Who captures better video footage? The iPhone 6s or the Galaxy S6?
iPhone 6S vs. Galaxy S6 – Video Camera Comparison
So after 4 longs years of being stuck with a 8 megapixel camera in the iPhone, Apple decided to up the camera in the iPhone 6S with a 12 megapixel camera. We’ve done the still photo-comparison, now we’re going to find out how the video camera compares between the two devices. Surprisingly enough, the results aren’t exactly the same and there’s a few things that surprised us when it came to exposure and action-shots.
So for this comparison, we took video footage of the exact same thing, with both cameras over a span of a couple of weeks. Some of the footage was captured during our iPhone 6S Plus bendgate test so if that’s of interest to you, you can find out more here. If you’re interested in the comparison for still photographs, find it here.
Here’s what we’ve concluded in our video camera comparison. The iPhone 6s comes out on top except when it comes to audio in noisy places. The iPhone 6s has better video stabilization, better slo-motion video, better low-light videos and a better auto-focus and all this means that the iPhone 6s is better suited to capture life as it comes. The Samsung Galaxy S6, despite having a wider field of view (FOV), doesn’t capture color as well as the iPhone and has an auto-focus that is quite frustrating to use. We do have to add that we did do a video comparison between the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 that we never published and the results were almost exactly the same.
Video Quality – Not what we expected between the two cameras
In terms of video quality, as we mentioned in the photo comparison, the iPhone 6s captures colors that are more realistic. Now this is a personal preference but both Aaron and his wife agree that the colors on the iPhone 6s look a little more natural. In general, the iPhone 6s footage is a little cooler than the S6’s or vice versa and as you can see in the driving image below, the video footage coming from the Galaxy S6 Edge seems a little more depressing as it doesn’t expose the blue sky well so everything is a little more dreary.
The FOV on the Galaxy S6 Edge is still superior as you can definitely see more in the S6 Edge footage but for video, everything is constrained to a set resolution (i.e 1920 by 1080) which means that despite capturing more objects, the detail of the objects is going to be lower. Also, when you’re shooting ad-hoc footage, you are going to be placing the subject in the middle of the screen so having a larger FOV doesn’t really have an impact in our opinion.
When it came to filming in dark areas, our initial guess was that the Galaxy S6 was going to be better because still photographs did better in our photo comparison on the S6 but we were wrong. The iPhone 6s does a wonderful job of exposing the footage which in a dark room, means exposing more of the shadows…noise is still there for both cameras but you can definitely see more with the iPhone 6s despite having the smaller FOV.
Audio Quality – The S6 is the “clear” winner
In terms of Audio quality, there is a clear winner. The S6 does a much better job of picking out voices in noisy environments. With the iPhone 6s, voices tend to get lost in noisier environments whereas the Galaxy S6 manages to pull the voices out of the noise a little better.
In the comparison video above, Aaron’s voice is barely audible on the iPhone footage whereas its much clearer in the S6. Now you might not think this may not be a big deal but having good audio in a video is actually really important because you can listen to a video with poor video quality but watching a video without any audio is pretty weird.
4K video quality – It works but how good is it?
When it comes to 4K video, both devices shoot it but we were a little disappointed with the 4k footage from both devices. At the time of this comparison, 4K video still isn’t a very popular format and having a mobile device capture such storage intensive footage seems silly.
For the 4k footage comparison, we filmed a car-ride in 4k as well as a video of Monty doing a series of commands and watched both on a 4k TV. In both videos, there were breaks in the video that were quite noticeable on the TV which is really the only thing worth noting as our comments from the section above for video quality also apply here.
We do have to note that the TV we viewed the footage on is an older 4k TV which might be the problem and the laptop that was playing the footage was a three year old Macbook Pro so without any newer hardware, our results for the 4k video might be inaccurate.
As a side note, the S6 can only handle 5 minutes of 4k video recording at a time whereas the iPhone doesn’t.
Slow Motion Footage – The iPhone 6s comes out on top
When it comes to slo-motion video, the iPhone wins hands down. The moment you start recording slo-motion video on the Galaxy S6, it’s almost like the camera farts. You basically lose a ton of detail and the colors and everything just seem cartoonish in a sense. Edges become much more pronounce and because of the wider FOV, the subject of the video is going to be less detailed if compared to the iPhone.
Auto Focus – The S6’s is mind-numbingly frustrating
When it comes to auto-focus, the iPhone 6s does a better job and you might be thinking because of its “Focus Pixels”. And as much as Apple likes to toot its own horn, Samsung was using a variation of the “Focus Pixels” in the Galaxy S5 but that’s Apple for you. Late to the game but they toot their horn enough to make everybody think they’re first?
In our opinion, the speed of the auto-focus will make or break a camera. With the S6, the autofocus seems really active when you’re not recording which seems a little distracting. Anytime something on screen moves, it goes through a re-focusing cycle whereas the iPhone just does it. This effect isn’t as noticeable when footage is recording but you’ll notice a lag when it comes to refocusing an object. If you’ve been watching my videos for the last few months, you may have heard me complain about the auto-focus on the S6.
Now Aaron has a theory when it comes to the auto-focus of the iPhone but rather than filling this semi-well written post, we’d suggest that you watch his cockamamy theory in the video at the end.
Action Shots – Depends on what you’re shooting
When it comes to action shots, both cameras do better than each other in specific situations. When shooting a fast moving object (like Monty running on the sidewalk), we found the Galaxy S6 Edge better at reducing the blur of the backdrop. There was no loss in detail when panning quickly across a room.
With all of that being said, the iPhone still comes out on top because of the video stabilization. The S6 has a video stabilization option but as you can see in the gif below, every step taken results in the footage shaken while the iPhone just wobbles. This stabilization is a big plus for the iPhone as it will be much more forgiving while filming on the go.
Lastly, the cherry on top for shooting video with an iPhone 6s are all the accessories that you can get for the device. Since Apple keeps the general shape of an iPhone the same for two years at a time, accessory manufacturers are more willing to spend the time and effort to develop accessories that really enhance the iPhone. For example, this iPhone 6s can sit in the HitCase Pro which allows me to mount on the outside of a car as well as being able to swap out different lenses. We can’t do that with the S6 as there aren’t any accessories that allow us to do it.
So that’s all we got for our video comparison between the iPhone 6S and Galaxy S6 Edge. This is by no means any sort of comprehensive comparison but we feel that we’ve hit the major points for each device. Many of the issues that we described for each device can be taken into account using a custom photo app but since the majority of users will be using the stock camera apps, we left them out of this comparison.