Camera wars: iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7

Apple’s best phone goes head-to-head with the best Samsung has to offer. See which camera comes out on top.

Meryl D'Souza October 18, 2016

We’ve been very impressed with both the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7’s cameras; both are absolute stunners.

There was a time when Samsung couldn’t match Apple in any way. All that changed with the introduction of the Samsung S6. The phone was sleek, fast, reliable and – dare we say it – better than what Apple had to offer back then.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 built on that. While it wasn’t a game changer like the S6, we had no hesitation at the time in calling it the best smartphone money could buy. But all eyes were still on Apple.

Apple’s iPhone 7 launch in September was tepid. The phone didn’t blow Samsung out of the water like many anticipated. Tech experts claim Samsung knew Apple’s phone wouldn’t be as trailblazing as many thought, and so the South Korean manufacturers rushed to launch the Note 7. 

We were at the Note 7 launch in Dubai. We heard and sniggered at the jibes the Samsung team took at Apple then. A few explosions later and the joke’s on Samsung, and Apple will be kicking themselves they didn’t go all in with the iPhone 7. There is talk about a better phone coming next year with Apple’s 10th anniversary but that might be too little too late.

We have the iPhone 7. It isn’t great, but it isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. The standout feature has to be its camera. The iPhone 7’s camera even forced Instagram to introduce an update to support its wide range feature. Yes, it’s that good.

We couldn’t decide which one was better. Which is why we decided to have the two go head-to-head. Below are a series of images shot in different conditions and settings to help you decide which camera is better. 

With the HDR turned on, both phones seem to be on par when it comes to sharpness, but you can see how the iPhone favours highlights where the S7 favours contrast.

With the HDR turned off, the iPhone produces saturated images when you compare it to the S7.

Exposure on the S7 is a little high. It makes for bright photos that pop out, but they can also be edited or colour corrected. That’s not a feature you'll be on board with when it messes up skin tones.

While shooting a far subject in lowlight, The S7’s images tend to be darker. The iPhone 7’s images are brighter but look hazy and less detailed.


Both cameras perform exceptionally well in lowlight when the subject is near. You’ll notice how the S7 images are brighter but we prefer the iPhone’s gritty feel. The shadows here are very Nolan-esque.

While the Samsung S7 can focus better, the details on the Apple iPhone 7 are incredible.

The iPlone 7 may win on details but it certainly loses out on autofocus. The S7 was faster and didn’t have a weird blue tint that you see in the image below.

Of course, looks can be subjective and a camera has never been the primary use of a phone. But in the age of the selfie and photographing your food, it's become as important as ever to have a market leading lens.

Tell us which camera you prefer in the comments section.