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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: 14255; 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: 14255; 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: 449; 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: 455; 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: 677; 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: 867; 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: 867; 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: 93; 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: 93; 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: 4720; 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.

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