Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Pixel 7 Pro camera [Gallery]

It’s hard to find one bad Smartphone camera in 2023, but with expectations this high, picking the better camera really comes down to personal preference and splitting hairs about where one camera performs better than the other. As it stands today, the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Google Pixel 7 Pro are widely considered the best cameras in Android phones, but with wildly different approaches to the same end goal. Which one is better? Today we want you to decide.

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Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Pixel 7 Pro camera – How they work

As mentioned earlier, basically all smartphone cameras are good these days, and that’s impressive for many reasons. But the main reason that these cameras have become so good is not necessarily due to the hardware alone, but mainly because of very clever software tools.

The Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra both use a mix of modern hardware and powerful software to create excellent final photos, but they lean in different directions.

In Samsung’s case, the Galaxy S23 Ultra uses quite a bit of hardware to create a flexible and powerful camera system. The headliner is a 200MP main camera on the back. From there, there’s a 12MP ultrawide camera and two 10MP sensors used with 3x and 10x telephoto lenses.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 Pro only has three lenses on the back. A 50 MP primary camera, a 12 MP ultrawide and a 48 MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom.

Both phones use around 12MP selfie cameras, but we won’t look at those in this comparison, instead focusing on the rear sensors.

Given all of this, it’s pretty clear how Samsung is throwing a lot more hardware at the problem. Google, on the other hand, focuses on software to improve the final shot.

For the past few days I’ve been visiting Disney World and wearing the Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra side by side. Through Hollywood Studios and Epcot, I’ve done a few side-by-side comparisons to show these two camera systems in different conditions: the main cameras in broad daylight, low-light, and at night, as well as the secondary sensors and 4K video too.

Starting with the main camera sensors, the 150MP difference in the raw hardware really doesn’t go quite as far as it should on paper. For many shots, the end product is basically identical. Colors may differ a little or be a bit sharper, but at the end of the day a well-lit shot taken with a few seconds off, especially of a building or other still object, will be basically the same.

The main difference I noticed in some shots was the amount of detail in Samsung’s images. That’s the 200-megapixel camera coming in, as in this shot by Batuu on the Galaxy’s Edge. But just as often the difference is negligible, as in the lower shot of an A-wing.

The processing also plays a role in the final recording. I noticed that in darker settings the pixel was usually closer to what my eyes actually saw, particularly in the image with Gusteaus from the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure ride.

What about low light? Samsung’s 200-megapixel camera relies much of its utility on pixel binning, which combines pixels to collect more light. In a quick comparison on Smuggler’s Run, I found the S23 Ultra had a much brighter shot, but at the expense of harsh motion blur. The Pixel was darker, but overall my favorite shot.

When it comes to taking Zoom photos, I think Samsung has some key advantages.

Firstly, as I pointed out in my review last month, I am consistently blown away by the quality of the lenses and the processing Samsung puts into their 3x and 10x lenses. But beyond that, Samsung’s setup offers a lot more flexibility. Google’s decision to only go with a 5x telephoto lens means that unless you’re taking a very far away shot, at least it will some compromise in quality. There is software to reduce that and it works, but I wish Google would throw in another lens at 2x or 3x.

Finally there are videos. This is an area where Android phones, even flagships, have always struggled a bit, but they’re getting a lot better. I feel Samsung’s overall video experience and quality has an advantage, but Google is well in the ballpark.

Which camera is better?

As mentioned at the beginning, comparing smartphone cameras in 2023 is a real hair-splitting. Each system has different strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the better camera is very personal.

With that in mind, I will not declare a winner on any of these specific comparisons or overall. Rather, I would like to know which one you prefer. Vote for the camera system in the poll below You would choose based on these examples, and let’s discuss further in the comments!

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9to5Google’s take

Both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Google Pixel 7 Pro have shown me their strengths and weaknesses over the past few days at Disney World, even beyond the end results. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is so much quicker to open its camera app, especially in the Flordia heat. I also really appreciate the added flexibility in zoom shooting that comes from Samsung’s dual-camera approach versus Google’s single zoom lens.

I’m still not going to declare an official winner, but I certainly have a personal preference.

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