Final yr when the Google Pixel was introduced, we in contrast it to its closest competitor, the iPhone 7. After which for enjoyable, we in contrast these photos towards the Leica Q since all of them share a equal field-of-view to a full body 28mm lens. This yr, Google and Apple each introduced upgrades that scored high marks in keeping with DxO, so we determined it was time to see how the Google Pixel 2 ($649) and the iPhone X ($999) examine to the Leica Q ($4250).

Picture by Allen Murabayashi

The dimensions and type issue of the telephones are very related. The iPhone has a glass again to allow wi-fi charging, and incorporates a vertically stacked two lens design to offer optical zoom.

Not like its XL massive brother, the Pixel 2 includes a single lens, however the brand new mannequin introduces optical picture stabilization (OIS). The dearth of OIS within the earlier model was my chief grievance of an in any other case implausible digicam.

Picture by Allen Murabayashi

The native digicam apps emphasize completely different options within the menu system. For the Pixel 2, gridlines are rather more simply accessible and are available three×three, four×four and golden ratio codecs. On the iPhone, it’s important to undergo the Basic Settings -> Cellphone menu to activate the grid strains, and three×three is the one choice. It’s a reasonably obtrusive oversight for individuals who depend on the guides to compose or straighten their photos. The Pixel 2 additionally provides you shade temperature controls which might be overkill for many shoppers, however a welcome addition for extra superior photographers.

The Pixel 2 digicam app. Picture by Allen Murabayashi

However, the iPhone makes deciding on the digicam modes (picture, video, slo-mo, timelapse, portrait, and many others) a lot simpler by offering a sliding menu beneath the picture preview. The Pixel 2 depends on the hamburger icon within the higher left to modify modes.

Let’s have a look at some photos.

Arc de Triomphe

Pixel 2. ISO 52, f/1.eight, 1/1672s

iPhone X. ISO 20, f/1.eight, 1/128s

Leica Q. ISO 400, f/four, 1/500s

On this case, I want the extra impartial tones of the Pixel 2 regardless that the morning mild may be very heat. Pixel peeping reveals extra edge element within the iPhone picture.

Paris Skyline

At 10am within the morning, the solar remains to be hanging low within the sky which created a difficult lighting situation for each telephones.

Pixel 2. ISO 82, f/1.eight, 1/23256s

iPhone X. ISO 25, f/1.eight, 1/8000s

Leica Q. ISO 100, f/four, 1/3200s

The Pixel 2 produced larger distinction within the shadow areas and had a lot flatter shade than the iPhone X. Each produced a lens flare spot, though the Pixel 2 is much less noticeable primarily based on place and the dearth of saturation. The Leica’s out of digicam JPG suffers from no lens flare, however has a lot darker shadow areas. In fact, Leica’s RAW recordsdata can simply be processed to tug shadow element.


Pixel 2. ISO 52, f/1.eight, 1/2597s

iPhone X. ISO 20, f/1.eight, 1/1656s

Leica Q. ISO 100, f/1.7, 1/6400

Final yr, the Pixel produced noticeably hotter photos. This yr, the tables have turned. The Leica’s extensive aperture supplies a really pleasing shallow depth-of-field when shot extensive open.

iPhone X. ISO 16, f/2.four, 1/706s, Portrait mode

Like a couple of different telephones out there, the X makes use of computational pictures to simulate a shallow depth-of-filed, which the Leica can do optically. The caveat is that the iPhone’s Portrait mode requires the telephone to be within the vertical place to work – a wierd requirement for an in any other case nifty characteristic.


Pixel 2. ISO 155, f/1.eight, 1/100s.

iPhone X. ISO 40, f/1.eight, 1/25s

Leica Q. ISO 200, f/2.eight, 1/60s

Manhattan Buildings at Nightfall

Smartphone picture high quality has made leaps and bounds over the previous few years. Up to now, the primary failure level was low mild conditions.

Pixel 2. ISO 400, f/1.eight, 1/15s

iPhone X. ISO 200, f/1.eight, 1/4s

Leica Q. ISO 12500, f/four.5, 1/40s

Capturing in auto supplied an fascinating take a look at for a low mild state of affairs. The iPhone’s OIC nonetheless appears superior to the newly carried out Pixel 2 model, and the colours appear rather more pure. As a result of I shot with a smaller aperture, the Leica boosted the ISO considerably to maintain the shutter velocity within the 1/30th vary, and but, the picture nonetheless appears to have higher element.

Most notably, it’s fascinating to see how every digicam rendered the scene. All photos exhibit some keystoning – the falling away of buildings – as a result of tilt of the digicam. However the Leica has the most effective trying ends in containing barrel distortion, specifically the strains on the outer edges of the body appear straighter to my eye.

After which in fact, the Leica will be manually set to shoot very low shutter speeds giving the photographer the best inventive management. Right here’s the identical picture on a small tripod on the lowest base ISO.

Leica Q. ISO 100, f/four, 5s.

Even at a small dimension, the picture high quality benefit is instantly obvious. The total-frame sensor merely captures extra mild for a greater signal-to-noise ratio. And regardless that the telephones have the benefit of some fairly highly effective computational pictures, it’s nonetheless no match for superior optics and extra mild capturing functionality.


As we discovered final yr, each the Google and Apple choices are fairly darn good given the scale of the sensor. It’s fascinating to look at the EXIF and examine the assorted ISO/shutter velocity combos that the respective software program chooses.

The iPhone nonetheless has superior low mild capabilities, even with the Pixel 2’s new OIC functionality. When the photon rely is low, the iPhone photos look sharper and the colours appear extra pure. And we didn’t even point out the telephone’s large display! Despite the fact that each telephones are the identical dimension, the iPhone does away with the highest/backside bezel, and it makes an enormous distinction in display actual property.

For these photographers nonetheless hanging on to the dream of carrying a devoted piece of , concern not! Giant sensors and superior lenses nonetheless ship higher picture high quality, interval. I assumed the distinction in shiny daylight could be extra nuanced, however to my eye, the Leica nonetheless comes out forward because the clear winner. In fact, you’ll pay a reasonably penny for the benefit.

Which do you have to select? Do you want hotter photos? Greater distinction? Extra shadow element? These are the out of the field selections that every producer is making for you. Both digicam provides you with stellar outcomes, notably in the event you’re solely viewing the photographs on a small system.