x PhoneArena is looking for new authors! To view all available positions, click here.
  • Home
  • News
  • Blind cameraphone comparison 2 (Results)

Blind cameraphone comparison 2 (Results)

Posted: , by Victor H.

Tags:

Blind cameraphone comparison 2 (Results)
When judging camera quality on smartphones you have to face the cold facts – the pictures. Over the course of the past week we gave you  this very pictorial raw material from four smartphones, but we've stripped down brand names and revealing details about a picture – everything that could distract you from judging anything else but the pure quality of the images. It was a challenge that would pin-point the best camera among four top smartphones, each available on a major US carrier. But we should also mention that the participating phones are not necessarily the best cameraphones out there – they rather give a rough concept of current high-end carrier offers. So now that you've cast your votes, we've summarized the results and are ready with the final verdict. 

So with no further ado, we present you the four smartphone participants in our test: the Apple iPhone 4 (appearing as Device 1 in the outdoor test and  D indoors), Sprint's Google Nexus S 4G (dubbed 2 and C), Verizon's HTC ThunderBolt (known as 3 and B) and the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide (4 and  A). We've also used the Canon PowerShot A590 for reference, an 8-megapixel point-and-shoot digital camera released in 2008.

iPhone 4
Google Nexus S 4G
HTC ThunderBolt
T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide

iPhone 4

Google Nexus S 4G

HTC ThunderBolt

T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide


Outdoor test results:

Overall picture quality test
100% crop detail test

Overall picture quality test

100% crop detail test


The first question we asked was about outdoor performance – with plenty of August sunlight and colorful landscapes, the phones should have shown their best game. We've split the images in two categories – in the first one they were all downsized to a common web format, while in the second one we took 100% crops to better illustrate their ability to catch fine details. 

One handset grabbed the crown in both our outdoor tests – Sprint's Google Nexus S 4G with its 5-megapixel camera stood out. The iPhone 4 ranked second, trailing by around 7 to 8%.

But what about the LTE-equipped HTC ThunderBolt and the other HTC-made T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide, the latter claiming to be the “most advanced camera of any smartphone”? They were nearly tied at the bottom with the ThunderBolt overcoming in the detail poll, while the myTouch 4G Slide finished slightly ahead in the first round. Interestingly, both the myTouch 4G Slide and the ThunderBolt come with 8-megapixel cameras, a higher resolution than the 5 megapixels on the iPhone and Nexus S 4G, and a great illustration that pixels don't matter that much.


Indoor test results:

Overall picture quality test
100% crop detail test

Overall picture quality test

100% crop detail test


The second set of images we gave you was shot indoors – after all, a lot of the interesting stuff in life happens behind four walls. And our test proved this – our kind model cat grew laser eyes for your entertainment. But the test also gave a good idea about how well exposed you can expect images to turn out in very limited light as well as how realistic would be the colors.

So do we have a clear winner here? This time the myTouch 4G Slide with its backside-illuminated  sensor allowing it to catch more light won by a landslide in both our downsized images and 100% crops. With plenty of details and warm colors, it managed to steer away from the red-eye (or robot eye if you wish) problem. The HTC ThunderBolt finished a distant runner-up.

But there wasn't only a winner – we'd dare to sum up the vote and say that there are two big losers for indoor shots – the iPhone and the Google Nexus S 4G transforming both our models into scary laser eyed versions of themselves. And those are the exact two devices which you liked best for outdoor shots!


Conclusion:

It was Sprint's Google Nexus S 4G which impressed you most  outdoors and we have to give it credit for that, but we should also admit that for outdoor performance the race was close. The same Nexus S 4G couldn't win your heart in the second test, though, where the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide shined. 

Finally, this test makes it clear that cameras in smartphones tend to perform differently under different conditions. While some handsets performed great outdoors, they failed in low-lit scenes, so it seems like a good idea to take this into account that when picking a cameraphone. Moreover, outdoors the 5-megapixel shooters in our test ranked better than the 8-megapixel ones, so bottomline is that the spec sheet doesn't necessarily always tell the whole story. But after all, whether you agree with the results or not, it's up to you to draw conclusions from this blind comparison and hopefully get the perfect phone for your needs next time. 

42 Comments
  • Options
    Close




posted on 15 Aug 2011, 14:46

1. fanaticgadget (unregistered)


First

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:31 18

8. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


I don't get why Phonearena.com keeps using the iPhone 4 on all its tests? It's like they are testing every other phone to the iPhone 4. Where is the Nokia N8 in all these comparisons. Why is it that the iPhone 4 keeps going up against every phone out there? Is this really an objective test or is it an iPhone 4 test?

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 16:08 8

14. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1037; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


Because its the most popular phone in the world with a great camera.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 16:46 4

17. Junglejoe (unregistered)


becuz to punch the fanboys in the stomach.. and sometimes to jerk the fanboys off

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 17:14 5

21. Pete11261 (unregistered)


Because the iPhone 4 is one of the most popular phones. What part of that so you not understand?

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 20:04 7

24. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1037; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


P.S. I prefer android. I'm not an apple fanboy. I know thats why i got thumbed down.

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 00:58 2

28. and1one66 (unregistered)


Nokia N8-00 is a special type of camera phone. Since it can compete with high-end DSLRs, do you think this smaller-size sensor phones can compete with N8-00? I don't think so.

This tests shows only who's phone is the best even they have smaller sensor.

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 14:19

35. sudharshan (Posts: 2; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)


sorry and1one66 the 28th com-mentor but I think n8 is only good enough to compete with low end and middle class DSLR cameras as it can only record 720p plus it is not 16mp . It is only 12mp which makes it to compete only with middle class DSLRs . But anyways I agree with your point.

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 08:52

30. Rasumusu (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


So everyone out there can see that all other phones pwned it!

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 11:11 1

34. Ecko50100 (Posts: 4; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)


If you didn't read the first test (i think it was the first test run they did), they stated that they were only doing phones from the 4 major carriers in the US, and the N8 is definitely not on any of them.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 14:49 5

2. Whateverman (Posts: 3158; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Wow! Never knew the myTouch had such a good camera.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:00 8

3. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


thats the new mytouch 4g Slide. It just launched. Its built to be able to snap a pic from the lock screen in like 3 seconds flat. Its pretty nice. HTC's weak spot has always been the camera quality so the outdoor settings aren't a surprise. Indoor wasnt too surprising since 3 of the 4 have a flash on the camera (only the nexusS doesnt).
What did surprise me is how low the iphone4 got in the lowlight tests. After months of review after review saying how frikkin awesome the camera was, it failed miserably when put to a blind test.
It also got beat by a samsung 5mpx camera in both tests, so that whole "iphone4 is the best 5mpx camera" line is debunked as well. Go sammy! :)

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:09 9

5. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)


I disagree, I think the iPhone 4's camera is so advanced and awesome that it turned that cat into some sort of super villian with laser eyes.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:29 1

7. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)


I had to like this because it's like sharks with freakin lasers on their freakin head.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:32 3

9. chris23 (Posts: 39; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


The Nexus S does have a flash on the camera

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 16:10

15. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


doh.. your right.. i was thinking of my vibrant/galaxyS.. :)


whats worse than sharks with laser beams? flying sharks man!! yea.. flying sharks that hunt down your lion pride and eat them!! yea, you didnt see that coming did ya!? ya didnt think it would go in that direction!

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:08 2

4. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)


Considering that almost all the voters do not have calibrated computer screens, this matter of opinion is definitely only opinion, man.

I would've liked to have seen the Galaxy S II, Samsung Infuse, iPhone 3GS, and maybe even a Blackberry or two in competition.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:11 7

6. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)


What does a calibrated computer screen have to do with pixelation and red (or laser) eyes?

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:33

10. Penny (Posts: 988; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


A calibrated screen has to do with color accuracy, in which case you are right, it doesn't greatly impact pixelation or red-eye problems. However, having a monitor with an IPS panel (usually the monitors people bother to calibrate) makes a significant difference in a photo comparison. It is better for color accuracy, uniform backlighting, [usually] brightness, details in dark areas, etc.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 16:21

16. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yea.. if you needed to see minute color details.. most of those photographs were easily discernable with even the worst equipment. There was a fairly large spread among the phones.

Wireless, the point of the article was for 1 phone for each carrier that is currently out. The infuse carries the same camera as the nexus/galaxy. The software might be slightly different though since it uses samsungs custom instead of google stock like the Nexus.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:33 6

11. Stuntman (Posts: 669; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


I'm disappointed that the Nokia N8 was again omitted in this comparison.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 16:47 6

18. Junglejoe (unregistered)


i think the N8 is has no competition out there.. we all know its the most powerful cam .. but would be great to appreciate it at least from time to time

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 15:43 1

12. JayRaj (Posts: 54; Member since: 31 Oct 2010)


I thought these guys would have included an AT&T and a Verizon iPhone 4 in the test! lol!

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 16:03 1

13. Penny (Posts: 988; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


Lol shhh, don't want to give them any ideas.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 17:05 3

19. Stuntman (Posts: 669; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


Don't forget the white iPhone. :) Maybe compare the black and white iPhone with the 4 different colours of the Nokia N8.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 17:09 4

20. Tmachaveli (Posts: 425; Member since: 01 Apr 2011)


iphone sucks thank u just had to get that out for today lol

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 19:03

22. dblue45 (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Aug 2009)


I'd love to see a test of HTC Sensation vs Samsung Galaxy S II vs Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc vs Motorola Droid X2/ Droid 3 :D Nevertheless this again was a great test! Thanks Phonearena :) Looking Forward to more of such tests :)

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 19:24

23. rex0422 (Posts: 30; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)


Dude, why is iPhone 4 on the list EVERY TIME? Are the folks in PhoneArena biased? Anyways, I still don't think iPhone 4 is the best in outdoor tests. I think myTouch 4G Slide is the best cameraphone ever.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 23:27 1

27. Stuntman (Posts: 669; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


The iPhone is on the list every time because it is one of the most well known smartphones in the world. If I walk into a room and ask if anyone can name my phone (a Desire Z), I think very few if any people can. If I do the same with an iPhone, many people will be able to name it.

The other thing is if you say your phone takes better pictures than an HTC Desire Z, most people would not really take much notice. Say that your phone takes better pictures than an iPhone and people will take notice. I don't think that it is biased to include the iPhone in the comparison as Phonearena's audience would be interested in how the iPhone did.

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 22:38 1

25. JayRaj (Posts: 54; Member since: 31 Oct 2010)


I'm guessing the 4 phones for the next blind test.
1. AT&T iPhone 4 (black)
2. Verizon iPhone 4 (black)
3. AT&T iPhone 4 (white)
4. Verizon iPhone 4 (white)
Lol! XD

posted on 15 Aug 2011, 22:39 1

26. JayRaj (Posts: 54; Member since: 31 Oct 2010)


I'm guessing the 4 phones for the next blind test.
1. AT&T iPhone 4 (black)
2. Verizon iPhone 4 (black)
3. AT&T iPhone 4 (white)
4. Verizon iPhone 4 (white)
Lol! XD
Then they would give the hint that the phones are the two top phones of the 2 top carriers of US.

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 05:47 1

29. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


Please PhoneArena, can't you include the Nokia N8 in the next test ???????

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 09:41

31. Moo (unregistered)


I thought it was me outside pics are good on the Nexus S this confirms it

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 09:55 1

32. yoble (unregistered)


I would love to see the Sony Ericsson Arc in here both with the Nokia n8. They should have one of the best quiality camera's so why aren't they invited?

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 10:53 1

33. sitruc (Posts: 7; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)


I can't get past the flawed methodology in these comparisons.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 07:34

36. Andy Hy (unregistered)


I have had (& otherwise like) HTC phones, but their cameras' (output) quality have always been their worst point, and it seems they have still not caught up with the competition - I wish they would... My next phone in November/December might not be HTC (first time in over 5 years!) for this very reason, as I use the camera functionality a lot of the time !!

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 13:45

37. B3AR (unregistered)


I have just one issue, if they are doing a camera comparison then why they did not include Nokia N8?!
Its one of the best camera phones out there! But for some weird reason they always have to include an Iphone 4, that does not make any sense!

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 00:15

39. dudzzz_99 (unregistered)


where is nokia N8,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,/

posted on 19 Aug 2011, 03:10

41. CHRISMASTER (Posts: 2; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)


This test result is wrong cuz they don't use a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc which take absolutly amazing photos/videos?I know that T-mobile makes good phones but SE are more better

posted on 19 Aug 2011, 10:48

43. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


Phonearena already compared the N8-00 in fairly comprehensive testing awhile back and it clearly showed how dominant this phone is in the camera category. However, the above article clearly emphasizes a test of the most popular (carrier subsidized) smartphones in the USA. Therefore, the N8 was omitted from the test. They could've chosen to include it as a benchmark, along with a more recent mid range digital camera...but the comparison was straightforward nonetheless.

No surprises here...the phones with better stronger flash and back lit sensors did better indoors; those with better optics and algorithms seem to shine outdoors.

IMHO, a good camera/phone for indoor & action shots needs a well spec'd Xenon flash. In all cases, solid algorithms, a reasonably large sensor and excellent optics are needed to hold a top spot on the comparison charts. I would imagine this field will get more crowded as major players like Samsung and Apple acquire and/or further integrate camera expertise into their flagship phones. Samsung makes decent digital cameras and already has a relationship with a good optics shop (Schneider). Apple has the brand prestige and money to attract any top optics shop not already under an exclusivity arrangement. It's just the co-branding issue in Apple's case that probably requires the company bringing the expertise/capability in house.

posted on 20 Aug 2011, 10:44

44. vu2ikl (unregistered)


i wish they include the awesome camera of Nokia N8 and ofcourse the flagship xperia, the xperia arc.

posted on 26 Aug 2011, 15:36

53. benhammond (Posts: 5; Member since: 26 Aug 2011)


Interesting results. I suppose it all depends on how what environments you will most likely be taking pictures in.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories