DxOMark Front-Facing Camera Test Ranks iPhone XS Max as ‘Among the Best’ for Bokeh Effect Selfies, but Loses Points for Low-Light Performance

DxOMark today published the results of its "Selfie scores" test, which gauged the performance of the front-facing cameras for 12 modern smartphones. Apple's iPhone XS Max sits at fourth place on the overall selfie rankings with a score of 82, beaten out by Google Pixel 3, Galaxy Note 9, and Xiaomi Mi MIX 3.


According to DxOMark, the iPhone XS Max produces "some of the best" still images and video quality when it's placed in brightly lit situations, but it lost points because of poor performance in dim lighting. The only other Apple smartphone on the list is the iPhone X, with a score of 71 in 10th place.

DxOMark also broke down its results by providing a specific "selfie photo score" and "selfie video score." The iPhone XS Max received a score of 81 and 82, respectively in each category, again staying in fourth place in both instances.

The company said that Portrait Mode selfies are a major strength of the iPhone XS Max, with very good depth estimation and accurate subject masking. Overall, DxOMark said the iPhone XS Max was "among the best results we've observed for front cameras" thanks to features like HDR and Portrait Mode's bokeh effect.

iPhone XS Max bokeh effect

Google Pixel 2 bokeh effect

Overall, DxOMark pointed out that one of the XS Max's big weak spots on its front-facing camera is noise, noting that luminance noise is visible on faces in many of the outdoor images taken during the testing process. The company noted that results remained "acceptable," but things only got worse in low lighting conditions, and even explained that these results are slightly poorer than those found on the iPhone X's front-facing camera.
Achieving a DxOMark front camera score of 82, the Apple iPhone XS Max puts in a solid performance for both still and moving images during our tests, and is a nice improvement over its predecessor, the iPhone X. For still photos, the device boasts some great strengths for selfie shooters, including excellent HDR, bokeh shots, and detail at close range, which are among the best results we’ve observed for front cameras.

There are some areas in which Apple can continue to improve for stills, however, with noise visible in all lighting conditions; and white balance and skin rendering issues, especially in indoor images and occasionally outdoors, too, where color casts and low-contrast faces can look unnatural.
The full ratings breakdown for the iPhone XS Max's front-facing selfie camera can be seen below:


The two phones topping the list -- Pixel 3 and Galaxy Note 9 -- tied for first with a score of 92. DxOMark said that the Pixel 3 edges out the Note 9 in terms of its focus system, but the Note 9 achieves better results for exposure and color in selfie photos. "Images captured with the Google device show slightly stronger contrast and a cooler white balance," DxOMark's Lars Rehm mentioned. "The Samsung is a little better at exposing for faces and applies a little less contrast to faces, making for a slightly more natural look."

You can check out the full iPhone XS Max front camera review by DxOMark right here.

Tag: DxOMark

This article, "DxOMark Front-Facing Camera Test Ranks iPhone XS Max as 'Among the Best' for Bokeh Effect Selfies, but Loses Points for Low-Light Performance" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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DxOMark: iPhone XR is ‘Best Single-Cam Smartphone We’ve Tested’

DxOMark today published the results of its in-depth analysis of the iPhone XR's single-lens rear camera. Apple's flagship smartphone achieved an overall score of 101 points, surpassing Google's Pixel 2 to make it the top-ranked single lens phone in the site's rankings.


In its testing, DxOMark found the iPhone XR to offer "a very similar proposition for image quality as the flagship iPhone XS Max," across key photo attributes like exposure, color, detail, noise, and artifacts.

Both devices also achieved the same overall score for video, but the dual lenses of the iPhone XS Max meant the XR fell behind on zoom and bokeh shots, although DxOMark noted that Apple had managed to improve the flash on the more affordable single-lens iPhone.

Colored panels shot on iPhone XR

The review adds that the iPhone XR has very good exposure and dynamic range in bright light and indoor conditions, while detail is well-preserved in all lighting conditions with "vivid and pleasant colors in most situations."

Apple iPhone XR, HDR test scene

The few cons the review noted included the visibility of fine grain luminance noise in indoor and low-light conditions, while video was criticized for instabilities in white balance when filming indoors.

Apple iPhone XS Max, HDR test scene for comparison

DxOMark concludes that the photographic capabilities of the iPhone XR are "broadly similar to those of the XS/XS Max" which should make the less-expensive model "desirable to many Apple enthusiasts looking to upgrade their smartphone."
"Compared to the Google Pixel 2, which is the best single-cam smartphone we’d tested up until now, the results are very comparable in many areas, but thanks to improved results for noise and particularly for artifacts, the iPhone XR just nudges it out of first place to become our top-ranked single-cam smartphone."

For its scoring and analysis methodology, DxOMark says its engineers capture and evaluate over 1,500 test images and more than two hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera's default settings.

DxO is a well-known French image lab that has been reviewing smartphone cameras for several years, but they aren't immune to criticism, which just goes to show how subjective image quality can sometimes be.

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DxOMark: iPhone XS Max is ‘Surefire Option’ With ‘One of the Best Smartphone Cameras Ever’

DxOMark today published the results of its in-depth analysis of the iPhone XS Max's rear camera. Apple's flagship smartphone achieved an overall score of 105 points, trailing only the Huawei P20 Pro in the site's all-time rankings.


In its testing, DxOMark found the iPhone XS Max to have "excellent" photo and video quality in bright light, with a "very wide dynamic range and good detail." In terms of photo quality, they found exposure in outdoor images "tends to be spot on," with high levels of detail and pleasant colors.

Backlit indoor scene shot on iPhone XS Max

Backlit indoor scene shot on iPhone X

The review adds that Apple's new Smart HDR feature generates images with "very good target exposure and a wide dynamic range in all conditions."

Achieving a video score of 96, DxOMark said the iPhone XS Max shows "outstanding video quality in bright light."


DxOMark concludes that the iPhone XS Max has "one of the best mobile cameras" it has ever tested, with noticeable improvements in many areas over last year's iPhone X. Their review praises the iPhone XS Max camera as being "very reliable overall" and "consistently delivering good results."


In lower light, however, DxOMark found that noise becomes "a little more intrusive than with other high-end phones," adding that the iPhone XS Max's zoom capabilities lag somewhat behind the competition — specifically, the Huawei P20 Pro. Beyond that, they say the device is a "surefire option for any mobile photographer."

DxO is a well-known French image lab that has been reviewing smartphone camera for many years, but they've attracted some criticism. At the end of the day, camera quality is subjective, at least to some extent.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS
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Galaxy S9+ Tops iPhone X as Best Smartphone Camera Ever in DxO’s Controversial Rankings

DxO today said Samsung's new Galaxy S9 Plus has the best smartphone camera it has ever tested. The device earned the highest-ever DxOMark score of 99, topping both the Google Pixel 2 and iPhone X, which scored 98 and 97 respectively.


In its review, DxO said the Galaxy S9 Plus camera lacks any "obvious weaknesses" and "performs very well across all photo and video test categories," which will make it a compelling choice for photography-minded smartphone users.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is a smartphone without any real weaknesses in the camera department. In both still and video modes, it performs well across the board, delivering consistently good photo and video image quality in all light and shooting situations, thus earning itself our highest DxOMark Mobile score to date. Add one of the best smartphone zooms and a capable bokeh simulation mode to the mix, and the Galaxy S9 Plus is difficult to ignore for any photo-minded smartphone user. With the Galaxy S9 Plus, Samsung is setting the pace for 2018. We'll see if the competition can follow suit.
While the Galaxy S9 Plus has a 12-megapixel dual-lens rear camera like the iPhone X, a key new feature is variable aperture, which means the lenses can adapt to various lighting conditions just as the human eye would, and automatically let in more light when it's dark and less when it's too bright.

In dim conditions, the rear camera uses a very fast f/1.5 aperture to maximize light capture, according to DxO. In brighter light, it switches to a slower f/2.4 aperture for optimized detail and sharpness.

DxO found the Galaxy S9 Plus produces "excellent results" in bright light and sunny conditions, with vivid colors, good exposures, and a very wide dynamic range. The autofocus wasn't the very fastest DxO has ever tested, but they said it's more than fast enough not to be an issue for any user.

Galaxy S9+

iPhone X

While the review crowned the Galaxy S9 Plus as an "excellent bright-light performer," DxO still experienced some "fairly minor issues" in those conditions. Some of its photos had "purple fringing on high-contrast edges" and "pretty noticeable" ringing halos, while others had "slight blue or pink color casts."

DxO said the Galaxy S9 Plus's performance in dimmer conditions is "equally impressive," yielding photos with "nice exposures with vivid color, accurate white balance, low noise, and good texture in low-light conditions."

The rear camera earned top marks in several other areas, including autofocus, zoom, flash, and bokeh, exposure, contrast, and color accuracy, so be sure to read the full-length review for more detailed analysis.

To determine scoring in its smartphone camera reviews, DxOMark said its engineers capture and evaluate over 1,500 test images and more than two hours of video, both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera's default settings. This article explains more about the methodology.

DxO's smartphone camera reviews are well known, but they've also attracted some criticism, since the overall quality of a camera is subjective. When comparing dynamic range on the Galaxy S9 Plus, Google Pixel 2, and iPhone X, for example, DxO itself said the results are "pretty much a question of personal preference."

For those interested, here is DxO's review of the iPhone X camera. But reviews from professional photographers like Austin Mann may be more valuable. Together, they provide good technical and real-world insight.


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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Ties iPhone 8 Plus in DxO Labs Camera Test

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 produces generally better results than the iPhone 8 Plus when shooting still photography, but falls short of Apple's handset when it comes to recording video. That's according to the latest comprehensive smartphone camera test conducted by Dxo Labs, in which the two phones essentially came out tied overall.


The reviewers singled out Samsung's device for its "phenomenal" photo sub-score, which as the first smartphone to achieve 100 points in the category, "breaks new ground and makes the Note 8 the current class-leader for stills, thanks to excellent zoom quality, good noise reduction and detail preservation, and fast and accurate autofocus".
The Note 8 is Samsung's first foray into the world of dual cameras and is a great success, offering the best zoom capabilities of any mobile device we've tested to date. Add to that PDAF autofocus, optical image stabilization, Auto HDR, and a massive 6.3" Super AMOLED display, and there's plenty for smartphone photography enthusiasts to get excited about.

Overall, Note 8 achieved a DxOMark mobile score of 94 points, making it the joint-leader for smartphone image quality alongside Apple's iPhone 8 Plus, which the site previously praised for having the best smartphone camera they had ever tested. The Note 8's low-light photos showed less noise and more detail than its rivals, although HDR mode tended to clip highlights and highly backlit subjects didn't always turn out very clear.

In terms of video, the Note 8 was notable for offering good exposure with fast convergence, fast and stable autofocus, as well as good noise reduction, white balance, and color rendering. However, while the Note 8 trumped Apple's phone when taking stills, its video performance suffered due to residual motion when holding the camera still during recording, earning it a video sub-score of 84. In comparison, the iPhone 8 Plus achieved 89 in the same tests.


DxO says it has analyzed the image and video quality of over 10,000 cameras, lenses, and mobile phones, and its tests are generally respected within the industry. The company also sells some consumer-facing products like the DxO ONE camera, which can be plugged into an iPhone's Lightning connector.

The full review is worth checking out, and includes additional photos and analysis of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8's dual cameras compared to its rivals.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: DxOMark, Galaxy Note 8
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DxO Labs Says iPhone 8 Plus Has Best Smartphone Camera They’ve Ever Tested

DxO Labs has declared the iPhone 8 Plus has the best smartphone camera it has ever tested in a new in-depth review.


iPhone 8 Plus set a new record with an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 94, two points higher than its smaller iPhone 8 sibling. iPhone 8 Plus also topped the Google Pixel and HTC U11, which both scored 90 points, as well as last year's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus which scored 88 and 85 points respectively.

DxO said iPhone 8 models do a better job of capturing HDR scenes. In the comparison below, it found the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus offer better detail preservation and overall exposure than the iPhone 7 Plus. The performance matches that of the Google Pixel, which was released nearly one year ago.


In low light, DxO said the iPhone 8 Plus camera's exposures are generally accurate, with some underexposure in very low light.

iPhone 8 Plus

DxO said the iPhone 8 Plus is the highest-performing smartphone camera it tested in relation to the bokeh effect, which makes the subject in the foreground sharp while creating an out-of-focus blur in the background.

iPhone 8 Plus

Google Pixel

DxO said the iPhone 8 Plus improves slightly over the iPhone 8 in its color performance by completely avoiding visible color shading, even in low light.


DxO said, overall, the iPhone 8 Plus is an "excellent choice" for the needs of "nearly every smartphone photographer."
It features outstanding image quality, zoom for those needing to get closer to their subjects, and an industry-leading Portrait mode for artistic efforts. It is at the top of our scoring charts in nearly every category — and in particular, its advanced software allows it to do an amazing job of capturing high-dynamic range scenes and images in which it can recognize faces.
DxO says it has analyzed the image and video quality of over 10,000 cameras, lenses, and mobile phones, and its tests are generally respected within the industry. The company also sells some consumer-facing products like the DxO ONE camera, which can be plugged into an iPhone's Lightning connector.

The full review is a worthwhile read for additional photos and analysis of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus cameras.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tag: DxOMark
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

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