The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus aren’t a huge upgrade over last year’s flagship models. They look the same as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Some expert reviewers called the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus “already obsolete” because there is already a bigger upgrade iPhone X. However, Apple has given the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus a major camera upgrade. In fact, DxOMark found after exhaustive tests that the Apple iPhone 8 Plus sports the “best camera we’ve ever tested.”

Apple iPhone 8 Plus Camera
Image source: Apple.com (screenshot)

Apple iPhone 8 Plus is the new smartphone camera king

The Apple iPhone 8 Plus received a score of 94 out of 100 on DxOMark, leaving the previous champions Google Pixel (90) and HTC U11 (90) far behind. Even the smaller iPhone 8 has a better camera than the Pixel and U11. DxOMark gave the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 a score of 92. DxOMark assesses a phone’s camera in two aspects- photos and videos – in different shooting scenarios.

Earlier this month, DxOMark revised its mobile testing protocol to reflect modern features such as the zoom and depth of field effects. Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium was the first smartphone to be tested using the new protocol. It received a score of 83, even lower than the last year’s iPhone 7. Thanks to the revised procedures, the iPhone 8 Plus sit on top of the list.

What surprised many is that the iPhone 8, which lacks the dual camera and other fancy new features, still managed to beat Google Pixel and HTC U11. DxOMark said the iPhone 8 was now the highest rated smartphone with a single camera. In fact, the iPhone 8 performed even better than the dual camera iPhone 8 Plus in the video department, but fell behind its bigger sibling in photography due to the lack of certain features.

Talking about the Apple iPhone 8 Plus camera, DxOMark said the phone’s rear camera takes photos with “excellent detail presentation, accurate color, and impressive dynamic range.” It builds on the “excellent performance” of the iPhone 7 Plus with “even better results in bright light.” The iPhone 8 Plus is a class apart when you want to shoot photos in everyday situations without having to worry about the low-light mode, focus, etc.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Image source: DxOMark.com (screenshot)

Google Pixel still beats iPhone 8 Plus in video shooting

DxOMark praised the iPhone 8 Plus’s bokeh effects and the zoom in features. Though these features still have a long way to go before they mature, Apple has done a pretty good job. However, Google Pixel remains the best device for video shooting. The Pixel scored 91 points for videos compared to 90 points for the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and 89 points for the iPhone 8 Plus.

DxOMark has added tons of sample photos that are worth checking out. The regular iPhone 8 sports a 12-megapixel rear camera with a new color filter, deeper pixels, and optical image stabilization. It captures up to 80% more light compared to the iPhone 7. The Apple iPhone 8 Plus, on the other hand, features a 12MP wide-angle and a 12MP telephoto lens on the back.

Besides Portrait Mode, Apple has added Portrait Lighting to the iPhone 8 Plus camera. Portrait Lighting allows users to change the lighting effect on photos. There are different options such as the natural light, studio light, stage light, and more.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus may not remain at the top for long

The Apple iPhone 8 Plus might be the best smartphone camera out there, but it is unlikely to remain at the top for long. DxOMark hasn’t yet tested Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, which sports a dual camera setup on the back. Both cameras on the Note 8 support optical image stabilization. The Galaxy S8, which was released earlier this year with a single rear camera, had received a score of 88 on DxOMark. The Note 8 camera is a major upgrade over the S8, and will give the Apple iPhone 8 Plus some serious competition.

And then there is Google Pixel 2, which will be unveiled next week. The Pixel 2 will succeed a phone that remained at the top of DxOMark’s ranking for nearly a year despite fierce competition. The Pixel 2 will have a single 12MP camera lens on the back, but we can expect Google to improve its camera through software. However, DxOMark’s new testing protocol tilts slightly in favor of dual cameras. It will be interesting to see how the Pixel 2 performs in its new tests.

The iPhone X that will launch on November 3rd is expected to have an even better camera than the iPhone 8 Plus. The 10th-anniversary iPhone’s camera will have a wider aperture lens that will be able to capture more light, and OIS in both the rear camera lenses. The iPhone X will be in short supply this year. So, you may not be able to get your hands on the phone until early next year.

Despite sporting the best smartphone camera in the world, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have witnessed unbelievably low consumer response around the world. There were no long queues in front of Apple Stores when sales began on September 22. The online pre-orders were lukewarm at best. Industry experts believe that consumers are eagerly waiting for the iPhone X because they see the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as only minor upgrades.