The on-paper camera specs of the Edge 20 looks fantastic. You get a 108MP main camera, a 16MP ultrawide shooter, and an 8MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom capabilities. This is a proper triple camera setup with no corners being cut anywhere. Plus, on the front you get a 32MP selfie camera. Let’s quickly find out how the camera setup fares against the A52s and the Nord 2.
Starting with the colour reproduction, the Edge 20 (review) has the closest-to-natural reproduction. The Galaxy A52s has a slightly warm output. The Nord 2 has a desaturated look that looks like a RAW capture, instead of a processed JPEG. So, the Edge 20>Galaxy A52s>Nord 2 when it comes to colour reproduction. But, note that the Galaxy A52s has a slight problem with identifying the correct white point in certain scenarios…
…leading to images like these, which is not so much of a problem on either the Nord 2 (review) or the Edge 20. Anyway, we are checking for sensor sharpness. Here, the Edge 20 tends to be nice and sharp without any over-sharpening. If you can get it to focus right, you are bound to get nice and crisp details. But, I did notice one thing. Due to the lack of OIS and the light weight, the camera introduces shakes easily and I had to hold the phone with two hands to get tack sharp focus. Anyway, OnePlus and Samsung’s algorithms tend to over-sharpen slightly to make details stand out but you can tell it doesn’t look very natural.
Moving on to HDR processing, all the three phones are fairly good at it. But, I noticed that the Nord 2 has a distinctly tone-mapped look and tends to boost the oranges in the evening sky. The Edge 20’s HDR processing is very close to how my eyes perceived it in real life. But, I am aware that it doesn’t look very attractive. However, technically, this is the right way to do it. Samsung has a nice middle-ground overall. In the second sample, the orange overtones in the Nord 2’s sample are even more apparent. Although, it does look very, very attractive as a result. Plus, the algorithm has done a bang up job of lifting more details from the shadows in the subject on the front.
In our ultrawide test, the Edge 20 has the best, most natural looking details, a fairly accurate colour palette, and a very good colour science consistency with the primary camera. The only problem is that it cannot go very wide and it tends to underexpose the shadow region in complex lighting conditions. The Galaxy A52s’ ultrawide has the widest lens of the three at 123 degree field-of-view. And, thanks to the over-saturated colour processing, it is the immediately shareable one straight out of the camera. The Nord 2’s ultrawide is absolutely horrendous. It tends to over-sharpen excessively and create a very doctored look that feels like it has been shot using a cheap camera.
With the Edge 20, you can also use the ultrawide angle camera to shoot macro shots. Plus, it can go closer to a subject compared to the A52s’ dedicated 5MP macro shooter. And, of course, it is sharper and offers more accurate colours too. The Nord 2 doesn’t have the option to shoot macros. So yeah, if you like shooting macros, the Edge 20 is the best option for you.
Now, the Edge 20 also has a huge advantage with its support for a telephoto camera. Not, that it is very sharp or anything. But, it is definitely better than the 3x digital zooms on the other two phones. Anyway, between the A52s and the Nord 2, you can trust OnePlus’ algorithm to do a better job of digital zoom.
When it comes to human subject pictures using the rear camera, the Nord 2 and the Galaxy A52s do a good job of reproducing details on the face. Plus, you can notice that the highlight peaks are well-controlled. On the Edge 20, you’ll patches of overexposed portions all around my face. Although, the facial tone is close to accurate on the Edge 20, though. However, I really like the picture captured by the Nord 2 here. Because the overall colour tone is very good, including the colour of the shirt. The A52s’ only problem is the slightly off colour reproduction.
However, the situation is the exact opposite when it comes to portrait mode. Remember how I’d said, when it comes to multi-frame stacking and processing, the OnePlus algorithm really sucks. This problem hasn’t been solved yet. The portrait mode shots on the Nord 2, continue to look really bad. The Edge 20, on the other hand, does a fabulous job of edge cutout here. The Samsung is very good too, and that’s expected considering Samsung does a decent job with portraits generally. But, I must highlight that I am clearly seeing an improved camera performance on the A52s over the A52.
I used to really like the Nord 2’s selfie camera performance and the Moto Edge 20 up one ups that quite comfortably. You get sharper textures, more accurate facial tones, and just a really very, very good looking selfie. The Nord 2 comes very close and has an advantage in the form of the wider fov that is possible on its selfie camera. I am not a fan of the Galaxy A52s’ selfie quality here. Against the light, the Edge 20 does not do a good job of correcting the overexposed highlights in the background but the face is nicely exposed plus sharp and fairly colour accurate too. The Nord 2 and the A52s have a hazy sort of look.
I’ve never had it this easy evaluating low light samples. The first sample is shot in nearly pitch black conditions and using Night Mode on all the three phones. The Nord 2 just humiliates the Edge 20 and Galaxy A52s into submission, that is how fantastic the low light performance is on the OnePlus phone. The Edge 20’s low light performance is a shame. The Galaxy A52s at least makes some effort here. In the second sample, without Night Mode on, you can tell the 50MP sensor on the Nord 2 lets in way more light. And, with Night Mode on it has the cleanest image despite being slightly over-saturated. The Edge 20’s image is very, very noisy. I am really surprised at such bad camera performance of the Motorola Edge 20.
Rear Camera Video
All the three phones can shoot only up to 4K 30fps video recording. But, the A52s doesn’t offer EIS beyond 1080p 30fps. The sound recording is great on the Nord 2 and the A52s over the Edge 20. However, the overall footage quality is the best on the Nord 2. The Edge 20 does a lot of focus hunting and the A52s doesn’t offer stabilisation, like I mentioned.
Front Camera Video
As for the front camera video performance, the standings change. The Galaxy A52s is the best of the lot. It offers 4K 30fps and 1080p 60fps recording options. The Nord 2 can do only 1080p 30fps whereas the Edge 20 can do 4K 30fps but not 1080p60. Regardless, you also don’t get EIS on the Nord 2’s footage. You do get EIS at 1080p30fps on the Galaxy A52s and the Edge 20, though. Anyway, the sound recordings and footage quality is cleanest on the A52s. So, it wins this round.
Now, all the three cameras also offer a few extra modes but Samsung takes the cake with way more extra modes like a Fun mode that uses Snapchat filters, Single Take, Super Slow Motion and more. The Edge 20 also offers Dual Video, which is also available on the Nord 2. Plus, you also get a Spot colour feature which is available as AI portrait colour on the Nord 2. However, I feel that the Edge 20 is the most versatile camera because it offers a lot of cameras+features too.
The Edge 20’s camera performance can be categorised as one where the brand tries to throw everything at the wall and some things stick. Low light performance needs a lot of work. On the other hand, the Galaxy A52s has a nice and balanced camera setup. But, it is the Nord 2 that continues to be my pick for the best super mid range camera phone because it gets the primary and selfie camera performance just right, even if you don’t get good extras. But, that’s me. You could prefer Edge 20 for its variety.
Let me know which one you’d actually pick, in the comments section below.
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