The new Google Pixel Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 are costly. In truth, they’ve the best costs of any telephone at present out that I do know. But does a premium value imply they take the very best images? I used to be curious to seek out out.

I ought to observe that later this month, Samsung is holding an Unpacked occasion the place I anticipate the next-gen Galaxy Z Fold to be introduced. And it might need even higher cameras. Once it is out, we’ll fortunately pit the brand new Z Fold towards the Pixel Fold. In the meantime, let’s dig into the main points.

Both the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 4 prices $1,799 and has 5 cameras. However, neither set any excessive marks for digicam efficiency. As you would possibly infer from their names, every telephone’s key characteristic is a foldable display screen — which is basically the rationale for his or her beefy value tags. To make every telephone pocketable when closed, the our bodies are ultrathin, leaving much less room for digicam sensors and lenses. That means each Google and Samsung depend on their machine studying and AI prowess to make images look good.

Read extra: Best Camera Phone of 2023


Watch this: We Put the Google Pixel Fold’s Cameras Up Against the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4’s

Pixel Fold digicam specs vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4

Both the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 4 have three rear cameras, one cowl display screen digicam and one inside display screen digicam. Resolution-wise it is fairly shut between what Google and Samsung every provide. I’d be remiss if I did not inform you that evaluating picture sensor decision is like attempting to check the energy in meals; 100 energy of broccoli has completely different advantages than 100 energy of ice cream. So yeah, extra megapixels is not all the time higher. The greatest variations are literally within the software program processing, which Google appears to be higher at.

The {hardware} is almost equivalent by way of specs, with the Pixel Fold having a 48-megapixel sensor, whereas the Z Fold 4 rocks a 50-megapixel sensor. 

Google Pixel Fold digicam specs vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Google Pixel Fold Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Main digicam f1.7 aperture, 48MP sensor f1.8 aperture, 50MP sensor
Ultra extensive digicam f2.2 aperture, 10.8MP sensor f2.2 aperture, 12MP sensor
Telephoto digicam f3.05 aperture, 10.8MP sensor f2.4 aperture, 10MP sensor
Cover display screen digicam f2.2 aperture, 9.5MP sensor f2.2 aperture, 10MP sensor
Interior display screen digicam f2 aperture, 8MP sensor f1.8 aperture, 4MP sensor

The inside display screen cameras are additionally completely different, with the Pixel sporting an 8-megapixel sensor and the Galaxy having only a 4-megapixel one. Samsung’s digicam is buried beneath the show, nonetheless, which is good. It’s the digicam you employ the least, and I feel Samsung was smart to enhance the internal show expertise by “hiding” the digicam, even when it comes with the trade-off of a lower-resolution sensor.

The final most important {hardware} distinction is the telephoto digicam, which on the Pixel Fold has a 5x optical zoom, whereas the Z Fold 4 has a 3x optical zoom.

Google's Pixel Fold phone

The Pixel Fold has a horizontal digicam bar on the again of the telephone that mimics the one discovered on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 collection.

James Martin/CNET

Pixel Fold images vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4

Before we get into some direct comparisons, check out a few of my favourite images from the Pixel Fold and the Z Fold 4.

A photo of a man sitting on a bench

Google Pixel Fold.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A photo of the Moulin Rouge curtain on Broadway

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A photo of flowers

Google Pixel Fold.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A photo of clouds and the ground taken out of an airplane window

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A photo of a woman pointing at what's written on her sweatshirt

Google Pixel Fold.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A photo of a cat sitting in a window

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A photo of a flower

Google Pixel Fold.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A photo of a person standing in front of a building

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Patrick Holland/CNET

On the entire, Pixel Fold images have higher element, a wider dynamic vary and are extra shade correct. And that is even beneath an ideal summer season day with blue skies, which is without doubt one of the most forgiving environments for any telephone digicam.

Take a have a look at the pictures beneath, every taken with the principle digicam, of a lunch space in Salesforce Park in San Francisco. The Pixel Fold’s snap balances the publicity higher and has extra particulars within the grass and tree leaves. And, sure, issues have been truly that inexperienced. But Samsung’s picture is messy. It’s overly shiny, particulars are muddy and the colour temperature is off — discover the inexperienced within the bushes within the background and the sky.

Below are two extra pictures from the principle cameras. This time the variations aren’t fairly as drastic. Both telephones did a superb job of capturing the cappuccino’s texture within the foam. But discover across the rim of the cup. The Pixel Fold’s picture seems extra pure, with the cup’s rim in focus together with the highest of the drink. The Z Fold 4’s picture is unusual. I do know Samsung has a meals optimizer setting, however I do not bear in mind it being on; it might need been. The fringe of the cup is smooth.

Next, check out the images beneath, which have been taken indoors beneath a mixture of window gentle and low gentle. Here’s the place the variations between Google and Samsung are big. In Google’s picture of Peebles the cat, it handles the combined gentle properly, however captures some texture in his fur and whiskers. The picture is smooth, however not in a nasty approach. Samsung’s picture seems unhealthy. It suffers from over brightening, and is marred by a ton of picture noise and heavy noise discount, which makes the picture of Peebles seem like a portray of Peebles.

Pixel Fold zoom vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4

Based purely on the specs, the Pixel Fold has the sting on the subject of zoom, because it has a 5x optical telephoto lens in comparison with the 3x on the Z Fold 4. That 5x is the candy spot, serving to you get nearer to your topic with out being in somebody’s face.

Take a have a look at the zoom vary on every telephone.

A photo of a building

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 at 3x.

Patrick Holland/CNET

At 5x it is arduous to inform any actual variations between the 2, apart from some lack of decision on the Galaxy Z Fold due to the digital zoom.

Below are 10x digital zoom images from each telephones. Neither one seems nice.

And final are images taken on the max digital zoom magnifications on every telephone: 20x on the Pixel and 30x on the Samsung. Despite the completely different magnifications, each have roughly the identical quantity of zoom/crop.

Samsung’s picture has utterly fallen aside and appears tremendous smooth and processed. The Pixel Fold’s picture is not nice, however seems higher due to Google’ Super Res Zoom, which makes use of a mix of {hardware}, software program and AI to make it look higher.

Pixel Fold night time mode vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4

Moving on to nighttime mode, issues begin to swing again in Samsung’s favor. Below are pictures of some condo buildings taken an hour after sundown with night time mode. Both look good, however the one from the Z Fold 4 seems higher total. The Galaxy telephone protects the highlights higher within the moon and in gentle sources like on the entrance of the condo constructing within the center. 

Below are two extra night time mode pictures. Again, each are good, although I just like the one from the Galaxy Z Fold 4 extra. The white steadiness is extra true to the scene.

Pixel Fold selfies vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4

You have the choice on each telephones to take selfies a number of alternative ways. The first is utilizing the duvet display screen digicam on every telephone. In the images beneath, I feel Samsung’s cowl display screen digicam takes higher selfies than the Pixel Fold’s cowl display screen digicam. It does a greater job at nailing focus and I just like the brighter publicity.

Because these are foldable telephones, you can even take a selfie with the principle rear digicam utilizing the duvet display screen as a preview. I do like having the ability to use the rear digicam to take selfies, but it surely looks like extra of a chore. Between the 2 pictures beneath, I just like the rear digicam selfie from the Z Fold 4 higher, because the brightness is extra flattering.

There is a 3rd solution to take a selfie and that is to make use of the internal show’s digicam. Both the Pixel Fold and Z Fold 4’s internal display screen digicam are meant for video calls, so I examined them within the video that accompanies this text. Neither look good for a Zoom name, however the greater decision on the Pixel Fold’s inside display screen digicam offers it a slight edge.

A photo of a video call

For video calls, the internal display screen digicam on each telephones seemed unhealthy. The Pixel Fold’s video name seemed a tad higher due to having twice the decision.

John Kim/CNET

Pixel Fold movies vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4 and last ideas

On the entire, movies aren’t nice from both telephone. Video recordings endure from picture noise and have much less dynamic vary than images from every telephone. Most of the machine studying algorithms and synthetic intelligence Google and Samsung use of their images is absent for movies. If you need to see pattern video clips from every telephone, please watch the video hooked up to this story.

So which telephone has the very best cameras? Neither the Pixel Fold or Z Fold 4 provide top-of-the-line telephone cameras. But so far as these two telephones go, I lean in direction of Google’s system greater than Samsung’s (purely by way of the cameras). The Z Fold 4, nonetheless, has an edge in different methods just like the wonderful inside display screen, the premium match and end of the {hardware} and the software program that appeared much less fussy than the Pixel Fold.

Remember every of those telephones prices $200 shy of two grand. For that value you get a telephone that folds in half, that has two screens and 5 cameras. While the large inside screens of those foldables are nice for enhancing your images, few foldables provide the pristine picture high quality you’d discover on their nonfolding counterparts. You ought to nonetheless look in direction of Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra or Google’s Pixel 7 Pro in order for you wonderful imaging expertise, however you may need to resolve what your precedence is: lovely images or an thrilling folding display screen? Right now, you’ll be able to’t have each.

Just know {that a} month from now, issues might change with the launch of the rumored Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.

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