Camera Comparison: iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Pixel 6 Pro

Shortly after the launch of the new iPhone 13 models in September, Google came out with the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, its latest flagship devices, which are feature rich and priced at $599 and $899 respectively. We picked up the Pixel 6 Pro, which has the most advanced lens system, and thought we'd compare it to the ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max to see the similarities and differences between the two smartphone cameras.


The ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max includes a 12-megapixel Wide, Ultra Wide, and Telephoto lenses for a total of three lens options, which is similar to the lens setup offered by the Pixel 6 Pro. It features a 50-megapixel wide angle camera, a 12-megapixel ultra wide angle lens and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens that supports 4x optical zoom, a wider range than the 3x optical zoom offered by the ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max.

With smartphone cameras this advanced, both the ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max and the Pixel 6 Pro take incredible photos and there's often not a lot of difference in quality just because they're both offering excellent camera options. There are some small differences that might make you prefer one over another, but even from image to image, these differences can vary.

pixel 6 pro iphone docks
You'll notice that at times, the Pixel 6 Pro is warmer and more natural looking than the iPhone, which primarily factors in with the sky. Apple tends to make the sky very blue, which looks striking, but not always true to life. There are also differences in the highlights and the shadows, with the ‌iPhone‌ tending to lose a bit of the black tones and the Pixel trending towards higher exposure for the highlights.

There's not a lot of difference with the ultra wide lenses, and for the telephoto, Google's Pixel 6 Pro can be a bit sharper (and it can zoom in further), but it does not let in as much light as the ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max's telephoto lens so when taking photos of light sources, there's too much flare.

pixel 6 pro iphone skeleton
The ‌iPhone‌ wins out when it comes to Night Mode photos, and in our testing, it was just much better at preserving detail and accurately recreating color. It also didn't have quite as much of a light source flare issue as the Pixel 6 Pro.

As for Portrait mode, the Pixel 6 Pro is producing better photos. Subjects are sharper and more in focus, with more detail preserved, and it produces great bokeh. That's not to say that ‌iPhone‌ Portrait mode images aren't nice, but Google still seems to have better software algorithms for edge detection.

pixel 6 pro iphone portrait
Apple's iPhones almost always have superior video compared to Pixel smartphones, and that's still true, but Google has made improvements to image quality and stabilization. The Pixel 6 Pro can take decent video, but the ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max is better, especially with Cinematic Mode and ProRes support.

Google also built in some neat little features to its Pixel 6 Pro camera. There's a Magic Eraser that can use the Tensor chip inside to erase objects that you don't want from a photo, and it works super well so it's a great option to have available natively.

pixel 6 pro iphone arcade
So both the Pixel 6 Pro and the ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro Max have their pros and cons when it comes to camera quality, and realistically, the differences are minor. These are incredibly advanced smartphone cameras and you're not going to be disappointed by either one. Make sure to watch the video up above for our full comparison, and let us know which images you preferred in the comments below.

Top Rated Comments

cibonak Avatar
25 months ago
Pixel looks better :oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops:
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adammusic Avatar
25 months ago
Look at how terrible 13 pro front facing cam is. His face looks like pudding

Attachment Image
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wildkraut Avatar
25 months ago
Senseless color comparison without holding up a color chart board. Simply because we don’t know how the real environment colors was.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
stinkdieren Avatar
25 months ago
Is it only me to pick the iPhone result every time? Pixel looks washed out. iPhone= insta-ready
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
boss.king Avatar
25 months ago
The Pixel looks better in almost every shot, but from the mrwhosetheboss video shows that it still falls short on video.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Adamantoise Avatar
25 months ago
I mean, this is just splitting hairs to be honest.

Your choice of phone purchase these days is mostly based on which ecosystem you're invested in; there's a device for everyone, and comparisons like this aren't the reasons people switch phones.

Still nice to see the difference in approach to 'default' post-processing though.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17 and iPhones Feature

iOS 17: 10 New Features That Just Launched

Sunday September 17, 2023 12:35 pm PDT by
In June, Apple announced iOS 17 with a wide range of new features and changes for the iPhone. Following over three months of beta testing, the free software update will be released this Monday, September 18 for the iPhone XS and newer. Below, we have recapped 10 key features coming to the iPhone with iOS 17, with additional features coming later this year. The update should be released to...
iPhone 15 Pro Lineup Feature

iPhone 15 Models Feature New Setting to Strictly Prevent Charging Beyond 80%

Tuesday September 19, 2023 2:04 pm PDT by
All of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models feature a new battery health setting that prevents the devices from charging beyond 80% at all times when enabled, as confirmed by The Verge's Allison Johnson during a Q&A session today. The new setting is separate from the pre-existing Optimized Battery Charging feature on iPhones, which intelligently delays charging past 80% until a more...
maxresdefault

Apple Releases iOS 17 With StandBy, Live Voicemail, Improved Autocorrect, FaceTime Video Messages and Tons More

Monday September 18, 2023 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, the latest operating system updates that are designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 are available for free. iOS 17 is compatible with the iPhone XR/iPhone XS and later, while iPadOS 17 runs on the iPad mini 5 and later, the iPad 6 and later, iPad Air 3 and later, the second-generation 12.9-inch...
flighty standby

Best Apps With New iOS 17 and watchOS 10 Features

Monday September 18, 2023 3:02 pm PDT by
With the release of a new operating system, there are multiple features and design elements for developers to adopt. Now that iOS 17 is out, many major apps are getting interesting updates today, which we've rounded up below. watchOS 10 also has a new design language, so there are a range of Apple Watch updates to check out too. Flighty (Free, Premium Subscription) Popular flight tracking...