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 pictures, from ultra-wide to macro. But Apple’s new iPhone SE, regardless of solely having one rear digital camera, has good pictures options borrowed from dearer fashions such because the iPhone 11. Here’s how these two $400 phones evaluate on the whole lot from portraits and landscapes to video recording.

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

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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 essential digital camera at f2, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide, a 5-megapixel macro digital camera and a depth sensor. The iPhone SE has a single 12-megapixel rear digital camera at f1.8.

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

Lexy Savvides/CNET

In addition to utilizing the principle digital camera, I discovered that the ultrawide digital camera on the Galaxy A51 was handier than the macro digital camera and it was the principle factor I missed when taking pictures on the iPhone SE. That’s as a result of I used to be in a position to 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 extensive to ultrawide digital camera.

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

One of my profitable macro pictures.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Also, there is no optical picture stabilization (OIS) on any of the Galaxy A51’s cameras, not like the iPhone SE which has OIS on the rear digital camera.

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 appears much less oversharpened and “crunchy” than the A51.

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

The Galaxy A51 has a scene optimizer that is turned on by default. The digital camera robotically detects the topic within the body, like meals or landscapes, then enhances the photograph. It makes colours pop off the display screen, however in some circumstances, significantly with pictures 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 extraordinary colours from the Galaxy A51. Your private desire might differ from mine.

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

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

Portrait and night time mode are nearer than you assume

Both telephones might help make your topic pop by blurring the background to attain 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 case 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 because of that depth digital camera, so there was extra definition between my topic and the background. At occasions, positive particulars like hair confused the iPhone SE, so a few of these particulars acquired misplaced within the background blur.

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

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

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

Selfies are extra pure on the iPhone SE

Although the Galaxy A51’s front-facing digital camera presents extra megapixels (32!), the iPhone SE produces pictures with extra pure colours. To my eye, the Galaxy A51 oversaturated the purple 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 digital camera, 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 digital camera 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 your entire 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 mild, the picture appears 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 easy 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 case you’re filming handheld.

The iPhone also can movie at 4K/60fps, whereas the A51 can solely movie at 4K/30. Autofocus on the Galaxy A51 is not as easy as it’s on the iPhone SE. For loads of clips, particularly when filming a static topic, I needed to lock the main focus earlier than filming to maintain issues easy. I observed 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 okay, however the iPhone sounds fuller and rounder in comparison with the clips from the Galaxy, regardless that each telephones report in stereo.

Does the iPhone SE or Galaxy A51 have the higher digital camera?

Both these $400 telephones have succesful cameras that bely the retail worth. The Galaxy presents extra flexibility in order for you to have the ability to change between totally different situations like utilizing ultra-wide or macro. But the iPhone has stronger video recording and, in some circumstances, the digital camera captures extra element at full magnification. Regardless of which phone you select, you are getting loads of digital camera to your buck, however personally I’d select the iPhone SE for its stronger video recording. I’d choose 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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