Last month I was invited to take part in a Photowalk in London with Three to test out the cameras on the iPhone X and Samsung S9 Plus. I met with Kellee from Three, photographer Rob Percy and a handful of bloggers at Bermondsey station to begin our day of exploring London and testing the different camera settings across some of the city’s sights before finishing up at the Tate Modern.
For the first half of the day I had the Samsung S9 Plus which I had convinced myself I would not get on with as I have been an iPhone user for years now and I have never been able to get on with their operating systems when I try to use a friend’s handset. The S9 Plus is the most advanced Galaxy with a next generation camera that is said to adapt like the human eye, and the handset is available in Blue, Black and Purple.
Alongside taking pictures in any light and having the ability to shoot in super slow motion, the S9 Plus has extra features including a rear dual camera and live focus for stunning, professional-looking Bokeh effects, and Dual Optical Image Stabilisation to make every detail crystal clear. The super slow motion camera shoots at an amazing 960 frames per second, turning an everyday moment into an incredible videos and would be perfect for capturing a sporting event or slowing down the kids during a rather hyped up moment.
Their first ever dual aperture adjust like your eyes for quality pictures in bright sunshine, super low light and even moonlight, so you never have to wonder again what that night time shot would have looked like or lugging around an array of lights to get the look you were going for. The S9 Plus also has the best Infinity Screen, Dolby Atmos surround sound and lots more exciting new features. All the photographs above were taken using the Samsung S9 Plus and were not edited in any way.
We started the day at Maltby Street Food Market, which despite being a stone’s throw away from where I grew up I had never been to but now can’t wait to return and truly immerse myself in the smell and taste of all the amazing food stall vendors. The S9 Plus has a food photography function on the camera which allows you to make the centre of your photo the focal point whilst blurring the surrounding so you are drawn to the food rather than anything else, it’s like it was made specifically for a food blogger and was my favourite feature on the camera.
I used the Food feature to capture the first two pictures whilst at the market and I also tried it on the Telephone box to see how it worked with items outside of the food category. I think this feature would be great to take beauty and skincare photographs, especially when you are taking multiple photographs of a haul or monthly favourites. Giving you the chance to focus on each item and creating a great effect on the surrounding items but drawing your focus to the particular item you are discussing at that time.
What I found best about the Samsung S9 Plus was the clarity of the photographs and how it picked up the smallest details and make the colours really pop which you can really see from the murals at St Katherines Dock. My favourite photograph of the day was the last photo above; the colour and definition of the bottle and the flower, and the intricacy of the writing and logos on the bottle really won me over. I was really surprised by just how different this photograph looked on my iPhone SE screen though, with the entire photo looking blurry and dull in comparison which truly showed me just how much of a difference the newer screens make to a photograph.
We stopped for lunch at The Dickens Inn for a spot of lunch and a chance to have a catch up about how we’d been getting on with the phones so far and to swap phones for the rest of the afternoon. I went for Fish and Chips with Curry Sauce and a glass of Prosecco and took the chance to talk all things blogging and get to know the other bloggers that were taking part in the Photowalk. The food was absolutely delicious and if you ever find yourself in St Katherines Dock looking for a wholesome meal I would highly recommend them.
After lunch it was time for me to have a go on the iPhone X camera and I instantly struggled to come to terms with the loss of the home button, it felt like a part of me was missing. Like the Samsung the clarity on the phone was incredible but where the Samsung had great features for taking pictures of food and products the iPhone X has some great new features for taking Portrait photos. You can use the TrueDepth camera, along with the A11 Bionic chip, at just the tap of a finger you can create beautiful selfies with sharp foregrounds and artfully blurred backgrounds.
In Portrait mode the Portrait Lighting feature produces impressive studio-quality lighting effects, which uses sophisticated algorithms to calculate how your facial features interact with light and uses the data to create stunning lighting effects. All the photos taken above were taken with the iPhone X and you will see in the first photo the use of the Natural Light and how your face sits in sharp focus against a blurred background. The final photograph was taken using the Contour Light option which use dramatic shadows alongside highlights and lowlights and could be used on a portrait or to capture a moment in time.
The other lighting options are Studio Light, a clean look with your face brightly lit, Stage Light, where your face is spotlit against a deep black background, and Stage Light Mono, is like stage but in classic black and white. We spent the afternoon walking along the Riverbank, taking in some great views of the Shard and Southwark Bridge, and I got the chance to play with the editing side of the photographs like the streetlights above. To really get the most out of your iPhone camera Rob recommended downloading the Adobe Lightroom app where you have the use of an array of editing options as there are not as many editing options on the iPhones.
For someone who is a born and bred South Londoner I don’t really take the time to truly explore it as much as I should and I had a great day taking in some of the great sites and getting my steps in, around 14,000 might I add. It was really interesting to get the chance to experiment with the different features on both the phones and I was completely surprised myself by deciding at the end of the day that I preferred the Samsung S9 Plus over the iPhone X.
I think a large part of my preference of the Samsung was in regards to the fact that I do not tend to take a lot of portrait photographs, except for the occasion selfie but they tend to be on Snapchat with some sort of filter. A large portion of my blog features Beauty and Food posts, so the Samsung had more appealing options and I didn’t need to rely on an app as much as I would need to on the iPhone. However, my dream phone would have to be the S9 Plus camera with the Apple iOS operating system and with a slightly smaller phone as I found them to both be quite large.
As we ended the day walking past the Millennium Bridge making our way to the Tate Modern a rainbow shaped caught our eyes on the bridge. Like any true blogger we all made our way over to grab a picture and found ourselves stood in front of a life sized rainbow poo emoji and was surprised to be told that it was part of an upcoming Three campaign and to keep our eyes peeled. Have you seen the Puggerfly flying around the web or the Rainbow Poo emojis around London?