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Former head of Google’s mobile division Vic Gundotra might start a comment war between iPhone and Android handset fanboys because of what he has to say about the superior camera prowess of both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. It is not everyday you see a former executive of Google praising rivaling company Apple for progressing ahead with smartphone photography.
Gundotra seems thoroughly impressed with the iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode since it emulates the bokeh effect of a DSLR camera to separate the foreground from the background prominently. However, there are other things that he states Android is lacking in.
“Here is the problem: It’s Android. Android is an open source (mostly) operating system that has to be neutral to all parties. This sounds good until you get into the details. Ever wonder why a Samsung phone has a confused and bewildering array of photo options? Should I use the Samsung Camera? Or the Android Camera? Samsung gallery or Google Photos?
It’s because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.
Also the greatest innovation isn’t even happening at the hardware level — it’s happening at the computational photography level. (Google was crushing this 5 years ago — they had had “auto awesome” that used AI techniques to automatically remove wrinkles, whiten teeth, add vignetting, etc… but recently Google has fallen back).
Apple doesn’t have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.
Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.”
While the iPhone 7 Plus’ camera performance is terrific to say the least, it still suffers from a constant drawback present in all smartphone cameras; poor low light performance. With the announcement of the iPhone 8, it is evident that we’ll see a massive jump in the handset photography game.