Nikon P900 vs. Samsung Note 8 – the flowers edition

I know, I know . . . everyone is tired of these kinds of posts. Sure, there’s my witty writing, and sure, there are amazing photos, but, honestly, can’t we just forego all of this and get on with life?

No; no, we can’t.

All these photos were snapped at the Old Kona Airport Park showcased in many previous posts. I would link them — the posts — but it’s just as easy to use the search box on the sidebar and find them all. 

I debated how to do this and what I decided is to show the P900 photos first, and then show the Note 8 photos. The gallery at the bottom will have the photos in a random order, and the SmugMug Gallery HERE will have them in order that they were shot. 

All of the photos here are a maximum of 1280 pixels at their longest side. If you want to see the original size, you need to go to SmugMug. The P900 outputs 16 MP photos while the Note 8 sports a 12MP camera (actually, twin 12 MP cameras). 

All of the P900 photos have a border similar to the first photo above. All of the Note 8 photos are as they came out of the phone and have no border, like the second photo. That, by the way, are the two plants I used to water every day. They are doing fine without me. For new readers, read about them HERE

The photos look pretty bland because of the mid-day lighting and blandness of the scene. Anyway, Note 8 photos have no border.  

Yes, I processed the P900 photos. I did so because I don’t let the P9oo do its default processing; I tune everything down. Mind you, it not being a RAW camera, there’s not much difference between the default and the toned down JPG. Still, I wanted to show the P900 photos the best they could be (per my editing) and compare them with what the Note 8 does on its own. 

So, let’s begin — as I said — with the P900 stuff. 

Here, we have a rock near my plants where someone else decided to do a bit of planting.

By the way, I’ll be sharing 90 photos and one video, but don’t worry . . . all of them are in the gallery, but I won’t show all of them in the post. That’s because there are a number of photos from the P900 that can’t be compared to the Note 8. For instance, photos like this one . . . 

The Note 8 is good, but it only has a 2x zoom whereas the P900 has an 83x zoom. 

All of the bird shots are at or near maximum zoom. Most are pretty good.

. . . but some of the shooting situations fooled the autofocus and I got great photos of grass seeds and grass blades.

I won’t show all of the bird photos here, but they are all in the gallery below and — of course — in the SmugMug Gallery (hint, hint). 

I aim to ramble both about the photos themselves — how the cameras handled the shooting conditions — and what I was shooting. For instance, these are Hawaiʻian Chile Peppers and by all accounts, they be hot. Mind you, not the hottest, but hot. 

That was shot with a zoom, so there’s no equivalent Note 8 version, as there isn’t for this next photo . . . 

which I like for the fact that these runners were all lined up. 

I do have equivalent photos of these next ones, and in this instance, I’ll give the nod to the Note 8. 

Oh, yes, I’ll be using those textures. 

This next shot was a wash between the two cameras, mostly because the scene lacked contrast. 

The shots of the Sonoran carpenter bee gave a slight nod to the P900, but only because when I got close with the Note 8, I decided to shoot a video, something I would not have tried — and didn’t — with the P900. Again, the Note 8 photos are in the next section. 

This next shot, I give to the P900, but only because I didn’t notice the Note 8 had focused with a small depth of field (I was too close).

This next scene was a wash between the two. If I had to pick, I’d pick the Note 8 for better detail, and that’s saying something. 

What? Oh . . . it’s saying the Note 8 had better details resolution. 

Again, I will remind readers that this is not a scientific test. The photos were not taken at the same zoom and also not from the same distance. Plus, I processed the P900 shots, and not the Note 8. 

I think it’s a toss-up between these next two shots and those from the Note 8. I like the focus and detail resolution on these but prefer the color rendition of the Note 8. 

In part, I think the P900 did better because it has a dedicated Macro setting. You can clearly see all the ants in the shot. Also, I think I was — once again — too close with the Note 8. 

Next up, there are a bunch of photos of birds foraging on the ground. I’ll only include a couple, but there are more in the gallery. Again, some are great, and some are sharp shots of grass blades with fuzzy birds in the background. 

OK, let’s get back to the flowers . . . 

This was another composition that’s tough to judge. So tough that I won’t call it. 

The next shot is a long zoom, so no Note 8 equivalent.

I give this next shot to the Note 8. I had to play with this one two tone down the highlights and bring out details. 

Even then, not as good as the Note 8. 

These next two shots are also what I would call a toss-up. Perhaps a nod to the Note 8 for better color balance. 

This next shot was taken from one of the pavilions so I could compare to the Note 8’s wide angle shots. By the way, soon a post about a slow motion head-to-head between the P900 and the Note 8.

The foreground is the surface of a picnic table. 

That concludes the P900 set of photos. See, not too bad after all; you’re about halfway and haven’t dropped off yet. Hello? Hello? . . . anyone out there? 

Oh, well . . . maybe they’ll come back . . . or wake up. 

So, here are the Note 8 offerings . . . 

Not impressive, but at least as good as the P900, per my reckoning. The white bunny is a bit washed out, but I could probably walk it back a bit. The details and colors are great, especially that pink and green plant which always comes off a bit fuzzy even with my big rig. 

And, how about these?

The first one is a bit soft in places, but the full resolution of the second one shows great detail without getting all funky or showing weird sharpening artifacts. 

Now, there are a few photos without a P900 equivalent, and that’s because I got lost in how great these turned out . . . 

Were I to process these, I’d boost the brightness a bit (a cloud robbed some of the available light) but the detail and balance are great. 

Yup, here it comes . . . WordPress messes with the photos. These look better in the gallery at the larger resolution (or click on the photo to open it in a new tab or window) and even better in SmugMug. 

Here’s one more that has no equivalent P900 version, but I can tell you that the P900 has trouble with rendering reds and orange colors. 

Short of the winning lotto numbers, I don’t know what else I could ask of this camera. 

Remember the deadwood?

Here are the Note 8 macros . . . 

I could probably tone that down a bit and enhance it, but that’s rivaling the processed P900 shot right out of the phone. 

Here’s the low contrast shot . . . 

Not bad.

And, here’s the bee . . . 

Here’s a 1:1 crop of the last shot . . . 

But what set the phone apart was the video. The P900 is no slouch, but it’s difficult to handle when dealing with an erratic subject like a bee. Not so the phone.

Let me say it . . . I am impressed with that. I wish I would have remembered to shoot it in slow motion.

I’m also impressed with this shot . . . 

That’s a high dynamic range shot that the P900 would struggle with. I know because I’ve shot this same photo in a previous shoot and had to play around with it to bring out the details in the white flowers. Again, no processing; that’s how it came out of the phone. 

This next one is where the focus was off to the side. Bad on me. . 

These next two shots were in a previous P900 post, and these are better. 

This next shot could use a bit of brightness boost, but very good as is. 

Another shot where I should have checked the focus. 

This next shot has a “truer” color than what the P900 put out. It’s not as focused as I would like, but pretty good. 

This next one I just plain screwed up the focus. 

But the Note 8 handled the color, bright yellow in good light.

The Note 8 has a selective focus feature that one can use to play with the bokeh of a photo. Here, I didn’t have to do anything other than shoot. 

Remember these flowers?

Here’s the comparative shot of the one taken with the P900.

The lighting is not the same because of passing clouds, but still, pretty close. 

And here are the white flowers that typically give me trouble when shooting the P900. 

What impresses me is that in what is a high dynamic range situation with a strong backlight, it still picked up the blue of the sky in the background. 

And here are two shots of the grass clump.

And here’s the yellow-orange-red multicolor flower. 

And finally, the photo from the pavilion . . . 

That’s the regular camera . . . here’s the 2x zoom.

Final thoughts . . . I was pretty happy with the quality of the Samsung Note II, especially after I learned it’s limitations. Even then, I always had to play around with the photos to improve their presentation. To be sure, from now on I will process the Note 8 photos; this comparison was a one-off showing the output from the base camera.  

The Note 8 exceeds my expectations for a phone camera. Perhaps all current phones are capable of this, and if so, that’s great. All I know is that I’m happy with this phone being used as a camera. 

And now, here’s the gallery. It’s randomized, but remember that the photos with the border are from the P900 and the ones without are from the Note 8:

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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