Comparing Cameras: iPhone 6 vs. Galaxy S7

High-End Smartphone Photography

Most people use their smartphones for taking pictures on a regular basis. There isn’t as much of a need to carry around a dedicated camera when a smartphone can fit in your pocket. But that doesn’t mean that all cameras are created equally. Each phone has areas where it excels and falls behind.

The Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lines are the devices with the largest market share. And while the iPhone 6 has consistently been lauded for its picture quality, the release of the Galaxy S7 Edge is giving it a run for its money. Here’s why:

Low-Light Capabilities

The technology behind low-light capable cameras has come a long way since phones started getting cameras. From better sensors to better software for processing the photos, low light is where much of the innovation happens.

In many respects both the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s have similar camera specifications. Both are 12 megapixels and shoot 4K video up to 30 frames per second (fps), 1080p at 60 fps and 720p at 120 fps, but that is where many of the similarities end. The Galaxy’s pixel sizes are 1.4 micrometers, compared to Apple’s 1.22 micrometers, or about a 15 percent difference. These larger pixels mean that more light can be captured in the same amount of time, leading to lower ISOs in low-light conditions and thus cleaner images. Combined with the f1.7 lens on the Samsung compared to the f2.2 on the iPhone, you start to gather significantly more light. With all other factors being equal, the Galaxy S7 can gather more light in the same amount of time, meaning cleaner low-light photos without the need for using the flash.


It doesn’t matter if you can get a photo in low light if the phone isn’t quick enough. Both phones have fast processors that get everything you need done quickly. From launching the camera app to shooting video, these two phones will do what you want. This includes important features like being able to shoot 4k video at normal speeds as well as high-speed video.

Speed also comes from the capture side of photography. Both phones have quick autofocus that use phase detection, a technology found in dedicated DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The Galaxy has upped its game with this iteration by making every pixel on the sensor part of the autofocus system. By having more pixels that are able to help with focusing, you will have fewer out-of-focus pictures and an increased speed at which focus is obtained.

Other Considerations

In many respects both the iPhone and Galaxy phones are very similar. From physical size to features, these two lines tend to leapfrog each other every year. And while the iPhone may be beaten by the Galaxy at the moment, the launch of the iPhone 7 will probably bring the debate back. But there are still differences that should be explored.

  • Memory

Both phones come in a variety of memory sizes, which can be important when you’re thinking about using it for photography. The iPhone supports up to 128GB, non-expandable memory, but the 16GB and 64GB models are more commonly seen. The Galaxy, on the other hand, comes primarily in a 32GB base model, but is able to support up to 200GB through expandable microSD cards. These cards can be swapped, which theoretically gives you unlimited storage capacity.

  • Ecosystem

Where the iPhone really tends to shine is the ability to seamlessly integrate with other Apple products. This is the advantage Apple has with a closed ecosystem; there should be no software conflicts between devices. This includes the ability to use iPhoto across devices. So, you could capture an image with your iPhone, edit it on an iPad and then stream it to your friends and family through Apple TV.