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Galaxy S21 Ultra or iPhone 12 Pro Max: Who has the best camera?

Spoiler: Both are fantastic.

iphone 12 pro max and samsung galaxy 21 ultra camera comparison
Image: Mrwhosetheboss via YouTube

If camera quality is your primary motivation when buying a new smartphone, how do you make an informed choice?

With so many reviewers taking their sample images at different times or locations, it’s hard to tell which is best.

Popular UK YouTuber Mrwhosetheboss had a great idea to pit the new iPhone 12 Pro Max against the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra while taking all the comparison footage simultaneously.

samsung galaxy s21
Image: KnowTechie

He did this using a clever dual-clamp rig that let both smartphones take their images from virtually the same point in space.

Then he put both cameras through the same 12 sets of tests, looking at 8K and 4K videos, slo-mo, zoom, night mode, and more. You can watch the full testing in the video below, but we’ll summarize it.

Samsung Galaxy s21 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max

Over the 12 categories, Samsung won five, Apple won three, and four were undecided. The upshot of the 12 tests is that Samsung won, but it was a close race.

iphone 12 colors
Image: KnowTechie

If you could combine the two, you’d have a smartphone camera with almost no drawbacks, as “each failing of one of these phones is something that the other is particularly good at.”

If so, I can’t wait until Apple starts putting sensors bigger than 12 megapixels into the iPhone.

The other thing about smartphone cameras is how the stock camera app behaves.

Apple takes great pains every year to keep the user experience simple while adding new features that mostly run in the background.

Samsung loads their camera app with features upon features to choose from, adding extra functionality over their competition.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. Samsung S21 Ultra camera: Which is better?

When it comes to the best camera, is Samsung or iPhone the superior choice? Well, that depends on how you use your smartphone camera and if you want a simplified experience or more control.

Samsung might have won this round, but there’s always next year…

Have any thoughts on this? Surprised by Samsung’s performance? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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