Samsung Epic 4G vs Apple iPhone 4 vs Motorola DROID X - the camera comparison
Smartphones have been evolving steadily from their humble business oriented roots from a few years ago to the ultimate convergence device on the market which have been encroaching on playing fields generally held captive by specialized functioning products. One specific area that cell phones are constantly closing the gap on is the camera department – especially with smartphones which seem to encompass a host of functions. Cell phones are easily compact and now utilize some decent sensors internally which can make you consider about ditching that traditional point & shoot you've been putting away more often of late. This past summer, we've been treated to a host of new current generation smartphones that pack a wallop in the camera department due to their ability to shoot stunning images and videos that can be appreciated by those who took them. Naturally, there are individuals out there who really want a well rounded smartphone that can take not good, but great images! So we've taken the three best smartphones from this summer which we've seen take the best pictures and pit them against one another to see which one really can out gun the other. And to compare the images produced by these top-end smartphones, we've included shots from a 12.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix FZ35 camera.
Now before we get right into the gritty action, we need to compare the different interfaces that each handset offers, because as you know, it plays a key role in truly providing that exact point & shoot experience.
Between the three handsets, the iPhone 4 by far employs the most simplistic interface which doesn't add any level of personality to the experience of taking photos. There are only three icons lined up on the top edge which enable you to set the flash, turn on HDR photos, and switch to either the front or rear cameras. Оn the right pane, you'll find the on-screen shutter key, icon to get into the gallery app, and an on-screen switch to shoot videos or photos. That's about it! There's actually no scene modes, options, settings, or anything – nothing! Then again, the iPhone 4's overall straightforward and simplistic attitude radiates in every aspect of the phone; camera included. The thing with the iPhone 4 though is the fact that it has touch to focus, meaning, you touch an area on the display and it'll automatically focus on it – at the same time, adjusting the exposure to best take the shot. Although the constant change of exposure can result in good or bad images, you simply have to play around with touch focus to get a handle of getting the best shots.
The photo gallery on the iPhone 4 has remained unchanged since the original's inception, which can be regarded as a good or bad thing, but luckily, it functions as it should. However, it's almost hard to fathom that the iPhone 4 is incapable of even editing photos on the go without the need of downloading an app. You can only trim lengthy videos you've recorded, but that's pretty much the extent of its editing capabilities; sadly. However, there are some wonderfull image editing apps in the App Store, like Photogene for example, that pack a great amount of options to let you enhance your images.
If you're looking for an eclectic mix of features to appease that inner amateur photographer inside of you, then the Samsung Epic 4G's vast options and modes will surely cater to your desires. The interface itself hosts a bevy of setting modes that easily blows away the ones offered by the Motorola DROID X. At the same time, the presentation with its listing view and associated icons will easily allow anyone to take images without feeling too overwhelmed. Without a doubt, the dedicated two-level shutter key will aid those who want that traditional point & shoot feel, but it's supplemented with touch focus as well. Additionally, there are just some other novel features such as blink detection packed with the Epic 4G. And for those who are a bit more comfortable with the ins and outs of camera settings, the Epic 4G allows you to set the ISO, white balance, and exposure.
With its processing prowess, the gallery app on the Epic 4G exudes all of the graphical eye candy that one would expect with a handset packing a 1GHz Hummingbird processor. Not only does it employ some 3D-like effects as your tilting the phone left or right, but it executes it so flawlessly to make you appreciate the added effects. Since it's an Android powered device, sharing media content is such a joy since you'll have the ability to instantly share it with a host of services – like SMS, Twitter, Picasa, Facebook, and email. In addition, there are a couple of editing options you can apply on a photo – like rotating or cropping them. Sure it's nothing too fancy, but it's still more than appreciated over what the iPhone 4 has to offer. Videos on the other hand don't get anyone love seeing you can't edit them in any way directly on the smartphone.
Finally, we've got the mechanical bucket of DROIDness with the Motorola DROID X – which of course flaunts its specs on paper with its 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash. Similar to the Epic 4G's interface, the one in use with the DROID X offers a decent mix of shooting modes – but not more than the Epic 4G. Instead of being presented with a list view when choosing a specific mode, you'll have to swipe between the options before you simply stumble upon the one that's perhaps to your liking. Still, the whole process seems a bit laborious and prefer the easy to jump into presentation of the Epic. As a whole, the interface is pretty much in line with most handsets out there, but it's clear from a cursory look that it doesn't radiate the Epic's depth of features – while still standing above the simplistic nature of the iPhone 4.
Since the handset is bathed in Motorola's new skin, the gallery app also takes advantage of the peppy speeds of its 1GHz OMAP processor. When held in portrait, both photos and videos are presented in a grid-like view which makes it super easy to swiftly jump to specific shots. However, tilting it sideways to landscape, we see the interface showing off its processing prowess as content is reeled with a 3D like effect to it. Yeah it's nice and all, but we really wish it were more responsive; meaning that it has a tendency to continue scrolling after clicking on a specific image. Hands down, the DROID X owns the photo editing department with its insane amount of options which include things like effects, resizing, cropping, brightness & contrast, color & saturation, and frames. It'll easily make editing on the go such a breeze on yourself. Not stopping there, there are even some lengthy editing tools at your disposal for videos – like resizing, removing audio, and extracting a frame. So if you really want to get productive without the aid of a computer (or third-party software), you'll most likely find the DROID X to be more than satisfactory for achieving your needs. As for additional image-editing software for Android, the currently-available options are much less than what you'll find for iOS, but there are some good offerings, like PicSay.
1. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 866; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
Are you kidding me? The simple fact that you have to use a special setting to capture decent images speaks volumes for the iPhone's camera. Every single image taken with the iPhone is over exposed until the user goes into HDR mode or whatever. Not that any other camera here was any better. Frankly, the Droid X's camera was the most disappointing thing here.
2. mr. droid (Posts: 278; Member since: 21 Aug 2010)
and the iPhone is the most disappointing phone all the way around. its quite sad. honestly, i feel the droid x has the best camera. something is out of whack with this review.. 7 pages of stuff i read that took 25 minutes of my life i will never get back. go to the stores (like wal-mart where they sell all of these phones side-by-side) and see for yourself. i am not trying to be bias (because i have the droid x) personally, the BEST phone camera i have ever seen goes to the droid2.
3. gunarrr (unregistered)
Your username speaks volumes for your bias.
4. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 866; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
I'd have to test one out for myself and compare it to my N97, E72, and N95. My friend has one, and a few of the images I've seen didn't come out well at all when they were uploaded to Facebook. They were darker than they should have been, and details didn't look that good. Something I noticed in the images here as well. My friend may not know how to use the 2 stage shutter button though. Who knows.
5. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 866; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
My user name will lead people to believe I am biased, but that is hardly the case. Take the N95 for example. Great camera, maybe even the best camera available in 2007 and 2008. It had one fatal flaw however. Every image taken, where there was a bright color, the color was made to look completely unreal. Yellows, reds, blues, didn’t matter. Everything looked like it was colored in with a marker. The images were still very sharp, but the colors made them look unreal. I see that with the iPhone 4 as well. When it comes to a camera phone, I want to see details, and I want images that look exactly as the scene was. No brightened colors, no black lines around blades of grass. I want realistic images. Whether it’s Apple, Moto, Samsung, HTC, or even Nokia, I’ll call anybody out if I see something to call them out on.
6. lolipopjones (Posts: 51; Member since: 21 Jun 2009)
SO a phone that offers HDR is bad? Yeah you have no argument... you are just a tard.
10. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)
Yea, you are clearly being bias. Whether or not you like the iPhone for all it's features and what not, this review was extremely accurate and the pictures on the Droid X look like pictures from a flip phone. It showed how blurred each texture became. The colors blurred too much to the point I couldn't even tell if there were leaves on the tree rather than just seen green/brown. This had nothing to do with how the phone works, the calls, or the apps. It was all about the camera and I believe the iPhone did win in terms of quality. Btw, I have an Epic, so that might affect how people see my comment, but I'm actually trying to be honest.
16. xq10xa (unregistered)
"i feel the droid x has the best camera." & "go to the stores (like wal-mart where they sell all of these phones side-by-side) and see for yourself. i am not trying to be bias (because i have the droid x) personally, the BEST phone camera i have ever seen goes to the droid2." you opinion became void right there buddy.
17. PapaJay224 (Posts: 866; Member since: 08 Feb 2009)
ARE YOU PEOPLE KIDDING ME?!?!? First of all there is obviously some sort of stencil brush effect they keep using on the droid that makes it look PhtoShopped, Secondly this whole Article is basically about iPhone HDR. I have seriously never been so discusted with an article on this website as much as I am rightnow with the absolute BIAS this site has.
24. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
this site is so funny. it kept saying "there is clearly no difference between these pix" it doesnt take but 2 seconds to look at the daylight pix and compare them with the real camera to see that the Epic wins the pic contest in almost every situation. The iphone4's camera over saturates, over compensates, and exept for a few shots, looked the least like the control shot taken from the digital camera. Without HDR the iphone wouldnt have even been in the contest. Point is, all the cameras are fine,from what i can tell the Epic/galaxyS has the best pictures over all without retouching, HDR obviously makes a difference, but phone arena is so openly biased when it comes to iphone comparisons that they can never be taken seriously.
31. XxVerbalxX (unregistered)
7. am0795 (unregistered)
No offence but phone arena, you are way off...my droid x at the D1 Rate is 30 fps...excuse u but my droid x at that even surpasses the icrap 4......iv'e tested in the apple store...the epic 4g i have nothing to say to...a 5 mega pixle.....no it still loses, my photos look amazing and with the 2.2 update..which you obviously dont know i guess comes out rommorow...the gallery and the inetrface is and will be much improved...
11. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)
Lol, you make it sound like as if phone arena doesn't know the specs of the phone. They clearly do research on the phones and inform you about these updates, such as your Droid X 2.2 update. You're just a pissed off user because your phone did the worst. The pictures show it clearly. Stop bitching or stop coming back to the site. Its that simple.
35. deago78 (Posts: 160; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
You misspelled "offense"...come on many...this is fourth grade vocabulary test material...
8. mr. droid (Posts: 278; Member since: 21 Aug 2010)
there is a way to get the 2.2 update now on the droid x. people have been complaining that it is making their phone run/work like crap compared to what it used to. although thats what they are telling me. nothing more nothing less. some people are afraid of change..
9. bummy (unregistered)
So iphone4 shots are all overexposed until you turn HDR on, which is THEN comparable to the other camera's regular shoots. Only bonus is in dim light situations where HDR is a bonus.... but this is just software right? are there apps out there for android to do HDR type imaging?
12. Legacystar (Posts: 131; Member since: 31 Dec 2009)
does anyone else notice that every shot taken by the droid X looks like it's zoomed in closer then the other cameras? i think there is something wrong with your settings Phone arena.
19. PapaJay224 (Posts: 866; Member since: 08 Feb 2009)
LegacSTar THANK YOU!!!! It looks like they have a pencil effect or some sort of effect added to them. Thats why this review is BS! -1 PhoneArena
21. bl@cksleep (unregistered)
The Droid X is 8mp vs. 5mp of the other two, which means it's pic sizes are different ie: different image dimensions. 100% crop of a smaller image means you don't "zoom" in as close as on a larger image. You'll notice the Droid X and Panasonic FZ35 camera have a similar crop factor given they are the closest in mp count and image dimension, so their image sizes are the most similar. Likewise the Epic and iPhone will have a near identical crop factor because of their similar 5mp sized sensor. A little digital photography basics.
13. bucky (Posts: 2460; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
The review is accurate. Each phone has things over the other. The camera in this case is definitely better on the iphone. Stop hating.
14. lolateveryone (unregistered)
phone arena really needs to take out the HDR photos as it is unfair to manipulate the settings. If you are going to keep them in the review, you might as well either adjust the settings for the other phones or just download a photo app since the android phones actually allow for apps like that to be used. The DroidX took the best indoor shots IMO. The HDR on the iPhone had some noticeable ghosting effects. the iphone did take the best outdoor shots though. The Epic took the best night shots. Nice try also on saying that the phones produce better overall photos than that dedicated camera too
20. PapaJay224 (Posts: 866; Member since: 08 Feb 2009)
+1 Exactly, but thats the thing with iPhone it always has to have 1 little tweak to compete with leading phones. They tweak the Droid X camera to some stupid blur brush effect in photoshop and then write a whole article on HDR on the iPhone... Its like they are trying to prove it isnt a piece of trash...Well PhoneArena YOU AND the IPHONE are TRASH!
23. bucky (Posts: 2460; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
why you taking it soo personally? Also, is there even anyone arguing with you guys anymore? Dont like the topic...dont read it! Hardcore fanboys are no longer with teh iphone but seemingly with all these android phones. Phonearena does not write these reviews (which are great reviews) to piss off a few of you nerds-they call it as they see it. As far as i can see, i agree with them ( about a million or so other websites do as well :) )
15. Matistight1 (unregistered)
I compared the samsung captivate camera to the iPhone 4, only difference is the iPhones camera catches way more color than the captivate, when tested inside. Didn't test outside.
22. JWL342 (unregistered)
How can the epic 4g be better then the droid x here when it has the same camera as the fascinate and in your fascinate review you say the following "The Motorola DROID X is the same price and produces much better looking images." ?? Side note i think the galaxy s cameras are better just confused by the conflicting reviews.
25. vzw fanman (Posts: 1975; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
i have 2 questions for the people who performed these tests: 1) Was the Droid x set on 6 MP (widescreen) or set on 8 MP (large)? 2nd most important thing, was the lens of the droid x dirty? did it have finger prints or smudges? you should make sure it's clean and clear in every shot. if there are fingerprints in front of the lens it drastically decreases quality.
28. PapaJay224 (Posts: 866; Member since: 08 Feb 2009)
I am agreeing with your comment. My HTC Incredible takes amazing photos, Im pretty sure better than any of these. And hope I am not trolling in saying so.
26. TechSavvy (unregistered)
Let's be real...no one is really curious about JUST the camera of these 3 phones. Phone Arena has evenly rated the best 4 phones on the market, and though user preferences may make us choose one over the other personally. There is a best phone on the market right now. Here's what the people want to see. HTC Evo 4G vs. Apple Iphone 4 vs. Motorola Driod X vs. Samsung Epic 4G. These ARE the best 4 phones on the market. Let's do a Real comparison of the 4..AND RANK them in order, 1-4. I guarantee this will be the best, and most viewed comparison you guys will write, until their successors launch late next year.
27. ssully (unregistered)
All picture were zoommed in to 100%, since the Droid X takes picture at 8 Megapixles and the others at 5, zooming in at 100% is going to yeald a closer looking picture or "over zoomed" for the X so phonearena is not being bais. And yes when i zoom in to my X's picture the "Stencle effect" is very apparent in evey picture". The Driod X does not take as sharp 8 mp pictures as the other do at 5 mp. Maybe if the X's pictures were scaled down to 5 mp to compare we would have seen sharper comparables for the X. It's higher resolution may have been its downfall for this partucular test, which is a shame because i have take some fantastic pics with my X. Take a look at this link as well of droid users personal photography, you will agree. http://androidforums.com/motor
29. nhowell (unregistered)
I have to agree, this site is completely biased. How can you possibly do a comparison when every picture taken is almost completely different. All of you should just drop to your knees for steve jobs already. Ive had the iPhone, besides the iPod and apps, its a joke of a phone. FROM NOW ON IF YOU DECIDE TO DO COMPARISSONS, PLEASE DO IT PROPERLY!!!! IM TIRED OF GETTING ON THIS SITE JUST TO SEE ANOTHER ARTICLE ON HOW YOU THINK THE WORST SMARTPHONE IN THE HISTORY OF SMARTPHONES IS THE BEST!!!
30. lol@thisreview (unregistered)
You all should have known that this was going to be an ass comparison because the Epic 4g wasn't one of the "hottest" phones of the summer. I work at Radio Shack and in my district and all US districts we are getting more EVO requests than Epic requests. I have actually had two Epics in the back of my store since release. We haven't had an EVO since the day of release. We got about four in and sold out in about an hour then everytime we get another in we sell it within three or so hours. Every Epic sold in my district had been exchanged for and EVO or been returned entirely and switched to AT&T for the Iphone 4.
32. gadgetman (unregistered)
I have the droid x, its photos are excelent, and the ui is a pleasure to use. I work next to a guy with the icrap 4 and we did a comparison at work with the 2 phones and the droid x did much better job at photos...as for the epic 4g i cant say. I have been reading phone arena for a few years now and so far they have rated the iphone best in every area for some reason, even though there are clearly some better options in the phone world! and no im not bias, i have had a ton of smartphones, i just prefer the android os.
33. applesr4eating (Posts: 32; Member since: 01 Jul 2010)
Look who does all of the advertizing here on PA. I wonder if PA advertizers ever read comparison of the products with the idiot phone here on PA. If they ever did I think they may pull all of their adds.
37. hacksta10110 (unregistered)
Yes Im Biased, because Apple is horridly for the simple"i don't have a clue" minded, and in my opinion- don't deserve the right to even consider themselves apart of the cellualr world, GSM/UTS folks=2 way Walkie talkie. Sure you have an Apple Product, and Yep you wasted your money. Fact 1-Android is far superior to Apple.(I didn't ask this, i stated it.) Fact 2-The EVO nor the X needs duct tape to SEND a picture that is taken. Fact 3- Steve Jobs is a tool. Fact 4-The X is Superior to all devices in question due to it being a true CDMA Device. Not "Lets use WIMAX and pretend it's 4G". Not "We have an App for deadzones, to mark the carriers short comings". To sum it up, a device that takes pictures is only as good as the network it's on. So go head, get an EVO and enjoy your "pretend 4G", proceed to Apple's simplicity and lack of thought of its users. I would rather use smoke signals to call 911, than to trust my needs with a product that is designed around a logo and a name. Stop and ask yourself, Who Owns Apple? Now ask, Who Owns Linux(for you Apple users AndroidSDK is linux) the people own Android, Android doesn't own you. Guess im going to go take some pictures in the dark, good luck Apple, your going to need every dollar you've conned to keep up the pace. Android is §uperiour. Hands Down....... I said Hands Down, no further questions. Peace
38. Sooo? (unregistered)
Soooo, 10000 pages and in the end you give out the usual "it's down to preference" crap? Come on... from what I could tell it's a close battle between Apple and Samsung but the Epic seems to take the cake.
40. treyrg (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Jan 2012)
The comments on here are really getting on my nerves... a lot. The iPhone 4 is amazing. No matter what anybody says. Apple is a great company, therefore, they make great products. The Droid X is an amazing phone, too. I have the Samsung Epic and I think it's amazing, too. To be honest, the phone is the best TO YOU depending on what suits your needs. If you want a keyboard phone then get a keyboard phone.
Another thing that annoys me is the anti iPhone users and the iPhone fanboys. Seriously? Just because the iPhone is great doesn't meant that every other phone sucks. iPhone fanboys are extremely biased and it annoys me. My friend JUST got an iPhone 4. Right before he got his new phone he was saying how my Samsung Epic was better than the 4 but not better than the 4S. I agreed. Well, then he got the 4 and told me it was better than my phone. He also was telling my friend, who has the Envy Touch, that her phone was amazing. Now he tells her that her phone is crap. That's just one example. Apple fanboys are extremely annoying because they think the only thing that anybody should get is an Apple product... this isn't true. Don't be naive.
Also, anti iPhone users are completely biased, too. They don't like the iPhone, just because it's popular and expensive... news flash! So are the phones they want. It just kind of annoys me. All nice phones are expensive. Just because something is popular doesn't mean you shouldn't get it. If you want the phone, then get the phone. Don't be naive. Plus, some people take it to the extreme. I have a friend who's FaceBook status update said "Yay, Steve Jobs died!" That's not okay. He was a living person who was trying to make people happy with his products. He did great and for people to wish he was dead then cheer when he does die is cruel, sick, and not okay. It pisses the hell out of me.
I just felt like everyone on here had to stop arguing. If someone handed me an iPhone, and I didn't have the Samsung Epic, I'd gladly take the iPhone. If I had an iPhone and someone handed me a Samsung Epic, I would keep using the iPhone because that was MY phone. Don't be biased people.