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Smartphone camera comparison: you choose the winner (Indoor test)

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Smartphone camera comparison: you choose the winner (Indoor test)
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the best smartphone camera of 'em all?” – We asked ourselves over and over again, only to find the best mirror available – you, our readers. Last week, we gave you samples from three high-end smartphones along with pictures shot on a point-and-shoot camera and we asked you that exact question under one condition – forget about the company that makes it, the operating system and everything that could go for bias. To back up our plea, we downsized the pictures to one common web resolution and stripped all additional data. From there on it was you who took over, and we thank you for participating.

The first poll is over and the results are in, but we won't reveal the winner (and there is one clear winner) until we get the full picture. For that we need you to cast your votes once again for the same devices, taken for a spin indoors.

Out on the street you often have the perfect conditions to shoot with plenty of sunlight revealing objects in their full details and colors in their amazing variety. But let's face it – a lot of the interesting stuff in our lives happens behind four walls. That's the main reason behind this second blind test. We've tried our best to take indoor pictures at nearly identical conditions, with no adjustments – we've used the cameras' automatic settings, so on some you might see flash fire up, while others have judged that the sensor can catch enough light without it. Take into account that the order of the devices is not in the same order as in the first set of outdoor pictures.

The first set of images has been downsized so you can make up your mind about the whole picture – has the sensor done a good job in low light settings or is the image too dark, do you find the colors natural? Examine the first set of pictures below and vote for the best device in the poll below but feel free to also share your motivation in the comments below.

A - Photo 1 - Still life studio light
B - Photo 1 - Still life studio light
C - Photo 1 - Still life studio light
D - Photo 1 - Still life studio light

A

B

C

D

Photo 1 - Still life studio light

Photo 2 - Indoor portrait
Photo 2 - Indoor portrait
Photo 2 - Indoor portrait
Photo 2 - Indoor portrait

Photo 2 - Indoor portrait

Photo 3 - Full body indoors
Photo 3 - Full body indoors
Photo 3 - Full body indoors
Photo 3 - Full body indoors

Photo 3 - Full body indoors

Photo 4 - Studio low light
Photo 4 - Studio low light
Photo 4 - Studio low light
Photo 4 - Studio low light

Photo 4 - Studio low light

A - Photo 5 - Studio dark
B - Photo 5 - Studio dark
C - Photo 5 - Studio dark
D - Photo 5 - Studio dark

A

B

C

D

Photo 5 - Studio dark



Phonearena polls
sort by
Which shoots the best pictures indoors?
13.31%
372 votes
(372 votes) Device A
29.16%
815 votes
(815 votes) Device B
52.13%
1457 votes
(1457 votes) Device C
5.4%
151 votes
(151 votes) Device D

2795 votes


Device A: Samsung Galaxy S II | Device B: HTC Sensation | Device C: Canon PowerShot SD870 IS | Device D: Apple iPhone 4

The second set of images represents 100% crops from the original pictures on the three smartphones and the point-and-shoot camera. This allows you to get a closer look at all the fine details, judge whether noise hasn't corrupted the overall image quality or whether some artifacts have made their way into the shot, but that's also a perfect occasion to see how sharp/soft the image is. Each of the crops comes from one of the original stills, but this time you can concentrate on the amount of detail and pick the best camera in those terms.

From Photo 1 - 100% Crops
From Photo 3 - 100% Crops
From Photo 4 - 100% Crops
From Photo 5 - 100% Crops

From Photo 1

From Photo 3

From Photo 4

From Photo 5

100% Crops



Phonearena polls
sort by
Which has the best detail?
6.09%
136 votes
(136 votes) Device A
6.71%
150 votes
(150 votes) Device B
84.56%
1890 votes
(1890 votes) Device C
2.64%
59 votes
(59 votes) Device D

2235 votes


Device A: Samsung Galaxy S II | Device B: HTC Sensation | Device C: Canon PowerShot SD870 IS | Device D: Apple iPhone 4

Both polls expire on Thursday, July 28th. We will sum up the outdoor and indoor results, and reveal all the participating devices on Friday. But you shouldn't wait until the last minute to vote – the more votes, the more realistic the final verdict. Feel free to also give your much appreciated opinion about the pictures in the comments below ranking them or better explaining your reasons for picking one device over the rest.

UPDATE: Our Smartphone Camera Comparison is now over and we've revealed which the participating handsets are. First here ranks our Canon PowerShot SD870 IS point-and-shoot, followed by the HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy S II and Apple iPhone 4.

71 Comments
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posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:37 7

1. shizam (unregistered)


Technically, they all stink!

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:39 4

2. ArmageddonX (Posts: 96; Member since: 11 May 2011)


This is an awesome way to do a comparison vote Phone Arena. Bravo!

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:43 3

3. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)


What the hell is wrong with photos D??? worst camera ever.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 10:51 1

50. remixfa (Posts: 14175; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


lol.. someone turned the grain waaaaaaay up on that #4 upclose.. ugh. reminded me of a vga camera.

Love the fact that we get to vote on these to take any "partisian" out of the mix.
What would have been even better though is if there was a control shot by an actual digital camera so we had a comparison to go on since all 4 of their color and contrast settings were different. Without the control we might think one "looks" better, but it might be way off from the actual natural coloring of the picture.

posted on 27 Jul 2011, 19:54

60. Someguy (unregistered)


One of the devices is an actual Digital camera, at least that was what the original contest post said.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:50 4

4. meaningless (unregistered)


How is this poll fair? There is no control to compare any of these photo's to. How am I supposed to know which is the best, when I don't know what the items look like in person, or what they look like taken with a high end "control" camera at least.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 18:21

25. Stuntman (unregistered)


I agree. It looks like most or all of the phones do some type of colour processing to artificially enchance the colour. Without knowing what the scene and colours are supposed to look like normally, I cannot tell which (if any) of the photographs show natural colour and which are digitally enhanced.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 03:01

41. Answering (unregistered)


This is meant to deduce what the average user sees as the most ideal photo shoot. It is not a scientific experiment. If you have used a camera before, you should know what a good and bad photo is.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 11:33 1

51. remixfa (Posts: 14175; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


while thats true, we dont know the true color of the guys walls, or his natural skin tone, on and on and on. While it may "look" like a good picture, it may artificially color the guy and be way off. We dont know these things without a control picture from a good digital camera.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:53 1

5. bossmt_2 (Posts: 437; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)


All of them except D are acceptable. Even D isn't really that bad. Hell 3 years ago if you could get even D on a camera phone that didn't cost 300 bucks, you would have been happy.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:53

6. sixkiller (unregistered)


Which are the smartphones? :)

Can u tell me the answer on my e-mail. :)

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:55

7. sixkiller (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


And in this poll is there Apple iPhone 4?

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 17:20 5

21. megamrambo (Posts: 37; Member since: 19 Jul 2010)


it's D.

posted on 27 Jul 2011, 13:42

59. bigdawg23 (Posts: 391; Member since: 25 May 2011)


I have an iPhone 4 and my pictures are much better than that. My Atrix took pictures about the same as iPhone 4. Based on Reviews the SGII wins now but lets see after iPhone 5 comes out with a camera not from about 24 months ago.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:57

8. rican (Posts: 132; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)


y everytime i look at this guy he reminds me of a f**ked up version of sheila buff. anyways c has the best detail and d must be a feature phone from 07

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 15:58 7

9. DV21 (unregistered)


D seems to be from the iPhone...

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:07 1

10. Synack (Posts: 669; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)


Watch all of these phones except Device C be Android with the settings changed to be terrible. And Device C will be the iPhone with perfectly adjusted camera settings.

Device C better be SGS2 because it IS the best camera out right now.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:46 7

13. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 863; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


Nokia N8 has the best camera out there. Go ahead and compare the sample camera images on GSM Arena from both. It's not even close. LED is no substitute for xenon. Sure you get a nice flashlight and video light, but indoor images can't even compare.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:48 1

15. exo2u (unregistered)


i think that Device A might be the SGS II..

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:08

11. DroidGod (Posts: 48; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


I liked that DV21 haha

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:19

12. observer (unregistered)


I voted: Device C.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:47

14. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 863; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


How could anybody pick anything other than Device C in the cropped images?

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 17:08

20. kamen (Posts: 85; Member since: 18 Jul 2011)


Actually, take a look at B. Though it is with a lower resolution sensor it has the most natural colours with the flash. Especially at Photo 1 Set - all else tend to go yellowish (LED flashes?). That's for the whole sized images, though.
On the cropped side - yeah, you're right - C's the best.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 17:05 2

19. kamen (Posts: 85; Member since: 18 Jul 2011)


Are you all right?!

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:53 1

17. vivek.ray (Posts: 22; Member since: 08 Apr 2011)


Please tell us which one to vote or else u will start another one, until iPhone4 raises as a winner in atleast one aspect .

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 16:56 1

18. Razy (unregistered)


A. SAMSUNG GALAXY S2
B. NOKIA N8
C. DIGITAL CAMERA
D. IPHONE 4

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 17:26

22. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


lol d sucks!! probably is an iphone!!

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 17:41 1

23. michaeljj (unregistered)


C= Apple iPhone 4 clear winner!

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 18:21 2

24. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)


watch whe the results come out.. some people will be in denail. and wil not accept the regardless of the outcome.. just see..

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 18:30

26. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


C was clearly the winner.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 19:36 1

27. TOdoubleD (Posts: 114; Member since: 28 Mar 2011)


I wouldn't be surprised if the iPhone was the winner. But honestly none of them look that great. But they are phones, if you need great shots, buy a camera.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 01:26

40. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


Not even close. iPhone has the worst lenses in the in the camera phones. iPhone 4 has a good sensor but no good lenses to support it.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 20:32

28. sree (unregistered)


Option B must be Nokia N8, because of red eye due to Xenon flash

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 21:08

30. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


No. Its C. It is well known to us that N8 puts a white disk like most camera phones on the red retina but very hard to spot. The size of the pic is a dead giveaway.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 06:32 2

45. jiezel91 (unregistered)


I don't think Camera C is N8. After seeing the shadow of "Photo 4 - Studio Low Light", I see the shadow forming to the right side of his face which might mean the flash is on the left side of the lens and we all know the N8 got its flash situated right above its lens hence there's no way for N8 to take pictures with flash and the shadow forming to the right unless rotated intentionally to make it happen.
Therefore, I think Camera C is a digicam.

Camera 2 could be the N8 since there is the typical red eye with no shadows forming on the sides which might mean the flash is right above (or below) the lens. However, I just can't fully convince myself that Camera B is the N8. I think they took pictures in a low resolution to even the battle. Also, if ever Camera B is indeed N8, I guess they took pictures using the "Vivid mode" since those images are too colorful (with the exception of the image taken at "Photo 1 - Still life studio light").

Camera A and D are obviously shot with phones equipped with LED flashes.Uneven distribution of lights is noticeable so I can say those are LED's.

After this test, I think:
Camera A is Samsung Galaxy S II
Camera B is Nokia N8
Camera C is a digicam
Camera D is the Apple iPhone

But then again, those are just my wild guesses. :)

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 09:06

47. jiezel91 (unregistered)


Also, Phonearena has stated that they've rearranged the order of the phones. So it is highly likely that Camera C of the previous comparison is now Camera B.

People, reconsider before voting. Your previous bets might have changed positions this time.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 12:20

52. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


No, still the same order. B is no way to be N8. It is so bad that it is not the N8. Camera A is the point and shoot (Canon IXUS 130)because of its too aggressive saturation and softness correction. Camera C is N8 with its signature neutral color and slightly smaller subject due to reduction of size 9mp-12mp photo.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 18:51

53. jiezel91 (unregistered)


"Take into account that the order of the devices is not in the same order as in the first set of outdoor pictures."

That's what Phonearena said. It means the order of cameras in the previous test is NOT the same as today so that's why the device C can now be device B.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 23:46

57. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


Go to phone arena's N8 vs S2 vs Optimus 2x vs iPhone 4 photo shootout. N8 photo exactly matches camera c.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 18:56

69. jiezel91 (unregistered)


And how would you explain Photo 4 & 5 of Camera C which showed a shadow casted to the right side of his face?

I can say that photo WAS NOT TAKEN on a N8. Just think about the N8's flash position and then it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to find out that at that position, it wouldn't cast a shadow to the right side of the face of the subject.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 19:09

72. jiezel91 (Posts: 66; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)


And how would you explain the images on Photo 4 & 5 taken by Camera C wherein there were shadows casted to the right side of his face?

I can say those pictures were NOT TAKEN on a N8. Knowing the position of the N8's flash, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to find out that shadow casting to the right side of his face is impossible unless rotated to make it happen. Seeing that photo, it tells me that the flash (which surely is Xenon) of the camera is located to the left side of the lens hence a shadow can be seen to the right. And that alone is enough to convince me that the camera is indeed a digicam.

You know, I never base my judgement from previous samples of previous shootouts that you are referring to. I am basing it on what I am seeing today.

But then again, it is just an observation and I could be wrong too. Whatever it is, it will be revealed soon. So let's just wait and see. :)

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 20:50

29. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


N8 is C. Clear detail and Neutral color gives it away.

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 21:11

31. Spoiler (unregistered)


Finally had to pull the metadata to figure out what phone tool which picture....surprised?

A - HTC ThunderBolt
B - Motorola DROID 3
C - Samsung Nexus S 4G
D - iPhone 4

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 21:15

32. Spoiler (unregistered)


tool, took....ever seen the commercial where a potential boss is looking over this ladies resume and her resume reads fiance instead of finance...he said "that's a huge mistake" or something to that effect and she says "its just one letter"....its just one letter right?

/me puts on asbestos suite

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 21:47

34. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


no because you are incorrect, Phone Arena said that three phones and one point and shoot would be part of the comparison. you've identified four phones.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 00:18 1

38. Spoiler (unregistered)


ARGHH! "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids and that stupid dog!"

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 00:29

39. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


SCOOOOOBY DOOBY DOOOOOO! *snickers and grins* ;D

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 23:43

35. Allday28 (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Nov 2010)


I bet C is the mytouch 4g slide..

posted on 25 Jul 2011, 23:45

36. VinayVardhan (unregistered)


Device 3 is the Winner and its N8.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 00:04

37. nghtwng68 (Posts: 82; Member since: 26 Nov 2009)


Nicely done PhoneArena with the photo comparisons.
Device C hands down is the overall winner and wouldn't be surprised if it's a Nokia N8 phone. Can't wait to see the end results.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 03:29

42. Kerry (unregistered)


The best device is C, the point and shoot camera.
The best SMARTPHONE is B. I think that's the Mytouch 4g Slide.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 03:50

43. Benimclaren (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


I Can't wait to see the end results because I think C is Nokia N9! and that's only Big Wide camera phone

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 05:31

44. dopestur (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Jul 2011)


in all of those pictures above clear ones were "C" off course..i guess it would be the nokia n8 its got the 12mp camera n most of the pics compared in any other website sure to won by nokia N8..the natural scene is just perfect in it..

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 07:04

46. Photographer (unregistered)


if there is a Nokia N8 in this comparison that would definitely be C, I do have a Nokia N8 that's why I know it. The N8 has the biggest sensor on a mobile phone to take great pictures in the dark, it can even replace my compact digital camera.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 09:19

48. Eidrian (unregistered)


definitely, the device C is a N8

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 09:53

49. blahb (unregistered)


I like the idea of these 'Blind Polls' but it would be nice to know what the photos look like from a high end point and shoot or DSLR and only allow voting on the actual camera phones themselves. Either that or allow us to rank them 1-4 so if the point and shoot wins by a land slide, which one of them will, we could actually see which camera phone rated second best.

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 19:19

54. N8 (unregistered)


I bet my money A= digicam B= n8 :)

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 19:20

55. N8 (unregistered)


oops, i meant C= n8 :p

posted on 26 Jul 2011, 23:29

56. Valentino562 (Posts: 3; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)


This one was a lot easier than the last.

posted on 27 Jul 2011, 22:54

61. litebulb (Posts: 6; Member since: 20 Jan 2011)


htc
sg2
canon
iphone 4

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