Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Camera Shootout: Don’t Make a Mistake
The Google Pixel 7 Pro (Review) recently launched in India and it basically offers the best of Android, at a premium price. As great as its camera performance is, it’s not an all-rounder for sure when up against something like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Review), which beats it when it comes to the quality of recorded video. Today, the Pixel 7 Pro will be competing against the best smartphone that sits on the other side of the fence — the iPhone 14 Pro. While both phones are priced nowhere near each other in India, they do represent the best hardware efforts of the companies that own the two largest smartphone platforms.
The cameras in the Pixel series have been known for its AI smarts but this time, Google hasn’t skimped on the hardware. The iPhone 14 Pro ushers in one of the biggest changes to its camera hardware in years and that shows in the quality of photos and videos it takes. It’s time to find out which smartphone offers the best cameras.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro camera specifications
If you are looking to buy any of the above camera-centric smartphones, you have to keep in mind that the smaller Google Pixel 7 is vastly different from the Pixel 7 Pro in terms of the camera setup. Apart from the obvious lack of a telephoto camera in the 7, there’s also no macro mode available. In the walled garden, there are no differences between the iPhone 14 Pro (Review) and the iPhone 14 Pro Max when it comes to the cameras.
|Pixel 7 Pro||iPhone 14 Pro|
|Field of View||126 degree||120 degree|
Overall, both smartphones feature a similar rear camera setup. The Google Pixel 7 Pro has a 50-megapixel rear camera with optical images stabilisation (OIS), while Apple has gone with a 48-megapixel camera and its sensor-shift OIS technology. Both smartphones have OIS on their telephoto cameras as well, but the Pixel 7 Pro has a 5X optical zoom while the iPhone 14 Pro is limited to 3X optical zoom.
The Pixel 7 Pro features a slightly wider 126-degree field of view for its ultra-wide-angle camera, while Apple has a 120-degree field of view. Both ultra-wide-angle cameras pack autofocus. Apple’s iPhone also gets a LiDAR scanner which is helpful in capturing good Portrait photos and focusing in low light.
As for the selfie cameras, the Apple goes with its tried and tested TrueDepth camera setup which includes a 12-megapixel camera and for the first time, it gets autofocus. The Pixel’s setup is far simpler in comparison with a 10.8-megapixel, fixed-focus sensor.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro primary cameras
While both smartphones capture sharp photos with good dynamic range, Google’s processing seems a bit better with dynamic range and colours in bright lighting conditions. The iPhone 14 Pro tends to capture more contrasted photos, with colours that may be true to the scene but aren’t always appealing. Apple’s colour processing in general also tends to be on the cooler side, whereas the Pixel 7 Pro pulls off warmer tones. Indeed this is quite the contrast compared to previous Pixel smartphones, which usually produced cooler tones.
Unlike Apple, Google does let you adjust the exposure, contrast and white balance before taking a photo. Apple does let you pick from a few exposure presets which the company refers to as Photographic Styles (Standard, Rich Contrast, Vibrant, Warm and Cool). Save for the Standard style, each preset can be customised (by adjusting the tone and warmth), for more artistic-looking photos, but these cannot be adjusted on the go while clicking photos.
Both smartphones technically do not have a Pro mode, something that is available on most high-end Android smartphones with proper manual controls for photo and video. For the purpose of this comparison I set the iPhone’s Photographic Style to Standard, which is the default setting.
Around dusk, the iPhone 14 Pro’s contrast-heavy processing makes for better-looking sunset photos. Apple’s dynamic range takes quite a hit with a lot of detail getting lost in the shadows. Both smartphones also control noise quite well. However, tapping to lock the exposure on objects has different results. In the photograph of this rather intricately designed pillar of this stupa (shown above), tapping on the object in the viewfinder saw the iPhone switch to a very blue tone with the background getting clipped (even though the background wasn’t too bright). The Pixel managed to capture the warmth of the scene as it appeared thanks to its HDR processing. Both smartphones managed to gather an impressive level of details.
In low or dim lighting, the Pixel 7 Pro managed to capture better photos. The iPhone 14 Pro tends to sharpen images a bit too much and this, along with the lower dynamic range and aggressive noise reduction, makes its photos less appealing with unnecessary heavy shadows. In the second batch of photos above, it is easy to see how much detail the Pixel managed to pull from the rocks along with cleaner reflections of the towers in the distance. The 7 Pro fumbles with the bright lights in the centre of the image but pulls off the rest brilliantly.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro ultra-wide cameras
The Google Pixel 7 Pro’s ultra-wide-angle camera does a better job than the iPhone 14 Pro in harsh lighting conditions, with photos that show less barrel distortion, despite having a wider field of view. Both ultra-wide-angle cameras capture photos that pack plenty of details, but the Pixel 7 Pro with its software processing, manages better dynamic range as you can see from the tree on the right side of the image below.
In low light, the iPhone 14 Pro’s superior autofocus technology lets it focus better when capturing dimly lit scenes. The Pixel’s images appear brighter but a bit softer and it’s also not able to handle dynamic range as well as the iPhone, with blown out highlights visible at light sources.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro telephoto cameras
Between the two smartphones, Google’s Pixel 7 Pro edges out the iPhone 14 Pro in terms of hardware by going with a 5X telephoto camera while Apple settles for a 3X telephoto lens. Both smartphones can zoom well beyond their optical capabilities, but better hardware accompanied by good software always wins, as in the case of my previous camera comparison between the Pixel 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Since both smartphones pack equally capable hardware, I decided to capture some zoom samples around sunset to make things more challenging. This is not the ideal conditions for telephoto cameras in phones as the light is just about adequate, but it should push the respective hardware and software to its limits.
Starting with the iPhone 14 Pro, it’s easy to see how Apple’s limited dynamic range is a problem starting from 3X magnification itself. Most of the details in the darker areas are barely visible. Things change as I zoomed in closer with each photo getting brighter. The colours (although quite neutral) are thankfully intact, maintaining some level of consistency. The quality and details remain intact until 5X and noticeably start to deteriorate at 10X, with the 15X (maximum zoom) photo lacking details and having a blown out background.
The Pixel 7 Pro’s advanced HDR processing surely gives it an edge right from 3X, with details remaining sharp up till 10X, and surprisingly good photos even at 15X. Quality takes a noticeable hit at 30X with blurred details but dynamic range is maintained throughout the zoom range, which is quite impressive.
In low light, things turn out a bit different. The Pixel 7 Pro fumbles with details at 2X zoom and aggressively kills the noise, creating flat textures in return. The iPhone 14 Pro retains some of the luminance noise at this zoom level and the results turn out a lot better. At 3X zoom, Google retains the details better but the iPhone at its native 3X optical zoom produces slightly better results. At 5X zoom, which is the Pixel’s hardware limit, it performs noticeably better than the iPhone managing a clean, usable image where the iPhone’s output gets very noisy and is almost unusable.
At 10X zoom, the Pixel’s sample delivers the bare minimum, meaning you can tell clearly what’s in the scene, while the iPhone’s image quality is a noisy mess. The same applies to 15X zoom where the Pixel still manages better quality than the iPhone.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro portrait mode
With the iPhone 14 Pro, the level of bokeh (background blur) can be adjusted when shooting a photo. With the Pixel 7 Pro, there is a set preset which some may find a bit excessive or unnatural but it can be adjusted in the Photos app after taking the shot.
The Pixel 7 Pro, by default, shoots at 1X magnification and has the option of shooting at 2X as well. However, Google forces users to go with a cropped frame so the 1X magnification appears more like 1.6X zoom, while the 2X magnification appears like 3X zoom. As you may have guessed, there’s quite a bit of scaling going on.
The iPhone 14 Pro on the other hand lets users shoot at 1X, 2X and 3X zoom levels which is nice to have. Since both smartphones crop and scale Portrait photos at 2X zoom, I used this for the test.
In daylight, the Pixel 7 Pro’s photos surprisingly packed in more details than the iPhone, despite the slightly cropped and scaled image. But the Pixel tended to make my face appear a bit red while Apple preserved my darker skin tones more accurately, along with its typically cooler colour palette. Apple also adds a bit of skin smoothening, which was not present in the Pixel’s images. While both smartphone’s did a good job with the depth map, I found the iPhone’s LiDAR-assisted edge detection to be more accurate than Google’s software-based offering. In dim lighting conditions, the Pixel 7 Pro had a sharper looking image with slightly saturated colours.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs Apple iPhone 14 Pro selfies
When it comes to selfies, both smartphones give users two magnification options to choose from, but the iPhone 14 Pro’s field of view is quite limited compared to the Pixel’s, which is far wider and can squeeze in more people into the frame. For the daylight selfie test, I had both phones on a tripod and a timer going to capture the selfie samples. The low-light samples were handheld.
Both smartphones do equally well when it comes to detail but the iPhone tends to overexpose the background a bit more. However, the iPhone also manages better edge detection, with the Pixel fumbling in quite a few places. In low light, the Google Pixel managed better Portrait selfies with sharper details and looked quite appealing compared to the iPhone’s dull and soft selfies which lacked detail.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro macro performance
Both the Pixel 7 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro can auto-switch from the primary camera to the ultra-wide-angle camera when moving closer to objects. Both smartphones feature similar hardware, so the photos come out quite detailed. Both devices managed impressive photos with good contrast, colours and sharpness. The Google Pixel is also capable of switching to Auto-Night mode when shooting macro photos, but it does not seem to give it an advantage over the iPhone.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro video recording
In terms of overall quality, Apple delivered much better 4K 60fps videos compared to the Pixel 7 Pro. Apple’s recorded video had a steady bitrate, appeared smooth when panning, and with excellent dynamic range and details. The Pixel 7 Pro’s video quality was quite poor in comparison, with visible noise even in footage shot in broad daylight. Quality wasn’t the best either.
In low light, the iPhone performed better once again, managing better details with lesser noise compared to the Google Pixel 7 Pro. When shooting HDR video, the iPhone came out on top once again with better overall quality. While Google has worked on the Pixel’s video quality, it still isn’t enough to compete with Apple’s superior video recording capabilities, which only seem to improve every year. Switching to the ultra-wide lens on both phones and Pixel 7 Pro’s output was extremely noisy in low light compared to the more usable footage from the iPhone 14 Pro.
A few other things
The Pixel 7 Pro, strangely, will not let you enable Night mode if the timer is activated, whether you are shooting selfies or Portraits from the rear camera. This means photos don’t come out as clear as the slightly longer exposures of Night mode.
I also noticed that Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro is a lot faster when it comes to processing photos. Google’s Pixel 7 Pro will often choke when shooting too many Portrait photos in quick succession. I noticed this when shooting Portrait photos of my daughter when the Pixel stopped registering taps from the shutter button after a few consecutive shots. The same applies to Night mode or auto-night mode photos and zoom photos (at the far-end of the zoom range) taken with the Pixel, where Apple takes a fraction of the time to process the photo upon tapping on the thumbnail to view it. Despite having its own Tensor G2 SoC, it’s surprising to see how much the Google Pixel 7 Pro struggles in terms of post-processing when shooting photos compared to the iPhone.
The iPhone 14 Pro is priced from Rs. 1,29,900 onwards in India, while the Google Pixel 7 Pro retails at Rs. 84,999, and that’s a vast difference in pricing. Another thing worth noting is storage. Where the Pixel 7 Pro is limited to 128GB of storage, the iPhone 14 Pro offers up to 1TB of storage, provided you are willing to cough up Rs. 1,79,900 for it. So, those looking to shoot video content will be better off with the iPhone as it offers better flexibility.
Google sure deserves an applause for the Pixel 7 Pro as it manages better still image quality thanks to its software smarts. Even though it’s not perfect, I feel Google really needs to work on the video recording front which is where the iPhone has always excelled, in order to be an all-rounder in the camera department.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro’s still images are simply more appealing than the iPhone 14 Pro and its zoom performance is also far superior than what’s possible with the iPhone. The 7 Pro’s video quality isn’t terrible by any means but it’s still no match for the iPhone, which is far ahead of the game.
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro comparison
|Processor||Google Tensor G2||Apple A16 Bionic|
|Rear Camera||50-megapixel + 48-megapixel + 12-megapixel||48-megapixel + 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel|
|Storage||128GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|OS||Android 13||iOS 16|
|Resolution||1440×3120 pixels||1179×2556 pixels|