Sunday, October 4, 2015

iPhone 6s vs Samsung SL620 point and shoot camera photo test

As a beauty blogger, I spend weekend free time taking pictures of my arm. It's an odd hobby to be sure, but I have been beefing up swatch and product photos on my blog recently. You might have noticed that I have been slowly replacing photos on some of my oldest posts, trying to make sure I have color accurate and high quality photos.

This post is a combination photo test and behind the scenes look at macro and product photography on my blog. I usually use my old Samsung SL 620 point and shoot camera, but can the iPhone 6s replace it?

Taken with an iPhone 6s camera
The fine print: none of the pictures in this post have been edited, except to add a watermark. I took each of these photos in natural light on a windowsill and tried to keep the shots as similar as possible. Everything shown in this post was purchased by me and was not sponsored or sent for PR review.

The Contenders:

1 - iPhone 6s
I have the gold 16gb iPhone 6s, shown in a Speck Mightyshell lilac purple/raisin case. The Speck Mightyshell is the iPhone 6 version, but it fits well as promised. This phone is new to me - no photos from this phone have been shown in a blog post yet, but you can see a few examples on my Instagram.

2 - Samsung SL620
This old school Samsung was purchased by me when my nicer digital camera was stolen from my dorm room years ago. I think it is representative of what you can do with an entry level digital point and shoot. You can see examples of the Samsung in action in posts here and here for reference.

Photo test 1: basic benchmark

This one should be as easy as it gets - I chose three standard makeup brush shapes against a white wall. From left to right, the Koyudo BP010 tapered face brush, the Hakuhodo J5523 eyeshadow blending brush, and the Koyudo BP035 eyeshadow shader brush. Pay special attention to how each camera handles the texture of the brush bristles, the colors of the handles and ferrules, and the depth of focus.

Taken with an iPhone 6s camera
Taken with a Samsung SL620 point and shoot camera
Both cameras do well here, but the wall texture of the iPhone 6s shot is a little distracting. I think both pictures in this round are of sufficient quality to show the products well. A close one, but the Samsung SL620 wins this test.

Photo test 2: glossy compact

Makeup bloggers will instantly recognize the Hourglass compacts as tricky buggers to photograph. I chose my most challenging (and beloved) Hourglass compact - the blush in Dim Infusion, which is a marbled nude coral and peach finishing powder housed in a reflective curved bronze compact. I also threw in a marble background.

The packaging is a fingerprint magnet, glossy, and the shade of the compact competes with the shade of the blush. I'm not Alton Brown Cutthroat Kitchen level devious, but this challenge is harder than the previous test.

Taken with an iPhone 6s camera
Taken with a Samsung SL620 point and shoot camera
I don't think either camera did perfectly here - the marble background leans too blue in the iPhone picture and the blush color leans too pink in the Samsung picture. That being said, I think the Samsung did better creating a softer, more balanced image.

Photo test 3: nuanced swatches

This test is a beauty blogger basic - swatches. I chose the Laura Mercier cream caviar eyeshadow sticks in (L to R) Rosegold, Amethyst, and Sandglow against a grey background. The Laura Mercier caviar stick range is known for offering wearable finishes with shades that have a twist from the expected.

In particular, look at the subtlety of shade and finish where the light hits my hand. In some lights, Rosegold leans pink, Amethyst leans purple, and Sandglow leans gold, but in other lights you will see more copper, cocoa, and bronze  respectively.

Taken with an iPhone 6s camera
Taken with a Samsung SL620 point and shoot camera
This test is a tie for me - I think both cameras did a great job showing color and texture while balancing the tones of my skin and the background.

Photo test 4: flat lay product photography 

I selected a few of my favorite products of September for a flat lay arrangement on a marble background. Featured is the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer, Fresh Sugar Rose tinted lip balm, Inglot #20 blush, Urban Decay Sin eyeshadow, and the Jack Black Lemon and Chamomile lip balm.

This test isn't particularly complex, but we have color variety - white, shades of grey, pink, blue and texture variety - matte, shimmer, and marbled.

Taken with an iPhone 6s camera
Taken with a Samsung SL620 point and shoot camera
Both cameras performed well in this test as well, but I am itching to brighten the Samsung shot. The iPhone shot wins this test because the blush and bronzer shades appear more true to life and the entire shot looks more balanced.

Overall, I am very impressed with the iPhone 6s camera - it is the best smartphone camera I have used yet and I am excited to keep playing with it. I plan to keep using my old faithful Samsung point and shoot for blog photography, but the iPhone 6s is a great companion camera for taking swatches and photos on the go. Both cameras do well, but the iPhone 6s hasn't dethroned my Samsung for macro and product photography.

Leave a comment down below if you want to see how the iPhone 6s camera stacks up against my Nikon D60 dslr camera and I would be happy to do another round of comparison testing. Also, if you have the iPhone 6s, what do you think of the camera?


  1. It's crazy seeing the side by sides like that!

  2. Glad it was interesting to you, Asheli! Thanks for reading <3

  3. This is a nice comparison! It looks like the 6s leans a little warmer than the Samsung. Were you using any specific white balance preset on the Samsung, or just auto?

    Earlier today I tried out the selfie flash w/the 6s and I was pleasantly surprised at how useful it is.

    1. Great question. I was using the standard auto settings on the Samsung point and shoot. I'm excited to try out more 6s features!


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