iPhone XS Max camera takes second place in DxOMark rankings

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The iPhone XS Max camera is one of the best mobile cameras ever tested by the digital camera testing lab DxOMark. It’s just not as good as Huawei’s triple-camera P20 Pro, the tests show.

The XS Max scored a 105, four points less than the flagship of its Chinese competitor, a result only wonky photophiles are likely to debate ad nauseam.

DxOMark and smartphone camera performance

Like every mobile phone camera, DxO engineers evaluated XS Max camera performance based on more than 1,500 images and two hours of video all captures in all possible environments and lighting conditions using the camera’s default settings.

If you want to flyspeck the findings here, DxOMark provides thorough reviews in zoom, exposure and contrast, autofocus and other performance areas. Test findings on the smaller iPhone XS are still to come but DxOMark anticipates similar if not identical results because both possess the same camera systems.

“If we had to pick one aspect of the camera that could be improved, it’s zoom performance,” the DxOMark report summary said. “While zoom has been slightly improved compared to last year’s iPhone X, the iPhone XS Max zoom images showcase luminance noise and less detail than some high-end rivals, such as the Huawei P20 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.”

Highlights leading to the XS Max’s “excellent second place” included “outstanding” video quality showing wide dynamic range in bright light, effective image stabilization, “spot on” exposure in outdoor images and Apple’s Portrait mode showing “very good subject isolation.”

DxOMark
iPhone XS and it rivals square off in the darkness of night.
Photo: DxOMark

Apple scored a 110 on still images and a 96 for video.

In addition to the zoom performance, DxOMark found flash images were underexposed and a drop-off in detail and elevated digital noise in photos made in low light.

Shortcomings aside, the iPhone XS Max camera scored very well. But expect some gloating from Huawei, which has been dissing Apple on Twitter and elsewhere since the release of the new iPhones.