Best Smartphone Cameras: MKBHD Blind Camera Test Results

The MKBHD Blind Camera Test Results

The MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test Results (2023)

The yearly MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test is back again with results. Forget spec sheets and all the marketing for the phones. The MKBHD’s Blind Camera Test puts top smartphones to the ultimate test: real-world photography, judged by all of us. The MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test involves selecting 20 of the most advanced smartphones and updating their software. The phones then undergo a series of tests, capturing three distinct photos. A daytime photo, a low-light photo, and a portrait-mode photo. The photos are then stripped of their labels. Which will be used in the blind camera test where the public determines the winners.

For detailed information on how to participate in the MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test, check out How to Vote for the MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test 2023.

In this article, you will find out which phones are the winners of the Daytime, Low-Light, and Portrait-Mode categories. Also, you will find out which phones stand out and offer the best value for your money. For a broader perspective on the best phones of 2023, don’t miss The Best Phones of 2023: The MKBHD Smartphone Awards., you’ll be suprised.

Selection Process

The smartphones chosen for this rigorous test represent some of the best in the market. MKBHD ensures a mix of flagship models, including devices from industry giants like Apple, Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and more. The goal is to offer a comprehensive evaluation of the current smartphone camera landscape.

The Elo System

To quantify the performance of each smartphone, MKBHD employs the Elo system – a method used in ranking chess players and other competitive arenas. Each phone is assigned a letter, from A to T, for matchup comparisons. However, the crucial number is the Elo rating, a numerical representation of a phone’s overall performance based on its matchups.

With each round of public voting, the Elo ratings are adjusted, factoring in wins and losses against other phones. This iterative process helps create a power ranking. Thereby eventually revealing the winners and losers in each category. The higher the Elo rating, the more favorable the public opinion of that smartphone’s photo quality. Also, the Elo System is used in various competitive disciplines:

  • Chess: The official ranking system of FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs).
  • Go: Used in international Go tournaments.
  • Video games: Many esports leagues and individual games use Elo-inspired systems for ranking players.
  • Sports: Modified Elo systems are used in sports like tennis and association football.

It’s important to note that the Elo System is not perfect and has limitations. Still, it remains a valuable tool for measuring skill and fostering fair competition in various games and sports. So, knowing all that let’s get straight into the main juice of this content.

MKBHD Blind Camera Test Results – The Winners

The Blind Smartphone Camera Test is not just a gimmick, they used a rigorous process. The phones are positioned in real-world scenarios, capturing photos in a controlled but diverse environment. Each photo is taken with the phone set to fully automatic mode, emphasizing the simplicity of point-and-shoot photography. Below will be the 3 categories of photos; Daytime, Low-Light, and Portrait-Mode photos. We will mention the winners, runner-ups, dead lasts, and noteworthy mentions. Here are they:

1. Daytime Photo Winners

Moving to the results, the daytime photo category saw the Pixel 7A clinching the top spot, impressing users with its exceptional dynamic range. The Pixel Fold secured the second-highest Elo rating, closely followed by the OnePlus Open. Interestingly, the iPhone 15 Pro found itself at the bottom, struggling to compete in terms of brightness against its counterparts.

Winner: Pixel 7A.
Runner-up: Pixel Fold.
Dead Last: iPhone 15 Pro.
Noteworthy Mention: Galaxy S23 Ultra (Overexposed).

The detailed breakdown of the Elo ratings and comparisons for each phone in the daytime photo category can be observed below.

MKBHD Camera Test Results - Daytime Photo Winners
Elo rating comparison for daytime photos

2. Low-Light Photo Winners

Shifting gears to low-light photography, the results took an unexpected turn. The iPhone 15 Pro, which ranked last in daytime photos, managed to top the charts in the low-light category, showcasing the phone’s adaptability in challenging lighting conditions. The Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 7A followed closely, maintaining their strong performance. However, beyond the top four, some smartphones exhibited excessive HDR effects, impacting their overall rankings.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro.
Runner-up: Pixel 8 Pro.
Dead Last: OPPO Find X6 Pro.
Noteworthy Mention: Galaxy S23 Ultra (Excessive HDR).

MKBHD Camera Test Results - Low-Light Photo Winners
Elo rating comparison for low-light photos

3. Portrait-Mode Photo Winners

Portrait mode, a distinctive feature in modern smartphones, presented its own set of challenges. The Pixel 8 Pro emerged victorious with the highest Elo rating for its subtle yet effective portrait mode. The Samsung Z Fold 5 and iPhone 15 Pro secured the next positions. However, the Sony Xperia 1 V’s portrait mode delivered a perplexing and seemingly flawed photo, earning it the lowest Elo rating across all categories.

Winner: Pixel 8 Pro.
Runner-up: Samsung Z Fold 5.
Dead Last: Sony Xperia 1 V.
Noteworthy Mention: Oppo Find X6 Pro (Weird Issues).

MKBHD Camera Test Results - Portrait-Mode Photo Winners
Elo rating comparison for portrait-mode photos

People’s Champ and Bang for the Buck Award

With results from all three categories, an overall average Elo rating was calculated to determine the People’s Champ – the smartphone with the highest collective rating. Surprisingly, the Pixel 7A claimed this title, showcasing its consistency across the board. The Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel Fold secured the second and third positions, completing an unexpected perfect Pixel podium.

People’s Champ: Pixel 7A.
Runner-up: Pixel 8 Pro.
Third Place: Pixel Fold.
Bang for the Buck: Pixel 7A.
Runner-up: Nothing Phone 2.

MKBHD Elo rating comparison for overall average
Elo rating comparison for overall average

In the Bang for the Buck Award, a metric considering votes per dollar, the Pixel 7A once again took the lead. This mid-range smartphone, priced around $500 at launch, proved to be a solid performer, offering users excellent value for money. The Nothing Phone 2 secured the second position in this category, emphasizing its commendable performance relative to its launch price.

MKBHD Bang for the Buck comparison
Bang for the Buck comparison

MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test

The MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test once again proves that objective data and audience voting can reveal interesting insights about smartphone cameras. So here we have it, the Pixel devices dominated the MKBHD blind Camera Test in the Results. These devices not only got top positions in individual categories but they also show what they can do across various scenarios. Also, this is just another reminder that there’s more to a great camera than just megapixels.

However, while Pixels stand out this year, it’s important to remember that camera performance is just one aspect of a smartphone. There are a lot of factors other than staged photos. Like autofocus speed, user interface, file format, video capabilities, and others. They all play vital roles in shaping the overall user experience. Additionally, discover which Pixel phones and OnePlus Phones have consistently received recognition at the MKBHD Smartphone Awards.