Can a $500 Pixel telephone beat a $1,000 iPhone in a digital camera check? I came upon

iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Google Pixel 8a in hand.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Right earlier than Google I/O 2024, Google confirmed off the most recent Pixel system, the Google Pixel 8a. This is the most recent providing from the Pixel A-series, which is a extra budget-friendly Pixel for many who don’t want all of the bells and whistles of the flagship Pixel 8 or 8 Pro.

The Pixel 8a includes a new design with extra rounded corners and a matte-finish again. It packs Google’s newest silicon, the Tensor G3, however the digital camera {hardware} stays unchanged from its predecessor, the Pixel 7a.

One of the issues I personally like about Pixel telephones is the digital camera and the ensuing images; it’s arduous to take a foul picture with a Pixel! But my major telephone is my iPhone 15 Pro, and I used to be curious as to how Google’s newest $500 telephone stacked up towards Apple’s $1,000 flagship. So, I did what any wise individual would do — an in-depth digital camera comparability between the 2.

Google Pixel 8a vs. iPhone 15 Pro: digital camera specs

iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Google Pixel 8a camera modules.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Before we have a look at the images, we have to look at the digital camera {hardware}. How does a $500 telephone examine to 1 that’s $1,000?

With the Google Pixel 8a, we’ve got a twin digital camera setup on the rear: a 64-megapixel principal digital camera with an f/1.9 aperture and a 13MP ultrawide lens with a 120-degree subject of view (FOV) and an f/2.2 aperture. there’s additionally a 13MP selfie digital camera with an f/2.2 aperture on the entrance.

The iPhone 15 Pro has a triple rear digital camera system: a 48MP principal digital camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a 12MP ultrawide digital camera with a 120-degree subject of view (FOV) and f/2.2 aperture, plus a 12MP telephoto digital camera with as much as 3x optical zoom. For selfies, we’ve got a 12MP entrance going through digital camera with an f/1.9 aperture.

Since the Pixel 8a doesn’t have a telephoto lens, we received’t be evaluating zoomed-in images right here, because it wouldn’t be honest. But all the things else is honest recreation, so let’s get to it.

Google Pixel 8a vs. iPhone 15 Pro: principal digital camera

For most individuals, myself included, the principle digital camera is probably going the one you’re going to make use of essentially the most. After all, it defaults to the principle digital camera if you open up the digital camera app, and also you sometimes simply snap your picture and keep it up together with your day. While the megapixels are necessary, there’s extra to it than simply the quantity.

Let’s begin with this Pixar Fest 2024 show on Main Street in Disneyland. Though each pictures are comparable, the iPhone 15 Pro model appears to have extra distinction, making some components of the show, particularly shadows, seem darker than they need to be. The Pixel 8a picture is brighter and extra vibrant with the show’s colours, however some particulars are softer, just like the yellow flowers upfront and sure characters, just like the Turning Red trio. Both images are good, however the iPhone 15 Pro handles the smaller particulars only a bit higher.

It appears to be like just like the TARDIS from Doctor Who has landed in Downtown Disney! Unfortunately, I didn’t see any signal of the Doctor apart from his TARDIS. Both pictures listed below are very comparable, however if you take a more in-depth look, the feel on the wooden’s floor is crisper and sharper within the iPhone 15 Pro model, whereas it seems softer within the Pixel 8a pic. But the Pixel 8a did a greater job of background particulars, such because the tree on the suitable and the individuals within the background, in comparison with the iPhone.

Here’s a batch of yellow foxgloves within the planters on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure Park. The iPhone 15 Pro model seems to have a hotter tone and is far more vibrant total. It additionally has a a lot stronger bokeh impact occurring within the background. With the Pixel 8a model, you’ve a much less pronounced background bokeh, and the crops seem darker, with extra lush greens and extra lifelike colours. These are each good pictures, so it simply comes all the way down to which one you like.

This is a photograph of the unbelievable Millennium Falcon sugar sculpture in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel throughout the Season of the Force occasion. The iPhone 15 Pro model appears to be like unbelievable, with the entire small particulars crisp and clear, from the rock formations within the again to the tiny components lining the facet of the Millennium Falcon. On the opposite hand, the Pixel 8a picture didn’t accomplish that effectively, as all of these finer particulars seem softer and a bit extra blurry than within the picture snapped by its iPhone counterpart.

I feel this picture captures a little bit of the fantastic thing about residing in Southern California. Palm bushes, blue skies, and a sundown within the distance. The iPhone 15 Pro did an ideal job of capturing the brilliant blue sky with some cloud cowl and the yellow solar within the distance. The palm bushes and grass are very darkish, so you may’t see plenty of element because of the distinction, however that’s the type of look I’m going for when the main target is the sundown. On the Pixel 8a, the colours are a little bit extra boring within the sky and the solar peeking behind the clouds is unquestionably blown out. It does have much less distinction so that you could see the grass with the glow of the sundown, although.

There’s a neighborhood park in my city with this enjoyable airplane mannequin that my daughter loves visiting, and it’s enjoyable to take images of. Again, the iPhone has extra distinction occurring with a hotter tone. The colours are extra vivid and brilliant, and the finer particulars are crisper and sharper. You may even make out the person particulars within the wooden chips and the feel on the wing of the aircraft. The Pixel 8a picture appears to be like a bit extra boring and lifeless, and it has softer particulars in comparison with the iPhone picture.

Lastly, right here’s a shot of the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. I like the general vibrancy of the Pixel 8a picture, but it surely additionally loses a little bit of element with the textures on the citadel partitions and even the steeples up prime. The water fountain additionally appears to be like a bit blurry and you may’t see make out the small print on the rocks. The iPhone picture seems sharper and has the entire finer particulars, however the colours are a little bit harsher than I’d like.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro

Google Pixel 8a vs. iPhone 15 Pro: ultrawide digital camera

The ultrawide lens on smartphones is nice if you need to seize extra of a scene than what you sometimes get with the principle digital camera. But the issue is that you just often have fewer megapixels than the principle digital camera, which suggests a lack of element. Both the iPhone 15 Pro and Pixel 8a have comparable ultrawide lenses, with only a 1MP distinction between them.

One of my favourite views in Disney California Adventure is simply searching on the waterfront from Pixar Pier. Both the iPhone 15 Pro and Pixel 8a produce comparable outcomes. However, the iPhone picture has a bit extra noise and grain within the water, and it seems darker than the Pixel 8a’s. In the Pixel 8a model, you’ve brighter colours and barely extra element, because of the 13MP lens as a substitute of the 12MP of the iPhone. But the Pixel 8a didn’t deal with the solar too effectively, because it seems blown out and has a visual lens flare impact, which isn’t a difficulty within the iPhone picture.

The flowers have bloomed within the rose backyard on the native park, and it’s one among my favourite issues to see. In these ultrawide photographs, each the Pixel 8a and iPhone 15 Pro carried out equally. But I really feel just like the Pixel 8a is a bit higher by way of colours and element, particularly with the greenery on the suitable facet of the primary archway. The iPhone picture isn’t unhealthy, although, and it does present textures within the rock planters a bit higher, however the distinction is fairly negligible.

Winner: Draw

Google Pixel 8a vs. iPhone 15 Pro: selfies and portraits

Though my most used digital camera is the principle one, I additionally take plenty of selfies and portraits. Portraits are an particularly straightforward method to give an additional skilled contact to a photograph of an individual.

Here’s a portrait of my husband, who’s my No. 1 portrait topic after I’m testing cameras. Both pictures are comparable, however the pores and skin tone appears extra correct with the iPhone 15 Pro model. I additionally imagine that the tree within the background has a greater, extra vibrant coloration that contrasts properly and permits his hair to be extra seen. His shirt can also be a greater coloration within the iPhone picture, whereas it appears to be like a bit washed-out within the Pixel 8a model, and he seems extra pale there, too.

My different nice portrait topic is my daughter, who likes to have her images taken. Once once more, the iPhone will get the pores and skin tone extra precisely, because the Pixel 8a makes her look extra pale than she truly is. The iPhone captures the rosiness in her cheeks, which you don’t actually see within the Pixel 8a picture. The Pixel 8a does have her extra in focus, nevertheless, whereas the iPhone has softer edges across the hood of her jacket. But there’s some distortion across the edges of her hair within the Pixel 8a picture, whereas the iPhone has a softer bokeh impact that seamlessly blends in. Both pictures right here have their strengths and weaknesses.

No journey to Disney California Adventure is full with out a picture alongside the Pixar Pier waterfront. In the iPhone 15 Pro selfie, you’ve sharper particulars, particularly with the background surroundings — you may see the railing of the Incredicoaster loop clearer than within the Pixel 8a picture. However, I really feel just like the Pixel 8a did a greater job right here with the vibrancy within the colours, and it acquired my pores and skin tone higher. But the sky is a bit washed-out. Again, professionals and cons for every picture.

I took this selfie whereas on the park with my household. I desire the iPhone picture right here, as my pores and skin tone is healthier represented. The Pixel 8a made me look a bit redder because of the daylight hitting my face. However, the Pixel 8a appeared to get the opposite colours extra exact, with the brilliant pastel shades in my shirt, in addition to the background with the blue sky and inexperienced within the bushes, wanting extra lifelike. The wooden chips appear extra true to life by way of coloration with the iPhone picture, although.

This is a selfie of me within the rose backyard at my native park. Both pictures are comparable in dealing with my pores and skin tone and the colour of my shirt. But for the background, the colour of the bushes is a little more vibrant within the iPhone picture, whereas it’s a tad darker within the Pixel 8a model. Overall, it’s fairly shut for this one.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro

Google Pixel 8a vs. iPhone 15 Pro: lowlight images

Remember a cut-off date when smartphone cameras have been simply absolute crap at taking images in dimly lit environments or at evening? Boy, have occasions modified. Our smartphones now are able to taking some fairly good pictures in lowlight eventualities thanks to nighttime modes and bigger sensors that seize extra mild. Though I’m hardly out late nowadays (the thrill of being older), Night Mode and Night Sight on iPhones and Pixels, respectively, are super-handy to have.

The first picture right here is of a tree in entrance of my home at round 9 p.m. It’s darkish out, and the one mild supply is the streetlights. It’s fairly clear that the iPhone 15 Pro did a greater job right here with Night Mode in comparison with Night Sight on the Pixel 8a. The particulars on the tree trunk and leaves are far more clear and crisp. The Pixel 8a has a lot softer particulars, and you may’t even make out the bunches of leaves on the prime just like the iPhone can.

I managed to catch this lovely sundown whereas heading again to the automotive after a protracted day at Disneyland with the household. This one I imagine is a matter of desire. The iPhone 15 Pro did a greater job at capturing the brightness of the orange glow and the solar itself, because the Pixel 8a has a softer hue and a little bit of a yellow aura across the solar. The distinction of all the things else within the lot can also be higher within the iPhone model because it’s darker, whereas you may see Minnie on the primary lamppost signal. Both pictures are good, however I desire the iPhone one only for capturing the colours higher.

Lastly, that is a picture of the highest of a tree with the moon peeking by way of the branches within the center. The iPhone 15 Pro picture is far more clear with the small print of the tree branches and leaves, and you may clearly see the moon within the center because it’s not blown out. The Pixel 8a has comfortable and muddled particulars in every single place, and nothing is basically clear. Even the moon doesn’t actually present up, because it’s only a blown-out white spot within the center that doesn’t even appear to be a circle. There’s additionally a type of vignette factor occurring with the Pixel 8a picture, as the sides are darker than the remainder of the picture.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro

Google Pixel 8a vs. iPhone 15 Pro: verdict

iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Google Pixel 8a.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The outcomes right here aren’t all that stunning. After all, we’re evaluating a flagship telephone with a midrange possibility. But nonetheless, Pixel units are identified for taking fairly good images, which is why we needed to see how the Pixel 8a would examine to probably the most costly iPhones you should buy in 2024.

We aren’t saying that the Pixel 8a is horrible — it’s not! For a $500 telephone, it truly does take some fairly good images. It’s simply not fairly pretty much as good as a telephone that prices twice as a lot. The Pixel 8a notably struggles by way of lowlight images, even with its Night Sight mode. I do know that folks wish to criticize Apple’s iPhones for his or her digital camera high quality, however as this check proves, the iPhone 15 Pro stays an unbelievable digital camera telephone. It’s additionally arduous to disclaim some useful features like Auto Portrait mode.

If something, this digital camera comparability is an efficient reminder which you can get stable digital camera experiences at a lot of completely different worth ranges in 2024. A $500 Pixel could not defeat a $1,000 iPhone, but it surely’s additionally not a whole blowout — and that’s fairly spectacular.

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