I took over 200 photos with the iPhone 15 Plus vs Galaxy S24 Plus — here's the winner

iPhone 15 Plus vs Galaxy S24 Plus composite.
(Image credit: Future)

In my last photo shootout between the iPhone 15 Pro and Galaxy S24 Plus, Apple’s flagship came out on top between the two $999 phones. This time, however, I’m taking the iPhone 15 Plus and Galaxy S24 Plus for a spin to see which one is the better phone for photography.

When it comes to the hardware, the Galaxy S24 Plus offers a 50MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. That telephoto camera is key because the iPhone 15 Plus doesn’t have a dedicated one — the iPhone's camera setup features a 48MP main shooter paired with a 12MP ultrawide lens. However, you shouldn’t count out the iPhone 15 Plus just yet because it leverages pixel binning with the main camera to give it optical quality performance when zooming to 2x.

In my iPhone 15 Plus review, this technique convinced me that its 2x photos were good enough to rival other camera phones with optical zoom lenses. Meanwhile, I mention in my Galaxy S24 Plus review how its camera app better caters to content creators with its manual modes for photos and video.

I’ll show you the iPhone 15 Plus vs Galaxy S24 Plus camera face-off results to crown a winner, both below and in my latest YouTube video. Ten categories, two phones, only one winner can come out on top.

200 Photos on iPhone 15 Plus vs Galaxy S24 Plus | Photo Shoot|out - YouTube 200 Photos on iPhone 15 Plus vs Galaxy S24 Plus | Photo Shoot|out - YouTube
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iPhone 15 Plus vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Main camera

Starting off with their main cameras, I can’t complain much about them because they’re both excellent for every scene. What stands out is how the iPhone 15 Plus casts a brighter picture with this carousel in Bryant Park, but it tends to blow out the highlights. The S24 Plus casts a more even exposure between the highlights and shadows, despite it not being as bright of an image. This one’s a tie for me.

Winner: Draw

iPhone 15 Plus vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Ultrawide

Both phones have the same 120-degree field of view with their ultrawide cameras, so they both do nicely at capturing the entirety of these buildings. When I zoom into the shots, I do notice that the S24 Plus pulls in a bit more detail with the brickwork around the building, but the iPhone 15 Plus again casts a brighter image that gets my attention — so it’s another tossup here.

Winner: Draw

iPhone 15 Plus vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Dynamic range

Side-by-side, I like how the iPhone 15 Plus handles dynamic range between the statue in the middle that's under a shade and the brighter sky in the background — mainly because it boosts the exposure of the shadows, which elevates the overall look of its shot. The Galaxy S24 Plus still offers excellent dynamic range performance, but the shadows don’t get nearly the same exposure boost as the iPhone.

Winner: iPhone 15 Plus

iPhone 15 Plus vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Color reproduction

Right away I can tell there’s a noticeable difference with how these two camera phones reproduce colors, with the iPhone 15 Plus ramping up the saturation levels far more in these shots. The green leaves in the comparison photos above particular have this shiny look. Don’t get me wrong, it helps to get my attention, but it’s simply too saturated. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S24 Plus is still on the saturated side, but it’s not too overboard with it.

Winner: Galaxy S24 Plus

iPhone 15 Plus vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Macro

Neither phone technically has a dedicated macro mode, but I’m still able to capture incredible looking closeup shots with them. The detail captured is unbelievable with both phones, which I can see with all the details on the leaves of this flower. 

But between them, there’s better sharpness and clarity when I zoom into the iPhone 15 Plus’ photo. It does overexpose the shadows more than the S24 Plus, but its ability to pull in greater detail makes it the better one for me.

Winner: iPhone 15 Plus

iPhone 15 Plus vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Selfie

It’s another close one with these selfies. Both phones have 12MP front-facing cameras and do a superb job at capturing the beauty marks and wrinkles around my face — but the warmer hue and sharper details of the iPhone 15 Plus gets my vote.

Winner: Galaxy S24 Plus

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Portrait

I stuck with 1x zoom for these portrait photos, but it’s clear that the Galaxy S24 Plus’ main camera has a wider field of view. While that might matter for some folks, I’m not too critical about it because I’m interested more in how these phones isolate me from the background.

For the most part, they do a pretty good job at that task — including how my stretched out arm is more out of focus the closer it is to the camera — but I prefer the way the iPhone 15 Plus handles my skin tone, which isn’t as oversaturated as the Galaxy S24 Plus. Plus, the iPhone captures more detail, like the fabric material of my shirt and all the marks on my face.

Winner: iPhone 15 Plus

iPhone 15 Plus vs. Galaxy S24 Plus: Zoom

On paper, there’s a clear advantage for the S24 Plus when it comes to zooming because it offers a dedicated one with 3x optical zoom. The iPhone doesn’t have a telephoto lens of its own, so it’s leaning on the main camera for all of its zooming, which is digital beyond 1x zoom. I’m comparing photos at 3x and 10x zooms, with the latter being the maximum that the iPhone 15 Plus can achieve. (The Galaxy S24 Plus can go up to 30x.)

Knowing that, I’m surprised by how well the iPhone performs here because it’s clearly doing something in the background to enhance its shot. The overall shot looks awfully close to the Galaxy S24 Plus, but that’s until I zoom in more into them. The S24 Plus has more definition around the stature, especially around the legs and shoes — but it’s not by a huge stretch. The iPhone impresses me, but Samsung gets the nod here.

Winner: Galaxy S24 Plus