The Mi 11 Ultra takes on the S21 Ultra, iPhone 12 Pro Max and Zenfone 8. camera comparison

The Mi 11 Ultra takes on the S21 Ultra, iPhone 12 Pro Max and Zenfone 8.  camera comparison

After a week of voting, it’s finally time to reveal which cell phone won our camera comparison Galaxy S21 Ultra, Mi 11 Ultra, zenfone 8 I iphone 12 pro max. Can Asus and Xiaomi’s cell phones compete with the most advanced phones from Samsung and Apple?

It’s good to remember that the public and the Tudocellular team also had participation in our comparison. The votes were blind, i.e. no one knew which smartphone captured each picture to ensure maximum fairness.

technical specifications

Mi 11 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra iphone 12 pro max zenfone 8
oath 50MP + 48MP + 48MP 108 MP + 10 MP + 10 MP + 12 MP 12 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP 64MP + 12MP
Initial f/1.8 + f/3 + f/2.2 f/1.8 + f/4.9 / f/2.4 + f/2.2 f/1.6 + f/2.4 + f/2.2 f/1.8 + f/2.2
pixel size 1/1.12m + 1/2.0m + 1/2.0m 1/1.33 µm + 1/3.24 µm + 1/3.24 µm + 1/2.55 µm 1.7m + 1.0m + 1.0m 1/1.73m + 1/2.55m
frontal camera 20 MP, f/2.2 40 MP, f/2.2 12 MP, f/2.2 12 MP, f/2.5

Photos were captured with the smartphone using Auto mode, except for the scene in HDR (where HDR was activated when not in Auto) and in Night mode. All the maximum resolution allowed is in the 4:3 aspect ratio, which is usually where we reach the sensor’s full potential. Voting can be checked by clicking here.

Now know the order of the smartphones used in the test:

The results listed below are the results of the following method with the creation of individual and final rankings. Each smartphone received one point in each individual comparison, where the sum of all points revealed the winner. The following loads were used:

  • In the first place: 4 digit
  • second place: 3 points
  • third place: 2 points
  • fourth place: 1 point

Scoring method explained, we move on to the results!

Photo 1 – Portrait Mode

In our first capture we took beautiful model Nah Monstance to take a picture with the background out of focus. Currently, everyone is looking for a cell phone that has portrait effect to make it stand out from the scene. At this point we had a good tussle between Apple and Samsung, but the iPhone left our model with an artificial tone. In terms of colors, the Mi 11 Ultra was closest to reality, although its blurring effect is weak. The Zenfone comes in at the back for the worst of the four for portrait mode.

Photo 2 – Selfie Portrait

And selfie portraits? Here the choice becomes more difficult. The iPhone and Galaxy are almost tied in our vote. Both record more skin and hair details, while the Zenfone and Mi 11 Ultra soften the image a lot to hide imperfections. The difference is that the iPhone produces a more professional blur, but on the other hand it gives an unnatural tan. Since it can be more easily corrected in editing, that ends our win.

Photo 3 – HDR

Not every cell phone can compensate well for the difference between light and dark areas of a scene. This is when having a good HDR algorithm is important and here is the Zenfone 8 that works best. Not only does it help recover details from shadows, it also manages to strike a better balance between brightness and color. Xiaomi recorded a darker picture, but still got a more balanced result than the Galaxy. Whereas the iPhone comes with the worst photos.

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Photo 4 – Macro

Macro camera phones are fairly common these days, but it’s still rare to see this type of camera on advanced devices. None of the four models we compared have a dedicated macro camera, so we had to use the main one for that. And who recorded the fastest photo? The S21 Ultra was the best, though it doesn’t blur backgrounds like the others. If you like the blur effect to make your macro stand out, then the Zenfone 8 will be the best in this case.

Photo 5 – Zoom 5x

Need to shoot from afar? That’s when having an advanced optical zoom system makes a difference and at this point the Galaxy S21 Ultra sweeps through its competitors with the sharpest 5x zoom image. Since the iPhone and Zenfone do not have such a long zoom, they lagged behind in this comparison, leaving the silver medal for the Mi 11 Ultra which lost to Samsung in the details of the scenario.

Photo 6 – distant detail

And when distant details are important but there’s no need to zoom in to get very tight frames? Once again it is the Galaxy that records the best photos overall. Everything is well balanced in both detail, color and contrast. The Zenfone 8 and Mi 11 Ultra fight each other over the difference between the tone of the pictures, but most chose Asus. Finally, we have the iPhone with heavy contrast and very cool colors.

Photo 7 – Ultra-wide

Do you enjoy photographing detailed scenes of beautiful landscapes? Having a quality ultra-wide camera is important and Samsung has always stood out on this point, but the competition is chasing it. The best comparison in our comparison was the Mi 11 Ultra, both in the field of view and in the color and botanical details. The second Zenfone 8 comes with a tighter field of view and less contrast, but it still far outshines the iPhone. The Galaxy S21 Ultra recorded a great photo, but it didn’t take as many shots as other shots.

Photo 8 – Contrast macro

In yet another macro controversy, we see that it’s not always the Galaxy S21 Ultra that records the best close-up shots. Once again, it was the only one that didn’t blur the background, but took less detail out of the flower than the Zenfone 8, which gets the gold medal in this comparison. The iPhone had less sharpness, while the Mi 11 Ultra had more artificial colors. As it can be easily fixed in version, Xiaomi is in second place.

Photo 9 – Contrast

Not every cell phone gets the right contrast when shooting. By over-controlling the colors, we destroyed details, especially in dark places. The Zenfone 8 was the one that registered the photo with the best balance between lighting, color and contrast. The iPhone was dimmer, but it got more sharpness than the Mi 11 Ultra. The Galaxy S21 Ultra generally performs well in this type of picture, but it was the one that produced the darkest image.

Photo 10 – Newspaper with a simple selfie

Moving on, you can get a good understanding of what each cell phone can offer with its rear cameras. But what about selfies? This time we disable portrait mode to avoid maximum processing. The Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro Max recorded the sharpest photos, with Samsung showing off the most natural colors. The Zenfone 8 captured a more natural picture than the Mi 11 Ultra which abuses its aesthetic effect. Remember that in this scenario the rear set of Xiaomi was used with the help of the rear screen, but unfortunately it does not work for portrait or video mode.

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Photo 11 – Simple Night Selfie

Night Selfie is Xiaomi’s specialty. The Mi 11 Ultra recorded the sharpest and least noisy picture thanks to the use of the rear assembly combined with the smaller screen at the back. The Galaxy S21 Ultra recorded a clear picture, which may appeal to many, but when you zoom in you will notice flaws in the selfie. The iPhone was tied in a vote for following the opposite path: it recorded a darker photo so as not to show a loss of quality. Finally, we have the Zenfone 8 with the worst selfie ever. At such a time, the flip camera is missed.

Photo 12 – Night Mode

Taking pictures at night is a big challenge even for the most expensive cell phones. There’s no use being good at shooting if everything gets too dark. This is where it is important to have an efficient night mode and we have two different situations in this comparison. The iPhone was voted the highest for displaying the most vivid colors, while the Mi 11 Ultra comes in second for having the clearest photos. What do you want to do? The Galaxy is in third place, leaving the Zenfone in the photo with the worst colours.

Photo 13 – Night Portrait Mode

Portrait mode doesn’t always work well in dark places. When trying to blur the background of photos, it’s normal for scenes to be darker than they should be, and this is what happened with photos taken by the Zenfone and Galaxy. Having the clearest picture the Mi 11 Ultra almost got better in this comparison, but it was the one that suffered the most from noise. With this, the iPhone with the most balanced image wins another.

Photo 14 – Selfie Night Portrait

And selfie with portrait mode at night? This is also the kind of situation that affects a lot of advanced cameras. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the one that brings the best frontal sensor and it was the one that took the best selfies in colour, brightness and sharpness. At number two comes the Mi 11 Ultra, which despite the lack of sharpness, is just right in terms of brightness and colors. The iPhone ranks third with the worst brightness, but with better colors than the Zenfone 8.

Photo 15 – Night Scene

And to end our photo comparison, capture another night scene. The iPhone closes out the final controversy with another gold medal for getting the color, detail and contrast rights. The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes second with a slightly darker image, but still with great quality. The Mi 11 Ultra gives the initial impression that it has performed well, but when zoomed in we see more flaws than Samsung’s rival, while the Zenfone 8 has lost more sharpness.

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result of pictures

In the first part of our comparison we saw a decent amount of contention with each device in certain situations. The Galaxy S21 Ultra was not only the most balanced to win in many competitions, but it was rarely far below its rivals. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is almost tied with Xiaomi’s rival, but it still ranks second, leaving the Zenfone 8 last in our comparison.

highest voting order

  1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: 28.2% of the vote
  2. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: 25,3% DOS Votes
  3. Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: 24% two votes
  4. Asus Zenfone 8: 22.5% votes


Who gets the better of videos? The iPhone is the only one that doesn’t record 8K video with the back, while the Mi 12 Ultra is the only one that doesn’t record 4K video with the front. Recording in 8K may not matter to many people, as not everyone has a TV with this resolution and the files eat up a lot of cell phone memory.

Comparing everyone who records video in 4K, we can conclude that the iPhone has the clearest image and the tightest focus. All-in-one is an efficient stabilization system to reduce shake, but the S21 Ultra has minor flaws in fluidity. The Mi 11 Ultra was the weakest in recording and was somewhat lost in focus. The Zenfone 8 has excellent audio capture with clarity and better bass than others.

When shooting at night, it’s the Zenfone 8 that outdoes it with the clearest, sharpest videos possible. The iPhone has a grainy image due to excessive noise, but still captures more detail than Xiaomi and Samsung. The Galaxy, on the other hand, has the most advanced zoom and can be useful in some situations.

All four capture decent videos from the front, with the Mi 11 Ultra delivering the smoothest images and the worst dynamic range, but nothing that’s too much. The problem occurs when recording is done in dark places. The Zenfone 8 is the one that suffers the most, from excessive noise to wasting footage. The Mi 11 Ultra also suffered from noise but still managed to record with good clarity. The S21 Ultra was clearest in night shooting and recorded a cleaner image than the iPhone.


It was clear that the Galaxy S21 Ultra cameras improved after several software updates and we had more balanced results than in previous comparisons. He might not outperform the others at every point, but he won’t let you down. The iPhone comes close and despite the frenzy to yellow everything, it still manages to deliver work for more recent releases.

The Mi 11 Ultra stands out in pictures, but could be better in videos. The Zenfone 8 contrasts and does well in footage, and captures the best audio, except frontal in dark places. That doesn’t mean the Asus is bad for photos, but it does have a more limited set of features than the rest.

(Updated September 7, 2021 at 00:24)

About the author: Raven Weber

Musicaholic. Unapologetic alcohol maven. Social media expert. Award-winning coffee evangelist. Typical thinker.

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