Trending September 2023 # Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe Vs Iphone 12 Camera Shootout: Close, But Not Quite # Suggested October 2023 # Top 9 Popular |

Trending September 2023 # Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe Vs Iphone 12 Camera Shootout: Close, But Not Quite # Suggested October 2023 # Top 9 Popular

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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs iPhone 12: Camera specs

Unlike the iPhone 12 Pro, the regular iPhone 12 makes do with just two lenses — a 12MP primary camera, and a secondary 12MP ultra-wide sensor. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, on the other hand, includes a 3x telephoto lens paired up with an 8MP sensor. Here’s a look at the full camera specs of the two phones.

Food photography, selfies, or just a random shot taken during a walk around the block are common use cases for a smartphone. For me, it’s when I spot an interesting looking building, an old monument, or a delicious plate of food. With that in mind, I took the iPhone 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE out to see how well the two phones performed under similar conditions using the multiple lens combinations.

Photography terms explained: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and more

The primary camera is where most of the focus (no pun intended) lies with smartphones. Usually the biggest sensor, most high-end phones do well here. In fact, the differences usually come down to camera and software tuning, as well as individual preferences.

The iPhone 12 opts for a softer, warmer tone which was closer to the original scene. The Samsung, on the other hand, has predictably opted for boosted shades — a trend that remained consistent across our tests.

The Galaxy S20 FE’s shot with a contrasty, oversharpened look might be a bit more striking on social media but it’s not going to appeal to everyone.

In a slightly more complicated shot of a derelict monument, the different approaches towards imaging become more apparent. The iPhone 12’s neutral tone is more visually appealing compared to the significantly boosted greens shot by the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.

The iPhone also edges forward in maintaining a bit more detail in the highlights, as well as dynamic range for bringing out details in shadow areas. The Galaxy S20 FE’s image looks a bit too stark for my taste, though your mileage may vary.

The same scene shot using the wide-angle camera once again exhibits a wildly different approach towards image capture. The iPhone does a decent job at distortion correction but isn’t quite as wide as the Samsung. Moreover, flaring is a constant concern with the iPhone 12 when shooting into a light source. You can see this with the setting sun in this image. It does, however, have significantly more detail across the image.

On the face of it, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE produces a more striking image. However, the HDR processing goes too hard in toning down highlights, bringing out the blues in the sky — the scene looked nothing like it. Cropping in reveals a significant loss of low-level detail and this is visible in both the foliage and the trees.

While neither image is perfect, the iPhone 12 opts for a closer to accurate representation compared to the social-media friendly take by the Galaxy S20 FE.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review second opinion — so close to being a OnePlus killer


As is clear by now, the two phones have a fundamentally different approach towards images. Samsung opts for a more dramatic shot with a lot of contrast compared to the neutral skew of the iPhone. In some cases, this ends up looking more appealing. That said, the iPhone 12 consistently does a better job of toning down highlights.

Portrait mode, selfies, and low-light

Computational photography has come a long way. Be it better portrait mode, both on the rear and front cameras, or better low-light imaging, the fusion of hardware and software has brought along big leaps in smartphone imaging prowess. Let’s take a look at the software capabilities of the two phones in our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs iPhone 12 camera comparison.

Let’s start off with portrait mode. I got a socially distanced family member to take a photograph of me. The goal was to see how well the two cameras are able to segment faces and add natural-looking bokeh blur.

There are a couple of things that stand out in the portrait mode samples. The two phones have drastically different white balance — neither of which is entirely accurate. The iPhone 12 opts for a slightly brighter tone with lifted shadows and a much warmer white balance for a more appealing shot. The Galaxy S20 FE, on the other hand, leans too far into blues and exhibits significant oversharpening.

I’ll be honest here. I’m surprised by how well the Samsung did at creating an effective cut out around me. The bokeh effect is a bit more subdued compared to the iPhone but it still manages to look fairly convincing. The bokeh fall-off on both phones is reasonably natural as well. It can be further adjusted using the gallery app on either phone.

Portrait mode selfies are where we start to see broader differentiation between the two phones. This time around, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE produces a more natural-looking image, with the iPhone opting for warmer color tones and heavily lifted shadows.

Both phones have fairly robust night modes built-in. In the scene above, both cameras defaulted to a two-second handheld shot and captured sharp, well-exposed images. At first glance, the S20 FE’s image might look a bit cleaner but that’s due to significant noise reduction.

The iPhone 12, on the other hand, has much more detail at the expense of a grainier image. Additionally, it tends to lift black levels quite a bit. The iPhone 12 wins this round.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs iPhone 12 camera test: The verdict

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Wrapping up our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs iPhone 12 camera test, it’s a bit surprising to see just how close Samsung’s affordable flagship gets to the iPhone 12. However, the Apple’s phone wins out by a small margin.

In a lot of cases, there’s no obvious winner. It’s more about preferences. However, there’s no doubt that in most cases, the iPhone 12 resolves just a bit more detail and handles highlights better.

Which phone takes better photos: the iPhone 12 or the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE?

3375 votes

As a whole, the two phones take very different approaches to tackle the same problem. The differences come down to personal choice in color science rather than a drastic gap in imaging capabilities.

Video quality is, however, vastly better on the iPhone 12. So if that is a priority for you, the choice becomes a lot easier.

Which set of images do you prefer? Cast your vote for the winner of our shootout in the poll above.

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