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S21 Ultra Vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera Wars – Which One Takes Better Pictures

Pic showing S21 ultra vs iPone 12 Pro Max Camera comparison side by side

Ever since Samsung has unveiled its S-Series flagship of 2021, the discussions about the camera comparison of the S21 Ultra Vs iPhone 12 Pro Max is in the public eye. Cameras in both phones are fabulous but outshine in different operations. Undoubtedly both devices are offering one of the best cameras of 2021 that can compete with DSLR. You can’t go wrong if choosing these devices for photography and camera. This year Samsung S21 Ultra’s unbelievable boasting zoom skills have caught everyone’s attention vs iPhone 12 Pro Max. But still, we can not forget the fact that only iPhone 12 Pro Max possesses a LiDAR sensor.

Building Up: iPhone 13 Leaks and Rumors

Both iOs and Android users are trying to make their points about cameras. But the question arises, which smartphone takes the better photos in different conditions. Which one is better in night mode and portrait mode? Which one is a zoom master and, which mobile has the better wide-angle lenses? In a nutshell who wins the battle of camera wars in the S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max camera duel.

So are you excited for the side-by-side camera comparison of the two most premium devices of 2021? Then keep on reading and find out.

Also, if you are curious about these two smartphones, then check out the detailed comparison to find out a complete and in-depth review.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs S21 Ultra Camera War: At a Glance

  • S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera Specs
  • Camera Lenses in detail
  • Daylight Shots
  • Low Light Shots
  • Portrait Mode Compraision
  • Zoom and Macro Camera Comparison
  • Ultra-Wide Camera Duel
  • We Love Selfies comparison
  • Video Wars
  • S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max Final Verdict – Who Wins?


 Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraiPhone 12 Pro Max
Main Camera108MP (12MP binned) f/1.8 aperture 24mm focal length 1/1.33″ sensor PDAF, OIS12MP f/1.6 aperture 26mm focal length dual-pixel PDAF, IBIS
Second Camera (Wide-angle)12MP f/2.2 aperture 13mm focal length 1/2.55″ sensor dual-pixel PDAF12MP f/2.4 aperture 13mm focal length 1/3.6″ sensor
Third Camera (Telephoto zoom)10MP f/2.4 aperture 70mm focal length 1/3.24″ sensor dual-pixel PDAF, OIS 3x zoom12MP f/2.2 aperture 65mm focal length 1/3.4″ sensor PDAF, OIS 2.5x zoom
Fourth Camera (Periscope zoom)10MP f/4.9 aperture 240mm focal length 1/3.24″ sensor dual-pixel PDAF, OIS 10x zoom                   –
Additional SensorsLaser AF system3D ToF Lidar
FeaturesLED flash, auto-HDR, panoramaDual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR (photo/panorama)
Video    8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec, gyro-EIS4K@24/30/60fps,  1080p@30/60/120/240fps, 10‑bit HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), stereo sound rec.
Selfie Camera40 MP,  f/2.2 aperture    26mm (wide) focal length  1/2.8″ sensor    0.7µm, PDAF12 MP,  f/2.2 aperture    23mm (wide), focal length  1/3.6″ sensor  
Videos4K@30/60fps  1080p@30fps4K@24/30/60fps 1080p@30/60/120fps  gyro-EIS

Total Camera Lenses:

iPhone 12 Pro Max features triple Main Cameras. The first lens provides a 12MP sensor, then a 12MP telephoto zoom lens, and lastly, the third camera has a 12MP ultra-wide lens. iPhone 12 Pro Max gets an edge vs S21 Ultra Camera due to its additional LiDAR sensor with Dual-LED dual-tone flash.

On the Contrary, Galaxy S21 Ultra possesses four cameras. The Main Camera carries 108MP, which is incredible than 12MP ultra-wide lens, along with dual 10MP telephoto lenses. The phone also features a laser autofocus sensor with an LED flash.

If we talk about Selfie Cameras in our battle of S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max, then, iPhone carries a 12 MP front camera with its signature notch. On the other hand, S21 Ultra has a 40 MP punch-hole front camera.

S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera – Daylight Shots

Let’s start with the standard daylight shooting. No doubt both phones can take incredible photos, but still, we can see a slight difference in the performance. When we got the first impression of these outdoor photos from the two devices, Samsung’s one looks more eye-catching and attractive. Here we can examine a clear difference in the colors and contrast; the first image is a little more striking and vivid than the second image. Other than that, they are pretty much neck to neck. For some people, the first image could be overly vivid and bright, but in our opinion here, S21 Ultra wins. But which one do you prefer?

Outdoor Photos: Camera Comparison – Samsung S21 Ultra (left) Vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max (right)

Image Source: androidauthority for the side-by-side comparison.

 Moving on to the indoor photos: there is a trivial difference in both the images. Again the indoor camera result of both phones is astounding. The first image that has been taken from S21 Ultra is a little less warm than the second image that has been taken from iPhone.

Indoor Photos: Samsung S21 Ultra (left) Vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max (right)

Image Source: androidauthority for the side-by-side comparison.

So, for indoor images difference in colors, exposure brightness is minor; on the other hand, we found a clear difference in outdoor photos. The outcome is in the area of daylight shots, Samsung got the point.

Low light Shots

So in the camera duel of iPhone 12 Pro Max vs S21 Ultra, we next moved on to low light shots. This shows the real strength of aperture and imaging processor coupled with rendering process through phone chipset. In low lighting, without the aid of night-mode, Samsung does a great job without too much blurring of photos. While the iPhone appears to endeavor to capture objects in low lighting. As if we contrast these two images, then the results are visible. Galaxy S21 Ultra holds an edge here too.

Low light shots: Samsung S21 Ultra (left) Vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max (right)

Image Source: androidauthority for the side-by-side comparison.

For taking advantage of night mode in low lighting, you don’t necessitate to turn it by yourself; Apple’s 12 Pro Max will do it automatically for you.

But to turn on night mode in Samsung, you have to move your fingers towards settings. Samsung, with its night mode on, will provide even more details, brightness, and clarity. Max Pro is also able to do so, but you will notice a little bit of noise in the photo, especially in outdoor photography. So far in this battle of photogrammetry amongst iPhone 12 Pro Max vs S21 Ultra Camera battle, Samsung seems to stand out.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Vs. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Portraits Mode

We all love the blurred and foggy background effect in photos, and why not; it gives a glimpse of DSLR. But very few smartphones are capable of doing so efficiently without smudging the edges of an object. So out of our two market leaders, which one stands out?

Finally, here comes the good news for Apple users. Apple iPhone 12 Max Pro will give you an edge here with more natural background blur and less distortion. While on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, portraits are more on the unnatural side. And the reason is apparent that Apple’s Max Pro features a dedicated 5x zoom lens for portrait mode. But the Galaxy S21 Ultra is held to use a Normal Main Camera with 2x zoom. So in the portrait area, iPhone 12 Pro Max white-washed Samsung S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Vs. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Zoom Camera Features

Samsung S21 Ultra’s incredible and surprising zooming capabilities are the cherry on the top and give it a higher value. Thanks to its 10x periscope zoom. The image quality in both phones at 2x and 3x zoom is striking and impressive. But as you go further with 5-time zoom and 10-time zoom in iPhone 12 Max Pro, images will start to get noisy and soft. But S21 Ultra with 5-time zoom and 10-time zoom will definitely provide cloudless and vivid results. And this quality of the S21 Ultra makes it an Ultra. In a comparison of these two handsets, Samsung S21 Ultra got an advantage over iPhone 12 Max Pro in zooming inclinations.

Read: S21 Ultra vs One Plus9 Pro Camera Comparison

Macro Camera Comparison

It is hard to believe that while comparing two high-end phones, you will notice that extensive differentiation when it comes to the macro camera. Yes, I am talking about Samsung again with S21 Ultra, you will experience a hyper close-up macro image fulfilling the objective of a macro camera.

Moving on to the iPhone, assuredly, you will get quality photos but not as better as Galaxy. To capture the texture of objects, Galaxy will not disappoint you.

People who are into macro photography are sure to choose Samsung over iPhone in S21 ultra vs 12 Pro Max war of camera.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Vs. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Ultra-Wide Camera Lens

When you want to capture the whole moment in one frame, then comes the Ultra-Wide cameras to aid you. Therefore the question is whether the Ultra-Wide Lens of these two giants do justice or not. The answer is an absolute yes. Both Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Apple iPhone12 Pro Max will provide the most decent ultra-wide shots to you.

Although while zooming in, you may found some noise in the background; however, it is not something unacceptable. Both phones are providing a focal length of 13mm and a 12MP wide-angle lens that is great. In the competition of Ultra-Wide Lens, both phones win, which means it’s a draw.

S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max – Front Camera Comparison

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs S21 Ultra Camera comparison showing both phones side by side
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs S21 Ultra Camera Comparison

Now let’s discover the selfie cameras of Samsung S21 ultra and iPhone 12 Pro Max. I think it is all about personal preference when it comes to the performance of the front camera. From S21 Ultra, you will get cool undertone selfies with more enhanced brightness. Moreover, you are getting a new feature. When you open up the Galaxy S21 Ultra front camera, it asks you about natural or bright tone selfies. While 12 pro max will provide a warm undertone, sharpen, and natural selfies.

In portrait mode, both phones have done a great job but, in the edge detection of objects, the 12 Pro Max is slightly better. Even in portrait mode, in Galaxy, you can use a wide-angle lens.

So moving towards the similarities, you will find an excellent dynamic range. Plus, for group selfies and capturing more background, a wide-angle selfie mode is also available. So, we can say both phones are neck to neck when it comes to Front Cameras. These two flagships have also astonished us in the selfie video quality.

If we talk about videos, the most crucial thing is stability and audio quality, and fortunately, both devices excel in these significant areas. Definitely, you will examine a difference in tones and shades and a little better stability in Galaxy. But, iPhone 12 Pro Max features HDR video with Dolby vision that is able to improve the dynamic range of videos even further. For the audio quality of videos, both go pretty neck to neck. Both phones can record 4K 30fps, but of course, 12 Pro Max can also film with HDR.

Video Comparison – iPhone 12 Pro Max vs S21 Ultra Camera

For vlogging and filming, you need to have the cameras in your hands all the time and, for this purpose, both phones can be the best options. Again the videos recorded by Samsung and Apple differentiate in shades and tones. But the overall quality of video and audio is amazing. Both phones are able to record at 4K, 30/60fps with HDR video recording support.

But for the stabilization in videos, 12 Pro Max will do a little better job for you. Galaxy also equips 4K 24fps but, it may disappoint you in the area of stabilization.

While recording a video, 12 Pro Max can provide 2X zoom, on the other hand, Galaxy can step it up to 3X and even 10X  zoom, thanks to its telephoto camera. In the low lighting, video recording iPhone 12 Pro Max will provide better stabilization and brightness. The same case with Auto Focus, in low lighting, 12 Pro Max is able to focus pretty faster than its contender. But in high lighting, both go neck to neck. So the key takeaway is in video comparison, iPhone has an edge here over its competitor.

Slow-motion Video Comparison

Both the giants of 2021 have the option of Slow-Mo. If we talk about the Quality of Slow-Motion videos, then iPhone got an edge because of the little better stability and brightness. But S21 Ultra has an option of going further slower, which Apple lacks. They will provide you slow-mo at 1080P footage and 240fps frame rate. As I mentioned above, S21 Ultra will take your videos to 720P footage and 960fps frame rate for Super Slow-Mo.

The overall quality of Slow-Motion videos on both phones is satisfactory, not something very extraordinary. So, again a draw in this area.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max camera test: Which is better?

As said earlier, both Galaxy S21 Ultra and Apple iPhone 12 camera excels in different areas. But if we look at the results then, Galaxy got an extra point. But assuredly, neither of them disappoint you when it comes to cameras. We can clearly examine the difference in tones and sharpness but, it all comes down to personal preference.

So let us know which one you will choose. For more mobile phone comparisons and tech news, visit our website.

Daylight Shots  S21 ultra
Low light ShotsS21 ultra
Portraits Mode12 pro max
Zoom Camera Features  S21 ultra
Macro Camera Comparison  S21 ultra
Ultra-Wide Lens  Draw
Front Camera ComparisonDraw
Video Comparison12 pro max
Slow-motion Video Comparison  Draw
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3 years ago

Nice work.

3 years ago

S21 Ultra Vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera Wars – Which One Takes Better Pictures?


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