iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus Tests Reveal Apple’s Biggest Upgrade
With a DxOMark Mobile score of 94, the iPhone 8 Plus edges ahead of the 92 points scored by the smaller iPhone 8, but both of the new iPhone models outperform the 90 points jointly achieved by the Google Pixel and HTC U11.
With most of the hype surrounding the all-new iPhone X flagship, it’s easy to overlook the under-the-hood improvements made in the mass market iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models, both of which represent a major photo quality upgrade.
DxOMark breaks performance down into photo and video sections, each of which is broken down further into different shooting scenarios. The tests reveal that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus deliver excellent video performance, but it’s the still photography output which really sets them apart from the competition.
A big part of why the iPhone 8 Plus, in particular, performs so much better than the Google Pixel, is that DxOMark’s new benchmarks now incorporate tests designed specifically for dual-camera configurations, evaluating features such as zoom and synthetic bokeh where a single-lens camera, such as that of the Google Pixel, is unable to compete.
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus Cameras: What’s better?
Despite relatively modest improvements in the camera hardware, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have improved upon their predecessors by delivering more accurate exposure, better HDR processing, and improved face detection, according to DxOMark.
Very good for video, but excellent for stills photography
Breaking the performance down into photo and video modes, the iPhone 8 Plus manages 96 points vs. 90 for the Google Pixel for stills, but video performance, at 89 points, is actually a little behind both the Pixel and the U11. However, the new iPhones produced the highest scoring video results of any Apple device so far and still represent a step up in performance for loyal iPhone users.
New tests: Zoom and Bokeh – it’s game over for single lens cameras.
The DxOMark tests have recently been upgraded to take into account the zoom and shallow depth-of-field effects available on many of today’s flagship dual-camera smartphones.
Here the iPhone 8 Plus has scored particularly well, thanks to improved image processing algorithms built into Apple’s software and it’s this particular improvement which has helped the iPhone 8 Plus perform so well overall.
Both zoom and bokeh (out-of-focus blur quality) were shown to be considerably better than on the iPhone 7 Plus. One of the most important upgrades is in the realistic blurring of foreground objects rather than simply applying the effect to the background.
The tests also show that the iPhone 8 is better at estimating depth than competing dual-camera smartphones, leading to fewer errors when adding the bokeh effect. Errors can occur when the camera’s depth perception fails, leaving areas of the image sharp which should have been blurred, or vice-versa.
The iPhone 8 is a single-camera model and therefore doesn’t support these features.
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus Cameras: What’s not so good?
Although performance was rated excellent overall, the DxOMark tests still reveal some room for improvement. Autofocus, for example, was shown to be highly accurate but a little slow to lock onto a subject, which could result in missing a shot.
Both iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus cameras are also prone to losing a little detail when shooting moving scenes rather than static ones and also suffer somewhat when shooting video in low light.
iPhone X should be even better.
The iPhone 8 Plus’s reign at the top of the DxOMark charts is likely to be short-lived, as the flagship iPhone X is yet to be tested. The iPhone X adds a wider aperture lens, which lets in more light and adds image stabilisation to both of its dual-camera lenses and both of these factors should contribute to measurable quality benefits.
It’s also worth noting that Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL achieved their excellent DxOMark scores with much more modest hardware than the new iPhones and we eagerly await the results from the soon-to-be-released Pixel 2.
However, with the new DxOMark tests now favouring dual-camera arrangements, it will be almost impossible for any single-lensed camera to find its way to the very top of the chart.
Also notably absent from the DxOMark chart is the Galaxy Note 8. With Samsung being no stranger to the top of these charts, this forthcoming phablet is also sure to offer some serious competition to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
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