iphone  pixel  meta

I’m Out of the Photo Comparison Game

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read
I’m Out of the Photo Comparison Game

One of my trademark pieces of content on this site over the past few years have been photo comparisons, usually stacking up the latest iPhone to the latest Pixel phone. I have an iPhone 12 Pro in hand, but I have not done any photo comparisons with it, nor do I expect to anytime soon. Let me explain why.


One big blocker this year is I don’t have the Pixel 5, and making a post called, “the best iPhone vs a year old Pixel” is as sure a way as any to get people to call you a fanboy. And frankly, fair enough (who out there is debating between buying iOS vs Android, let alone a used Pixel 4 or a brand new iPhone 12 Pro?).

I don’t have the Pixel 5 because I’m not on Google’s or Apple’s lists of reviewers, so I don’t get loaners to test out, I have to order them just like everyone else. And in 2020, with a shaky economy and other reviewers saying “it’s the same hardware as last year and the photos look the same” there’s no reason for me to drop $700 on a phone I absolutely don’t need.

Doing it the Best Possible

Along those same lines, my sample size is just too small. I don’t have a drawer full of the latest flagships from Apple, Google, Samsung, Huawai, OnePlus, and all the other companies out there. Bigger YouTubers do, so they’re always going to be able to create more complete comparisons than I ever would.

I don’t have to be the best at everything I do creatively, but there are a few things I think I can do better than most, and I’d like to focus my energy around those things.

Personally, I think I can provide more value by being a data point for how the iPhone 12 Pro camera is, rather than trying to be the person who determines once and for all which camera is the best, and inevitably convince no one and be called a fanboy.

Make the Content You Want to See

Jeff Cannata is one of my favorite internet personalities, and he has a great quote from years ago that resonates with me:

I love loving things.

It’s simple, but it’s how I feel about most things. While the internet in general rewards people for being snarky, for being cruel, and for being able to bitch endlessly about the things they dislike, I prefer to stay on the side of talking about things I love. I’m imperfect here, and sometimes it’s simply right to speak up for what you see as wrong, but tech is not a place I feel like I need to do that most of the time.

The truth of the matter is that the cameras on flagship phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung are all incredible. They improve in some ways each year and they differ from each other in subtle ways, but of all the things going on in tech, splitting hairs over image and video quality to declare a “winner” just feels like fighting the wrong battle. Forgive the political tangent, but in a way it feels similar to a news headline a week before the election saying, “Decision 2020: Does Trump or Biden have the better head of hair?” You can have that conversation I guess, but maybe there’s more interesting things to cover…

Anyway, this is a long-winder way of saying that I want to:

  1. Talk more about the things I love about the iPhone camera.
  2. Call out the things I think the iPhone still lacks at in the camera department.
  3. Explain how to get the most out of the iPhone if you’ve already chosen it for yourself.