Camera Comparison: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8+

By Prasid Banerjee | Published 12 Sep 2017 22:12 IST
Camera Comparison: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8+
  • The camera is the most important difference between the Galaxy S8+ and Note 8. But how big is the difference really?

The Galaxy Note 8 is now in India and contrary to what many believed, Samsung didn’t make much of an effort to differentiate the phone in terms of pricing. Differentiate it from the Galaxy S8+ (review) that is, the company’s other flagship phone, sporting almost the same features as the Note, minus the S-Pen and dual-camera. A Note enthusiast may buy the Note 8 for the S-Pen, but many others may be eyeing the device for its excellent camera, with wide angle and telephoto lenses. Samsung even put optical image stabilisation on both the cameras.

So, that leaves us with a very simple question. If you’re contemplating buying one of the Samsung flagships, and aren’t too fond of the S-Pen, what does the Note give you that the S8+ doesn’t? I’ve had the Note 8 for just over a day, just enough time to snap some shots with the phone. Fortunately, I’ve also been using the Galaxy S8+ as my primary phone for months now, so a side-by-side comparison is possible.

Here are the results.

Note: Full sized image samples from both the phones are presented at the end of the story.

Bokehs and zoom

Starting with the obvious, bokehs and zoom are possible on the Galaxy Note 8, while the Galaxy S8+ is more of a regular smartphone camera. The Note 8’s “Live Focus” mode allows you to shoot bokehs seamlessly, and it’s as good as any of the top smartphones today. I did see edge details being blurred at times, but photos do look impressive overall.

The Galaxy Note 8 (left) produces bokehs, which the S8+ (right) does not

Galaxy Note 8 2X Zoom (left) and the same shot without zoom (right)

Furthermore, the Note 8’s telephoto lens allows you to shoot images with 2x optical zoom. That allows much more detailed photos when zooming, than the Galaxy S8+’s digital zoom. Optical zoom preserves details by using the lens’ own optics to take photos, while digital zoom essentially crops a scene to bring you closer to it, thereby losing details.

Regular Photos

Zooming and bokehs aside, the Galaxy S8+ and Note 8 both possess excellent smartphone cameras. You see Samsung’s signature brightly lit photos when shooting in low light and dynamic range is great. Also, in brightening the scene and producing vibrant colours, Samsung’s algorithms do tend to soften images to some extent, and lose details in the process. You will notice this only if you’re enlarging these images, but nitpickers may not like the same.

Upon head to head comparison, the Note 8 does come out as the better competitor, but by a slight margin. The same algorithms seem to be in effect on both phones, but the Note 8’s extra camera outperforms the S8+ in some ways. For instance, in the photo below, the Note 8 produces noticeably lesser noise and colour depth is better.

Original Photo (version shot by Galaxy Note 8)

Note 8 (left) vs Galaxy S8+ (right)

100% crop, Note 8 (left) vs Galaxy S8+ (right)

This next photo is tougher to choose between, but close inspection suggests that the Galaxy Note 8 still does produce more details. It also deals with the glowing lights better, creating more defined results, rather than the somewhat soft results on the Galaxy S8+.

Galaxy Note 8 (right) vs Galaxy S8+ (right)

While the difference between the two is easier to spot on low light images, thanks to the Note 8’s dual-camera and dual-OIS, there is a noticeable difference in daylight photos too. For instance, in the image below, the details on the flower are better reproduced by the Note 8, while dynamic range on the next image is far better from the Note 8.

Original Photo (version shot by the Note 8)

100% crop, Note 8 (left) vs Galaxy S8+ (right)

Original Photo (version shot by the Note 8)

Note 8 (left) vs Galaxy S8+ (right)

Overall, the Galaxy Note 8 is indeed the better camera of the two, and unsurprisingly so. Based purely on the camera, it does seem to be the better phone to pick, given that the two phones cost nearly the same. We would, however, hold our judgements till the complete review is complete.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Sample Images (Full Size) from the Galaxy Note 8

Galaxy S8+

Sample Images (Full Size) from Samsung Galaxy S8+

Prasid Banerjee
Prasid Banerjee

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About Me: Trying to explain technology to my parents. Failing miserably. Read More

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