Samsung Galaxy S22 camera shootout against iPhone 13 Pro: what night mode min?

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the top of our best camera phones guide for a good reason, but now it comes with a big caveat. Since I tested it against the brand new Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus, I think when the sun dips below the horizon, the new Galaxy takes the crown for photo quality.

Most impressively, while the S22 Plus is still a premium flagship phone, it’s not the best of the line. The Galaxy S22 Ultra offers additional photography features that benefit its low-light performance, but even without them I still find the S22 Plus to be better at taking low-light photos than the more expensive iPhone.

If getting the best possible low-light images with just a few clicks is your priority, you’ll probably do better with a Galaxy S22 than an iPhone 13.

Galaxy S22 Plus vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Usability in low light

Both phones will automatically activate their night modes when faced with a low-light subject, but the S22 is a bit easier to trigger than the iPhone. An abandoned photo I tried of a string of lights in a tree came out in night mode by default for the Samsung phone, but not for the iPhone. This probably isn’t an issue for most users, but it surprised me when I looked at my footage and found what I thought was a huge gap in quality between the phones, but turned out to be due to the iPhone wanting a darker scene before switching to night mode on its own.

You can enable night modes manually on either phone, with slightly different conditions. Enabling Night Mode for the Galaxy S22 requires a trip to the “More” menu, but from there you can either tell the phone to automatically adjust the exposure time or have it set it to the maximum exposure time. The iPhone camera app doesn’t give you the option to enable night mode yourself, but when it’s enabled, you can select the recommended preset exposure time, set it to maximum or somewhere in between if the maximum is two seconds. or more. I took all the images you see below with auto mode on, but if he decides to play ball, the iPhone gives you a bit more control over night photography in the default app .

Galaxy S22 Plus vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max: Sample Night Mode photos

Enough preamble, let’s look at my photos. First, this medium shot of a “green wall” in Paddington Central came out two very different ways on the two phones. There’s a lot more texture visible in the iPhone image, but the coloring looks a bit off as a result. I really like what the S22 produces because even though you don’t get the same detail in the stone or leaves, the coloring is much more attractive and accurate compared to how I saw the scene.

Taking the phones for a close-up of that statue (and ignoring the massive difference in field of view), we’ve got a closer competition. The S22’s image is again brighter, more detailed, less noisy and sharper if you zoom in. I still like the iPhone shot too, because this time I think it has the best color accuracy.

This selfie portrait I took in the same area is another Samsung win. For one thing, the S22 managed to capture my hair better, and the boundary between me and the background is much sharper overall. The coloring is also much more natural, as the iPhone made me and the scene behind me too hot.

Finally, we have an indoor shot of one of my roommate’s beautifully decorated espresso cups, kept on a low shelf in a darkened room. Neither shot is particularly good due to the general lack of light, but the S22’s image isn’t as noisy and is brighter than the iPhone’s.

However, the iPhone managed to better capture the reflection in the cup and saucer, while winning the honesty award this time around for a more realistic shot.

At the end of the line

Even without the high-end hardware exclusive to the Ultra model, the Galaxy S22 Plus shows that Samsung’s Night Mode is now at a level rivaling, if not surpassing, Apple’s. The cost you need to assess is the realism of the S22’s shot relative to the actual subject, but that won’t always be an issue.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max didn’t lose my respect as a camera phone because of this test, and I won’t demand that the TG alumni council revoke its position at the top of our best phones guide. with camera. However, I will do two things: cross my fingers that Apple comes up with further Night Mode improvements for the iPhone 14, and remember to slip the Galaxy S22 Plus into my pocket the next time I go out for the night.