Camera comparison: iPhone 5 vs Nexus 4 vs 8X vs DROID DNA vs Lumia 920 vs Note II vs Galaxy S III
- 1 Introduction and Details
- 2 Color reproduction
- 3 Exposure and dynamic range
- 4 Indoor
- 5 Night
- 6 Macro
- 7 Ease of use, speed and video
- 8 Conclusion
- Apple iPhone 5 specifications
- Google Nexus 4 specifications
- Samsung Galaxy S III specifications
- Samsung GALAXY Note II specifications
- Nokia Lumia 920 specifications
- HTC DROID DNA specifications
- HTC Windows Phone 8X specifications
Phone cameras are constantly getting better and better. True, they do so at a relatively slow pace, but they are moving forward, despite the limitations imposed by the thin profiles of today's phones. Those who have been with us for longer know that we like doing such camera comparisons every once in a while. It's a very good way to update ourselves on the current status of camera technology in phones, and to see how the latest high-end smartphones stack up against one another.
This is one of our biggest camera comparisons yet. We'll be comparing a whole bunch of awesome handsets, including the iPhone 5, Nexus 4, Galaxy S III, Note II, Lumia 920, DROID DNA and Windows Phone 8X! However, since almost all of these devices feature very good mobile cameras, we'll be using the Panasonic Lumix GF3 as a reference device, so that we'll know which of our lovely smartphones is closest to the real deal. With all of that said, let the last camera comparison for 2012 begin!
After carefully examining the test samples we got with our handsets, we came to the conclusion that the iPhone 5 is the leader of the pack in this respect. The iPhone has always been a top player when it comes to details, and its 5th edition doesn't disappoint. Close behind it, though, are Samsung's Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III. These two are also great performers, though their images look a tad more digital upon close inspection. The rest of the phones we tested are still very good, but aren't quite of the same class as the first three.
1. ama3654 (Posts: 249; Member since: 27 Nov 2012)
well done Galaxies, top notch devices all round!
35. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Why do the seen results differ from the written ones? Oh, wait, Ray wrote it.
I am pleased with the effort and thoroughness, but there seems to be some strange skewing.
Also, no 808 PureView, Sony Xperia, etc?
131. abhishek48 (Posts: 164; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)
People Please read
but Look at the indoor Shot.
HTC droid Dna is the only phone which has most details and you can actually see time in the clock in center, which you cant see on any other phone's photos, Outside photos are grt on all phones.
I have Droid DNA and it takes better sharper pics than even my Nikon L310 which is an advanced point and shoot with 21x zoom.
With best screen, best cpu and gpu and BEST Camera too DROID DNA owns all phones
144. abhishek48 (Posts: 164; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)
really , DNA has highest benchmark fluid performance best camera, PIcs are sharpest, to compare camera they need to keep all phones on same tripod as comparison is useless, do not and I am sure image sense chip with f 2.0 will come on top
158. badini007 (Posts: 18; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)
I totally agree with you Abhishek...
When I combined all above images and compared them Droid DNA image was having more details than others and here is the link for the combine image >4shared.com/photo/WQyRMs04/Camera_All.html
53. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Butthurt about Nokia much?
The only true PureView, 808, would have absolutely embarrassed the bunch in this test, but it really isn't a relevant phone in other categories.
It can't be considered a high end smartphone, not by a long shot.
As for Sony, I agree they should've put it in the comparison but I doubt it would do more than average.
The upcoming Sony Exmor RS sensor is what we should be interested in seeing..I think it will be the camera to beat it 2013
66. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3009; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
PA, as i read through, i've noticed that no one has been actually satisfied with the comparisons. On top of that, Ray's name has been abused (whether biased or not, that's completely up to him. And i won't judge him on the matter, not saying that he is or he is not biased). And these things keeps on continuing...
My suggestion is to keep one separate professional especially meant for a particular subject throughout the site. For example, Ray can review phones, Michael can review apps, John can take care of the articles...
Ray, don't take this personal, it can be you or someone else reviewing new phones and the features inside it, that's great. But when it comes to a particular subject like this one, Camera, i want to read a real pro review it. See, Ray can't be reviewing phones and at the same time compare the cameras as well, that's not right.
Different individual reviewing a phone, when it goes against other phones compared by another individual results in confusing conclusion! Which is not good. What i'm giving is just a suggestion...i just don't like having to read the crowd go wild because of the confusing conclusion.
90. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Good point, or, alternately, have each staff member put their comments in and a score, and go from there. So if we see "writer 4" giving "device C" 9 points while the other writers give it a 6, we can see any perceptional.differences.
92. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Or at least have each category have its own score. say there is 4 phones in the round up, have each category worth 4 points. 4 points to first, 3 points to second, ect. add up each category at the end for each phone and the winner is decided numerically. It still is biased by opinion like it always will be, but at least then its a clear cut winner at the end... none of this "well, this camera really did great in all the shots.. .but were gonna go ahead and throw it to the iphone for the win... because its an iphone"
119. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
That's an option, too. Car magazines have been doing it like that for decades. Biggest point of contention would be how points are scored/weighted
106. apocalypsebc (Posts: 148; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
I agree! They should get results from professional photographers opinion. And from well known Photographers with high tec cameras.
135. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Well you have to note that Ray just put together the article. He didn't take (all) of the pictures. Check out the videos. "Hey guys Joooohn V..."
Just something to note.
91. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Yes, the 808 would have put the others to shame for most of the contests (to the point that it could have been the baseline instead of the P&S), but calling it the "only true PureView" is silly. It is Nokia's name, they can apply it to what they want, just as apple will put "retina" and "I" on darn near anything they can, or Samsung naming everything but their non-smartphones Galaxy, even though initially that was reserved for their best smartphone, etc.
And no, I am not "butthurt"; the iPhail uses Sony optics which are right up there with Nokia in terms of smartphone camera quality (though Nokia excels on the software and pushing-envelope front) but the sudden juxtaposition of rankings and results from prior tests and reviews is mildly alarming, to whit, the Lumia bests the iPhail4Stretch on everything except still detail capture, which is likely resolvable with a software update. Mix these results with those in the Lumia 920 vs iPhail4Stretch and the ranking order should be switched.
That said, I am disappointed that HTC did so relatively poorly. For a while they had among the best smartphone cameras you could get outside of a Nokia N8.
107. apocalypsebc (Posts: 148; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
I agree as well. Did you see how the Lumia 920 wasn't even mention in the video test and by looking at the video it out shined the rest. Its great being able to go to other websites and get true infomation all around. Video/Camera!
116. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)
That's the OIS at work. I used it at a football game the other day. The guy in front of me used a galaxy at the same time. He was blown away by the results. I do hope that the software fix for the still shots gets here soon though. I would like to see the 920 find its way to the top of the list. All in all, these phones all have pretty good cameras.
149. cdgoin (Posts: 367; Member since: 28 Jul 2010)
I Noticed the "Cropped" shots of the comparison, do NOT match the actual shots in the slideshow above. NO one there would adjust the pictures to make thier point..? Nah..
BTW zoom the actual photos and the iPhone is weaker than the Droids or Windows phones.
47. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 159; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
the Iphone leads this battle not the galaxies this is obvious
56. AnTuTu (limited) (Posts: 804; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
1. Note 2
3. Lumia 920
4. Nexus 4
7. iStretch or iPhone 5
80. CellieCell (Posts: 84; Member since: 14 Apr 2010)
1. HTC 8X/NOKIA
2. IPHONE/S3/NOTE 2 (TOSS UP)
3. DROID DNA/NEXUS 4
did anyone else laugh when they saw john V's face? LOL sorry not trying to be rude. good smile.
121. Miley_3d (Posts: 16; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)
1.S3 & Note 2
3.iPhone 5 & Nexus 4
5.DNA & 8X
But for me is best 8 Megapixel Just Samsung Galaxy S3
136. MC1123 (Posts: 1240; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
lol... features yes..but camera
1. 808 PV
2. Lumia 920
4. Xperia TX
5. iPhone 5
140. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 159; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
you forgot to put the camera of Nokia3310 before the IPHONE 5
26. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
These devices are a mere comparison of flagship phones that has usually, 8 megapixel sensors.
here's the real ranking of camera on smartphones to day by phone arena itself.
101. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
It isnt just megapixels, otherwise a Titan 2 would win against anything short of an 808 PureView
129. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
hey, i think you're lost. I was not saying that it's a comparison in terms of pixel. I was just stating the fact that all the phones in this comparison are around 8MP modules.
78. jameshoe (unregistered)
shut up, LAG is what I see on sony device!!!!
84. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
But my previous Xperia S did not lag after i updated it to ICS.
98. jameshoe (unregistered)
Really? My friend is now using Xperia mini, lag is only what she see after 3 months. Maybe Sony is good as you said ,but I like Nokia more than the other ;-)
99. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
oh common, you're talking about Sony Ericsson phone, and we are talking about a phone after Sony and Ericsson broke up.
3. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
Either your camera is bad, or you have been paid well, 'coz with OIS tech, there is no way Nokia 920 lags behind in video, and further more, it has the best colour reproduction. I have used and tested all of the camera phones, and also 808 pureview, and N8. To tell you the truth, I have received professional training on a Sony Alpha DSLR-290Y, and Lumia's shots stood nearby.
PS - Also it could be that the person capturing the snaps was not trained or even good at capturing photos, as in the category of Colour Reproduction, Night Shots, and Video recording, Lumia is by far the best device to be tested.
6. ama3654 (Posts: 249; Member since: 27 Nov 2012)
Don't be a fanboy and accept facts, this is a major tech site, im sure they have properly trained professionals doing the job fro them and reviewing, if Nokia Lumia loses out is not the end of the world!
12. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
What I am saying here is that a panasonic digital camera can be wrong, but a canon/nikon/sony DSLR can't be.
15. doubler86 (Posts: 318; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)
Umm as a pro photographer I'd pick a Panasonic over a Sony any day. Sony Alpha's weren't even usable till they bought out Minolta. Canon would be the best to compare it to, followed by Nikon.
However I do understand Jon V for you have to use what you've got.
16. lolol (Posts: 64; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)
yeah, like panasonic has that mucha good cameras :O is it really that hard for them to find a sony, nikon or a canon to do these things :O
105. doubler86 (Posts: 318; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)
No it's not you're right, you should be the one to find it for them since it's so easy
10. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
Also I found that on every page in the website, a tag stating - "Learn More about Verizon pre-owned phones (sponsored)", while the 920 is primarily an at&t offering. The iPhone, S3, and Note II, are all available for on-contract by Verizon. This seems suspicious.
PS - Droid DNA was not mentioned as any Phonearena can't so easily fool people, or they will not be left credible anymore.
11. lolol (Posts: 64; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)
Well lumia 920's camera has some stuff to be fixed by updates soon.. btw photos look lovely still :D
17. speckledapple (Posts: 879; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
Much of what I said. Its curious because of what I have seen everywhere else.
22. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
Guys, I found the colour reproduction of Lumia much better while viewing the photos. When I turned the 1080p in Youtube videos on, Lumia again rocked the band.
43. zippolite28 (Posts: 100; Member since: 28 Sep 2012)
i really liked lumia 920 pics tooo ... not a fan boy using gn. GT-N7000
44. myownchoice (Posts: 22; Member since: 31 Oct 2012)
When it come to lumia then only low light and night shots?... cmon man... Are these the only times u r gonna take a photo? Nokia 808 is good, lumia 920? Nokia concentrated too much on low light and stabilization.. well many people doesnt take photos only in the evening or at night and most of us doesnt shake our hands while doing so.. Nokia should have known better..
120. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Look through Facebook, flikr, any other photo sharing site outside of professional. Do you realize what you tend to see? Improperly lit shots, shots with dim ambiance that are less than useful and unmemorable because the users are using the only camera they have convenient, the one on their phones. Nokia is showing these users there is a much better option and better results available from an even better device than what they use. In short, they DO know better. You just don't get it.
132. ruffhowzin (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)
I agree with -box-. Most pics I take are indoors: parties, museums, my dog playing inside, etc. Less often of outdoor shots. So, I would go for the Lumina 920. (I had owned the legendary Fuji F30, the best low-light P&S camera ever made, but it wasn't practical as it was slow and heavy.)
133. ruffhowzin (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)
Image stabilization is important, especially if your viewing on your hdtv. The 920 sample looked almost like it was mounted on a tripod when panning. I can see some serious pro videos taken on this one.
On the videos where I notice the 920 has a weakness is on recording audio in a noisy environment. On a quiet scene, the 920 has the best sound recording and the announcer's voice sounded nice and full, where on all the others, it sounded tinny. But on a noisy scene, everything sounded muffled and digitized as it tried to suppress the background noise.
61. rickywinataa (Posts: 262; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
A290 seriously ? it is considered as entry level DSLR, still on CCD sensor and you're boasting about it ? let's say the colour reproduction is as good as 60D then i'll believe you
83. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
if you see what I have written, I got trained on it, and am currently using Canon EOS 7D.
4. brucewayne (Posts: 29; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)
It's really crazy that PA awards the 808 best innovation in a phone for its camera.. And here its not even considered.. Plain stupid.. Scared that it'll beat even your Panasonic.!
5. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
The PureView 808 is in a league of its own, they really didn't want to make the devices in this comparison look bad by throwing in the 808.
13. lolol (Posts: 64; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)
Guess you are right, why not keep the little guys happy for a while :)
7. lolol (Posts: 64; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)
Well yeah, they are considering flagships but they took 2 from HTC and sammy so why not put the 808 too? :/ .. Btw that award went to Pureview as a whole not only to 808
18. doubler86 (Posts: 318; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)
I think they wanted to compare only top selling phones ;-)
24. lolol (Posts: 64; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)
It doesnt matter for a camera test if its top selling or not, I know that only people who love photography on their phones buy it, because its sold only unlocked for a really high price, :P