Camera Comparison: iPhone 5s vs LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, HTC One, Motorola Moto X, DROID Ultra
- 1 Introduction and Details
- 2 Color Representation
- 3 Macro and Close-ups
- 4 Indoor
- 5 Night
- 6 Video
- 7 Interface and ease of use
- 8 Conclusion and overall score
- Apple iPhone 5s specifications
- LG G2 specifications
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 specifications
- Samsung Galaxy S4 specifications
- HTC One specifications
- Motorola Moto X specifications
- Motorola DROID Ultra specifications
Interface and ease of use
This comparison would be incomplete if we omit mentioning what taking photos with them actually feels like. That's because each phone's camera UI and features affect its ease of use.
Thankfully, the iPhone 5s excels in that respect. The handset itself is compact, easy to use and hold, while its volume button can be used as a shutter key. Furthermore, its camera interface is simple to use and quick to access via the dedicated lock screen shortcut. While there isn't much in terms of manual camera settings, the iPhone's camera app comes with a handful of neat features, including HDR, filters, burst mode, and a 120fps slow-motion video recording.
The LG G2 is also pretty comfortable to hold while taking landscape photos, although not as much as the iPhone 5s. Its camera app is packed with whole bunch of scenes and shooting modes to experiment with, including HDR, Burst Mode, Night Mode, and the outstanding 1080p/60fps video setting. All the menu settings are easy to get to, which is essential for switching modes on the fly. The only thing bothering us is that you have to manually switch between photo and video modes instead of having both shutters on the same screen, as the case is with the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.
To no surprise, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 share the same UI. Again, you get a whole ton of shooting scenes and modes, most of which can actually be quite useful given the appropriate conditions. We find it convenient that two separate shutters have been added – one for taking photos and another for recording videos – so there is no need to switch manually between modes as the case is with the G2. While the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 lack OIS, there is a software image stabilizer that works well, but its effect isn't as profound when compared to the G2 and its optical stabilization. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, you have the option to shoot video in slow-motion or in 4K resolution, which is definitely a neat stand-out feature.
There is no shortage of shooting scenes, modes, and options on the HTC One. It can take HDR photos and videos at 1080p resolution, 60 frame-per-second videos at 720p, all the while capturing stereo sound of fantastic quality. However, the UI hasn't been organized the best way possible. Most settings and adjustments are placed in a single list with lots of sub-menus, so getting to the one you need may take more steps than it should. Thankfully, the frequently used ones are placed on the very top of the list.
On the Motorola DROID Ultra and the Motorola MOTO X we see an interface that is very minimalist in nature, with none of those fancy filters or advanced camera effects. Swiping over to the right will pull over a dial on the left listing the modes and settings one is allowed to set: HDR, flash, tap to focus, slow motion video, panorama, geo-tag, and shutter tone. Quick Capture is also among them – it allows you to quickly launch the camera just by flipping the handset in your hand twice, although we did notice that this gesture didn't work all that well in some rare instances. There is also continuous burst shooting – all you have to do is to hold your finger on the screen.
46. Dorothy69 (banned) (Posts: 498; Member since: 21 May 2013)
Actually, the first iPhone picture is about as blurry as swamp water - I can't make out anything under Christoper Columbus. Galaxy Note 3 and Lumix GH2 are clearest. But, go ahead and keep fantasizing.
73. JunitoNH (Posts: 1016; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
Well, no disrespect, you either need glasses or a new monitor, cause I can see every single letter and detail.
84. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)
you need to tell the last sentence to yourself. go ahead... do it now...
113. MartyK (Posts: 727; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
Hell, I'm glad someone else thought it was blurry, I clean my monitor and my glasses...lol thanks for confirming this for me....lol
47. Dr.Phil (Posts: 948; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
I think they should redo the night test with the iPhone 5S. There is clearly some sort of backlight in the photo (most likely from a car's headlights as evident by the shadow you see). This could give results that are different than if that car wasn't there.
70. Dorothy69 (banned) (Posts: 498; Member since: 21 May 2013)
So, if they car weren't there shining a light you really wouldn't be able to see anything in the pic - isn't that called CHEATING Dr. Phil?
29. rd_nest (Posts: 864; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Just another sponsored article by LG, nothing to see here.
36. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
Why the hate? Camera comparisons aren't sponsored, it's just a comparison. I'm pretty sure that you won't say that if the Note 3 wins this comparison.
66. robcar (Posts: 78; Member since: 18 Jan 2011)
And you have this argument every time your team loses?...
79. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1060; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
I agree. PA made this so LG would look good and pay them more. And I only say this because we all saw the G2 get destroyed yesterday in the blind comparison.
83. eli577 (Posts: 81; Member since: 29 Jun 2010)
Yeah, like that blind comparison was really blind....on the first day everybody knew, which picture belonged to the selected phones, so it really was unbiased....LOL.
If there were only crops, and not full pictures, then it would had been a fair fight
81. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1060; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
They wouldn't want anyone beating the G2! LG is Phonearena's biggest sponsor.
8. eli577 (Posts: 81; Member since: 29 Jun 2010)
I think the 1020 is out of question, because it performes so much better than the others that it wouldn't be a fair comparison. The Z1 is a more interesting one, wondering why they left it out of the article.
20. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1313; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
I would definitely add the z1 but not the Nokia 1020. The 1020 is a year old phone with a great camera attached to it. No different if Sammy was to add a great camera to a year old S3. Plus where do you draw the line? What if you add the perfect camera to a 2 year old Galaxy S2?
59. Immolate (Posts: 292; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)
So you're saying that the 1020 isn't qualified to compete with the other cameras, even though it's better than all of them by an impassable gulf, because it's an old phone? The tech may not be impressive, but neither is the Moto X or the iPhone, and they do just fine. Also, the 1020 was release in the US in late July 2013, so less than three months old here. Sounds like you just don't like getting smacked around.
65. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)
1020 is a good backup camera and good call quality, it ends there.
100. Johann (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Oct 2013)
Well wouldn't it be quite a fair comparison because the iPhone 5S is basically a year-old phone with a fingerprint sensor added onto it?
You have to include the best phone camera into a comparison of phone cameras.
88. hung2900 (Posts: 822; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
I agree. But I heard that Note 3 has a toggle "Smart stabilization"used for taking low light photo, and we have to toggle in unlike built in as G2. PA can you check it?
5. quadrazeus (Posts: 359; Member since: 03 May 2013)
An excellent and well balanced camera comparison by PA!
Butthurt sammities attacking in 3..2..1..
22. PorkyBurger (Posts: 314; Member since: 18 May 2013)
I think well done. :) Don't be so...idk lol.
40. nerdylish (Posts: 51; Member since: 13 Apr 2013)
Well, have a look at the butthurts then, comment #31 for instance.
76. darkkjedii (Posts: 13288; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Quad what phone you rockin now, and are you getting a new iPad?
90. quadrazeus (Posts: 359; Member since: 03 May 2013)
An iPhone 5 on iOS 7. I really like the iPhone 5S, but I think I'll wait another year for the iPhone 6. And nope, no plans to buy a new iPad 'cause I'm pretty satisfied with my iPad mini. And another huge reason is that I'm out of money 'cause I also bought the MacBook Air 2013 not so long ago, lol.
95. darkkjedii (Posts: 13288; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
I feel you bro, good luck with what you have. 2014 is gonna be huge for apple, stay tuned. +1
96. quadrazeus (Posts: 359; Member since: 03 May 2013)
Yeah, dark. iWatch and iPhone 6 are already on my list!
39. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
Because both of them are boss, if PA include them in this camera comparison, both of them will be on top.
7. _PHug_ (Posts: 399; Member since: 11 Oct 2011)
Before anyone asks why there aren't any Lumia (enter random #s here) in the test.
The answer is NO ONE BUYS THOSE.
Thats why Blackberry and Palm wasn't included also.
11. chandancherry (Posts: 30; Member since: 25 Jun 2013)
"NO ONE BUYS THOSE."
Are you from Mars?!?!
15. amats69 (Posts: 1135; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
The title says "Camera Comparison" not "Sales Comparison"
55. GoogleSafariFox (banned) (Posts: 100; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)
_PHug_ i agreed with you! Hahaha You nailed it! Here in New jersey, CA nobody likes any Windows Nokia Phones LOL!
63. Immolate (Posts: 292; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)
I bought one yesterday. The reason the 1020 isn't here is because it overshadows all of the phones that are here, as does the Z1 to a lesser degree. None of these phones can compete with either. This is a shoot out of the second tier smartphone cameras of late 2013.
114. MartyK (Posts: 727; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
You're so wrong for that!...lol
Adding Palm, Sanyo in with blackberry and ex Nokia..lol
16. feres13 (Posts: 306; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
Because the Z1 isn't available yet in the US and since there is a droid ultra in this comparison, this comparison has been made in the states
32. tomn1ce (Posts: 103; Member since: 12 Mar 2012)
I hope that the Droid Ultra and the Maxx get the Moto X camera update to make those cameras better. This way the owners of said device can enjoy their pics.
14. moronman66 (Posts: 160; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)
All of them are good cameras, I mean, compare these cameras to any camera two years ago and you have clear winners! Good job all manufacturers, although I do wish the Z1 were a part of this. The 1020 has been tried and proven but the Z1's camera hasn't been tested yet as extensively
17. darkkjedii (Posts: 13288; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Lumix, note 3, moto x, g4, g2, 5S, One, and the ultra. As good as the 5S camera is, it took a weak photo here. As far those Christopher Columbus pics go.
18. maxican16 (Posts: 364; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
Looks to be pretty unbiased. Nice comparison.
23. syedej123 (banned) (Posts: 71; Member since: 08 Jan 2013)
Hehe its not from JOhn VVvVVVVvVV ;-)
21. nxl2610 (Posts: 49; Member since: 14 Aug 2013)
i think that the overall score is strange ,because in recent blind camera test ,the S4 had more vote than the 5S and G2
24. bustervic (Posts: 23; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)
Everything seems fine until you get to the "Night" Photos. Giving the S4 and Note3 a rating of 3 is ridiculous. In the sample photos the difference between the 5S and S4 is minimal and how there is a 5 point spread is beyond me. That difference alone take the S4 from even to the 5s to 3rd place.
Provide us with photos that show the "unusable" shots and I'll be inclined to agree with the final ranking, but otherwise this is an glaring discrepancy in your review.
25. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)
Moto X before or after the recent camera software update?
106. darylzero (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)
This is my question as well. I am really perplexed as I really like the Moto X except the camera. Also, I have seen other comparisons on the web (YouTube videos) which conclude that the Moto X has a better camera than others. I'm not sure who to believe.
26. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 860; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)
Moto X fans not going to be happy about this, but it really doesn't compare to other Android flagships anyway, it's a mid ranger.
27. rd_nest (Posts: 864; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
With so many articles sponsored by LG in PA, why is it so difficult to see that LG sponsored this contest? iPhone is clearly better.
LG is basically the sponsor of PA articles now.