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Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Huawei Nova 3 Photography Comparison

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The Xiaomi Mi 8 is a highly touted high-end photography phone due to the whopping 99 overall score it got at DxOMarkNow, we will see if the similarly priced Huawei Nova 3 can compete with it.
Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Huawei Nova 3 Photography Comparison
Team Mi 8 or team Nova 3?

Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Huawei Nova 3 Camera Specs

Device Xiaomi Mi 8Huawei Nova 3
Back Camera 12MP f/1.8 Sony IMX363 sensor + 12MP f/2.4 Samsung S5K3M3 sensor w/ PDAF, OIS, AF, AI, and LED flash 16MP f/1.8 RGB sensor + 24MP f/1.8 monochrome sensor w/ PDAF, contrast focus, Master AI, and LED flash
Selfie Camera 20MP f/2.0 w/ AI portraits 24MP f/2.0+ 2MP w/ AF, Master AI, HDR Pro, and screen flash

Based on the specs, the megapixel count on the Nova 3 for both the back and front cameras are larger than the Mi 8. But, it doesn't mean that it is automatically better.
20MP vs 24MP + 2MP

The Mi 8 has PDAF, OIS, and AF while the Nova 3 only has PDAF and contrast focus at the back. For selfies, the Nova 3 has more features.
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Both are assisted by "AI" to help in enhancing overall photography experience.

For videos, the Mi 8 could have the advantage due to its OIS tech even if the crop is much bigger versus the Nova 3.

We will focus with photography first for now.

Here are our shots!

Scene 1 - Daylight AI
On this daylight scene, the AI enhanced the greens and highlights on both phones. The Nova 3 has the sharper looking image with better dynamic range. But, its colors are more aggressive and not as pleasing as the shot taken by the Mi 8. The edges on the Nova 3 are oversharpened.

Some may pick the Nova 3 here but... Mi 8 - 1 point

Scene 2 - Indoor well-lit no AI
Both performed really well. Go for the Nova 3 shot if you want the photo with sharper edges. Go for the Mi 8 if you prefer the shot with deeper background blur. The colors on the Mi 8 is a bit more natural looking. Mi 8 - 2 points

Scene 3 - Indoor well-lit AI
Both images are well detailed. The shot on the Mi 8 has the slightly deeper bokeh and brighter exposure. However, it is the Nova 3 who nailed it in this scene. It has the better exposure, more accurate colors, and better texture. Nova 3 - 1 point

Scene 4 - Indoor dim no AI
This time, it is the other way around. The subject on the Nova 3 is more exposed than the Mi 8. But the the Mi 8 has the better color and details on the subject. It has the better background blur too.

However, it could go either way. If you like the the image with sharper edges on the subject and livelier colors on the background. Go for the Nova 3.


Overall, will give it to the Mi 8. Mi 8 - 3 points

Scene 5 - Indoor dim AI
The Mi 8 has the slightly brigher exposure here. But the noise, colors, contrast, and details are better on the Nova 3. Most likely, it is due to its pair of f/1.8 aperture lenses. Nova 3 - 2 points

Scene 6 - Night 1 AI
Both did a good job here. The shot on the Mi 8 is a bit softer though. Dynamic range and colors on the Nova 3 is better. Details on the windows of the building is sharper on the Nova 3 too. Nova 3 - 3 points


Scene 7 - Night 2 AI I don't like the output on both phones. The Mi 8 is undersaturated and has less dynamic range and details. The Nova 3 on the other hand has saturated colors and artifacting. But, the dynamic range and detail on the Nova 3 is superior here. I won't blame you if you will pick the Mi 8 shot though. Nova 3 - 4 points


Scene 8 - Night 3 no AI

Both are noisy in this scene. But, I will give it to the Mi 8 as it has the brighter exposure and less noise. The colors are more vibrant on the Mi 8 here as well. The shot on the Nova 3 is too HDR. Mi 8 - 4 points

Scene 9 - Selfie well-lit AI, no face beauty
The Mi 8 is the best selfie shooter of Xiaomi yet. In this scene, however, it made my skin tone whiter than usual. Nova 3 delivered the output with truer color. The contrast and detail is a bit better on the Huawei device. Nova 3 - 5 points

Scene 10 - Selfie night AI, no face beauty
This time I like the truer color of the Mi 8. However, the exposure of the Nova 3 made the shot brighter. It has less grain and noise as well. Nova 3 - 6 points.

Note: Thanks for the help: Neil Jimenez, Yrda Fernandez, and Raffy Pedrajita

Verdict

Both phones are amazing photography phones for the price. Pick the Mi 8 if you want the phone that shoots a bit better in daylight with slightly better background blur.

Go for the Nova 3 if you want the phone with better lowlight performance and selfie cameras.

The AI on the Nova 3 is a bit better as well.

The score is is 6 to 4 in favor of the Nova 3.

What do you think guys? Do you agree with us?
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