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Phones with the fastest cameras in 2015

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Phones with the fastest cameras in 2015

By now, you must have seen the various camera comparisons that show the differences in camera quality (if you haven't, here is the one we did when the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus launched and another one we did upon the launch of the Galaxy S6), but there is one specific and very important metric that is not often in the limelight: camera speed.

After all, even the greatest camera is of no use if it's not fast enough to capture that moment you want to photograph (cough, Nokia Lumia 1020, cough).

Even the greatest camera is no good if it is too slow to capture a moment

That's why it's important to know not only the details around image quality, but also - the camera speed. In order to test this, we have developed our own simple testing method: we place the phone on a tripod, open the camera app and shoot a picture from the same distance, and we do this multiple times until we feel that we have a very accurate average speed for the camera of that particular gadget. Naturally, we've done this test for all the major phones released in 2015, so it's time to look at the results and see who's winning when it comes to being the fastest on the block. Take a look at the results right below, shown in seconds.

Camera speed comparison of popular 2015 phones

The time needed to start the camera app, focus, take a pic and save it.

sec
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
1.6
Apple iPhone 6s
1.7
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)
2
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
2.1
Samsung Galaxy S6
2.2
Google Nexus 6P
2.2
LG G4
2.7
LG V10
2.7
Google Nexus 5X
2.8
Sony Xperia Z5
3
HTC One A9
3.1
Motorola Moto G (2015)
3.4
Microsoft Lumia 950
3.5
HTC One M9
3.75
View all

One thing is immediately clear: the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are winning by a large margin: in fact, they are nearly twice as fast to capture an image than equally high-profile phones like the Sony Xperia Z5 and HTC One M9.

The second thing worth noting is that Samsung is trailing close behind: its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 are just a split second slower than Apple's offerings. What's interesting here, though, is that in real-life situations, we've found that capturing an image on a Samsung phone might be even faster than these results show (and faster than on an iPhone). Why? Simple: Quick Launch. The double-click shortcut to start the camera is extremely useful and easy to get accustomed to, so often times, you would be able to start the camera while pulling the phone out of your pocket, without even looking at the screen. This is an important advantage and one that the iPhone cannot fully match.

Apple and Samsung feature the fastest cameras, Microsoft, Moto and Google also have top models

There are two other phones worth mentioning when it comes to camera speed. First, the Moto X Pure 2015 edition is the surprise in this test: a $400 phone, much cheaper than the competition, it manages to score excellent camera speeds that are above and beyond its class of devices. Second: the Nexus 6P. The universally praised 5.7" aluminum slab not only features an absolutely stunning camera with a super-large new Sony sensor, it is also zippy. Just like Samsung, the new Nexus line also supports a double-click shortcut (you double click the power/lock key) to start the camera without looking at the phone.

With all these results laid out neatly in the table above, it's clear to see the differences between the most important phones of 2015. Since we've been doing this exact test for more than a year, though, we can also look at the improvement that we've seen in camera speed over the years. Here is how much faster smartphone cameras have become in a wider historical perspective.

Camera speed comparison: 2015 models vs predecessors

The time needed to start the camera app, focus, take a pic and save it.

sec
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
1.6
Apple iPhone 6s
1.7
Apple iPhone 6
1.9
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
1.93
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
2.1
Samsung Galaxy S6
2.2
Samsung Galaxy S5
2.5
Apple iPhone 5
2.7
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
2.7
LG G3
2.7
LG G4
2.7
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
2.8
Apple iPhone 5s
3
Samsung Galaxy S4
3.4
LG G2
4
Nokia Lumia 1020
10
View all

Good news is that this benchmark shows that smartphone makers are making noticeable improvements even in this little aspect of the camera experience. Here's to hoping we jump one step further in camera speed in 2016!

Note: You can always refer to our dedicated PhoneArena Benchmarks page to see all of the benchmark results for all the phones that we have tested!

82 Comments
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posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:43 8

1. marques57 (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Dec 2015)


So untrue, my BlackBerry Z30 even from locked onl takes 2 sec.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:48

16. Eraman (Posts: 74; Member since: 13 Dec 2015)


I'd test it just now. Less than 2 seconds

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:19 1

24. Nallaikumaran (banned) (Posts: 61; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)


This article is a joke. Sony Xperia Z5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 gets Top ranking (camera) on DxOMark. The Apple iPhone 6s Plus is now ranked No. 4

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:37 7

30. techperson211 (Posts: 1179; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


Not surprising to me that fruity is the number 1 here. Typical article, yet again.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 10:23 18

39. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


Are you drunk reading? Because this article is regarding speed of camera

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 12:13 1

46. Fire5 (Posts: 290; Member since: 13 Feb 2015)


Lol you are right this drunk XD

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 19:34

61. techperson211 (Posts: 1179; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


Speed of camera taking pictures and we know that the z5 series and note 5 are the fastest here. No need for expert opinions on that.

posted on 02 Jan 2016, 11:47

73. buccob (Posts: 2522; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


But I bet they didn't even test "Quick Launch + Capture" in Xperia... I just tested my Z3C cold (no recent apps after a restart) and it was between 2 and 2.2 seconds

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:32 4

28. ph00ny (Posts: 1197; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Even the note 5 takes less than a sec to take a pic from lock screen

Turn it on, double click the home button, shutter, and done

Camera app runs all the time in the background for this purpose

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 13:44 1

49. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 437; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


I love my Note 5 camera. Speed and top-shelf quality.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 21:59

66. rantao333 (Posts: 322; Member since: 21 May 2013)


i have my s6 which is basically same processor with the note 5, after 7 month and various apps installed, now double tab the home button slightly slower than my old iphone 5s swipe from right bottom.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:51

36. Acer_Predator (unregistered)


again apples article money....

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:44 2

2. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1206; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Dat Lumia 1020

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:46 16

3. sachouba (Posts: 156; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)


The iPhone is really fast when it comes to taking below average photos.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:49 6

4. Commentator (Posts: 3669; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


What is "average" to you, exactly?

Dxomark ranks the 6S Plus under only the Edge, Edge +, Z5, and Note V. Seems pretty good to me...

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 08:10 3

17. pooma (Posts: 58; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)


#Commentator he knows very well the caliber of iphone's camera, #sachouba is just trying too gain people's attention

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:23 5

25. SanteriAT (Posts: 11; Member since: 24 Jun 2014)


When it comes to taking pictures I think it's better to have a slower camera if the quality is better. I've tested multiple times the cameras of such phones as Lumia 1020, Xperia Z2, OnePlus One and 2, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 5. What's so "surprising" is, that even though iPhone 6 and 6S take pictures really fast, they are easily beaten in quality by Xperia Z2, Lumia 1020 and even the OnePlus 2. So I'd say that the average would be (in my opinion) the quality of iPhone 6's pictures. (Due to the fact that the pictures taken with iPhone 6S are sharper and better than those taken with iPhone 6)

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:33 3

13. Iodine (Posts: 1308; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


Rather bellow average than missed shot.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:44 2

14. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1206; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Wow, such high standards.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:52 1

5. ibend (Posts: 3860; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


yay.. finally another thing that iPhone can brag off..
but is it really matter? :-/

btw, how did you measure the time? manually?

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:53

6. Nathillien (Posts: 208; Member since: 05 Oct 2014)


Hahaha - 12 MegaPixel camera. LOL.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:01 1

7. Nopers (Posts: 170; Member since: 01 Jun 2015)


Megapixels =\= camera quality, on that basis the Nexus 6 camera should be better than the iPhone camera and it's just not. 12 is enough for 3:2 photos which are actually how professional photos are taken, 16:9 is more pleasing to the eye though since 12 megapixels at 3:2 has exactly the same detail as 16megapixels at 16:9

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 08:59 1

20. wildfiregt (Posts: 167; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


except that 16 mp at 16:9 captures more and image is wider. 16:9 is better for landscape photos. "professional photos " are not taken in 3:2 or whatever. It depends on what you capture.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:30

26. SanteriAT (Posts: 11; Member since: 24 Jun 2014)


Are you talking about 4:3 aspect as I can't remember seeing any phone capturing with 3:2. Also, you don't really do much with your 4:3 and 3:2 pictures as most screens and monitors are 16:9

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:52

37. Nathillien (Posts: 208; Member since: 05 Oct 2014)


Biggest concern about this so called "test" is that; the more megapixel image has the longer it takes to be read from the sensor, to be stored in the memory ... ... but you have better picture at the end.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 10:35 1

42. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


iPhone doesn't capture in 3:2. It captures in 4:3. It has the same vertical resolution but 16:9 has more horizontal res.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:05

8. Emmanuelz (Posts: 156; Member since: 01 Aug 2013)


The priv is definitely the slowest that thing is awful.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:21 11

9. RoboticEngi (Posts: 604; Member since: 03 Dec 2014)


And from the lock screen? I guess the samsungs will wipe the floor with the iphones. ...

posted on 02 Jan 2016, 20:35

74. bur60 (Posts: 838; Member since: 07 Jul 2014)


And huawei... and lumia... and any other device

posted on 03 Jan 2016, 06:46 1

75. elitewolverine (Posts: 5117; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


lumia has a dedicated camera button, no need to even see the lockscreen. From a true advantage point it will be faster, by the time it takes me to pull it out of my pocket with my finger already long pressing the shutter, by the time the phone is up and pointing at the object, even my 1520 is ready to go.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:23

10. Iodine (Posts: 1308; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


Custom camera architecture, with Focus Pixels and hugely powerfull custom ISP...
No wonder iPhone is the first, it requires investment over the years.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:32 13

12. wando77 (Posts: 813; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


Lighter interface (less options for advanced users) and less pixels to capture makes it easier for iPhone to capture in a shorter time.
Real world however is different with the samsung quickstart option.
Another turd piece to big up the iPhone and increase the value of the authors apple shares

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 08:21 7

18. UglyFrank (Posts: 1604; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


Whenever someone uses the terms Focus Pixels or Retina display etc, they lose a lot of credibility

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:31

27. SanteriAT (Posts: 11; Member since: 24 Jun 2014)


Very true

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:49 1

35. Awalker (Posts: 1431; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


When they start using Apple terminology they lose all credibility with me too.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 10:35 5

41. tedkord (Posts: 10675; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Is not, even in this metric. My Note 5 takes under a second to load up, from even the lock screen. You can't trust PA testing. For over a year they insisted that the iPhone had better color accuracy in it's display than Samsung flagships, despite every other site showing the opposite.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:23 31

11. wando77 (Posts: 813; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


The samsung phones win for me. The fact that the only time that milliseconds count for missing a photo is when you are in an app or the phone is in your pocket. The double click of the s6 family puts it WAY ahead of the iPhone on this alone.
Eg 1 browsing the Web or in an app -
Samsung...... double click the button, take pic.
IPhone...... go back to home, locate camera icon, take pic.

Eg 2 phone in pocket -
Samsung....... double click button as removing from pocket, take pic.
IPhone...... remove from pocket, press home button, slide camera app, take picture.

CLEAR win for samsung in real life situations and that is what iPhonearena should be doing the article on.

Same when you compare speed of phones..... don't benchmark. Compare phones at opening apps with a timer.

Rant over

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:46 1

15. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1206; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


+100 for this.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:48

34. enthasuium (Posts: 129; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)


But, another imp point is, iphone has lowest MPixel of all 12mp only, it takes less effort to take and save a lower resolution photo than others, Phonerena missed this

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 10:32 5

40. Modest_Moze (Posts: 112; Member since: 23 Mar 2015)


But when you have Sony, push the button and boom, camera is here. I am not saying anything bad about other phones, but it's easy with Sony. I see that it's almost the same with Samsung.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 16:12 1

59. BattleBrat (Posts: 1432; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


Yep LOVING that two stage camera button on my Z3v!

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 08:42 6

19. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


I know this is clickbait. It's only being shown because of the claim the iPhone has a faster camera. Facts show otheriwise.

Double pressing the home button launches the camera app in less than a full second and you can surely take pictures within a second.

So I'm already done with this article because it is a complete lie.

All the latest Samsung phones have the camera app running in the background by default. So double tapping the home putting is just as quick as clicking the actual camera icon.

Side by side videos show that the Galaxy S6 and it's siblings all launch the camera faster than any other phone, focuses faster as well in addition to taking better shots. Even over the Xperia Z5 and the iPhone 6S models.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:01 3

21. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


The fact PA is willing to blatantly lie as we saw in their articles where buyers voted the pictures of the latest Samsung better, their Calimesa that because the iPhone won more rounds that bit was the winner even though the Samsung got the most votes.

This site is absolutely pathetic.

You can double-tap the home button and the app launches in 0.7 secs...CONSISTENTLY on my Note 5. By the time the clock reaches a full second you can see the camera has already focused and it takes less than a 1/2 second to press for a photo depending on your hand speed.

Also toward to the fact. Samsung phones offer Burst Shots before Apple did. I recall with my Note 3, I was able to burst 8 full shots in the time it took the iPhone at the time to take one shot.

Even now if you do burst shot on the present models, Samsung has increased how many you can take which is I think as many as 20 in a row.

If you hold the camera button, you can take more than 10 shots in 1.5 secs.

Now in realize this is a different camera mode an PA Claimed test is likely just using default settings since the iPhone doesn't even allow camera settings.

However side by side video with the S6 and iPhone 6S side by side where the guy purposely move the camera and forced them to refocus, the Samsung were faster

This guy here is the most honest phone tester I have seen on youtube. He records the phones did by side using a stick i assume.

If the move the video up too 2:15 he does a focus test with the 6S first and then with the s6 and then side by side. All he did was raise and lower the camera in the same lighting for objects at 2 different distances and in both cases the S6 focused ready for a shot faster than the iPhone.

That is video proof. If PA wants me to believe their teats, I need to see that test on video. Because just typing out some list of claims is your word as a fanboi, against my word an not a fanboi.

I posted by proof, I dare anyone including PA to prove it wrong

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:01

22. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Here is the videohttps://youtu.be/aybrBYKmqZg

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 10:02

38. Awalker (Posts: 1431; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


If you read the article he mentions the double tap.

And if I remember correctly from my brief stint with the iPhone 5S there's no limit to a burst shot.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 14:47

51. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Yes I saw the mention. Which means in their test they likely use the app icon. Even then the S6 and it's siblings are faster because the camera app is still already running.

Also I know the S6 has a faster shutter speed though the gap isn't huge.

The iPhone has the best camera in a smartphone only up until the S4.

The iPhone still has one of the most awesome cameras in a device. But it doesn't beat any of the latest S6 models and the Note 5.

Videos show this consistently. Which is why I said, I want to see how PA does the test.

They seem to always test things in a way that gives the iPhone and advantage. Like when they cherry pick apps they know will restart on a Galaxy device and don't on the iPhone so that the iPhone wins app speed tests and they aren't the only ones who do it.

It's unfair an wrong. As long as the test is as fair as it possibly can be, I don't care who wins because it won't change my buying decision. But when a site purposely goes out of its way to make one brand look good over another using cheap tactics which we as readers have proven time and time again makes them disingenuous.

Because of rhe fact you and them made mention about using the doubletap, then that means the S6 should be first. They made that an admission and still refused to place the phones in the order they should be.

The double tap is a huge advantage because it works even without unlocking the phone. Even if u use the camera swipe unlock on either the S6 is still faster due to the app running in the background by default.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 19:26 1

60. ph00ny (Posts: 1197; Member since: 26 May 2011)


They do mention it but they're not really pointing out much quicker it really is. I did a test after reading the article. I can do the whole thing in well under a sec (open camera app from lock screen via double click, shutter, and saved)

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:17 1

23. Nallaikumaran (banned) (Posts: 61; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)


This article is a joke. Sony Xperia Z5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 gets Top ranking (camera) on DxOMark. The Apple iPhone 6s Plus is now ranked No. 4

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:37 5

31. Awalker (Posts: 1431; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


They're testing camera speed.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:43

33. InsertUsernameHere (Posts: 373; Member since: 31 Aug 2014)


They're testing camera speed, not quality. It's pretty obvious judging by the charts.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:34 1

29. Awalker (Posts: 1431; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


I personally wouldn't call 0.3 or 0.4 of a sec over the 950XL and Moto Pure "winning by a large margin".

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 14:49

52. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


It would be under certain circumstances.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:38 1

32. PhoneCritic (Posts: 682; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


OH, PA will you ever just simply state the obvious, you don't want to upset Apple a sponsor of your site so that you can always get early hands on action with the latest iPhone. But this is simply ridiculous. It already has been proven( BY PA ITSELF) that the camera app is always running in memory in the S6, S6 edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 so that a double click on the home button brings up the camera app in less than a sec. But here you state the iPhone 6 as being quicker. You have JUST CONTRADICTED YOURSELF AND SHOWN A CLEAR BIAS TOWARDS EVERY OTHER DEVICE IN FAVOR OF THE iPhone. for the new year your general editor needs to sit down with the staff and clearly set rules in place about non bias journalism and hold the staff to that standard or else ( show them the door). You guys can no longer be trusted for honest reviews and advice anymore.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 11:40 1

43. Ninetysix (Posts: 2340; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


I hate it when my fav phone doesn't win in benchmarks...grrrrr...

https://youtu.be/qtBHW5Nn2zI

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 12:26 4

47. tedkord (Posts: 10675; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


No, we just like the results to be accurate.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 12:42 2

48. Hexa-core (banned) (Posts: 2131; Member since: 11 Aug 2015)


Accurate results are rarely seen on PA.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 19:41

62. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1206; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


(facepalm)

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 19:58

63. willard12 (Posts: 1559; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)


You clearly missed this part, Brosephine:

In real-life situations, we've found that capturing an image on a Samsung phone might be even faster than these results show (and faster than on an iPhone). Why? Simple: Quick Launch. The double-click shortcut to start the camera is extremely useful and easy

But, I can't blame you. Of course, PA would figure out a way to manufacture a "quick camera" test to not show the quickest camera.

posted on 04 Jan 2016, 13:25

79. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


The article is about camera speed as far as how fast you can take a picture.

You are such a loser. You obviously didnt even read the article.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 11:49 5

44. darkkjedii (Posts: 20085; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


People on here talking about PA staff is full of liars, and how pathetic the site is, yet they're here everyday ranting essay style. Hmmm.

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