Source: Digital trends

The Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max are stepping into the ring, and the focus is on their camera capabilities. Samsung took an unexpected turn by swapping out the long-standing 10x zoom telephoto camera on the S23 Ultra for a 5x lens with a higher-resolution sensor on the S24 Ultra. This decision resulted in a boost from 10 megapixels to an impressive 50MP on the 5x lens, all while maintaining a 10x optical zoom through Samsung’s Adaptive Pixel Sensor Technology.

Adaptive Pixel Sensor Technology

While the exact mechanics behind this technology remain somewhat mysterious, it appears that Samsung is employing a pixel-cropping technique, a method first introduced by Apple on the iPhone 14 Pro. This technique involves using the center 12 megapixels of a larger sensor to achieve 2x photos. Samsung previously implemented a similar approach with a software update on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, introducing a 2x optical zoom.


Galaxy S24 Ultra could have a new telephoto camera
Source: Sam Lover

5x Optical Zoom on iPhone

On the Apple front, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has also embraced a 5x optical zoom, marking the first time Apple has ventured into this territory. However, it sticks with a 12MP sensor behind the lens, limiting the optical zoom capabilities. While Apple compensates for the hardware limitations with powerful image processing and computational photography in the A17 Pro chip, the raw specs of Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra, with its 100X super digital zoom and a trio of powerful lenses, outshine the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Apple's iPhone 15 and 15 Pro: Imaging tech examined: Digital Photography Review
Source: DRP Review

A17 Pro Chip’s Photography

Despite the technical prowess of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, the iPhone 15 Pro Max holds its ground admirably. The photos captured by the iPhone, thanks to the A17 Pro chip, exhibit natural and balanced qualities, surpassing its predecessor, the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

In the end, both smartphones are poised to deliver fantastic photos. However, the Galaxy S24 Ultra gains an edge over the iPhone 15 Pro Max due to its higher optical and digital zoom levels, along with the added versatility of multiple lenses. If photography is a critical factor in your smartphone decision-making process, holding off until detailed camera shootouts emerge might be a prudent move. After all, while raw specs provide valuable insights, the real-world performance is what truly matters.

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