Camera comparison: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s, Galaxy S5, LG G3, Lumia 1520, Xperia Z2, HTC One (M8)
- 1 Introduction and Colors
- 2 Details
- 3 Indoor
- 4 Night
- 5 Video
- 6 Conclusion
- Apple iPhone 6 specifications
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus specifications
- Apple iPhone 5s specifications
- Samsung Galaxy S5 specifications
- LG G3 specifications
- Nokia Lumia 1520 specifications
- Sony Xperia Z2 specifications
- HTC One (M8) specifications
Technology has reached a state where making phone calls is far from a phone's most frequently used feature. Instead, people use their phones to look up stuff on the web, to access social networks, and, of course, to take photos and videos. That's why manufacturers invest a lot of time and effort in equipping their phones with quality cameras.
Apple, in particular, has been treating its iPhone to camera upgrades with each consecutive generation. Unlike others, however, the company has never been into the megapixel race – as the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5 before them, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have 8-megapixel main cameras. To put this into perspective, most other popular phones have cameras of 13 to 20 megapixels. But as we've often said, megapixels aren't all that matters in a camera, and Apple is perfectly aware of that. That's why the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sport an upgraded sensor which enables better low-light performance and faster auto-focus. Still, will this be enough for the new iPhones to beat or match the performance of other flagship phones? Well, we're about to answer this question in our latest camera comparison.
We've chosen to stack up the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus against some of the best smartphones in town. These are the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G3, the Nokia Lumia 1520, the Sony Xperia Z2, and the HTC One (M8). And let's not forget Apple's previous flagship, the iPhone 5s. It will be a tough fight, but who knows, perhaps the new iPhones have a trick or two up their sleeves. But before we look at any photos, here's what these phones have to offer in terms of specs:
We bet you're expecting to see identical performance from the cameras on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. And you're absolutely correct if you do – their daytime samples have turned out splendid, and we don't see any difference in quality between the two phones' photos. On top of that, color reproduction in the iPhones' images is excellent. Colors are vivid and eye-pleasing, without being blown out of proportion, as other cameras have a tendency of doing. Take a look at the samples below and see what we mean. Notice how in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus photos flower petals look vibrant and natural with their colors? Most other phones have increased the saturation and contrast in their photos to a point where the same color hues appear overly bright.
The iPhone 5s does not lag far behind. Colors in its photos are a bit warmer and more saturated, but still within tolerable limits. And we like how the sky's shade of blue has been captured to appear naturally, not overexposed.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a lot of potential and is one of the better performers in this race, but its results are rather inconsistent. Some of its photos have excellent color balance and accuracy, while others turn out overly warm or cold. Colors are neutral to vivid, but shades that are bright in real life could end up oversaturated in the produced image.
Sony's Xperia Z2 has its own opinion about things. With colors, in particular, its camera keeps their saturation at a neutral, almost washed-out level, with a slight cold-ish tone in several scenes. This might appeal to some people, yet those who'd rather have a bit more vibrancy in their images might be left underwhelmed.
The Samsung Galaxy S5's camera has a tendency to lean towards the colder side, as is typical for most of Samsung's cameras, actually. That's especially noticeable in shades of red, which appear slightly pink-ish. Color saturation is slightly boosted, and we're okay with that.
Shooting with the LG G3 produces vivid, colorful images. Perhaps their color saturation could have been not as intense, but we'd take them as they are. Some scenes appear colder or warmer than they should, but the deviation is slight and doesn't bother us.
The HTC One (M8) could have done better. Some scenes have their colors reproduced neutrally, but in others, there's some serious skewing going on. In our samples below, shades of orange appear yellow, shades of yellow appear white, and the sky's blue hue is very unnatural. Also, we noticed that its camera increases color saturation way too much in cloudy scenes.
2. 100% crop
12. 100% crop
4. RudioX (Posts: 13; Member since: 07 Jun 2009)
Not bad the new iPhone Flex is doing great, oups the iPhone 6 Plus, sorry!
153. ShenAlJoker (Posts: 113; Member since: 19 Jul 2013)
But where is moto x and z3????
160. spin9 (Posts: 279; Member since: 31 May 2014)
From PA comparison april 14 2014
Color - 8.5 now 8
Detail - 8.5 now 9
indoor - 7.5 now 5!!
Night - 7.5 now 5!!
Video - 7.5 now 8.5
171. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4801; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Wow they removed my post. WOW!
Again they show a black Note 3 yet it's not included in this comparison. I mean if the iPhone 5s is included, why isn't the Note 3 included?
Also why are the numbers so different from the other comparison, as spin9 has posted???
180. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
Because the scores are relative to which phones are being tested. Doesn't take a genius...
193. kevin91202 (Posts: 514; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)
"Because the scores are relative to which phones are being tested. Doesn't take a genius..." -E.N.
And it doesn't take a genius to realize that if the scores were indeed relative to each other, then there should be scores of 10's and 1's. I don't see any of those. Hence, the scores are not actually relative to each other. Simple math.
199. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
Regardless of why they aren't using a 1-10 scale, it's still absolutely clear the scores are relative, hence "Camera Comparison". If the scores were truly absolute, there would be criteria for each numerical score in each camera category, independent of which other phones were tested.
197. maelisone (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 May 2012)
if it's really like this how its works , they will put the best phone = 10 in the individual test and others 9 8 7 .....
181. kristoferallen (Posts: 99; Member since: 23 Jun 2010)
If the concert is at night, how would it make sense for there not to be a lot of lights?....
182. steodoreben (Posts: 227; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)
@SuperAndroidEvo I can relate to you. PhoneArena deleted my previous comment too which talks about "They did not include Sony Z3 because it is no match to iPhone 6, not to mention they created the sensors for iPhones for years"
183. imran86 (Posts: 159; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)
A quick question for PA: Do you believe in freedom of speech? if so, why is every of my post deleted from the comments section? I only said this article contradicts with one of your own that had blind camera comparisons which i thought you didn't remember. I say it again. You are pathetic PA.
191. kevin91202 (Posts: 514; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)
PA is becoming more and more pro-Apple/anti-Samsung. Just like CNET.
Have you noticed CNET's 1-week coverage of the 2014 iPhone 6+ vs the 2013 Note 3? It's as if the Note 4 doesn't exist. It's quite comical
176. jsdechavez (Posts: 721; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)
The Lumia wins in low light (esp in that 50% voucher crop)..whatever this website does.
187. datguyglad (Posts: 98; Member since: 29 Aug 2014)
Yeah it's no secret PA is iPhone biased. Like @spin9 posted up, the scores for the S5 changed from thier scores last year.?? It's the same phone so why..??
195. bur60 (Posts: 821; Member since: 07 Jul 2014)
The z1 had 7,66 average rating. How can the Z2 get a 7 with a better camera than Z1?? And again outdated flagship for Sony
216. iwalk (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Oct 2014)
Friend, think of it this way... lets suppose they gave the sony z1 an average rating of 8, then the z2 was released and it was a better phone so they gave it 9, then the z3 was released and obviously it will be better that its predecessor so they gave it 10 out of 10. the question now is, what will they give the z4 if they released it next year and if sony made it better than the z3 ? 11 out of 10 ?? u see how is that not rational ?
so obviously they give a rating for the phone based on its rivals, how well its doing against other competitors ? so z1 had 7,66 based on how well it was doing 'back at that time', and z2 got 7 based on its rivals at the time they released it
210. saurabhkumarshs (Posts: 2; Member since: 08 Oct 2014)
yeah.. completely biased comparison to advertise iphone 6 i think.
202. jamesng (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Oct 2014)
re: video on lumia 1520
"And the sound is quieter than it should be. In fact we can barely hear our own voice in the video."-->maybe it's because directional sound is turned on? in which case sound from behind the phone is not recorded...
and so much noise on the iphone 6. some of the other phones may have white balance issues, but you can tweak it by changing one setting (don't give me the bs of all auto; the phone has that function for a reason). You can't minimise noise (well you can but you'll destroy the pic...might as well use my old lg viewty).
207. baghdadguy (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Oct 2014)
I don't Know if this site Phone Arena OR IPHONE Arena
209. Jimrod (Posts: 887; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)
There were lots of brands of phones in the test... Oh, you mean because the iPhone won? And if it wins a test the site must be biased, but if an Android device wins it's fair? I see. Great logic.
5. Antimio (Posts: 313; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)
Credit where its due. Apple takes great pictures. Period. (And I'm a Nexus guy)
11. Finalflash (Posts: 2726; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
It would be easier to accept the results if PhoneArena was not so biased in Apple coverage. The issue is that you can manually mess up the image for one camera or another to accentuate your advertised choice. I have tested the iPhone 5 and 5s myself and the pictures they take a subpar compared to what they show here. I have compared them to the S5, S4, PFI and Nexus 5 and the best by far was the PFI, then S4, S5, 5s, N5, and 5. Also, a control should be present taken with a DSLR.
16. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
On the other hand, you are biased against Apple, so nobody can't tell if you are speaking truth.
17. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
I speak the truth! I can prove it:
People on this site call me a little kid. Everybody knows that truth comes out of the kids' mouths. :)
39. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 2641; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
Shut up, the grownups are talking lol
77. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4801; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I can vouch... ArtSim98 SPEAKS the TRUTH!!!
+1 for speaking the truth!
158. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
You're exactly right, his past comments have shown he is clearly biased.
"I have tested the iPhone 5 and 5s myself and the pictures they take a subpar compared to what they show here."
- according to him, Phonearena somehow managed to make the 5S take better pictures than its really suppose to... that's a pretty interesting accusation.
48. Pattyface (Posts: 1511; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
How is it that in every apple article you find a way to discredit anything that is written. If you hate this site and MANY others that have the same results then go somewhere else. Accept or respect their articles for once instead of being a female dog
66. synot (Posts: 277; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)
APPLE ALWAYS WIN ON PHONE ARENA.Galaxy S5 photos looks better than Apple new phones.Everyone knows that S5 takes the best photos apart from Note 4. nexhttp://mobile-review.com/review/samsung-galaxy-note4.shtml
104. beachedwhale (Posts: 22; Member since: 30 May 2014)
Apparently not. Lmao if you want phones that perform better on paper buy an android, but if you want phones that perform better in REAL LIFE then buy an IPhone
151. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
thats the opposite... if you want to buy a phone which is over hyped and over media focus but infact a high price midranger then buy iphone otherwise go for note 4
211. beachedwhale (Posts: 22; Member since: 30 May 2014)
Then why is the iPhone faster in the benchmarks and in real life speed tests? Even the 5s beat the note 4 in a real life speed test. Apple makes a custom chip is made for its software, the software and hardware work insync to create a faster experience without relying on most powerful silicon
155. marcski07 (Posts: 598; Member since: 25 Apr 2014)
and z2's camera become so ugly in this comparison, what magic are they doing.... -_-
7. Ghost04 (Posts: 321; Member since: 03 May 2014)
I thought it was a comparison .
Now ,I can see its a funny joke .
Look I am laughing .
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .......................................................
8. NexusX (Posts: 473; Member since: 16 May 2013)
the difference in current generation smartphone camera quality these days are negligible and equally passable. i don't understand how these factors in the buying decision.
148. xtremesv (Posts: 297; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
I agree, we have come to the point where every flagship camera out there takes decent photos for casual viewing and I really don't understand why reviewers keep affirming camera quality is still relevant when assessing the overall appealing of a smartphone. Most of us are not professional photographers and if someone pretends he/she is, then not even the best camera phone in the world would satisfy a pro who will probably spend a mini fortune on a serious camera.
218. dakunclear (Posts: 5; Member since: 17 Mar 2015)
a mini fortune.....for a great dslr it only costs about 2000 mind you that's without the lens lol but ya the Z2 for instance is great if you want to tweak your settings which is something I do but for the odd quick shot with auto it's terrible and I switching it out for the LG G3 mainly for the resolution so I can see my photos after I take them.....with my DSLR lol
10. ianbbaa (Posts: 305; Member since: 20 Mar 2013)
I d say results for night shot should place N1520 on 1st place...yes butthen it would break your conclusion page and N1520 would jump above one of the iP6 in final ranking. iPArena can not allow this.
12. Ghost04 (Posts: 321; Member since: 03 May 2014)
When ever a new phone launches phonearena scores it's highly .
We saw previously S5 , Z2 , G3 all winning the comparisons .
13. ojdidit84 (Posts: 454; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)
Clearly the 1520 was the better camera in indoor and night photos yet you guys scored it lower than the 6 & 6+. Seriously PA?
As for the S5, those indoor/night pictures don't surprise me. Samsung's camera is the reason that I hate trying to take a picture with my Note 3 in those situations or where the sun is behind what I'm trying to take and the sun isn't even in the frame...
38. blazee (Posts: 407; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)
I didn't think so. I thought I phones pictures looked more natural than those of nokias
46. ojdidit84 (Posts: 454; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)
It's near impossible for us, the readers of PA, to tell the difference in what looks more natural or not since we weren't there to see how the pictures fared against what it looked like to the unfiltered eye and the fact that PA never uses a reference shot from a known, good DSLR to show the difference between that shot and the phones.
Not to mention that instead of trying to be a bit more scientific in their testing and shooting each shot from the exact same angle and distance. Almost every shot is from a notably different distance and angle for each phone. Go back through articles and you'll see where the S5 won over the 5S in the past, 1520, M8. Their testing isn't consistent across different reviewers to even begin to take any of their comparisons serious. There's no scientific medium that they test by. Just pure subjective opinion.
Don't get me wrong, the iPhone has always had one of the best smartphone cameras but PA has also always shown bias towards the iPhone in their camera tests when there are shots from cameras that clearly fair better. Happens with every iPhone release.
14. DarkStar286 (Posts: 196; Member since: 18 Mar 2014)
The 1520's indoor and night shots look much better than the iPhones, yet again phoneArena show their bias.....
101. walkman800 (Posts: 113; Member since: 26 Aug 2014)
1520 still sets the benchmark for camera quality. Only the upcoming iPhone might dethrone it, "might" is the key word
18. tury694 (Posts: 167; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)
In an older comparison the Galaxy S5 was better than the iphone 5s. Now somehow it is better? How exactly does this happen?
25. alouden (unregistered)
I remember seeing that too. Hard to take this seriously when the results are not consistent. I am not saying the Iphone's camera is bad. In fact, I have always believed their cameras to be good. I just cannot take PA seriously.
165. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2086; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)
The 5S was on iOS 7, and now it is on iOS 8. There, explained.
99. SayMobile (Posts: 91; Member since: 29 Jan 2014)
Exactly. Also Dont think the Galaxy S5 Night Snaps are that bad as shown in the test. And if the final scores are given sans the Night snaps as said, the the Galaxy S5 should definately be at the very top three. It was the Number one ranked phone in d previous PA test. What happened suddenly.!
21. Settings (Posts: 1448; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)
I just wasted 3 minutes of my life.
I dont know which is which.
In other side by side comparison articles, S5 won. The other, Lumia won. Then Z2 won, then M8.
Not that I lose my time, I lost my trust and PA's credibilty.
I dont care about clicks and ads, I blocked them (PA told us that).
23. i.cent90 (Posts: 26; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)
Dont mind PhoneArena dey ar so confused hw wil d s5 be around top among d previously tested now is about last ar u guys literates at all u guys ar so FAKE
24. AustinPaul (Posts: 67; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
From THOSE pics, I do prefer the blue of the new iPhone, but I just checked a bunch of shots in various settings, time of day, exposure, etc, on my Note3 and I got some very nice and vivid blue skies. Hmmm...
26. darkskoliro (Posts: 1076; Member since: 07 May 2012)
Night shot page. how the f did g3 score so high? it looks like someone took a piss on the lens
143. aba71983 (Posts: 805; Member since: 24 Jul 2014)
Yes, iPhones is the best here.
Forget about those die hard iDroid fans, haha!
179. darkkjedii (Posts: 19471; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
No flaming bro. A lotta droiders are hella cool. Whateverman, sniggly, Tedkord, Sakeem, Rebel, and a few others come to mind. Sniggly will apple jab you, but he's no troll.