Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera vs iPhone 13 Pro Max camera: 6 key differences


The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max are two of the most acclaimed flagship phones on the market right now. And like almost all flagship phones, both have powerful camera systems that specialize in different areas.

In this article, we compare the Galaxy S22 Ultra camera with the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera to see which is better for you. We’ll discuss specs, image quality, video performance, macro, zoom, and more.

Galaxy S22 Ultra Camera Specifications

galaxy s22 ultra camera
Image credit: Samsung
  • Main camera: 108MP | f/1.8 aperture | 23mm field of view | 1/1.33″ sensor size | 0.8 micron pixel size
  • Ultra-wide camera: 12MP | f/2.2 aperture | 13mm field of view | 1/2.55″ sensor size | 1.4 micron pixel size
  • 3X telephoto camera: 10MP | f/2.4 aperture | 70mm Field of View | 1/3.52″ sensor size | 1.12 micron pixel size
  • 10X Periscope Telephoto Camera: 10MP | f/4.9 aperture | 230mm field of view | 1/3.52″ sensor size | 1.12 micron pixel size
  • Front camera: 40MP | f/2.2 aperture | 26mm field of view | 1/2.82″ sensor size | 0.7 micron pixel size

iPhone 13 Pro Max camera specs

Camera iPhone 13 Pro max
  • Main camera: 12MP | f/1.5 aperture | 26mm field of view | 0.9 micron pixel size
  • Ultra-wide camera: 12MP | f/1.8 aperture | 13mm field of view
  • 3X telephoto camera: 12MP | f/2.8 aperture | 77mm field of view
  • Front camera: 12MP | f/1.5 aperture | 26mm field of view | 0.9 micron pixel size

1. Daytime photography

Daylight photography on both phones is truly impressive; you can’t go wrong with any of them. That said, there is a noticeable difference in their image quality and processing.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max generally leans towards warmer, more realistic colors, while the S22 Ultra has cooler, more playful colors. Photos on the former look more realistic, while the latter tweaks them a bit to make your shots more contrasty and Instagrammable.


The S22 Ultra has near-perfect edge detection and can separate individual hair strands from the background for DSLR-like portraits, as well as slightly better dynamic range. However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a slightly faster shutter speed and less lens flare.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Top Features You Need to Know

2. Low light photography

Low-light photography on the S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max is very different. While the former illuminates your image, the latter preserves the essence of the night. Again, this is going to be a very subjective thing, so we can’t say for sure which is best.

If you’re a purist, you’ll like the realism of the iPhone more because of how well it represents ambient light. But it also means that there might not be a lot of distinctly visible elements in your photo, so even if the photo is realistic, there’s not much to see.

If you’re more inventive, the S22 Ultra will ensure your low-light shots always have enough detail, light and color so you don’t have to edit your footage yourself. But you’ll also find it boring at times when it lights up things that look better dark.

3. Macro photography

Macro photography on both cameras is pretty much the same. The only significant difference is that the iPhone 13 Pro Max can get much closer to the subject, but macro shots from the S22 Ultra look more vibrant and contrasty. Still, not a huge difference.

iphone 13 pro and pro max gold on white background

4. Zoom photography

When it comes to zoom photography, the S22 Ultra is the clear winner. Its dedicated 10x periscope telephoto lens lets you capture subjects further away, like birds and buildings.

By comparison, the iPhone 13 Pro Max only has a 3x telephoto lens and its zoom shots start to become unusable at near 10X magnification. The S22 Ultra can still give you a surprisingly sharp shot, even at 30X magnification. Don’t use it to stalk people!

5. Video

Cinematic mode on the iPhone 13
Image credit: Apple

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is still better than the S22 Ultra when it comes to video. The former looks noticeably cleaner and more put together, while the latter lacks detail and delivers wildly inconsistent results. During the day, the S22 Ultra takes more vibrant videos; but at night it looks faded and washed out.

In both conditions, the video quality always seems lower; you’ll be hard pressed to get a video on the S22 Ultra that looks as good as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. In addition, the cinematic mode of the latter works wonderfully.

However, the S22 Ultra has better stabilization and slower slow motion video. Additionally, its software Director’s View feature allows you to view video outputs from all cameras at once, making it an attractive option for vloggers and content creators.

Both devices have about the same audio quality.

Related: Reasons not to buy the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

6. Selfies

If you like the S22 Ultra’s normal daytime photos, you’ll love its selfies too; they are contrasting, colorful and confident. But, as soon as you switch to selfie video, the iPhone 13 Pro Max takes back the crown for the same reasons we discussed earlier.

If you’re used to taking lots of selfie videos, going live on Instagram, or shooting TikTok clips, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the clear winner. But, if your use of the selfie is limited to photos, the S22 Ultra takes beautiful shots. However, the former is more reliable.

So which one has the best camera?

We’d love to tell you which is better for mobile photography, the S22 Ultra or the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but as you can probably guess, it comes down to personal preference.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera and iPhone 13 Pro Max camera side by side
Image credit: Super Saf

However, we’ll say this: the S22 Ultra is in many ways a serious upgrade from its predecessor. With the S21 Ultra it’s more of a random type situation, but Samsung has solved this problem with the S22 Ultra and made it more consistent than before, thanks to all the software optimization.

Moreover, the S22 Ultra is also much more fun to use than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. You’ll want to use the former more often than the latter simply because of its plethora of features. But if all you care about is getting a good shot every time you pull out your phone, the iPhone is still your best bet.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is versatile, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is consistent

Both the S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro Max are great options for mobile photography. While the former is more fun to use thanks to its many features, the latter has a more reliable camera system.

Simply put, the S22 Ultra is more of a generalist; it does a lot of things very well but fails in some difficult situations, especially video. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a specialist; it doesn’t do much, but it does do a few things like no other.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max on gray background
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