I shot the moon with 3 phones. This one had the best punch. – LSB

7 Min Read

As someone who is fascinated by the wonders of the sky, I decided to take photos of the moon with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Then I thought, “Wait a minute; I have two other phones. Could they beat the iPhone 15 Pro Max in astrophotography?”

Then I pulled out the Google Pixel 8 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Let’s see how all three devices performed.

What phase was the moon in when I took the pictures?

When I took pictures of the moon on Sunday night, the spherical rocky body was in it waning phase of a crescent moon. At that time, the moon was about 40% illuminated.


There is granite on the moon. No one knows how it ended up there.

How did I take pictures of the moon?

For all three phones – iPhone 15 Pro Max, Google Pixel 8 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – I did the following three steps:

  • I cleaned the lenses thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.

  • I used digital zoom to get a close-up shot of the moon, but I chose a “sweet spot” that made the shot as clear as possible. In some cases, that meant not increasing too close because the celestial body would lose too much detail.

  • I reduced the exposure. The moon is a radiant star beauty, so it is imperative that you reduce the sensitivity of the sensor to light. Otherwise, the moon will appear as a glowing white spot.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Here’s the best moon shot from the Google Pixel 8 Pro, and honestly, it’s the only one good take of the seven I took.

A photo of the moon taken by the Google Pixel 8 Pro

Moon shot with Google Pixel 8 Pro
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

I was lucky enough that the zoom seemed to focus perfectly for a split second, detailing the striking craters that adorned the moon, so I quickly snapped the photo. The Pixel 8 Pro has a “Super Res Zoom” feature that lets you zoom in up to 30x, but I settled on 25x for this shot.

Google Pixel 8 Pro camera specs at a glance:

Main camera: 50MP, is/1.7, 1.2 µm

Telephoto (makes zooming in easier): 48MP, is/2.8, 0.7µm, 5x optical zoom

iPhone 15 Pro Max

Surprisingly, the iPhone 15 Pro Max was the most challenging of the three phones. Unfortunately, this was my best experience with the device.

Moon shot of iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

This phone is my favorite this year when it comes to delivering lifelike, realistic photos with rich colors and textures, but it’s not the best at astrophotography (or perhaps the least intuitive).


iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Pixel 8 Pro camera showdown: The winner might shock you

Even after cleaning the lenses, finding the optimum setting for zooming in and out, I still I couldn’t get a sharp image of the moon. I zoomed in 20.7x for this photo; iPhone 15 Pro Max can climb up to a maximum of 25 times.

Here’s a screenshot of me taking a picture of the moon with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

I am convinced that this capture of white beans is not the best that the iPhone 15 Pro Max can do. For a future article, I plan to play around more with the settings beyond zooming and ISO (eg experimenting with long exposures) to see if I can achieve astrophotography nirvana on this device.

iPhone 15 Pro Max camera features at a glance:

Main camera: 48MP, is/1.8, 1.22 µm

Telephoto (makes zooming in easier): 12MP, is/2.8, 1.12µm, 5x optical zoom

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Here’s my best performance with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. There is a 100x digital zoom option, but 41x was the sweet spot for me.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

Samsung’s phone did the best of the three, but I can’t help but feel a little skeptical. Yes, you can see the craters and other features on the surface with shocking clarity, but keep in mind that Samsung was in hot water using AI tricks for moon photos.

People have questioned Samsung’s lunar astrophotography since it debuted the 100x “Space Zoom” feature on the Galaxy S20 Ultra in 2020. “Some have accused the company of simply copying and pasting pre-stored textures over images of the moon to produce its own photos.” On the edge said.

The moon on the viewfinder of the Galaxy S22 Ultra

A screenshot of me using the Galaxy S22 Ultra for photos of the moon.
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

However, Samsung disputed these claims. It told Input that it does no use image overlay nor texture effects but it does use AI to identify the presence of the moon and enhance its details.

Features of Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra quick camera:

Main camera: 108MP, is/1.8, 0.8 µm

Telephoto (makes zooming in easier): Telephoto 1: 10 MP, is/4.9, 1.12µm, 10x optical zoom / Telephoto 2: 10MP, f/2.4, 1.12µm, 3x optical zoom

Final thoughts

If you don’t mind a little AI enhancing your moon shots, your best bet would be the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (or maybe the latest model, which is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra).

The Pixel 8 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max were more challenging for me, but it’s only a matter of time before Google and Apple step it up in terms of intuitiveness and technological advancements in the astrophotography space.

Share This Article
Leave a comment
HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com
error: Content is protected !!