Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2 Camera Comparison: The Ultimate Smartphone Camera?

Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2 Camera Comparison: The Ultimate Smartphone Camera?

Last year, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL stunned with their exceptional camera performance, swiftly ascending to the top of the smartphone camera rankings. Not only did the Pixel 2 camera achieve the highest DxOMark score to date, but it also clinched the title of best smartphone camera across major publications, including ours. However, in the dynamic realm of smartphones, victories are fleeting. Today, we’re pitting the new Galaxy S9 Plus against the Pixel 2 to determine if it can dethrone the reigning champion. Prepare for an intense showdown between two titans of smartphone photography.

Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2 Camera Showdown

  • Daytime Photos
  • Low-light Photos
  • Portrait Mode
  • Video
  • Front Camera Photos

Camera Specifications

Let’s delve into the camera specs. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus boasts a 12 MP camera with dual apertures: f/1.5 and f/2.4, complemented by a secondary 12 MP f/2.4 telephoto lens for portrait shots. Conversely, the Pixel 2 features a 12 MP f/1.8 camera, leveraging Google’s software expertise for portrait mode. For front-facing shots, the S9 Plus houses an 8 MP f/1.7 camera, while the Pixel 2 sports an 8 MP f/2.4 variant.

Now that you know the testing categories and camera specifications, let’s begin the battle: Google Pixel 2 versus Samsung Galaxy S9.

1. Daytime Photos

Starting with this beautiful graffiti picture, both the S9 and Pixel 2 capture similar photos. They exhibit good colors and almost identical details. However, upon zooming in, it’s evident that the S9 Plus photo is overexposed, whereas the Pixel 2 maintains perfect colors and detail. Pixel 2 wins this round.

Top: Galaxy S9 Plus / Bottom: Pixel 2

However, upon examining the picture below, you’ll notice that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus excelled in capturing sunlight and handled it perfectly. While the Pixel 2’s photo is respectable, the Galaxy S9 performed better in this instance. Regrettably, this was the sole occasion where the Samsung Galaxy S9 outperformed the Pixel 2 in daylight photography. Top: Galaxy S9 Plus / Bottom: Pixel 2

In the remaining photos displayed below, Pixel 2 consistently outperformed the S9 Plus, capturing more details, distinguishing shadows better, exhibiting superior dynamic range, and overall producing better pictures than the S9 Plus. Top: Galaxy S9 Plus / Bottom: Pixel 2

Winner: Pixel 2

2. Low-light Photos

Let’s discuss low-light shots, an area where the S9 excels due to its wider f/1.5 aperture. The S9’s wider aperture captures more light effectively. The resulting photo exhibits brighter tones and pleasing colors. While the Pixel 2’s photo is commendable, zooming in reveals noticeable noise. Across various low-light scenarios, the S9 Plus consistently outperformed the Pixel 2 in capturing quality images. (Top: Galaxy S9 Plus / Bottom: Pixel 2)

In one instance, however, the Pixel 2 notably surpassed the S9 Plus. Observe the photo below where the car is barely visible in the S9 Plus’s image, whereas the Pixel 2’s photo distinctly captures it. This difference likely stems from Google’s exceptional software capabilities.

Top: Galaxy S9 Plus / Bottom: Pixel 2Pixel 2 excels in post-processing compared to Samsung Galaxy S9. However, the S9 Plus’ variable aperture camera offers a notable advantage over the Pixel 2 in lowlight photography.

Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2 Camera Comparison: The Ultimate Smartphone Camera?

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

3. Portrait Mode

Now, onto everyone’s favorite: portrait mode shots. Let’s examine the images below to discern the superior one. The Pixel 2 impresses with its precise details and vibrant colors. Even the bokeh effect is notably superior on the Pixel 2. While the S9 Plus captures decent photos with commendable edge detection, its colors appear washed out. Left: Galaxy S9 Plus / Right: Pixel 2

Consider the image below. The Galaxy S9 Plus competes with the Pixel 2, yielding a shot nearly comparable. However, I favor the Pixel 2’s sharper image and superior color rendition. Left: Galaxy S9 Plus / Right: Pixel 2

Now, let’s challenge both phones by capturing low-light portrait shots, a task even DSLRs struggle with. In the image below, the Pixel 2 clearly outperforms the S9 Plus, excelling in this category. While the Pixel 2 captures images that rival DSLR quality, the S9 Plus struggles to produce satisfactory results. I’m convinced that even if a smartphone were equipped with a dozen cameras, the Pixel 2’s single-camera setup would still excel in portrait photography.

Winner: Pixel 2

4. Video

Now, let’s discuss videos. Take a look at the side-by-side video comparison (below) shot with the Pixel 2 and the Galaxy S9 Plus. The Pixel 2 video is notably more stable, despite both devices featuring OIS. Although the Galaxy S9 Plus boasts dual OIS, during this recording, it appeared to lack stabilization. While the S9 Plus produces excellent videos in terms of color accuracy and focus, its inadequate stabilization detracts from the overall experience.

The S9 Plus surprises with its super slow-motion videos, a feature missing from the Pixel 2. Capturing at 960 FPS compared to the Pixel 2’s 240 FPS, the difference is evident. Although limited to 720p and suitable mainly for low-light conditions, the S9 Plus’ super slow-mo adds flair. However, in overall video performance, the Pixel 2 takes the lead.

Winner: Pixel 2

5. Front Camera Photos

Lastly, let’s examine the most underutilized hardware on my smartphone: the selfie camera. Selfies have surged in popularity, and the Pixel 2 enhances this trend, making selfie-taking enjoyable. The Pixel 2 excels not only in regular selfies but also in portrait mode selfies, surpassing other selfie cameras. Just glance at the comparison below: Top: Galaxy S9 Plus / Bottom: Pixel 2

The Pixel 2 photos exhibit remarkable details and sharpness. It’s perplexing why Samsung opts to smooth out selfies, resulting in a washed-out appearance and flawed edge detection, leading to subpar portrait shots. Clearly, the Pixel 2 emerges as the superior choice. Top: Galaxy S9 Plus / Bottom: Pixel 2

Winner: Pixel 2

Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2: The Ultimate Victor

Reviewing all categories, Pixel 2 emerges as the clear winner. The S9’s dual aperture ensures excellent daytime and low-light photos. Low-light photography on the S9 is impressive, and its super slow mode performs well in well-lit conditions. However, the Pixel 2 remains the top camera phone overall. If you prioritize slow-motion videos and low-light photography, the S9 Plus is a solid choice. But for consistent performance in all lighting conditions and effortless picture-taking, the Pixel 2 excels.

Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2 Camera: The Champion Retains the Crown

The Galaxy S9 Plus captures excellent photos but falls short of dethroning our current champion. For now, the Pixel 2 reigns as the supreme smartphone camera. However, with the Huawei P20 Pro achieving an impressive 109 points on DxOMark, the Pixel 2’s dominance may be challenged soon. If you’d like to see the Huawei P20 Pro go head-to-head with the Pixel 2 in a similar comparison, let us know in the comments below.