I want the iPhone picture simply ever so barely.

I’m not a botanist or something, however I do love seeing stunning flowers in bloom, so I like that there’s a rose backyard at my park. It is a closeup of a rose, taken as a macro on each telephones. The Pixel 8 Professional picture is total a lot sharper and clearer, particularly with the middle. The iPhone 15 Professional picture has extra saturated hues and exhibits off extra texture within the petals, although the middle just isn’t as clear as I’d have needed. The Pixel 8 Professional did higher on this one.

Winner: Google Pixel 8 Professional

Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: ultrawide digicam

The ultrawide lens on a digicam is nice for capturing extra of a scene than you’ll with the common principal digicam. It’s particularly helpful in the event you’re attempting to seize a big group picture or a big object with none extra room to again up. This yr, Google upped the Pixel 8 Professional’s ultrawide lens to 48MP, whereas Apple saved it the identical at 12MP for the iPhone 15 Professional. Does it actually make a distinction?

Let’s look at this primary ultrawide shot of a gazebo on the park. Plainly Google’s larger megapixel depend for the ultrawide lens does certainly make a distinction, as you may zoom in on the picture and see extra particulars within the timber, rocks alongside the railing and pillars, the ceiling of the gazebo, and even the fencing in the direction of the again.

Whereas the iPhone 15 Professional model just isn’t unhealthy, the small print are positively softer, as you may’t even make out a lot of the particular person leaves on timber like within the Pixel 8 Professional picture. The colour additionally appears higher within the Pixel 8 Professional model, although that’s a matter of desire.

One other view of the rose backyard shot with the ultrawide lens. Once more, the iPhone 15 Professional model is softer in particulars with extra shadows, making it laborious to make out particular person leaves within the timber, and even the bottom across the flowers lacks sharpness. The Pixel 8 Professional picture is far sharper with the small print such because the timber and dust and even the lamp posts.

Winner: Google Pixel 8 Professional

Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: telephoto digicam

Whereas each telephones have a telephoto lens, the iPhone 15 Professional Max can be a greater comparability because it has a 5x optical zoom functionality just like the Pixel 8 Professional. With the smaller iPhone 15 Professional, which didn’t get the brand new tetraprism telephoto lens, it might solely do as much as 3x optical zoom, so it’s not solely a good matchup. However we’ll work with what we’ve got right here.

If you happen to look intently on the first picture, there’s a praying mantis on the hunt. I used solely as much as the 3x optical zoom on the iPhone 15 Professional whereas utilizing the 5x optical zoom with the Pixel 8 Professional. With solely 3x optical, it might be tough to find the praying mantis at first, however the iPhone 15 Professional nonetheless does an amazing job of displaying the feel of the physique of the praying mantis, in addition to the grass surrounding it.

Once more, the colours pop with vibrancy, however except you realize what you’re , the 3x zoom right here isn’t fairly sufficient. However, the Pixel 8 Professional’s 5x optical will get you in actually near the praying mantis, offering a greater have a look at the small print of the physique. The grass additionally appears a bit extra toned down right here, making it simpler to identify the mantis.

One of many enjoyable issues about dwelling in Southern California is the abundance of palm timber, particularly proper in my entrance yard. With the iPhone 15 Professional, once more, I did a 3x optical zoom, and it’s fairly good for that. The colour is correct to what you see in actuality, it’s sharp, and there’s nonetheless loads of texture and element with the trunk and leaves.

I did 5x optical zoom with the Pixel 8 Professional. Unsurprisingly, you get a greater have a look at the highest of the palm tree’s leaves and fronds. I do really feel like the colour of the trunk washes out the feel a bit, not like on the iPhone 15 Professional model. However once more, given what we’re working with, the Pixel 8 Professional positively wins.

Winner: Google Pixel 8 Professional

Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: night time mode

Every year, it appears that evidently smartphones are getting higher at taking images in low-light conditions. And that is the right time of yr for these nighttime pictures of vacation decorations, proper?

First, we’ve got a photograph of some jack-o-lanterns close to the doorway of the Shaqtoberfest Halloween Pageant on the Queen Mary in Lengthy Seashore, California. The iPhone 15 Professional was in a position to seize the scene superbly, with wealthy and daring colours and many element with the pumpkins, timber, floor, the night time sky, and even the buildings far off within the distance.

The Google Pixel 8 Professional, nonetheless, has very delicate particulars, as you may’t even see the feel on among the nearer pumpkins. A few of the gentle results look like bleeding and washing out components of the scene (just like the purple gentle within the again casting a purple glow on the fence). The grass and leaves in the direction of the entrance of the picture additionally seem blurry, whereas they’re sharp and in deal with the iPhone 15 Professional model. And the Pixel 8 Professional makes the sky appear to be it’s daylight, so it’s a bit unrealistic.

It is a shot of the Queen Mary grounds decked out for Shaqtoberfest. The Pixel 8 Professional dealt with this scene effectively, as the small print seem a lot sharper and in deal with this go. The colours additionally look near what you see in actuality, and it’s simpler to make out the textual content on the indicators.

Maybe it’s as a result of there was extra fog from the decorations, however the iPhone 15 Professional picture appears prefer it has much more happening by way of fog, lights, and oversaturated hues. The main points additionally seem softer than the Pixel 8 Professional picture, with the smoke stacks on the ship showing far more orange as a result of a hotter total shade temperature. Textual content on the banners and indicators additionally aren’t as clear. Nevertheless, each telephones appear to have an issue with artifacts displaying up within the sky from the lights.

Lastly, right here’s the spooky Oogie Boogie decor on the entrance gates of Disney California Journey Park. The iPhone 15 Professional dealt with this one higher than the Pixel 8 Professional. The colours are extra wealthy and vibrant, whereas the small print are sharp and crisp, particularly with the bats and the “Disney California Journey” signage. The night time sky can be a lot darker within the iPhone 15 Professional model, which contrasts properly with the decor, whereas the Pixel 8 Professional appears to have washed the sky out a bit.

Winner: iPhone 15 Professional

Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: portraits

Portrait mode pictures have been common ever since Apple launched them on the iPhone 7, they usually’ve simply been getting higher ever since. It’s additionally just about on each smartphone now, and it’s a simple solution to get a photograph that appears skilled, like a headshot, as the topic is in focus with a blurred background.

On this first portrait, we’ve got my daughter standing up on a little bit rocker on the park. The Google Pixel 8 Professional’s image has a cooler shade temperature that’s real looking to what you get in actuality, and the digicam was in a position to get her correctly in focus despite the fact that she was shifting round on the time. Nevertheless, the sting detection has randomly blurred components of her hair, and there are some jagged edges round her proper hand.

By comparability, the iPhone 15 Professional portrait additionally has some jagged edges round the proper hand, but it surely dealt with the sides across the hair higher. The colours pop a bit extra within the iPhone picture, too, although the Pixel 8 Professional dealt with the pores and skin and bokeh blur barely higher.

The following portrait options my husband. Once more, the colour temperature within the Pixel 8 Professional picture is on the cooler facet, which I want. Nevertheless, in the event you check out my husband’s head, it appears that evidently the sting detection struggled with separating his hair from the timber within the background, as a part of his hair is blurred out the place the glasses sit.

The iPhone 15 Professional had no downside with the sting detection, and the hotter, extra vibrant shade temperature of the picture supplies extra distinction between his hair and the background timber. Whereas I want the stronger bokeh impact with the Pixel 8 Professional, the iPhone 15 Professional simply dealt with the sting detection approach higher, which is necessary for portrait pictures.

Lastly, right here’s a portrait of me displaying off one in all my Star Wars “Pew Pew!” RSVLTS shirt. As soon as once more, the Google Pixel 8 Professional struggled with edge detection beneath my left sleeve, the place you see among the grass peeking via the blurred impact and a few wooden chips close to my proper hand. It additionally softened some edges on the prime of my head with my hair and extra tough edges round my arms.

The iPhone 15 Professional dealt with the sting detection rather a lot higher for essentially the most half, although it did miss a tiny a part of my hair the place the flyaway strands are. Coloration is best mirrored this time round with the iPhone 15 Professional portrait, particularly for the shirt shade.

Winner: iPhone 15 Professional

Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: selfies

Some of the common makes use of for a smartphone is for a selfie. Whether or not that’s simply by your self or with others, generally it’s the easiest way to seize one thing particular.

It is a selfie I took whereas ready for Disney’s Happiest Haunts Tour to begin at Disneyland. Each telephones did a fairly good job of capturing me in my Haunted Mansion shirt paired with my Membership 33 Halloween ears.

Nevertheless, the colour of the shirt is best represented with the iPhone 15 Professional picture, because the Pixel 8 Professional gave it a cooler tint. And it’s not simply the shirt, however the ears are a smidge brighter, and the background with the timber and sky just isn’t fully washed out like within the Pixel 8 Professional picture. My pores and skin tone is extra correct with the iPhone 15 Professional as effectively.

How a couple of portrait selfie? Each telephones dealt with this one effectively, although the Google Pixel 8 Professional feels prefer it’s leaning in the direction of a cooler tone, which makes the shirt pop a bit extra, particularly the background print. However the finer particulars within the shirt sample are retained higher within the iPhone 15 Professional model, whereas it will get misplaced within the Pixel 8 Professional picture.

It additionally looks like the iPhone 15 Professional handles the sting detection a tad higher, because the random unfastened strands on the proper facet of the picture aren’t blurred out, and the left strands look extra pure in comparison with the Pixel 8 Professional. Pores and skin tone is extra correct with the iPhone 15 Professional model too, and the background bokeh appears higher.

Let’s attempt one other selfie portrait. Oddly sufficient, with this pattern, it seems that the iPhone 15 Professional model carries a a lot hotter tone over the Pixel 8 Professional. Because of this, my pores and skin tone seems extra yellow/orange than it must be. Colours are extra true to life within the Pixel 8 Professional model. Nevertheless, the sting detection nonetheless appears very abrupt and jagged in some components round my hair, which total appears extra pure on the iPhone 15 Professional, particularly in the case of the unfastened strands. I additionally want the bokeh background impact that the Pixel 8 Professional produced right here over the iPhone 15 Professional.

Winner: iPhone 15 Professional

Google Pixel 8 Professional vs. iPhone 15 Professional: verdict

An iPhone 15 Pro in Blue Titanium (left) and Google Pixel 8 Pro in Porcelain side-by-side showing backs.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Tendencies

That is truly a fairly shut name. On this comparability, each telephones gained three classes every, which successfully makes this a tie. Google clearly wins on the {hardware} facet of issues, however Apple has kicked it up this yr with higher software-side processing.

If you happen to’re trying on the uncooked megapixel depend in your smartphone digicam, then you may’t go improper with what the Pixel 8 Professional is providing. With a 50MP principal shooter, 48MP ultrawide digicam, and 48MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom, it’s a triple menace. And for essentially the most half, pictures with any of those lenses will prove fairly good — with real looking, true-to-life colours and loads of element. Low-light pictures will be first rate, however portraits appear to have some points with edge detection. In any other case, it’s nonetheless fairly good.

However Apple has impressed us this yr with its software-side enhancements to picture processing. Good HDR 5 has made the colours seem extra pure and never harsh, the over-sharpening downside appears to be minimal this yr, and low-light images have come out higher than ever. The Auto Portrait function can be unimaginable to have, as you may just about flip any picture (with an individual or pet) right into a portrait with a easy toggle.

Using the camera app on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.
Joe Maring / Digital Tendencies

Google’s Pixel lineup has all the time made it laborious to take a nasty picture, and that continues this yr with the Google Pixel 8 Professional. And whereas the iPhone has had some over-processing points lately, it appears to have fastened the issue this yr.

Regardless of which one you select, you may’t go improper. But when we needed to decide one winner, I feel the Pixel 8 Professional edges out the iPhone 15 Professional simply ever so barely.


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