I took 200 photos with the Galaxy S24 Ultra vs OnePlus 12 — here's the winner

Samsung S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12 held together side-by-side.
(Image credit: Future)

It was just a couple months ago when I put the Galaxy S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12 in a head-to-head camera face-off. I captured more than 200 photos between the two, but Samsung’s phone ended up taking the top honor after I analyzed the images.

Since then, both phones have received their share of software updates that purportedly improves the performance of the cameras. Considering how the Galaxy S24 Ultra has performed in other camera shootouts, I think it’s worth revisiting if the turnout will be the same against the OnePlus 12 — to definitely say which is worthier in the best camera phone conversation.

Just as a refresher in case you have forgotten, the Galaxy S24 Ultra features a quadruple camera setup that consists of a 200MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom, and 50MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 12 is paired with a 50MP main camera, 48MP ultrawide, and 64MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom.

Given how religiously I take photos and videos, I’m still inclined to say that the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the one for serious users not only because of the amount of cameras at my disposal, but also because it has more shooting modes and AI-editing features that help save me time. I’ve raved about the usefulness of the Galaxy AI features with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, namely Generative Edit’s ability to remove reflections in windows and Instant Slow-Mo that converts regular video into slow motion. However, OnePlus is slowly adding artificial intelligence with features like AI Eraser

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Main camera

For the main camera comparison, it’s a deadlock in this indoor shot at Whole Foods because they both deliver excellent details, strong dynamic range and accurate colors that somehow neutralizes the different sources of light that’s there.

It’s only when I zoom into the shot that I’m able to discern the subtleties, like how the prices on the tags are a bit more legible with the Galaxy S24 Ultra — while the OnePlus 12 looks slightly smudgy by comparison. Because of this, I’m giving the main camera win to Samsung.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Color reproduction

Inside of Whole Foods, I captured the snapshots above at the produce section because it captures everything I need to properly hone into the colors throughout the scene. At first glance, I find them almost identical with their rich color tones. The greens, oranges and reds of the peppers on the third row emphasize this, but the OnePlus 12 tends to oversaturate them just a bit — whereas they’re more true-to-life looking with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Some will find the saturation better with the OnePlus 12, but I prefer the natural tones of the S24 Ultra.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Dynamic range

With the sun a little to my left and behind me, I tested the dynamic range performance of the S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12 on these skyscrapers on the other side of Bryant Park. This is a perfect example because of the strong lighting hitting the skyscraper in the middle of the shot, while the adjacent building to the left is shaded.

This one’s really close because they both do an excellent job at handling the contrasting areas. Highlights are preserved in areas where the sun is clearly hitting the buildings, but it’s in the shadows where I see a difference. They’re boosted a little with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, resulting in a better balance that draws out details — like in the shaded areas closer to ground level, or in the smaller building directly to the right of the main one in the middle.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Macro

I really love these macro photos of this sunflower I captured with the Galaxy S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12. Yet right away I can tell there’s a clear winner. Given how the previous three categories focused on detail, colors,and dynamic range, I’m not surprised that the Galaxy S24 Ultra wins in the macro department either because those three qualities are well represented here.

I’ll admit that the OnePlus 12 dishes up good results, but it doesn’t do as good of a job at preserving the details. And it’s not just isolated to the shot of the sunflower above because all the other macro photos below are evidence that the S24 Ultra is simply better. Not only is there more detail, but the stronger dynamic range performance better contrasts the highlights and shadows.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Selfie

Here’s an example of why higher megapixels aren’t good indicators of a camera’s performance. The OnePlus 12 has a 32MP selfie camera, which on paper would lead people to believe it’s better than the 12MP front-facing cam on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. That's hardly the case.

It’s easily a win for Samsung because it delivers the sharper, more detailed selfie. I’m impressed by the amount of definition from my hoodie and polo shirt, which appear softer in tone with the OnePlus 12.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Portrait

Before I get into their portrait modes, I just want to mention that both phones have the ability to dial in the bokeh level — the effect that causes background blur. For some reason, I must’ve had the Galaxy S24 Ultra on a higher level because all the portrait photos I captured had their backgrounds substantially more blurred out.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra again has more details captured in the portrait photo above, mainly on the gray fabric of my hoodie — which looks softer in tone with the OnePlus 12. But I will say that the OnePlus 12 holds up nicely in all the other portrait photos I captured and does a much better job than the last time at identifying faces,

Winner: Tie

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Ultrawide angle

One important specification to look at in a phone’s ultrawide camera is its field of view. That’s because a wider field of view means you’ll get more of the scene into frame than one with less, which is also helpful at squeezing as many people into a photo without having to step back. Samsung has the clear win here with its wider 120-degree field of view, versus the 114-degree FoV of the OnePlus 12.

In the side-by-side shot of the New York Public Library, you can see more of it and the surrounding buildings with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. But beyond this, I still prefer how the S24 Ultra handles dynamic range because the bright blue sky isn’t as overexposed — while the shadows in the archways are increased a bit to draw out details that are otherwise less defined with the OnePlus 12.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. OnePlus 12: Zoom

Interestingly enough, I feel like the OnePlus 12 got a lot better at capturing zoom photos this time around because its long range shots almost look as good as the Galaxy S24 Ultra's. Take this 6x zoom shot of the Empire State Building above, which has a slight haze to it versus the building in front of it. I really like how the two balance out the shadows and highlights of the scene, along with the excellent details of the brickwork around all the buildings.

It’s only when I really zoom into the Empire State Building that I can make out a bit more detail with the S24 Ultra, which I can see from the lower level beneath the spire with the individual bricks on the building. The difference isn’t a huge degree in these shots, but others below at 30x and 100x zoom clearly give the S24 Ultra the edge.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra