Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE Camera Test Comparison
– What’s up, guys? Safhere on SuperSaf TV. And welcome to another SuperSafStyle camera comparison. This time it’s between the iPhone SE and the Google Pixel 4a, and I’m sorry, it’s windy,but I live in the UK, and it’s always windy,so I can’t help that. Anyway, so we’re going tobe testing out all aspects of the cameras, front-facing, rear-facing, images, video, low light,all of the good stuff, and also look out for the audio icon in the corner of the screen. We’re currently usingthe front-facing cameras on both devices.
See what the dynamic range is like, how much of the backgroundyou can actually see. Anyway, we’re going to go aheadand test out stabilization. So walking. Now, let’s run. (wind blowing) We’ve switched on to video now. See what the dynamic range is like here. And we’re going to testout stabilization at 4K. So usual walk, and let’s run. Now, we’re going to testout 1080p stabilization. So usual walk, and now run.
(lighter sparking) Just testing out theautofocus on the Pixel 4a. Seems to be absolutely fine, very fast. Same test on the iPhone SE. Once again, very fast.No problems I can see. So that was the video. Now, before we move on to images, if you like what you’re seeing so far, do consider subscribing. It will mean a lot to me,and you’ll also get to see all of the latest SuperSafStyle content first. Now, let’s have a look atwhat we’re working with. So we have two cameras on each smartphone, one in the front and one in the back, and it’s been a long timesince we’ve had this.
Right now, we kind of havefive, six, seven cameras on each smartphone and having to test each of those separately takes a long time. So this video is going to be much shorter than the usual camera comparisons. But anyway, on the rear facing cameras, both have around 12 megapixels. The Pixel does have aslightly wider aperture. For the front-facing cameras, the Pixel once again hasa slightly wider aperture as well as a slightly higher resolution. Now, looking at the images in good light, honestly speaking, bothdo very, very well. You can see these examples side by side.
Now, the iPhone does tend to have slightly more vibrant colorscompared to the Pixel, which are a bit more neutral. I think this is going to comedown to personal preference. And if you’ve used theGoogle Pixel device before, you’ll be familiar with thePixel look, shall we say. This is a very specific type of look that you get from Pixel devices. It can sometimes look alittle bit over-sharpened, but you’ve got a lot of contrast,and the images really pop. This is something thata lot of people do like.
Some people don’t like it, think it’s a bit too over-processed, but, nevertheless, I thinkyou can’t really go wrong with either of these, and youget some excellent results outdoors with great dynamic range. I’m very impressed with the dynamic range that you’re getting on these smartphones coming in at this price point. Now, although you don’t haveany form of optical zoom on both these devices,you do have digital zoom. And Google have whatthey call Super Res Zoom, which essentially uses software to give you better zoom results. The iPhone can go up to a max of 5x, whereas the Pixel cango up to a max of 7x.
Now, if we do compare 5x side by side, you’ll see that the Pixel is giving you an overall cleaner image with less noise, and it’s also a tad sharper. And if we do go to themax zoom of the Pixel, you can see that you can get in closer. I want to emphasize thatthis is digital zoom. It is not optical zoom. But if you are interested inzooming on these smartphones, then yes, the Pixel will giveyou better results overall.
Now, let’s move on to low light. So, initially, just takingimages on automatic, just tapping the shutter button, the iPhone is actuallydoing a better job overall. You can see that thoseblinds in that window are still visible, whereasthose have been blown out on the Pixel, but the Pixeldoes have night sight. And this is a dedicated night mode, which takes multiple exposures and gives you muchbrighter low light images, like you can see from this example here. We can now see much more of the roof.
You can see more of theclouds in the background, and you can also makeout somewhat of the path in the middle of my garden, which you simply cannotmake out on the iPhone SE. And this is something that I really wish that the iPhone SE did havea dedicated night mode, which would have really helpedin low light situations. Unfortunately, it is not there. Checking out another example. This is on automatic, the Pixelstraightaway doing better. It is a brighter image, but assoon as you use night sight, it becomes much more of a usable image. It’s much brighter. It’smuch sharper as well. So when it does come to low light, the Pixel definitely gets the edge thanks to the night sight feature. Now, let’s look at some of the portraits.
So this is very interesting because the Pixel actuallypunches in to take portraits. And this is something that I really like because it gives you amuch more flattering angle. Rather than the wide angle, which kind of looks likeeverything is stretched out, it looks like I’ve beenon a very significant diet on the iPhone, but that’sjust the way things work. That’s just how anglesin photography work. So I definitely prefer theangle of view on the Pixel, but I also prefer the edgedetection on the Pixel where you can see that the iPhone has really, really struggled on my hair, and kind of blended my partially gray hair into the gray rooftop in the background.
Now, neither of these aredoing an excellent job. You can still see thatthe area between my arms has been completelyignored by both of these. And this is something thatI was kind of expecting with these smartphonesat this price point. But if I was to pick one, itwould definitely be the Pixel. Another shot, and I thinkthe sort of distortion is more emphasized here on the iPhone SE. You know, my head is lookinga little bit alien-like, and that is because you haveto move in a little bit closer to be able to get thatproper portrait shot, and the Pixel, much, muchbetter angle of view. Neither are doing amazingin terms of edge detection.
You can see that theiPhone has kind of gone around my hands and everything, and try to blur everythingelse in the background, whereas the Pixel has tried to do more of a gradual fall off, as youwould see on a pro camera. Once again, I would sayI prefer the Pixel here compared to the iPhone. Now, let’s move on to some selfies. And the first thing you’llnotice straight away is that the Pixel does havea much wider angle of view. So you’ll be able to get in alot more of your background. If you want to take group selfies, then this is where the Pixel is really going to have an advantage. In terms of overalldynamic range and detail, I think both are doing areally, really good job.
The Pixel, once again, thatvery crisp over-sharpened look, which some people dolike, some people don’t. And in this sort of instance, when you’re taking selfies,then it does kind of amplify those imperfections in your face. Once again, this is somethingthat you may or may not like. The iPhone giving youmore sort of softer skin, and I do like that the iPhonehas prioritized exposure on my face. You can see that the Pixelis a little bit dark, so it’s trying to have moreof a balanced exposure. And this is something thatI do like about the iPhone. It does find your face andit tries to brighten up that area, so it doesn’t look too dark.
I mean, you could easilytweak the image on the Pixel, but the iPhone is givingyou the brighter shot straight off the bat. Now, here is another shot. Once again, you’ll noticeall of the same things. You’ll see that the Pixel isa little bit darker overall, whereas the iPhone has brightenedthe image up a little bit. This is going to come downto personal preference. The Pixel wider again, which I do like, but look at dynamic range, we’ve got light comingin from the background, but both have done a really good job. Very different skin tones. So the iPhone kind of going for something which I would call a bitmore of a pleasing look, whereas the Pixel is probably going for a bit more of a natural look.
And, again, if you look at the skin, you can see that the iPhoneis a little bit smoother, whereas the Pixel is very, very sharp. A little over-sharpened, some may say. Now, for this next shot, I wanted to test out dynamic range, so the Sun is beamingright in the background, and you can see that both are still doing a very, very good job. So, very happy with thedynamic range on both here. Very big differences in color. The iPhone, again, more vibrant, which I do think is a bit more pleasing, whereas the Pixel is a bit more muted.
Now, in this shot, again,we’ve got all of the things that we’ve talked about before, but I do prefer thePixel shot here overall. The shadow areas in my faceare a little bit brighter, which does give it an overallbetter exposure, I think. And then, if we moveon to the portrait mode from the front-facing camera, the first thing you’llnotice is that the Pixel does punch in slightly, so you do kind of losethat wide angle of view when you are shooting portraits. Here, again, the Pixel kind of looks like it’s sharpened things even more,which does look very crisp, but this is something thatyou may or may not prefer.
In terms of edge detection, I think overall both aredoing a very, very good job. Now, the Pixel does try tocut out a very hard edge, which can sometimes look really good, but it can fail at other times. The iPhone you can see,especially around my hair, it’s kind of got more of a softer edge, which is a little bit more forgiving. So that is something to bear in mind, and it’s something that youwill notice more going forward, such as in this shot here. I definitely prefer the iPhone more.
The Pixel, in tryingto get that hard edge, has also got the legs of thespace man in the background. So it thinks it’s part of my face, which completely ruins that portrait shot. Whereas, the iPhone hasdone a much better job, and although it might have notgot every strand of my hair, and it’s kind of applied more of a blur, it does give you a much more pleasing shot compared to the Pixel. Another example here. Again, the Pixel, intrying to get that edge, has completely failed on my hair, so my hair is now all a bit of a blur.
Whereas, the iPhone,although it’s not perfect, has done a much better job. And I do prefer the iPhonehere overall compared to the Pixel, even though theiPhone has kind of overexposed a bit of my t-shirt, it ismore of a pleasing shot. Now, some low light selfies. And here, the Pixel doing muchbetter straight off the bat. The iPhone does have a lot of noise. Now, on the Pixel, youcan also use night sight from the front-facing camera,which is really interesting.
It doesn’t give you the sharpest result because it is taking multiple exposures, but it does give you a much, much brighter and more usable result. Now, in these cases, it is best to use the front-facing flash where it does illuminate the screen. And here, once again,I do prefer the Pixel. It’s just giving you abrighter overall image. You can see a bit more ofthe background as well. Whereas, the iPhone, althoughit’s doing much better than it was previously, isstill a little bit noisy, and it’s not as bright as the Pixel.
And those were all of the samples, and I have to say bothare very impressive. Considering the price point that these smartphones are coming in at, you are getting some excellent cameras. I think a lot of that isthanks to the software. Apple and Google, really goodwith software processing. Now, there were some situationswhere the Pixel was better, and others where the iPhone was better. One area where the Pixelwas definitely better was in low light.
Thanks to night sight,you can get much brighter and much more detailed low light images. This is an area where theiPhone SE generally struggles because it doesn’t havethat dedicated night mode. I really wish Apple canhave a software update to include it. The Pixel also has anastrophotography mode. This is where you’ll be ableto get very long exposures on a tripod, of the stars. It’s something that I havetested on the Pixel 4 last year. I couldn’t do this for the Pixel 4a because it requires you togo in the middle of nowhere where you have no light pollution. You need a tripod, andyou need to sit there for a good few minutes.
Now, the option is there,so I do want to mention it, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go out and do that. This is something that youcan’t do on the iPhone SE. I also did prefer portraits from the rear-facing camera on the Pixel. That punch in gives you amuch better angle of view, and it did have betteroverall edge detection. Now, when it comes to video,things were quite interesting. From the rear-facing camera, I did prefer videooverall on the iPhone SE. I think you had more detail and stabilization was also better.
The Pixel does try toover-stabilize, shall we say? And then, it can be a little bit jittery, especially when you have lots of motion. The iPhone can also film atup to 4K, 60 frames a second from the rear-facing camera. This is an option that youdo not have on the Pixel 4a. From the front-facing camera, video, the Pixel had much better dynamic range, and it also had much better stabilization. However, the iPhone wasdefinitely much sharper. If you look back, you can clearly see that the iPhone is producingmuch sharper results.
It looks like the Pixel,to be able to provide all of that dynamicrange and stabilization, is doing a lot of software processing. It also does punch in to be able to give you that stabilization, so you don’t get thatsame wide angle of view like you do for images. And speaking of images fromthe front-facing camera, I think a lot of it is going to come down to personal preference. The Pixel is wider. It’s also sharper, but some may feel thatit is over-sharpened. As mentioned, thoseimperfections in your face will be highlighted more on the Pixel compared to that on the iPhone.
But the iPhone did have better portraits. Overall, edge detection was just better on the iPhone compared to the Pixel, which does try to give youa very clear-cut portrait, but in the process of doing that, it can pick up a lot of thebackground and miss those edges. For slow motion, I do thinkthat the iPhone gets the edge. You do have 1080p slow motion.
And although the Pixel doestry to sharpen the footage, it definitely looks likesoftware sharpening. So, at first glance itmight seem like the Pixel does have sharper slow motion, but when you do look at it closely, you can see that it is over-sharpened. For audio, I’ll let yougo back and have a listen. For me, it was a bit of a draw. I do think that the iPhonehad better noise cancellation from all of that wind in the background, but I’ll let you guys decide on that. That’s what I think anyway.What do you guys think? Definitely drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.
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