November 8, 2022
There are two big players in the smartphone market – Apple and Samsung. Both boast of their expertise for photographers, promising to offer the best possible image quality for those using their smartphones to take pictures. But how do they compare for photography? Find out in our iPhone 14 Pro Vs Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra comparison!
Earlier in 2022, we declared that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra was the best smartphone for photographers. But, with the introduction of the iPhone 14 Pro in September, it’s possible that its crown could be stolen. It’s fair to say that both are excellent performers, and both offer a lot to photographers.
So, if you’re torn between the two and want to know which is better, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve been using the two models side by side to see which puts up the better fight, and which one is deserving of your money.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Camera Specs
It’s pretty standard these days for smartphones to have multiple lenses, allowing you to get your shots from a variety of viewpoints.
The iPhone 14 Pro has a triple-lens setup, but the Samsung S22 Ultra manages to go one better by having four cameras on the rear. Both have an ultra-wide, a standard lens, and a 3x zoom lens, but you also get a 10x zoom lens with the Samsung.
Both the iPhone’s main camera and the Samsung’s have high-resolution sensors, with the iPhone coming in at 48MP, and the Samsung’s at 108MP. It’s the first time we’ve seen a sensor with more than 12MP on an iPhone.
Both use pixel binning to output images at a standard 12MP, but you can take advantage of all of those extra pixels using special modes with both cameras if you prefer. The high resolution also enables a “2x” mode for the iPhone 14 Pro, as it’ll essentially crop into the centre of the image.
The main lenses for both models are similar in specification. The iPhone’s equivalent focal length is 24mm with a f/1.78 aperture, while the Samsung’s is a smidge wider at 23mm, and an f/1.8 aperture.
Both the ultra-wides have a 13mm equivalent focal length, and both have an f/2.2 aperture.
When it comes to the 3x lens, the iPhone 14 Pro’s is 72mm equivalent, aperture f/2.8, while the Samsung’s is 70mm, aperture f/2.4.
The 10x zoom on the Samsung S22 Ultra gives you a 230mm equivalent focal length, but the aperture is pretty narrow at f/4.9.
Looking at these specifications, we might expect the S22 Ultra to be slightly better in low light, but we’ll see how that shapes up below.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Camera apps and shooting modes
In terms of shooting modes, the Samsung S22 Ultra offers a much more comprehensive native camera app. As well as standard photo modes, a portrait mode, and a selectable night mode, we also have a “Pro” mode which gives you access to a variety of settings, such as shutter speed and ISO. This is something which is sadly not available via the iPhone’s native app – though of course you can install plenty of third-party apps to give you this functionality.
Both offer a Night mode, but the iPhone’s is automatic, only activating when low-light is detected. The Samsung will do the same, but you can also choose the mode manually too. Both have a Macro mode, and this time, both are automatically activated by bringing the camera close to a subject. Both give you the option to record in raw format. With the iPhone you can do that in the standard shooting mode, which also means you can create 48 megapixel images. You can only access raw format shooting with the Samsung when using “Pro” mode.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: General image quality
Looking at images taken with either smartphone side by side reveals that both take very good photographs, especially if the light is good.
Both produce nicely detailed results, with bright and punchy colours that remain realistic.
It’s very hard to pick between the two, but if we had to, we’d perhaps say that overall the iPhone produces slightly nicer, warmer colours in good light. But this is being very picky (and is also arguably a matter of preference) when looking at images side by side of the same subject, which is not something that would happen in normal usage.
As the Samsung has an extra lens when compared to the iPhone, then zooming capability is better.
It’s easier to pick out differences if we look at specific types of subjects, see below.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Low Light
Both smartphones put in an excellent performance in low light, demonstrating just how far low light photography has come in the smartphone world.
If you examine closely, you can see that the S22 Ultra produces slightly better results when photographing the scene, with the Samsung being slightly cleaner and more detailed.
Colours also seem to be slightly better rendered under artificial night lights, such as street lighting, with the Samsung S22 Ultra.
One difference can be found in the results from the 3x camera, where the Samsung S22 Ultra uses digital zoom in low-light rather than using the telephoto camera.
There’s not a huge amount in it, but if you’re somebody who photographs a low-light subjects, the S22 Ultra might just sway it for you.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Macro
Both the iPhone 14 Pro and the Samsung S22 Ultra have an automatically activating macro mode which switches on when the phone detects it is close to a subject.
You can switch it off if you prefer with either phone, but there’s no option to select it manually. This shouldn’t be a problem as both phones seem to detect very easily when a close-up subject is present.
Both produce very good results which show plenty of detail, with both allowing you to practically touch the subject and still be able to focus. The Samsung S22 Ultra just about produces the best results overall. Both do well in good light, but in low light, the Samsung S22 Ultra produces brighter and cleaner images.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Portrait
Some kind of portrait mode has been available on most smartphones for some time now, so it’s no surprise that both the iPhone and Samsung models have options available.
Both are called simply “Portrait” mode, and both work to create shallow depth of field effects. You can use both modes for non-human subjects, too.
For the iPhone 14 Pro, you can shoot photos at either “1x”, “2x” or “3x”, giving you a bit more flexibility when it comes to different vantage points, compared to the Samsung S22 Ultra, which offers just a “1x” and a “3x” option.
Both produce good results for both human and non-human subjects, but the iPhone produces ever so slightly more flattering results, which are softer and less harsh. If you view them both in isolation though, you should be pleased with how they look.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Video
Both smartphones claim to be excellent for video purposes, but if you want 8K video, there’s only one of the two that does that – the S22 Ultra.
For most users, 4K is generally more than they need, and both produce excellent 4K video at up to 60p. Both offer advanced stabilisation options, the Samsung’s is called “SuperSteady”, while the iPhone’s is called “Action Mode” – and it’s also worth noting that the standard iPhone video is also stabilised too.
For advanced users, the Samsung has the more in-depth mode, giving greater flexibility to change settings with its Pro Video mode. By contrast, although the iPhone doesn’t offer such a thing, it does have “ProRes” recording for better colour and less compression.
Both offer other useful modes, such as slow motion and a shallow depth of field effect. For the iPhone that’s called Cinematic, and for the Samsung it’s called Portrait video. The iPhone’s is a bit more naturalistic, with the Samsung sometimes producing very harsh results.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Screen and Design
The iPhone 14 Pro is available in two sizes, giving you the choice between a 6.1” screen and a 6.7” screen – the latter being called the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The smaller size is more pocket friendly, and is easier to use for non-photographic purposes, such as sending texts and emails. The good news is that there’s no difference between the camera quality between the two sizes.
By contrast, the Samsung S22 Ultra only offers one size – and is 6.8”. That’s great news for those who like a bigger screen, but less appealing for those who want something pocket friendly. The S22 Ultra has a higher resolution than even the larger iPhone 14 Pro Max, but placing the two side by side doesn’t reveal any immediately obvious differences – they both essentially look great.
The iPhone 14 Pro has a boxier design than the S22 Ultra, which uses more curved edges. Which you prefer is up to you, but it’s probably fair to say that the S22 Ultra is the sleeker option. Both are IP68 rated, meaning that they can withstand dust and water, and both are designed to be relatively tough – the iPhone 14 Pro has a Ceramic Shield screen, whereas the S22 Ultra has a Corning Gorilla Glass Victus screen. Both should withstand most ordinary knocks and scrapes with ease.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Battery Life and Capacity
Although Apple is pretty coy about battery specifications, we can see from quoted battery life that both the iPhone 14 Pro and the Samsung S22 Ultra are pretty similar.
The Samsung S22 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery is quoted as lasting 22 hours for video playback, while the iPhone 14 Pro has a quoted 23 hours, or 29 hours for the larger iPhone 14 Pro Max. In real-world use, we’ve found that both models easily last a full day when using them relatively “normally”.
Both offer fast charging, whereby you can give the phone a quick boost when using a high-powered charger, and both offer wireless charging.
In terms of storage capacity, neither phone gives you the opportunity to expand storage, so it’s worth spending as much as you can to get a higher storage capacity if you particularly think you’ll need it.
Both the iPhone 14 Pro and the Samsung S22 Ultra offer a minimum storage of 128GB and a maximum of 1TB (though at the time of writing, it was difficult to find any 1TB models for sale). It’s also worth noting that if you opt for that storage size with the S22 Ultra then it comes at the cost of less RAM (8GB vs 12GB for 256GB/512GB/1TB storage options).
You don’t have a similar problem with the iPhone 14 Pro, but again, it’s worth noting that if you opt for the 128GB storage option, you won’t be able to shoot in 4K in ProRes video mode – this is something that is unlikely to be a major issue for most consumers, but if you’re buying the phone particularly for videography features, it’s worth thinking about.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Price
Both of these models have expensive price tags, there’s not really any getting around that fact.
The cheapest iPhone 14 Pro is £1,099 for the 128GB capacity model, which rises up to £1,649 for the 1TB model. In between you have £1,209 or £1,429 for the 256/512GB models. The larger iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at £1,199, and rises up to £1,749 for the 1TB model, with £1,309 and £1,529 in the middle for the 256/512GB versions.
It’s probably fairer to compare the prices of the 14 Pro Max with the S22 Ultra as they’re similar in size. The cheapest S22 Ultra is £1,149 for the 128GB version, or you can pay £1,249 for the 256GB version and £1,329 for the 512GB version. At time of writing, pricing for the 1TB model was not available. Although prices do vary if you’re prepared to shop around.
By comparing these prices, we can see that arguably the S22 Ultra is better value, certainly if you want a larger model. However, if your budget is slightly restricted and you’re happy to settle for the smaller size phone, the iPhone 14 Pro is more affordable.
iPhone 14 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Verdict
Both of these phones offer a lot for those who prize the quality of a smartphone’s onboard camera. It’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed with whichever you choose.
In terms of image quality, the two are generally quite well matched. You do get a bit more flexibility with the Samsung in terms of zoom capability with that extra lens, as well as the fact that you can control settings directly within the native camera app.
For low light and macro shooting, the Samsung seems to produce slightly better results, but for Portrait mode, the iPhone just about edges it. Video quality is great between both models, but again, the Samsung has greater flexibility and also has the headline specification of 8K, just in case you need it.
It’s quite difficult to choose between models like this when they are both so good. And of course, for many it will come down to whether you prefer iOS or Android – if you’re firmly set one way or the other, it could be that no matter how good the camera is, you can’t be swayed.
Then there’s other specifications such as screen size to think about. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is undeniably very large, and if that’s what you like – then it’s perhaps the way to go. Then again, if you prefer a smaller phone, you might find it too unwieldy.
Overall, we’d say that the Samsung S22 Ultra just about edges it. It’s more flexible, image quality is excellent in more conditions, and there’s no denying that large screen is beautiful to look at.
Read our iPhone 13 Pro vs 14 Pro comparison!
Read our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
Read our iPhone 14 Pro review
For even more options have a look at our guide to the best smartphones for photography.
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