How Google Pixel 2 compares to $20,000 Hasselblad medium format camera

Jan 2, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

How Google Pixel 2 compares to $20,000 Hasselblad medium format camera

Jan 2, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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In recent tests from DxO, the camera of Google Pixel 2 takes the first place as the best mobile device camera they’ve tested so far. According to the sample images, it really does a good job, but how does it stack up against a professional camera? Tyler Stalman has decided to check it. In this video, he and photographer Jason Eng test Google Pixel 2 and a Hasselblad medium format system in different lighting conditions, and compare the results.

YouTube video

We’ve seen similar comparisons before, although mainly for the video. iPhone 7 Plus was competing with a RED Weapon camera, and iPhone X was compared to Panasonic GH 5. Tyler and Jason compare the quality of the photos taken with a $1,000 phone camera and a professional medium format system that costs twenty times this much.

Testing dynamic range

For the first test, the guys are setting up the light so it creates a high-contrast situation. They are photographing model Ania Boniecka and compare the images they get with both cameras.

As Tyler points out, small-sensor cameras usually struggle with dynamic range. However, Google Pixel 2 uses HDR Plus feature to combine up to ten images into one final exposure, so it manages to save a lot of detail.

When we look at the normal size, all photos are usable and seem well exposed. When zoomed in, however, we can see that with Google Pixel 2 the shadows lose more detail. Also, Hasselblad has smoother transition even when the skin is overexposed. Google Pixel’s HDR saves the highlights from getting burned out but adds some undesirable texture to the skin in these bright areas.

Testing sharpness

When the photos are viewed in Lightroom, perceived sharpness on a smaller screen looks similar. But again, when zoomed in, we can see the difference. On Google Pixel, some “watercolor effect” starts to show on the skin. They didn’t shoot in the brightest environment, so the camera removed the noise and caused this effect.

Testing depth of field

For the final test, the guys added some Christmas lights to the background. On the first sight, the blur on the photos looks pretty similar. The plant in the background looks almost the same in both images, but the blur on the lights gives away which photo was taken with the phone.

So, can a phone camera beat a professional, high-end medium format system? Well, of course not. But still, considering that Google Pixel 2 is a phone camera with a significantly smaller sensor, it still does a decent job. Even if you are a professional photographer, I guess this phone camera will do for some casual shots. After all, you can even take a magazine cover or a worldwide-famous photo with a phone. You never know.

[Google Pixel 2 Camera Test vs. $20k Hasselblad via ISO 1200]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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24 responses to “How Google Pixel 2 compares to $20,000 Hasselblad medium format camera”

  1. John Flury Avatar
    John Flury

    This has been done numerous times over the last years. Yes, if you shoot in good light, at 24mm, with a large DoF and no overly saturated colors in the shot and look at the result on a mobile phone, you probably won’t see a difference between an iPhone 4 and a 100 MP PhaseOne Trichromatic.

  2. Endre Baginyi-Korcsák Avatar
    Endre Baginyi-Korcsák

    Silly comparison just as comparing a John Deere tractor with a Lamborghini both having endless of horsepower but designed for different applications. Honestly, who would buy a Hasselblad to post Instagram feeds… :-o

    1. Devils Inkpot Avatar
      Devils Inkpot

      Way more people than you think. These are the same that buy RED weapons for making unboxing videos for YouTube.

      I think that such comparisons are stupid though.

    2. WillMondy Avatar
      WillMondy

      That’s a funny comparison, because Lamborghini actually started by making tractors ?

  3. Bogdan Dobre Avatar
    Bogdan Dobre

    Oh my, he said it’s better than an iPhoneX. Let the Apple fanboys commence.
    Also, stop saying phones compare to cameras, they don’t.

  4. WillMondy Avatar
    WillMondy

    I am impressed with the quality of phone cameras, especially my Huawei Mate 10 Pro with its Leica designed lenses and sensors. Of course it fails to match my Sony A7R3 but at 20% of the cost, I don’t expect it to.

  5. Walt A Boring IV Avatar
    Walt A Boring IV

    The pixel 2 doesn’t even have local microSD storage. The phone is garbage without it.

    1. Kathryn Tucker Avatar
      Kathryn Tucker

      Why? I can put full size pics in the cloud and download directly to my computer/external, without having to delete the ones I don’t want to keep. As a bonus I have a second cloud storage auto backing up my photos from my phone so they’re in two places. Both FREE

      Pixel isn’t a professional camera, but I don’t miss shuffling SD cards

  6. Alexander L. Harris Avatar
    Alexander L. Harris

    blow up the result for a magazine cover or a billboard and we’ll talk :-)

  7. Cynicaleye Avatar
    Cynicaleye

    why Not compare a Kodak 1 to a Nikon D850. Makes as much sense.

  8. Madara Avatar
    Madara

    For the record I hate these ridiculous tests.

    1. Frank Nazario Avatar
      Frank Nazario

      I kinda like them… goes to show that, depending where you are going to publish your work camera gear is irrelevant… make sure your composition, storyline and illumination is on point and the gear can be anything.

  9. Hugh Mobley Avatar
    Hugh Mobley

    just one question!!! WHY!!!!

  10. Laurent Roy Avatar
    Laurent Roy

    PLEASE stop so called “tests” between phones and pro tools… ???

  11. G Brown Avatar
    G Brown

    Barbie likes Ken?no way she does…?

  12. Jyi Offer Avatar
    Jyi Offer

    Great DIY tip!
    What happened to this page??

  13. Tamás Székffy Avatar
    Tamás Székffy

    Is there any moron outside taking pictures for Instagram with a Hasselblad?

    1. Noor Karzon Avatar
      Noor Karzon

      I do!! I take photos with my hasselblad and show it over instagram as portfolio “This is my job as a commercial photographer” which I believe it’s fine. I think you are talking about taking like a stupid selfie, pets or breakfast shots with hasselblad for instagram which is yeah, it’s stupid.

  14. Enne See Avatar
    Enne See

    Ok, we got it, Hasselblad is pricier and better. What’s next?

  15. Dus Ro Avatar
    Dus Ro

    i wont even open the article. just what the fuck.

  16. Dus Ro Avatar
    Dus Ro

    whats next? phase one vs. iphone 3gs?

  17. Noor Karzon Avatar
    Noor Karzon

    To me this is more like a commercial targeted saying “Pixel 2 has the same power of 20K Camera but cheaper and you can take photos with it anywhere, any….” Cut the crap. Both devices are by ALL MEANS different in purpose and you will NEVER be able to compare. The only reason of this comparison is maybe to glorify that small device. Well guess what!! That small device called a “SMARTPHONE” while the other one called “CAMERA”. Oh let’s not forget the clickbait to more views over youtube!

  18. RH6194 Avatar
    RH6194

    In our next comparison we will look at my child’s little red wagon vs a Ferrari!

  19. RH6194 Avatar
    RH6194

    For the record, we all understand a smartphone can take nice images in the hands of a skilled photographer, however even the most expensive camera is just a box if the photographer does not have decent skills!