Camera Comparison: Google Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5s, Sony Xperia Z1, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, LG G2, Nokia Lumia 1020, HTC One
- 1 Introduction and Details
- 2 Color reproduction
- 3 Indoor
- 4 Night
- 5 Panorama
- 6 Video
- 7 Camera interface and ease of use
- 8 Conclusion
- Google Nexus 5 specifications
- Apple iPhone 5s specifications
- Sony Xperia Z1 specifications
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 specifications
- Samsung Galaxy S4 specifications
- LG G2 specifications
- Nokia Lumia 1020 specifications
- HTC One specifications
If you’ve been keeping a close eye on our news feed, then you might have noticed that the Google Nexus 5 has been getting quite a lot of attention as of late. And that should come as no surprise since the handset is pretty great, as we concluded in our Google Nexus 5 review. What’s so special about it? Well, the smartphone has quite a lot to offer for its money – powerful hardware, polished software, and a camera that’s actually really good considering what previous Nexus-branded phones had to offer. It has 8 megapixels of resolution and optical image stabilization for steadier, blur-free images.
However, the competition in the camera department is pretty tough, with plenty of smartphones that have already proven themselves as excellent shooters. These include the Nokia Lumia 1020, the Sony Xperia Z1, the LG G2, and the iPhone 5s, among many others. Clearly, the Google Nexus 5 doesn’t stand a chance against smartphones of this rank. Or does it? That’s the question we’re curious to find the answer to, meaning that it is time for another extensive camera comparison.
Note: the Panasonic Lumix GH2 is used as a reference camera.
|Nexus 5||iPhone 5s||Xperia Z1||Galaxy Note 3||Galaxy S4||LG G2||Lumia 1020||HTC One|
|Flash||Single LED||Dual LED||Single LED||Single LED||Single LED||Single LED||Xenon, Single LED||Single LED|
|Features||Optical image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes||Digital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Effects||Digital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, Effects||Digital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, Effects||Digital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, Effects||Optical image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, Effects||Optical image stabilization, Panorama, Scenes, Effects||Optical image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, Effects|
While not the best in the details category, the Google Nexus 5 delivers commendable results, with plenty of fine elements preserved well in its photos. At the same time, digital noise is generally absent or unnoticeable in areas that aren't of a solid color. But most of the smartphones we're testing can do an even better job at it. The Nokia Lumia 1020, in particular, is the clear winner when it comes to detail preservation. Examining its high-resolution photos at 100% zoom reveals tons of details, including ones you might have missed at the time of composing the image. In second place we rank the Sony Xperia Z1, which can also take photos of impressively high detail for a smartphone. However, its photos aren't quite as great as we expected them to be considering the 20MP resolution of its sensor. That's because when we zoom in we can easily see how finer details are destroyed by digital artifacts. But don't get us wrong, the Z1's photos are still quite pleasant to look at. It is just that the Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, and the LG G2 can produce photos of almost comparable quality despite having 7 megapixels less to work with. As for the iPhone 5s, its images are neither too sharp nor too soft, and about as detailed as those produced by the Nexus 5. Trailing far behind is the HTC One, which takes the least detailed photos with its 4MP UltraPixel camera. Sure, they do look worthy of being printed in a small size or posted on a Facebook wall, but that's about as far as its camera can go. Obviously, 4 UltraPixels are not more than 4 megapixels when it comes to resolved detail.
Full size samples Fullscreen
More popular slideshows
Nokia Lumia 930 Review
18 Jul 2014, 04:29
LG G3 Review
09 Jun 2014, 10:06
LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
10 Jun 2014, 10:13
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4
07 Apr 2014, 23:02
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
14 Oct 2013, 05:28
OnePlus One Review
15 Jul 2014, 09:11
Apple iPhone 5s vs Samsung Galaxy S4
27 Sep 2013, 05:59
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One
26 Mar 2013, 06:51
Full size samples
1. MrKoles (Posts: 296; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)
This Ultrapixel "thing" is just huge disappointment...HTC shall stop putting it in flagships and come up with a better idea!
7. Finalflash (Posts: 1433; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
It isn't but the post processing and the fact that they went only 4MP really cost them. If they fix those two items, they will likely be the top. So now we see what they do with their next flagship.
10. LiyanaBG (Posts: 288; Member since: 07 Nov 2013)
HTC always every Camera Comparison they always get worst score. because of stupid Ultrapixel
51. JEEPOFFROADV8 (Posts: 35; Member since: 01 Apr 2009)
That is a false!! not on other tech sites which i would value there opinion more then phone arena. i had 2 samsung gs4. allthou the gs4 had more megapixels the htc one took better pics overall. sorry. i am not biased towards either phone. just stating facts.
64. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 378; Member since: 24 May 2011)
Are you kidding. Even i have seen both their photos and S4 takes better pics no doubt. By any chance you saw them on your cell? Cause i had seen them on my TV. That could make a difference.
66. pharttart (Posts: 7; Member since: 05 Dec 2013)
I visit this site on occassion but You are the reason I made an account.....educate yourself on what Megapixels are and edit your comment.
70. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 378; Member since: 24 May 2011)
4 megapixels are still more pixels than a standard tv. Yet their is difference when viewing them. So i asked him If he did . Its a valid question. Dont get over smart.
18. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7322; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I'm honestly not surprised by the results. Lumia 1020 on top followed by the Z1 (beat camera on the Android front) with the HTC One in dead last. UP was the biggest disappointment from HTC in 2013.
74. oldhamletman (Posts: 35; Member since: 03 Sep 2011)
I bought a 1020 a few weeks back and the 41MP sensor is awesome, on the fly zoom in video and stills is really smooth... using it with pro shot gives an excellent camera solution that is in line with full blown cameras.
I wish the 1520 had the same camera.... I'd like the bigger screen, but there is no way I'm giving up the cam on the 1020
27. mqmorasch (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)
all the shots are obviously done in Zoe mode by the lack of zoom
31. Muayyad (Posts: 95; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)
No it is not, I'm very happy with the results it gives me for a pocket shooter.
34. emadshiny (Posts: 1127; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
Im sure if they have put Xperia Z instead of One it would achieve a far better score.
I don't understand whats the problem with PA. They have put Z aside from the beginning of its appearance.
42. downphoenix (Posts: 2266; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
except that the Z has consistently been in the top ranks of this contest, it went lumia, Z, G2 (Although I argue the G2s pictures were better overall, it was close enough that I can see where people would prefer the Z's) as the top 3 more or less. There were some like the panorama test which doesnt matter at all (like less than 1% of people will actualyl even bother with that, it is such a little used feature it should not have warranted it's own category) that they both had poor scores on, but otherwise did very well.
50. JEEPOFFROADV8 (Posts: 35; Member since: 01 Apr 2009)
why cuz phone areana says so? lol. there camera is just fine and look around the web its got some good ratings. sure htc should have put in at least a 5 or 8 megapixel. but i personally love this phone. hands down still the best overall phone on the market. might not be the best camera phone. but best overall phone and thats what i care about
2. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1107; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
I've been expecting the similar results.
3. cezarepc (Posts: 482; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
Well the fact that the N5's output is comparable to these high-end phones is very telling (OIS definitely makes a lot of difference in indoor/low light situations). Definitely worth your money (combined with the rest of what it has to offer), would love to get one for wifey.
4. noler (Posts: 161; Member since: 19 Aug 2013)
No Lumia 1520?
HTC One score is "4" because it has 4MP camera?
16. Finalflash (Posts: 1433; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
Yea, the scores literally follow the MP count.
43. downphoenix (Posts: 2266; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
so much for megapixels meaning nothing, eh HTC?
5. _Bone_ (Posts: 2104; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
In daylight details the Nexus 5 comes out on top almost everywhere, where the Lumia loses quite a bit per pixel (more pixels, less sharpening), interesting scores PA. Color reproduction is spectacular on the 1020 though, and overall it often beats out the DSLR.
6. _Bone_ (Posts: 2104; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Did you leave HDR+ on for the Nexus 5 shots, Nick?
8. _Bone_ (Posts: 2104; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
BTW, Photosphere does much better panorama than panorama on the Nexus photo SW. In fact I'd call it best in class providing you can keep the lens in the absolute middle.
13. taikucing (unregistered)
HTC One score... lol
14. enthasuium (Posts: 69; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)
page 2, Color reproduction , how come iphone 5s comes 3rd, its looking as worst as HTC one. pls correct it
15. KillerKeyboard (Posts: 302; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)
So that makes Z1's camera the best in Android.
Well, most of the cameras up there are made by Sony anyway.
19. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7322; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Z1 followed by the G2 and Note 3. Z1 is in a league of it's own.
45. Remmy (Posts: 52; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)
True, though I believe their software/algorithm are not as good as others'. :/ (except for the Z1 of course)
20. Assa7inKing (Posts: 26; Member since: 23 Feb 2013)
Yes ! Nice SONY ! so that means Z1 is THE BEST ANDROID CAMERA PHONE !!!!
22. yasir-921 (Posts: 78; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)
Has Xperia Z1 got latest firmware for its Camera?
It is known that the latest camera update of Z1 improves its camera performance very much.
23. KillerKeyboard (Posts: 302; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)
I really hope Z1's snapper have OIS, it would've scored better than 8 overall.
26. bloodline (Posts: 691; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
Impressed by the nexus 5 and Google is already building a software patch to improve the nexus 5 cam
53. marbovo (Posts: 581; Member since: 16 May 2013)
I don´t think it is just a patch, it´s a hole new camera app with new features, I remember a google employee saying how great nexus 5 camera would be, but unfortunatly the app did not got finished right on time, but let´s just wait
28. cristianer (Posts: 40; Member since: 20 Aug 2010)
I said it when the HTC One was released: It can be hiper-mega-ultrapixel but it still has 4 mpx. Not good for a flagship.
29. mqmorasch (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)
obvious that the HTC One wasn't taken in noral shooting mode but rather Zoe mode with lack of focus. Comparisons can be subjective to the one conducting the test
37. jellmoo (Posts: 618; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
No mention of how long it takes to focus and then for the shutter to engage? The Nexus 5 takes perfectly good photos in HDR+ mode (less stellar when it isn't engaged) but the time to focus and then shoot is quite long. Long enough to impact the ability of taking candid shots.
Info on how other devices fare in this regard would be useful. A beautiful picture is nice, but many of us are looking to record snapshots of our lives rather than artistic masterpieces. Knowing how these devices perform when you are looking to grab a quick shot would be nice.
38. sbw44 (Posts: 361; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)
Wow as always in the world of PA the 1020 does not perform in shots where sites praise it! Video last? ever heard its audio quality? OIS? lossless zoom???
Same with night time photos! how on earth can a phones with a much smaller sensor, No OIS and a weaker LED flash beat one with a proper XENON Flash?
Also why don't you do a no holds bar camera comparison where you can change settings as much as you like! That's where the 1020 will kill these phones!
39. sbw44 (Posts: 361; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)
And don't tell me the average user will only take photo's on default! If so you then basically comparing a Bugatti Veyron with 2 of its turbo chargers disabled to Nissan GTR!
40. JulianGT (Posts: 81; Member since: 15 Oct 2012)
Was the lumia 1020 running the latest software?
41. papss (unregistered)
I remember when PA had an article about how awesome the ones camera was going to be.. just funny and sad
44. ctn10 (Posts: 9; Member since: 23 Feb 2013)
I think result OVERALL RATINGS (AVERAGE) is WRONG ?
46. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2315; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
Nice article Nick, thank you very much, but where is GH2 ratings, I can't see them? ;)
Next time I want to see 1520 and 929, and Oppo and Zopo also if possible with above brigade.
HTC's normal camera phones are way better than this One's UP.
48. twens (Posts: 515; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)
So much hate for Sammy no one is even mentioning the fact that the galaxies are serious imaging devices. Next year Sammy is going disgrace all of you haters. The competition will be so far behind when Sammy is done with ya'll.
55. drkuthan (Posts: 22; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
Note 3 is very bad when it comes to night shots and night videos .
Lumia 1020 is very good while video recording.
I don't believe that phonearena is objective
56. Trex95 (Posts: 540; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)
PA hates HTC one as usual nothing new. One of my ppl owns an cellphones shop and i try out all these phones camera myself, I found that HTC one has the best color reproduction plus great low light video.
S4 Octa camera the worst in still shoot at low light including Note 3
S4 snapdragon 600 better than both Note 3 and Octa S4 at low light
IP5S still and video shoot still the best in all lights condition with great color reproduction
Xperia Z1 great camera with camera software issue and mediocre low light shoot
Lumia 1020 the best of all but with over saturated colors with mediocre OIS.
LG G2 equal to S4 camera with better video with OIS but the worst video at low light plus the green and silver colors in pics looks so shiny that doesn't looks like the real scene.
Nexus 5 order it in the way.