Camera Comparison: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Galaxy S4, HTC One, iPhone 5
- 1 Introduction and Overall presentation
- 2 Details
- 3 Color representation
- 4 Exposure and dynamics range
- 5 HDR
- 6 Indoor photos
- 7 Close-ups
- 8 Night photos
- 9 Video
- 10 Optical Zoom demonstration
- 11 Camera interface and ease of use
- 12 Conclusion
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom specifications
- Samsung Galaxy S4 specifications
- HTC One specifications
- Apple iPhone 5 specifications
Is it a smartphone? Is it a camera? Actually, it is an amalgamation of both, and it is known as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. This peculiar device has the guts of a modern-day smartphone, and as a matter of fact, it packs enough punch to be anyone's daily driver. But at the same time, it also offers camera features rarely seen on something that can make phone calls – 10x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, xenon flash, and tons of manual camera adjustments are all in its arsenal.
So why are we even bothering to compare its photographic capabilities with those of other smartphones, as high-end as they may be? Well, because putting the latest smartphones through their paces is our job, for starters. Also, we have a strange feeling that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, despite having a 16MP camera sensor, may not be that radically superior to the handsets it will be competing against on the market. Our intuition could be wrong, of course, but whether that's the case or not will become clear once we're through with this extensive smartphone camera comparison.
The smartphones we've chosen to run against the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom are the Samsung Galaxy S4, equipped with a 13MP camera, the HTC One and its 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera, and the iPhone 5 with its 8MP snapper. All three contenders are known to be very capable in the camera department and they will surely give the S4 Zoom some heated competition. A dedicated digital camera is also in play – a Panasonic Lumix GH2 with its kit 14-42mm lens, serving the purpose of a reference device.
To keep things fair, all photos you're about to see have been snapped on automatic settings, unless noted otherwise. In other words, no special shooting modes or scenes have been applied in order to let each camera decide for itself what settings it should use, depending on the scene being captured. All pictures have been taken using nothing but a pair of steady hands, with the exception of indoor photos, for which we used a tripod.
So without any further ado, let's take a look at what these four smartphones are capable of. Here we have a handful of photos that we took with them in a variety of lighting conditions. All images have been scaled down to a resolution of about 2.7MP (with a width of 1920px) as that size should suit the majority of consumers' needs. The goal of this is to present the photographs from a typical user's point of view. That's how the average Joe would view and use them – posted on a social network or a photo sharing web site, for example. And by the way, a digital photo of this size is perfectly suitable for making 6” by 4” hard copies.
As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom produces great results. Its images are very detailed, with well-balanced colors and accurate exposure. Besides, the Zoom handles dynamics really well, which makes its photos more lifelike. But interestingly, the Samsung Galaxy S4 does not lag behind the Galaxy S4 Zoom in terms of image quality at this resolution. In fact, some of the S4's photos pack slightly more detail. Close behind these two is the iPhone 5 with its detailed, but a bit noisy images. The HTC One is an average performer and its images would have looked better if its camera didn't sharpen them as much as it did. Also, it has a hard time capturing bright or white objects. This can be seen well in its night photos where well-lit areas appear much brighter than they should be. But that aside, the One's photos are still pretty usable.
1. kobainez (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
NICK T is a SAMSUNG FANBOY. I'm not apple fan and i hate apple but isn't apple camera better than galaxy s4?
2. Jason2k13 (Posts: 1214; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)
says who? why dont you use your eyes and judge for yourself from the pictures.
I personally think the Zoom has the best camera of all 4, 2nd comes the GS4.
3. kobainez (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
U're a samsung fanboy too. Lot's of reviewer said that iphone 5 has the best camera among smartphones and that doesn't include nokia
14. Jason2k13 (Posts: 1214; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)
im now a samsung fanboy for having my own opinions? yep that makes sense...
I know alot of reviewers to who says GS4 and even the lumia 920 has the best cameras, and you do realise most camera battle on phonearena, GS4 wins overall?
30. doejon (Posts: 398; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)
lol look on other pages there the same results
s4 & zoom have the best cams
sorry 4 my bad english
66. Tito73 (Posts: 15; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
Common, see the details of the building! Gs4 has the best one! I have HTC which is very bad! Imho
6. feres13 (Posts: 306; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
I remember that back when PA did the blind camera comparison everyone voted for the iPhone 5
16. hung2900 (Posts: 956; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
I don't bash the result, but PA is quite silly when making a blind test without a crop or ability to zoom in. My monitor is 21.5 inch, and it's still very small.
And you should read more about Customer behaviour - failure of blind test.
21. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1522; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)
And as far as I remember they did the test with the Galaxy S3 not the S4.
And many people complain about that.
24. feres13 (Posts: 306; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
They did the test with both the S3 and the S4
53. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
i guess ZOOM pictures are slightly differnent from SGS4 , and with all that over sized body it have the pictues are worth nothing special if it hardly outperform other phones
its a FAIL camera with no advantage over other phones 10x zoom is no big revolution 1990s camera also have optical zooms
60. cam-whore (Posts: 164; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)
im not sure about you guys but if the phone i'm using is gonna be compared to camphone pretenders, im as hell would be ashamed of it. but once the phone im using is included in camphone comparison with the Lumia 1020, pv 808, I would be more than proud. Even the n8's camera capabilities would make this lot sweat. Hell, Im not even an android fan, but even sony's camphones are better the this whole lot and it wasn't even included? what's with this PA?
7. tech2 (Posts: 3451; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
Why do you brainlessly accuse something/someone when the evidence is right there ? Look and read the review first before showing us your stupidity !
9. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Doesn't look like it to me. The iP5 camera is good though.
4. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)
Are u that biased against the Xperia z? For not comparing it?
10. tech2 (Posts: 3451; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
Why would anyone compare such a subpar camera with these phones ? Also, this is 2013 not 2012 !
15. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Maybe you never heard this but Sony has improvedXperia Z camera quality
17. hung2900 (Posts: 956; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Improved # considering in the comparison.
19. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
I don’t think so before the update burst mode have better quality than normal or superior mode.
But after the update even normal mode is better than burst mode
25. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)
Xperia z came out 2013 not 2012.
46. tech2 (Posts: 3451; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
It came in 2013 with 2012 specs so ........... !
5. bawboh86 (Posts: 10; Member since: 05 Jun 2013)
So, why is there a camera comparison without the Lumia 920/925/928? Or are you holding off for the Lumia 1020 to release for that one?
8. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Reality check once more. Just cause they don't scream about it, Sony's Exmor R(S) chipset in the S4 is still the best all-around.
Excited for the Lumia 1020 inclusion when it's out!!!
11. HASHTAG (unregistered)
Didn't the iPhone 5 get an 8 in the last camera comparison?
45. iushnt (Posts: 1687; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
yes but this time, they got the s4 zoom here..score starts to decrease when better devices gets into the competition
13. Odiin (Posts: 340; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
As usual same pathetic camera comparison. Nothin new.
18. roldefol (Posts: 4242; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
Why, PA? Why would you post an S4 Zoom camera comparison WHILE the Lumia 1020 is being announced? In a couple more days, you could have had a real comparison. God forbid we should let Nokia have its moment in the sun.
34. darkkjedii (Posts: 21200; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Nokia coming on strong bro, can't keep denying it.
20. amilcarmz86 (Posts: 95; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)
i think the xperia Z should be on this one, when PA compared the Z with the one, s4, nokia 920 and iphone came out on 3rd or 2nd i believe....
22. Penny (Posts: 1648; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)
Pretty odd timing for this camera review considering it was rendered pretty much useless within a few hours with the announcement of the Lumia 1020. Unless, of course, the intention was to get out one more comparison with a Samsung winning while you still could. That seems very likely to me.
23. o7o (Posts: 111; Member since: 26 Jun 2009)
So, iPhone 5 gets a 7 when it's facing Samsung's, and an 8 when it's facing Nokia's?
Does its camera transform depending on the competitor?! :D
57. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
That would only ruin the android narrative.
28. mottykels (Posts: 383; Member since: 15 May 2013)
Are p.a using the same (old) photos from their review to use in this comparison?
29. aco96 (Posts: 240; Member since: 12 Oct 2012)
Where are Nokia 808, N8, Lumia 920, Xperia Z?! Very stupid comparison, I don't understand why these important camera phones are excluded, especially the 808
40. epicandroid (banned) (Posts: 40; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)
Because the ones you listed all suck in terms of the camera performance.
49. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Did you just say The Nokia 808 Pureview sucks at camera performance? Someone smack this fool.
54. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
were you born dumb or become dumb after u bought samsung phones
kid 808 is king till now they dont compare it cuz thats over kill for these lesser phones
31. darkkjedii (Posts: 21200; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
In all honesty, to me they're all about even. The preferences will depend on how much of a fanboy you are. Just read these comments
32. Ronny666 (Posts: 120; Member since: 08 Jun 2013)
Bleeding butthurts all over. Anyway I may not consider Zoom as a smartphone.
33. ncider (Posts: 2; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
It's fairly evident the author knows very little about photography based on the pedestrian and inept descriptions used to justify the rankings. It was kind of like reading a car comparison review by written my Mom.
36. Techboi (Posts: 84; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)
The Htc One is still pretty good for a 5mp camera.
37. Damo579 (Posts: 242; Member since: 18 May 2013)
Waiting for a Lumia 1020 vs any smartphone camera comparison....
38. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
Of course. Where are all the haters now? The Samsung obviously captures more of everything, better than iPhone, HTC....
39. epicandroid (banned) (Posts: 40; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)
Galaxy's Are the best cameraphones...they look even better than PureCrap from 1020
55. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
oh thats cute so u live on dark side of the moon lolz i bet u cant see in that much darkness
41. ravelin101 (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
Wow! I really need this review for posting pictures on Instagram :wink:
42. Clement97 (Posts: 4; Member since: 26 Dec 2012)
Heyyy wtf PA ???? In the previous camera comparison you conducted with S4,iPhone 5 hTc One ,lumia 925etc, you gave equal marks that is 9 for both iPhone 5 and the GS4....then how come it became 8.4 and 7.6 here ????
43. gostallion (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Apr 2010)
Thank you Samsung for bringing us this remarkable commercial cleverly disguised as a comparison article. We so hope you got your advertising moneys worth.
51. GMS85 (Posts: 209; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
my Sony Cyber-Shot WX300 Shoot Pictures better than all above .. #justsaying
52. JustSaying (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Jul 2013)
another paid advertisement from samsung... wow samsung really has a lot of gimmick in advertising their products..
56. jellmoo (Posts: 1586; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
So you completely ignore the Lumia 920/925/928, while doing this competition about a month before the 1020 is released, ignoring the reigning champ of the 808, and somehow finding the device with one of the best nightime shots (the One) to have the worst?
This site has great news and some insightful articles, but it does the absolute worst camera comparisons...
58. JeetAdwani (Posts: 1; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)
I am a Samsung Distributor, own S4, HTC One and Iphone 5 but i must say HTC One overall Camera Performance is much better than s4 and iPhone5 (havent touch zoom yet)
61. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)
DLSR>Point and shoot = Nokia Pureview>Smartphones
Zoom is in between a DLSR and a smartphone it will probably be worse than the lumia 1020 but its not as bad as a smartphone camera.
63. romeo1 (Posts: 718; Member since: 06 Jan 2012)
htc one camera isn't as good as the s4 or even the iphone5 check all the reviews.
And if you had all of them you would know for yourself.
Anyone can say im a samsung distributor or apple/sony/nokia whatever but no one knows if its true. but if you really where one you are stupid to say something bad about the brand you are distrubiting as it could cost you some money
64. sswain (Posts: 56; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
I agree. Just look at the photos in this. They consistently rate the HTC One down, but to my eyes it almost always has the best shot in their pictures (only a few where it is too dark, which doesn't even make sense because it should always be the brightest!). They should do the whole thing with HDR on for all phones if they didn't... it is the only mode I ever use.