iPhone SE vs. Galaxy A51 camera comparison

Lexy Savvides/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy A51 is a $400 (£329, AU$599) powerhouse with 4 cameras that give flexibility for images, from ultra-wide to macro. But Apple’s new iPhone SE, regardless of solely having one rear digicam, has sensible images options borrowed from dearer fashions such because the iPhone 11. Here’s how these two $400 phones evaluate on every part from portraits and landscapes to video recording.

Read extra: iPhone SE 2020 is proof that Apple won’t actually bring back the tiny phone

iPhone SE or Galaxy A51: Battle of the $400 phone cameras


The Galaxy A51 has extra cameras for selection

Right off the bat, the Galaxy has 4 rear cameras: a 48-megapixel foremost digicam at f2, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide, a 5-megapixel macro digicam and a depth sensor. The iPhone SE has a single 12-megapixel rear digicam at f1.8.

But whereas the variability sounds nice on paper, in follow, I discovered myself getting quite a lot of use from simply two out of the 4. The depth digicam, for instance, would not really take images. It’s solely used for dwell focus (or portrait mode) photographs.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

In addition to utilizing the primary digicam, I discovered that the ultrawide digicam on the Galaxy A51 was handier than the macro digicam and it was the primary factor I missed when taking images on the iPhone SE. That’s as a result of I used to be capable of shoot a bigger space with out bodily having to maneuver again. Use the sliders on the picture under to see the distinction in perspective from the huge to ultrawide digicam.

That’s to not say that the A51’s macro digicam is a dud. For macro images, there is no contest: The Galaxy A51 can seize images at a a lot nearer attain than the iPhone SE, though you want so much of sunshine to get the perfect out of this digicam. I obtained the perfect outcomes when taking images of crops outdoors on a brilliant sunny day, whereas something I attempted to snap indoors was a blurry unfocused mess. 

One of my profitable macro images.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Also, there is no optical picture stabilization (OIS) on any of the Galaxy A51’s cameras, in contrast to the iPhone SE which has OIS on the rear digicam.

Neither telephones have optical zoom so I relied on digital zoom to get nearer to things — 5x on the SE and 8x on the A51. Both produce a suitable shot at 5x, however the iPhone’s picture seems much less oversharpened and “crunchy” than the A51.

Galaxy A51’s vivid images vs. the iPhone SE’s pure look

The Galaxy A51 has a scene optimizer that is turned on by default. The digicam mechanically detects the topic within the body, like meals or landscapes, then enhances the picture. It makes colours pop off the display screen, however in some circumstances, significantly with images of meals or flowers, the scene optimizer makes photos look too oversaturated. The iPhone SE produces a extra natural-looking shot, which I like greater than the extreme colours from the Galaxy A51. Your private choice might differ from mine.

Both the Galaxy A51 and iPhone SE have an HDR mode to assist stability out shadow and spotlight element, and each telephones did such an important job that I discovered it was arduous to separate HDR efficiency from each other.

When I checked out images at a lowered magnification on a computer display screen, there wasn’t a lot to separate the 2 on something aside from coloration saturation. But after I appeared nearer on the 100% crop, many images I took on the common Galaxy A51 digicam appeared much less detailed than the equal iPhone SE shot.

Portrait and evening mode are nearer than you assume

Both telephones will help make your topic pop by blurring the background to realize the same impact to a photograph taken on a DSLR at a large aperture. 

The iPhone pulls off this blur or “bokeh” impact extra naturally, particularly in the event you’re taking the impact to extremes and need to blur the background as a lot as attainable. But the Galaxy A51 has higher edge detection due to that depth digicam, so there was extra definition between my topic and the background. At occasions, high-quality particulars like hair confused the iPhone SE, so a few of these particulars obtained misplaced within the background blur.

The iPhone SE can solely take portrait mode images of individuals, whereas the Galaxy A51 works on any topic, together with pets. You simply want to ensure your animal good friend stays nonetheless whilst you take the shot.

Only the Galaxy A51 provides a devoted evening mode for taking images in low-light conditions. While this sounds nice for the A51 on the floor, the iPhone SE is ready to take comparable photographs even with out such a mode. The iPhone SE produced a usable evening picture so long as I stored my hand regular. But I wanted to do the identical for the A51 when utilizing evening mode. 

The Galaxy A51 captures extra sharpness and preserves spotlight element than the iPhone SE at evening, however not by a lot. It additionally outputs a smaller, 8-megapixel file when utilizing evening mode.

Selfies are extra pure on the iPhone SE

Although the Galaxy A51’s front-facing digicam provides extra megapixels (32!), the iPhone SE produces images with extra pure colours. To my eye, the Galaxy A51 oversaturated the pink channel a lot in order that my brown hair appeared nearly copper in some selfies. The A51 captures a sharper shot general than the iPhone SE’s 7-megapixel entrance digicam, however the iPhone’s colours and pores and skin tone look extra true-to-life.

For video decision although, the Galaxy A51 has the higher hand. It can take  4K video from the front-facing digicam whereas the iPhone SE maxes out at 1080p. You can see a pattern from each within the video on this web page.

The iPhone SE takes the sting for video

I filmed the whole video on this web page on each the iPhone SE and Galaxy A51 and located that the iPhone positively carried out higher general right here. In good gentle, the picture seems cleaner with much less noise than the Galaxy and OIS on the iPhone makes an enormous distinction when recording video. Clips I recorded handheld at 4K appeared tremendous clean on the iPhone SE in comparison with the identical decision on the Galaxy A51, which does not have any OIS. You can get digital picture stabilization at 1080p on the Galaxy and it helps in the event you’re filming handheld.

The iPhone may movie at 4K/60fps, whereas the A51 can solely movie at 4K/30. Autofocus on the Galaxy A51 is not as clean as it’s on the iPhone SE. For quite a lot of clips, particularly when filming a static topic, I needed to lock the main focus earlier than filming to maintain issues clean. I seen the autofocus twitching when filming a transferring topic on the Galaxy A51. On the iPhone, actions appeared smoother and extra cinematic.

Audio from each is ok, however the iPhone sounds fuller and rounder in comparison with the clips from the Galaxy, although each telephones report in stereo.

Does the iPhone SE or Galaxy A51 have the higher digicam?

Both these $400 telephones have succesful cameras that bely the retail worth. The Galaxy provides extra flexibility if you would like to have the ability to change between completely different situations like utilizing ultra-wide or macro. But the iPhone has stronger video recording and, in some circumstances, the digicam captures extra element at full magnification. Regardless of which phone you select, you are getting quite a lot of digicam on your buck, however personally I’d select the iPhone SE for its stronger video recording. I’d decide the Galaxy A51 if I wished the flexibleness of an ultra-wide lens.

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Tarun Banerjee

Professional Web Designer & Developer,Expert in SEO & Digital Market, Founder of Tech Hunt.

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