Camera comparison: Nokia Lumia 925 vs Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Note II
- 1 Introduction and Overall presentation
- 2 Details
- 3 Color representation
- 4 Dynamics range and exposure
- 5 Close-ups
- 6 Indoor photos
- 7 Night photos
- 8 Video
- 9 Camera Interface and ease of use
- 10 Conclusion
- Nokia Lumia 925 specifications
- Samsung Galaxy S4 specifications
- HTC One specifications
- Apple iPhone 5 specifications
- Samsung GALAXY Note II specifications
Having a high-quality camera on a smartphone is just a single part of the whole equation. Being able to use that camera effectively is also pretty important, and that usually depends on how well the camera interface has been organized.
The Nokia Lumia 925 is the only smartphone of the bunch offering a dedicated, 2-stage shutter button, so it feels and acts a lot like a camera when it is being used as one. The shutter key can be used not only to focus and to capture the photo, but also to launch the camera app even from the lock screen, which is really convenient. The handset is very comfortable to hold horizontally while shooting thanks to its shape, and since the camera sensor is positioned close to the phone's middle section, there is little chance of the user accidentally obscuring its field of view. While shooting portraits, however, our finger often got into the frame, which was annoying. Also, the lens will require regular wiping as the user's finger rests right on it pretty much all of the time while the phone is in use.
The camera interface on the Nokia Lumia 925 is simple and clean, but advanced features aren't absent. There are several shooting scenes and ISO controls, but getting to them requires more taps than it should. Additional features, or “camera lens” as they are called, can be downloaded and applied from the camera menu, but this whole procedure might be confusing to novice users. Nokia has added its Smart Cam application, which we described thoroughly in a previous post.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn't have a shutter button, but its volume down key can be used as one. Launching its camera from the lock screen is possible by placing a shortcut on it. The user has to do that manually, however, as lock screen shortcuts are disabled on the S4 by default.
Samsung has loaded the Galaxy S4 with lots of camera scenes and modes, which are all easily accessible with the tap of a button. There are also some advanced features, such as software image stabilization and HDR videos (after the latest software update), that may be useful depending on what is being photographed.
The HTC One's has a very slim profile so it isn't as comfortable to hold while taking photos, but we don't think that's too big of a deal unless the user has severe butterfinger problems. A lock screen shortcut for launching the camera is set up by default. There is no physical shutter button, however, so one has to rely solely on the virtual one.
Browsing through the camera settings menu can be confusing at first as all of the settings are placed in a single list. There are several shooting scenes available there, along with controls for the camera's sharpness and exposure levels. Something really cool about the HTC One's camera is that it captures 120fps slow-motion video, as well as 60fps HD video. HDR videos are also an option.
The iPhone 5 doesn't have a shutter key either, but its volume down key can be used as one. Its camera can be easily launched straight from the lock screen. Even with the new iOS 7, the camera UI has retained its simplicity so even a beginner can start using it straight away. Switching between photo and video modes is done with a swipe, and a number of image filters come pre-loaded. Those who are into tweaks and settings are in for a disappointment as no manual controls are available on the iPhone 5, but at least the built-in HDR and Panorama photo modes work quite well.
Last but not least we have the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which is very similar to the S4 in terms of camera features. Its camera can be launched from the lock screen and the volume down button can serve the purpose of a shutter key. Lots of image adjustment setting are available for those who like to experiment with these, and the list of advanced camera features includes Panorama and HDR photo modes. A software image stabilizer is present as well, available both while shooting photos and videos.
3. _Bone_ (Posts: 2129; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
And why would you include that terrible performer in a test of the best?
11. pyradark (Posts: 772; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)
HAHAHA!! you forgot the last test they did, Xperia Z is 3rd behind Iphone 5 and S4!! So Hahahaha
12. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Haha... never stop trying to bash Sony, last time you said Xperia ZU have terrible viewing angle, now Xperia Z
you better check this before you say anything about Xperia Z camera
19. eisenbricher (Posts: 971; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
What viewing angles have to do with the camera?
35. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Because bone keep talking about BS
Last time he said Xperia ZU have terrible viewing angle.
Now he said Xperia Z have terrible camera
I just proved it that all the things he said is ONE BIG LIES
45. abcdefgh (banned) (Posts: 471; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
xperia zu indeed has terrible viewing angles.
50. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Hahaha it seems you have to much s**t in your eyes
go check thishttp://blog.gsmarena.com/check-out-this-epic-16-minute-sony-xperia-z-ultra-hands-on-video/
124. t0litzsanity24 (Posts: 4; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)
i have a question...why is it that viewing angles is a big deal to you?...what are you goin to do if u wanna use or view ur phone?..sideways??
14. MachidoDen (banned) (Posts: 202; Member since: 30 May 2013)
i think You were the one
Who said bad viewing angles for zu
And later after giving many links to u
U just went off??
Everyone is waiting for ur reply on that article
31. _Bone_ (Posts: 2129; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
U mad Sony's blurship was left out? The flashless ZU won't make it either haha. No flash on a $900 device.
33. raunak (Posts: 504; Member since: 12 Oct 2011)
That is true. Instead of making it so slim, they could have used a better camera and a bigger battery. 3000mAh just won't cut it for a display and processor like that.
42. pyradark (Posts: 772; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)
Im more to slim due to its huge size, the batt. Is OK, bigger batt means its like carrying small ipad (not the mini)
54. flynfree (Posts: 374; Member since: 09 Jun 2013)
And the battery .. can't compare to note 2, it suck with that 6.44 full hd display, just plain phablet, no pen slot, better stick to note series.
91. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
being able to use anything as stylus is great and combine that with 6.44" full hd and sharp display you have nothing to worry about productivity.
i still remember when people bashing and comparing Xperia Tablet Z small battery (6000 mAh) with bigger battery in Nexus 10 (9000 mAh),
but according to battery life test on gsmarena Xperia Tablet have about the same battery life like Nexus 10 only about 1 hour less when it comes to web browsing.
so i think Xperia ZU battery life will be just fine.
and according to Sony Xperia ZU can have
up to 16 hours 3G talk time
up to 7.5 Video Playback and
up to 120 hours music listening
we all know in real life situation the result can be much worst than that, but for now those official numbers are good enough for big device with small battery
85. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6499; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
N y youre being biased against SONY?
109. bgdkid (Posts: 13; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)
hmm let me see last time i checked iphone and samsung cameras are MADE BY SONY..
4. ghaniosman (Posts: 64; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)
First of all congrats to PA for a mobile optimized site! Better late than never!
84. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6499; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
Phonearena are BIAS AGAINST Sony phones.
117. Kal-el (Posts: 91; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)
I have note 2 & i love it ...not cuz it's samsung, i've owned everything (htc, moto etc) ....literally LMAO but QUESTION!!!!??? are any of the modes changed in the photo taking such as Night mode to ensure the camera's full potential...NOOOOO!...making this "shootout" ARTICLE of a "CAMera review" redundant. Nokia should have killed everything in night mode at least thus keeping at least 2nd in the list if ANYthing. NOOB-Arena
118. mayur007 (Posts: 425; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)
even thr bravia engine cannot reduce the noise
and increase the sharpness of thr camera pics... :p
The company know for making camera is bashed by others comapny in camera quality..
2. quyenqchau0813 (Posts: 82; Member since: 22 Mar 2013)
I have too much bias toward Nokia that I think I should compliment on the iPhone pictures ^^!
23. eisenbricher (Posts: 971; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
This is a terrible camera comparison. Some photos are taken from far, while some from nearer place.
52. -box- (Posts: 3797; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
The phones also have different depths of field and apertures; they may have been taken from the same distance and cropped badly or just the nature of the setup.
126. faune (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)
They are taken from the same distance. Focal distance in Lumia 9xx is further than others.
65. Potato. (banned) (Posts: 607; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)
Exactly.. do not believe on these comparisons..
17. tusshharish (Posts: 341; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)
another bad comparison............and again nokia is @ bottom place.....
99. akki20892 (Posts: 3475; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
we can totally see NL925 photos are really bright and pure color. but can't do anything else because of sammy fans around here.
103. skinny95black (Posts: 113; Member since: 06 Jan 2013)
You go to memecenter you're awesome
68. GTR722 (Posts: 236; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)
From the beginning, we al knew this "comparo" will feature two things:
-Not a Sony Device
-iP5 or GS4 as the winners
PA is so obvious
92. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)
But "my" eyes told me different. I'll take the Nokia 925 everytime.
74. Dastrix (Posts: 587; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
+1. PA = fanboyism at its best. How can Samsung ever have better camera than Nokia and HTC? Where's Sony? Oh nevermind, how's your paycheck from Samsung, PA?
79. iushnt (Posts: 655; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
dont worry, its Samsung Style:p lol..i prefer s4 camera over HTC..But Nokia has great camera..
86. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6499; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
It like PA are more BIAS just like BGR. And I don't see Xperia Z on that list.
7. boosook (Posts: 1009; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
Guys, I don't understand why in the end you gave the same rating to the GS4 and iphone. I'm not a Samsung fan nor a samsung user at all, but I think that the difference in detail between the GS4 and the others, iphone included, is remarkable and the GS4 is simply a step ahead, it can be seen very clearly in the 100% crops.
It's not easy to be not biased towards the iphone, but the truth is that the iphone is just an average cameraphone, it lacks an optical stabilizer and it has a resolution that is now standard in mid-range phones so it does not have nor the benefit of the high resolution of the GS4 nor of the stabilizer of the One and 925. Overall, I would not recommend it as a cameraphone nowadays and I can't understand how it could get such a high rating.
I also do not agree with the low rating you gave to the HTC One: when you start viewing the pictures at screen size, and not 100% crops, the One pictures are among the sharpest, this means that its camera is so sharp that, when the resolution is enough (i.e. whenever you look at pictures on a computer screen or TV, or print them at reasonable size) it can easily compensate the lower resolution and the camera yelds results comparable with the GS4.
Finally, I think that the test does not emphasize the benefits that the optical stabilizer can give.
48. juandante (Posts: 301; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
I'm a Nokia fan (thanks to the now dead Symbian, not WP) and I admit the HTC One is pretty good. If you don't crop the pictures, they are better in my taste than the iPhone, at least. The colors are good and the image is sharp. So why did the HTC perform worst than the iPhone, at least ?? ... For a Facebook usage it's far better.
87. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6499; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
It's because they are incompetent when it comes too reviews. I usually go too mobile tech review they actually do great reviews on phones & they are a non bias site unlike PA/BGR.
8. Omar-BHR95 (Posts: 184; Member since: 23 Dec 2012)
i wonder if they took the 925 with touch capture cause touch capture is not good as the shutter key
53. -box- (Posts: 3797; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
They said on page one they used automatic mode with auto-focus, no touch-to-focus, letting the camera software decide what to focus, unless otherwise noted.
9. sri_tech (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 May 2013)
Galaxy note II has better camera than Lumia 925?
I have read so many reviews about both phones and everyone said Note II has just average camera.
920 has better low light capabilities but day light is not great. But 925 takes best low light and day light photos.
56. muhsen (Posts: 259; Member since: 07 Jun 2012)
after the 1308 ..the 920 daylight shots have been better than that of all the competition...even gizmodo proved that with their camera shootout...but it seems phonearean hasn't got the update yet ?? or they r not willing to update it ??!
22. MrKoles (Posts: 321; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)
God gave you eyes. Why don´t you use them? It´s obvious that Galaxy S4 has the best camera among smartphones.
28. MrKoles (Posts: 321; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)
I´m definitely pleased with the Note2´s results. I´m not saying that I´ve never seen better photos, but they are far even from average. This is my opinion.
63. Potato. (banned) (Posts: 607; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)
God gave us eyes, We use them.
God gave you mind, you are using it for making biased comparisons. Sad.
73. iushnt (Posts: 655; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
this is not biased..gs4 takes awesome shots..
81. MrKoles (Posts: 321; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)
I think you are hopeless, but I´ve never waiter more from a Potato, like you.
82. Potato. (banned) (Posts: 607; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)
Use your brain for the sake of god!