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Battle of the megapixels: 6-way blind camera comparison

Posted: , by Nick T.

Battle of the megapixels: 6-way blind camera comparison

UPDATE: Voting is now over and the results have been posted here.

If you're among the people who still think that a high-end smartphone can't be as good of a shooter as a dedicated point-and-shoot camera, get ready to have your mind blown away. That's because we're once again taking some of the best cameraphones out there for a shootout at the alley. Which ones we've picked, however, is something we chose to not share with you, guys. Instead, today we're having a blind camera comparison, in which you can vote for the photos you personally like the most.

To keep things fair, all of the smartphones we're comparing were set to their standard camera mode during the shootout – no scenes modes were used, nor manual tweaks, nor exposure controls. In other words, we decided to let each camera decide for itself what the optimum settings in each scene were. 

In addition, all images have been scaled down from their original size to a resolution of about 2.8 megapixels (width of 1920 pixels at an aspect ratio of 4:3), including the reference photos taken with a Panasonic Lumix GH2 and its kit lens. Seems low? Well, it's actually not. A photo of such size is large enough to fill any of today's high-definition displays and offers sufficient resolution to produce quality 6" by 4" printed photographs. Besides, those photos from last weekend's party that you were tagged in on Facebook are much smaller in size, yet nobody seems to be complaining. 


Outdoor photos

We're now giving you our first set of photo samples – four outdoor scenes captured with six different high-end smartphones and a reference shot for each scene taken with the aforementioned camera. Judging by what you see below, which phone's photos do you like the most?


Phonearena polls
sort by
Which phone's outdoor photos do you like the most?
5.22%
27 votes
(27 votes) Phone #1
4.06%
21 votes
(21 votes) Phone #2
6.38%
33 votes
(33 votes) Phone #3
46.23%
239 votes
(239 votes) Phone #4
27.85%
144 votes
(144 votes) Phone #5
10.25%
53 votes
(53 votes) Phone #6

517 votes



Indoor photos

Now it's time to up the ante as we're moving the action indoors. In here the smartphones we're comparing will have an even harder time taking a good-looking photo as the light that's available just can't beat the brightness output of good ol' Mr Sun. A total of three scenes were captured in our studio – one using a strong light source, another with the lights dimmed down to a medium setting, and the last frame was taken with the lights set to "low". Which phone's indoor photos do you like the most?


Phonearena polls
sort by
Which phone's indoor photos do you like the most?
4.49%
21 votes
(21 votes) Phone #1
14.96%
70 votes
(70 votes) Phone #2
4.27%
20 votes
(20 votes) Phone #3
44.02%
206 votes
(206 votes) Phone #4
16.24%
76 votes
(76 votes) Phone #5
16.03%
75 votes
(75 votes) Phone #6

468 votes



Video quality comparison

And lastly we're going to demonstrate how good these six mysterious smartphones are at capturing video. As any other high-end device out there, these handsets are capable of capturing 1080 video at 30 frames per second. Which one does that best, however, is up to you to decide. We've stitched together a set of 15-second video samples taken with the phones we're comparing so check them out and then cast your vote below! Note that the audio from the videos has been removed – we're focusing solely on video quality after all.


Phonearena polls
sort by
Video quality: which phone you think is best?
9.44%
34 votes
(34 votes) Phone #1
3.33%
12 votes
(12 votes) Phone #2
4.44%
16 votes
(16 votes) Phone #3
56.94%
205 votes
(205 votes) Phone #4
16.94%
61 votes
(61 votes) Phone #5
8.89%
32 votes
(32 votes) Phone #6

360 votes


The true identity of each smartphone used in the comparison will be revealed in a few days. Now vote for your favorite, in case you haven't done so already, and don't hesitate to join the discussion down in the comments!

194 Comments
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posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:05 8

1. wendygarett (unregistered)


Camera quality is so subjective here... I don't know which should I vote here :(

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:15 37

4. joesseth (Posts: 57; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)


Do you need help? or brand?

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:45 27

24. wendygarett (unregistered)


Uh ok, #4 attract me overall, but not bad for the #2 indoor...

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:55 1

32. Aeires (unregistered)


I voted that way as well, colors and lighting seemed to be more natural in those examples.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:58 7

33. hung2900 (Posts: 817; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)


For some Nokia fans, I think they will vote for #6 because the toyish color is easily recognized as the beautuful "free Instagram feature" of Lumia 920

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 09:01 1

34. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1161; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


lol. and i thought iphone was the colorful one.
i voted random #'s

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:06

57. MrJerry (Posts: 397; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


then PA has to censor them as well lol

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:59 3

75. yero789 (unregistered)


It will be so funny if phonearena announces the names of the phones and the 6th one won't be Nokia :D :D :D I voted for 3 different phones.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 11:01 13

76. MrJerry (Posts: 397; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


You should have not said that...
they are coming...lol

BTW dear PA.

Can't we compare pics side by side???
Isn't it obvious that will make it so much easier for us to compare?

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 21:36

146. kclgphilsbsa (Posts: 765; Member since: 21 Jan 2013)


here side by side but 2 phones only

http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4_vs_htc_one-review-913.php

posted on 27 Mar 2013, 08:08 8

160. alila2 (Posts: 118; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)


1st #4
2nd #5
3rd #6
#1 #2 and #3 I care less. Hopefully i didn't vote for the iphone .

posted on 27 Mar 2013, 13:33 1

164. samsunggalaxylover (Posts: 37; Member since: 23 Jan 2013)


I think #4 is the galaxy s4 or s3.

posted on 27 Mar 2013, 11:06 4

162. cloud_atlas1991 (Posts: 61; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


DAMN!
#4 blew me away!!!

This is a good trick, PA!

posted on 28 Mar 2013, 19:05 1

179. Tonick (Posts: 3; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)


Specifically registered on this site for this test.

Clearly:
Phone# 1: Apple iPhone 5 (min sharpen; detail - not bad)
Phone# 2: Sony Xperia Z (max blure; max saturation; noise)
Phone# 3: HTC One (very big sharpen; subtle details - not exist)
Phone# 4: Samsung Galaxy S4 (middle sharpen; very big details; correct exposure)
Phone# 5: Nokia Lumia 920 (super saturation :-))

P.S. Sorry for my English..

posted on 01 Apr 2013, 11:15

191. Tonick (Posts: 3; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)


Sorry I lost 1 phone somewhere..
Phone# 1: Samsung Galaxy S3
Phone# 2: Sony Xperia Z
Phone# 3: HTC One
Phone# 4: Apple iPhone 5
Phone# 5: Samsung Galaxy S4
Phone# 6: Nokia Lumia 920

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 09:18 4

40. AamirSIII (banned) (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Oct 2012)


phone #5 is Samsung Galaxy S4 and its the best here!

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 13:03 7

113. Trex95 (Posts: 571; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


Phone 5 it's an iphone 5 or Xperia z due to better colors, phone 6 lumia 920 or BBz10, phone 4 it's an S4.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 16:34

135. -Shadow- (Posts: 26; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


phone 4 is iphone 5 as you can see that the low light photo is the same as the iphone 5 (the 17th)photo in the last comparison whith HTC one and others.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 17:33

138. babyk (Posts: 221; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


Look at the stabalization in the video, phone number 4 more likely to be Iphone 5

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 18:15

140. -Shadow- (Posts: 26; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


Thats what i said

posted on 27 Mar 2013, 00:27

150. mathburn (Posts: 9; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)


i think Phone 5 won't be Xperia Z.
i just guess that Phone 2 might be Xperia Z because it's loss most of detail just like Sony phone performed.sorry for my bad English anyway.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 13:22

120. Guoilyt (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


I think Phone 4 is an iPhone and 5 being an S4 or Xperia Z

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:13 1

58. LonghornTech (Posts: 50; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


It's not really blind because if you've followed the major cell phone offerings it's easy to tell which is which.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:22 2

62. LonghornTech (Posts: 50; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


I feel like people are only judging the outdoor pictures by the last photo. Phone 1 does the best job reproducing the image on all but the last photo where it overexposes. Phone 4 does the second best and the rest have odd color tendencies.

This blink comparison should really not group a bunch of photos in to one category. I'd make sense to just go photo by photo because there is not one camera that does the best on each photo.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:51 1

70. MrJerry (Posts: 397; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


So clear for me that two are exceptional...
it's like

A >> B >>>>>>>>>>>>>> rest CDEF

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 12:02 3

101. amansingal14 (Posts: 294; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


Results already -
1. iPhone 5
2. S4
3. HTC 1
4. Nexus 4
5. Xperia Z
6. Nokia 920

Regardless of which phone is originally what, PA can just change the names and reveal differently as they are usually convicted of being bias...
However, I do bet that either Lumia or HTC is #4, and I really like #4 and #6.
Voting in all categories for #4...

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 12:59

111. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


I think theat number 4 is samsung.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 12:48 1

108. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


O so the L920 beats all cameras?

posted on 27 Mar 2013, 01:49 1

154. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)


My Guess

-HTC One
-Galaxy S4
-Xperia Z
-iPhone 5
-Lumia 920

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:08 4

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)


In come the people starting a war in 3..2..1..

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:37 28

19. wendygarett (unregistered)


This is the poll where fanboys hard to fake it,

Samsung fans will definitely vote the low light photo but who know they might accidentally vote the iPhone photo, whereas Nokia fans will definitely vote the bright one but who know that picture might be HTC one...

The only solution here is to be honest and vote it without flamebait each other :)

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:50 9

28. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1161; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


just like gsmarena blind test for 808.
where nokia 808 pureview triumphs ,then haters went wild why they chose it hahahhaa

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 12:08

104. amansingal14 (Posts: 294; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


It is quite easy to identify phones...

For Example - #4 and #6 both have OIS. This means they are either L920 or HTC1. Moreover #4 has a better OIS. This means it is L920. This means #6 is HTC1.

My interpretation - #1. Nexus 4
#2. Xperia Z
#3. Samsung S4
#4. Nokia L920
#5. iPhone 5
#6. HTC One

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 15:06 4

125. slannmage (Posts: 10; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


I bet you number 6 is the 920, that thing is over saturated to f**k and the has soft images. Also it's too detailed for the HTC One...

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 20:55

144. kclgphilsbsa (Posts: 765; Member since: 21 Jan 2013)


phone #3 couldnt be galaxy s4, too much noise in the photos.. it cud be htc One..
and Gsmarena said galaxy s4 beats htc one in good lightng and low lightng conditions :D

posted on 29 Mar 2013, 21:42

185. kclgphilsbsa (Posts: 765; Member since: 21 Jan 2013)


i got it ryt haha, phone3 is htc One lols :)

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:12 6

3. dil2abu (Posts: 201; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


Phone #5 :)

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 11:52

98. cezarepc (Posts: 586; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


That's what I voted too. Considering the closeness of it's color reproduction to the Lumix I have a ingly tingly feeling it's the HTC one.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 16:38

136. alexzibrit (Posts: 67; Member since: 15 Jan 2013)


Yeah I judged by the brightness of the picture , and more so the brightness of the whites compared to the Lumix, and it looked the most like the Lumix to me, but I could be wrong, My vision isn't exactly 20/20

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:17 1

5. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


If you're a pro with the current flagships, you can tell which phones are which through the zoom of the lens.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 09:05

37. tusshharish (Posts: 342; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


i think i saw this(or similar to this) images before in pa's photo comparison.....................

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:18 2

60. max9777 (Posts: 74; Member since: 11 Dec 2011)


Who cares which is what flagship, PA wanted you to rate which picture looks better. Not sit here and guess which phone was used for what photo..

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:20

6. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1161; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


this post brought to you buy Htc

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:25 3

9. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1161; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


/s
and "by"

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:24 5

7. dirtydirty00 (Posts: 260; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)


i say phone 4 or 5 for indoor with 4 slightly ahead. then i have phone 5 for high and medium light indoor and 2 with low light.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:41 1

21. TechBizJP08 (Posts: 495; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)


i agree, phone #4. but in low light i should say phone #6 next is phone #4. but for video. Man, it was difficult. xD

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 12:53

110. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


I say 5. Phone four has chromatic aberation on the sharpness card.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:25

8. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1161; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


where the F are the night shots? i thought this post is all about camera comparisons?

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:31 1

12. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5922; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Why would you think that? Down-sizing to 2.8 Mp is holding the thumb on the scales. The bad cameras don't look as bad and the good cameras don't get to show how good they are. If the threshold in the real world was 2.8 Mp, do you think Nokia would have developed the PV 808 with a 41 Mp sensor?

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:40 1

20. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5922; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


This 'test' is such BS. What should be compared is image sharpness, absence of noise in low light conditions, color fidelity outdoors and indoors at different image sizes.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:42 1

22. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1161; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


they can capture them photos on smallest mp count on respective phone's settings. then they shrink it down to 2.8mp resolution.

-in 808 conditions, they can (1) capture on mode: 2/3 mp .
or (2) use the whole 38mp in 4:3 ratio. then they will shrink/resize it to 2.8mp.

(but what am i talking about, PA wont include 808 here.. ahahahha silly me)

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:53 1

30. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1161; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


coz night shots of iphone5 is at 4mp (always). and htcOne shots are all in ~4mp size.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:27 6

10. mclifford81 (Posts: 69; Member since: 26 Jan 2010)


seems like each had its own pro and con but sharpness seemed to be from phone 3 most of the time. Probably was a Sammy Galaxy and phone 4 overall had best results.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:27 2

11. PhoenixWright (Posts: 99; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)


Indoor 3 has an overall purple-ish hue. Phone 6 wins indoors for me :D

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:32 5

13. highonandroid (Posts: 19; Member since: 06 Mar 2013)


#4...

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:35 4

68. LonghornTech (Posts: 50; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


It's terrible in low light.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 10:48 4

69. p5yb0rg (unregistered)


phone #4 is way too saturated and produced unreal looking photos.. phone #3 looks almost natural and wins my vote.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 14:49 1

123. MiPac (Posts: 5; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)


Agreed. #4 is probably easy to like, because most of people like saturated colors. I think its iPhone. For outdoor its #3 and indoor and video I would say #2. Which I think is Lumia 920.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:33

14. KParks23 (Posts: 459; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)


Well seems everyone is pretty much in agreement on 4,5,and 6and the rest being garbage.. Wonder how it's gonna turn out imma say the top 3 were htc nokia and apple just a guess!

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 08:49

27. KParks23 (Posts: 459; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)


Actually I agree phone 6 is not as good as I first thought in the strong light.. Definitely 4or 5 is the best I kinda like 4 the best

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