Camera Comparison: Samsung S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max

Samsung came out with its 2024 flagship smartphone lineup in January, with the new devices competing directly with the iPhone 15, ‌iPhone 15‌ Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ Max. Samsung's high-end S24 Ultra adopts some Apple-like features like a titanium chassis and a 5X zoom lens, but it also has standout additions that set it apart. We have an S24 Ultra, and thought we'd see how one main feature compares to the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ Max -- the camera.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 200-megapixel wide-angle camera (Apple's Wide lens is 50 megapixels), a 12-megapixel ultra wide camera (equal to Apple's), a 10-megapixel 3x telephoto lens, and a 50-megapixel 5x telephoto lens (Apple has a single 12-megapixel Telephoto lens). A higher pixel count equates to a higher resolution for printing and cropping in, but it doesn't necessarily make for better images because the size of the sensor is more important.

samsung galaxy 24 1x Keybank
In the sample images, you'll see that there's not too much of a difference between the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ Max and the S24 Ultra. The S24 Ultra is a little bit more saturated and the highlights are brightened, so the S24 images can look brighter in straight from the camera comparisons. The iPhone images tend to be sharper for the most part, but Samsung's algorithm works well for night mode images.

samsung galaxy 24 25x keybank s24
Samsung primarily focused on AI this year, so the S24 Ultra camera is almost identical to the S23 Ultra camera, but the telephoto lens is a major difference. Samsung ditched its 10x telephoto lens and opted instead for a 5x telephoto lens that more closely matches the 5x telephoto lens on the ‌iPhone‌. Telephoto images are close to the same, but in Portrait mode, Samsung's photos come out crisper.

samsung galaxy s24 street
There are two telephoto lenses in Samsung's smartphone, so it supports up to 10x optical zoom, and Samsung has long had the edge when it comes to digital zoom. The S24 Ultra can zoom in up to 100x, and while the ‌iPhone‌'s digital zoom is good, it's not able to zoom in to that level.

samsung galaxy 24 portrait 1x
On the topic of AI, Samsung added some AI-supported features for post processing. You can use generative fill to remove objects from images and change the crop, cut down on noise with remastering, add slow motion to any video, and record with both the front and rear-facing cameras at the same time. We may see camera-related AI additions on the iPhone 16 models or in iOS 18, but for now, Samsung has the edge when it comes to fun AI-based tools.

samsung galaxy 24 rock hall low light
No smartphone is able to measure up to the ‌iPhone‌ when it comes to video quality because of its stabilization and resolution, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the closest competitor, and it has an edge when it comes to microphone quality. The S24 Ultra's microphone has great noise isolation and clarity, and the Cinematic mode looks nice, though Samsung's Cinematic mode overdoes it on the blur. 4K video is supported at 30 and 60fps, but not 24fps, which is problematic for those who want to shoot high-quality 24fps video. On ‌iPhone‌, there is a setting for recording 4K video at 24fps.

samsung galaxy 24 sign 5x portrait low light
As smartphone cameras get better and better, it gets more difficult to distinguish which smartphone takes superior images. Both the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ Max and the Galaxy Ultra S24 take excellent quality pictures, and it's impossible to pick an overall winner. We think these cameras are about on par.

samsung galaxy 24 uw keybank
Samsung and Apple are using different algorithms and processing for image capture and to make pictures look sharper in lower light, so you'll see some differences in brightness, white balance, saturation, and similar parameters, and "better" becomes a matter of preference.

Which images do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

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Top Rated Comments

Motawa Avatar
21 weeks ago
These little tiny images are perfect to compare it. Oh and thanks for the frame
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coffeemilktea Avatar
21 weeks ago
I feel like I'm comparing Coke and Pepsi at this point. o_O
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fel10 Avatar
21 weeks ago
Galaxy looks better. Take the fanboy glasses off, and you can also see it.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
21 weeks ago
When can we stop referring to these devices as phones and start calling them, more accurately, cameras capable of making and receiving calls. iCamera15 Pro is a far more logical name. Camera features seem to be the lion's share of upgrades from year to year besides the processor.

How long till the back of the iCamera has 10 lenses?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghostface147 Avatar
21 weeks ago
They both are strong in some, less in others. Can’t go wrong with either choice. It’s a preference of OS at this point.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
7thson Avatar
21 weeks ago
The photos of the woman are a stark contrast. They almost don’t look like the same woman but I’ll chalk that up the hair part making the face look longer in the iPhone pic. The left/iPhone has better color and the right/Samsung looks washed out.
I’m sure either phone will take excellent photos for the vast majority of people, so it’ll come down operating system presences most likely.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)