We had been planning a grand camera comparison for a while, but it is only now that we finally have all the 2020 flagships that it can finally happen. Apple certainly took its time with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but we put a phone in each pocket and went out shooting with the one already released.
Galaxy Note20 Ultra is Samsung’s entry into this competition. Its camera specifications are overridden by a 108MP Nonacell primary module with one of the largest sensors available. A relatively continuous fixed focus ultra-wide is the least impressive device here, while a 5x periscope tele makes things much more exciting in the long run.
Another 5x periscope phone can be found on the Huawei Mate 40 Pro – no wonder considering that Huawei was among the periscope pioneers. Here it joins a 50MP Quad Bayer main camera and a 16: 9 20MP ultra-wide with autofocus.
Xperia 1 II matches Mate for autofocus on the ultra-wide module; the other two do not. Sony is taking its own path with the main cam and opting for a conventional Bayer array on its 12MP sensor, not even a small device despite the low nominal pixel count. The end of the tri-set is a 70 mm equivalent tele, a standard version that is not periscope.
The telephoto for the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a similar range – Apple says 65 mm or 2.5 x zoom. Count it from the brand new main camera. It’s another 12MP module of the same size as Sony’s, though no one has yet specified it explicitly. The most important thing about this is that it is the first smartphone camera with sensor-shift image stabilization – no matter what else is stabilized phone camera, it depends on wiggling around a lens element. No wiggle of any kind happens on the ultra-wide – it is fixed focus.
It’s 4 pockets filled to the brim with advanced camera technology, and we go a little deeper into the numbers on the next page.