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This year’s MKBHD blind camera test surprises with iPhones

As every year, the famous youtuber Marques Brownlee, also known as MKBHD, has shared the verdict of his blind camera test. During the past weeks, Brownlee has been sharing a series of photographs on his Instagram and Twitter profiles in which he was anonymously facing different smartphone cameras presented this 2020, and his followers could vote which of both they liked more at a glance. After several rounds we finally have a champion and, surprise, it is not an iPhone.

MKBHD Cover blind test cameras 2020
One more year, a most unexpected result for iPhones in Marques Brownlee’s blind test.

And this has been the most curious point of the whole test, when the two contestant iPhones (the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone SE) fell in the first round. The champion, the Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, surpassed in the last confrontation the 2nd classified, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, and rose with the crown of this «Tasting» photographic blind.

Beyond this curious result, the striking thing is how it is possible that the iPhone 12 Pro Max fell in the first round. The why? The lack of analysis of the entire image at the time of voting.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max measured its camera to the One Plus 8T in the first round, and users considered the One Plus photo “better”. It is important to quote this best, because really there could only be one detail in which the majority would look to give victory to One Plus: Heaven.

Comparative image iPhone 12 Pro Max and One Plus 8T
Most voters decided that the image on the right, taken with the One Plus 8T, was better than the one on the left, taken with the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

If we look carefully, we will see how The One Plus camera has more accurately exposed the sky outside the window in the scene, something that draws attention to the naked eye without going into details of the image. However, what most did not notice was at the expense of this scene achieving this, and that is the rest of the scene is underexposed, losing detail and information in areas such as the subject’s face or clothing, something that most missed.

With the naked eye, and without an eye trained to pay attention to detail, at first glance the photograph of the One Plus 8T seems more correct, more “good”, by showing a blue sky with some detail, something that the iPhone does not achieve when focusing its efforts on correctly exposing the main subject of the scene: the subject.

Beyond this, the scene itself would have been difficult even for a camera with greater possibilities, as they are two very different areas in terms of light in the scene, and whose only solution would have been to take different shots, exposing each area and then joining them in post-processing.

The terminals for their part do this at the same moment they take the photo, and then play with the image processing to return the most optimal setting that they consider, each prioritizing different settings according to each manufacturer.

So is the iPhone 12 Pro Max camera worse?

Not at all. In fact this is a sample among others why it could be one of the best, if not the best. When capturing a scene like this, the terminal must decide which zones to prioritize, to achieve the maximum possible information while sacrificing the least.

In this case, the iPhone does a great job, correctly identifying the scene and prioritizing the subject to photograph, Brownlee. In this way, even though the window area and the exterior are overexposed, the “important” part of the scene, the subject and its closest environment, are correctly illuminated, with sufficient information and detail in their textures to give the best result. All this clear, evaluating the catch from a technical and more specific point of view.


Marques Brownlee himself has stated that It is not a scientific test, and it is based on the vision of each user to vote the photo that he considers more successful, not better.

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