Samsung Galaxy S II vs LG Optimus 2X vs Nokia N8 vs Apple iPhone 4: Camera comparison
We got the Samsung Galaxy S II, the LG Optimus 2X, the Nokia N8, and the Apple iPhone 4. Two of those are capable of Full HD 1080p video recording, so we are only pitting them against each other in that department. In all fairness, these are still cell phone cameras, so, with maybe the exception of the big sensor on the Nokia N8, we didn't expect wonders from the snaps.
We've reached the stage, however, where you can leave your point-and-shoot at home for casual photos with a piece of mind, and just use your high-end smartphone, which you are lugging around anyway. So let's try to determine which of these cameras does what well. All phones were on Auto settings, no HDR was used, we only switched on the Macro mode for close-ups, where we had it.
Each of the phones captures plenty of detail in the frame, and it's hard to pick, since none of the cameras missed any major bit. At first look, the Samsung Galaxy S II has the upper hand, producing sharp photos with distinctive details out of the box.
The Nokia N8, however, captures the same extensive amount of detail, but since it bets on unaltered looks by default, the image appears slightly softer than on the Samsung Galaxy S II. The iPhone 4 also showed very good, almost equal results, and, alternatively, the LG Optimus 2X captures plenty of detail, but the lack of contrast makes the picture appear washed out.
1. Samsung Galaxy S II and Nokia N8
2. Apple iPhone 4
3. LG Optimus 2X
Colors from the Nokia N8 came out being the most natural-looking. We have more saturation from the Samsung Galaxy S II, which makes its photos more appealing at first look, but unfortunately, looking at it closer, it becomes clear they are slightly colder than in reality. The ones with the LG Optimus 2X are both quite cold, and on the bland, undersaturated side. Finally, the iPhone 4 flips to the other side, producing contrasty, jolly, highly saturated images, which can be good and bad, depending on the situation.
We'd pick here the Nokia N8 for its natural looks, and the Samsung Galaxy S II, whose pictures, while slightly colder than reality, are a close enough shot.
1. Nokia N8
2. Samsung Galaxy S II and Apple iPhone 4
3. LG Optimus 2X
Exposure and dynamic range
Nokia N8 gets it right most of the time when there is a bright distraction in the frame, or a lot of sky. It also doesn't over- or underexpose, and you can clearly see the close gradients in the cloud and sky coloring. The Samsung Galaxy S II also does pretty well with exposure measurements and dynamic range.
The iPhone 4 sometimes overexposes bright objects, depending on where you focus at, so you have to be careful which spot to touch on the screen if there is such area in the frame. The LG Optimus 2X performs decently, with no drastic misexposed spots. We didn't turn on the HDR function on the iPhone 4, in order to keep the playing field leveled.
1. Nokia N8
2. Samsung Galaxy S II
3. LG Optimus 2X
4. Apple iPhone 4
1. ap (unregistered)
Where is the Xperia Arc in this?? U guys had to include the iPhone but you couldn't include the Arc which easily has the best Droid snapper till date!!! This is one of the worst mixed up article I've read recently....
13. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4749; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Guys remember this is iPhoneArena. If the iPhone 4 was to take a picture & a turd came out of the lens they still would say the iPhone 4 has a good camera. My wife had a iPhone 4 & all her girlfriends had or have iPhone 4 & all unanimously say the iPhone 4 camera is such crap. They are 10 real world women not kids who hate how their children appear & how many cute candid shots of their children were ruined by the horrible iPhone 4 camera. Again this is real world usage not iPhoneArena propaganda! The N8, could never lose to the iPhone 4, the tech behind that camera is great, look it up (Google it) the iPhone 4’s cheap camera can’t even compare. You are right about the Xperia Arc everyone & their mothers are raving about that camera, every other website I read says it's a super camera. iPhoneArena you dropped the ball on that one also! Why can’t there ever be a unbiased article when it comes to the iPhone 4 in PhoneArena.com, opps I am sorry iPhoneArena.com!
41. Kath (unregistered)
I absolutely don't agree with you. (and I'm no Apple fan at all)
But because two of my colleagues have an iPhone and I have a Samsung Galaxy S, I decided to buy a iPhone 4, just to compare.
Anyway,they both have their strengths and weaknesses but the camera on the iPhone really does a very good job!
I use the 'Pro Camera' app to improve things the standard camera app doesn't offer: Spot metering.
That's what the Galaxy S does offer out-of-the-box and I use it most of the time ;)
But after nearly a year of using my Galaxy S, I'll be switching to the SGS II in a couple of days :)
60. comnut (unregistered)
Kath: you revealed WHY you think the camera is good... you have enhanced it, unlike most using the basic one, that is why they think its awful.. finding an app is not so easy to them...
YES N8 is a great camera, but I prefer a phone with a 'quick pics' camera, not a good camera with a not so great phone & OS attached...
The N8 can be enhanced right up to super SLR compact quality with an app, but the battery life pictures stored are drastically reduced....
44. NeXoS (Posts: 286; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Because the Arc would've made the iPhone 4 look like the turd that it really is.
27. ryq (unregistered)
Same here. Arc should have been included in this comprariosn.
75. Mike (unregistered)
ok i just checked out a few vids on the camera comparison on the arc and the iphone and i gotta say....... your full of crap man.. sorry but u need to research better on the stuff your talking about..
1. first off it has the worst camcorder capabilities and can even keep up with the iphone 4
2. i dont own an iphone 4 but the real lose is in the shadows...cmon is that a real argument how often are you going to compare a pros and cons to a phone thats sony. which is made by s**t compared to Apple. thats like saying xbox is better than PS3 ...it will never happen
2. Sinple (unregistered)
I wanted to say this its quite fair until it says n 8 shutter is a flaw. N 8 has a button on the screen where 1 touch, it will auto do the focus ing which do not lose to other phone in term of user interface
46. NeXoS (Posts: 286; Member since: 03 May 2011)
If iPhoneArena was too stupid to figure this out, then that just blows the credibility of their comparison out of the water. Turns out they don't know jack about mobile devices and are just the viral marketing arm of Apple, Inc.
3. Meha (unregistered)
Very biased comparison... Didn't even make sense on the first place to compare phones like N8 with other 5 and 8MP.
Didn't even mention the settings at which photos were taken, N8 has lots of operational modes and other phones must also have.
Phonearena! looks like you are only focused on increasing the number of posts these days to get the attention... Need to build some quality as well.
26. koutrelakos (Posts: 30; Member since: 17 Mar 2010)
why doesn't it make sense to compare a 12 MP to an 8 or a 5? If you understood how it worked, and not just that 12 > 8 > 5, then you'd realize that you don't make much sense yourself..
4. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)
Maybe these shots were taken on a standard point and shoot settings. N8 has natural feel to it while GS2 were a little bit off due to lack in contrast and iPhone 4 looks over saturated which might be a good deal for some people who are not really into natural colors and such. 2X's shots look rubbish and don't deserve attention at all.
5. ogbeni (unregistered)
I see that no matter how you do it, the iphone gets good praise for it's simplicity. Why don't we talk about usabily and functionality in one shot that way you will see that the most function will get better usage than just point and shoot.
45. NeXoS (Posts: 286; Member since: 03 May 2011)
How does iPhoneArena define "simplicity"?
I have an Android phone with a camera shortcut on my desktop. It takes just 1 tap to get into the camera app and another tap to shoot the picture.
How the hell does the iPhone get such fanboy praise when it does the EXACT SAME THING!!?
55. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4749; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
It's what you say exactly, iPhoneArena is "just the viral marketing arm of Apple, Inc." No one could have said it better. "I have an Android phone with a camera shortcut on my desktop. It takes just 1 tap to get into the camera app and another tap to shoot the picture", I have been doing the same for years now. "Simplicity" should not make the iPhone 4 great when all the phones do the same thing. It's a wash. Why should the iPhone 4 get bonus points for "Simplicity" only? All the phones in this comparison, (or lack there off) should get the same judgment in the "Simplicity" aspect of this obviously biased comparison!
6. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)
WTF? I just noticed. iPhone 4 got 2nd in video shots. I'm not a hater but dude, N8 uses wide angle lenses which capture a lot of detail compared to any other video cameras (even dedicated digital video cam). Clearly, PA don't have any idea what they're talking about. If you want professional performance comparisons, google it. Don't bother reading this article which I regretfully did.
7. Meha (unregistered)
That was my point :)
PA looks more of a "News Getter" not Analysts.
8. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 864; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
Nokia N8, still imaging champion, and you can argue the best 720p recording phone on the market. I'll be keeping mine around long after I dump Nokia for an Android phone.
9. protozeloz (Posts: 5392; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
8mp vs 5mp again? there many phones with 8mp you could compare and would be more appreciated but adding this 5mp iPhone to the competition is not even fun, they again I wonder whats your intention with doing this?
11. armstrong4 (unregistered)
It is not the size that matters, even my nokia n82 will beat some of the phones. Mine has for example a real flash.
15. protozeloz (Posts: 5392; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
the problem is that we already seen iPhone compete with others using 8mp camera now why add it again? and again and again? its not that I now there are many new 5mp-8mp camera phones why aren't they included here? whats the standard to make these comparison? what a phone has to to to be here? because it doest seem to be remarks
10. armstrong4 (unregistered)
Question, why is the filesize so small on Nokia N8. Seems like you have turned on compression on the pictures? The filesize in the pictures is more than half what it should be. The size should be the biggest because it has 12Mpixel.
Second, like always, do not put the video on youtube because it will be jerky when playing it, let us download the file and play it on VLC.
14. calamazoo (unregistered)
My Nokia N8 always produces shots between 1.5 and 2.5 MB, while I've seen photos from the galaxy S or the Optimus 2X vary bet. 3MP and 4.5, you have to use smth. like Camera Pro to lower the compression level, it's 5 bucks...
47. NeXoS (Posts: 286; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Well, they had to rig the tests and handicap the phone so it wouldn't look too much better than the iPhone.
Good job catching this and calling out their BS, now, iPhoneArena....we await your response to rigging the tests!
12. AssafK (unregistered)
Please put the ARC inside?
Where does it stand?
16. andro (unregistered)
Steve Jobs won't like seeing the iPhone being in 4th so often,expect to be sued phonearena!!! His will rally his ifanboys in anger!
17. calamazoo (unregistered)
hehe, true that, andro :-) why didn't Nokia make the N8 record with 30fps is beyond me, it could have been second in video. I hacked mine to do 30 fps and continuous focus, but the 680MHz chipset is definitely struggling with that... if I overclock, then battery suffers, you just can't win here :-)
18. bluechrism (unregistered)
OK, Added up the scores and here are the results based on rankings given - i.e 1=1 point, 4=4 points and if 2 are tied, they both get whatever rank it is. So lowest points = best.
Nokia N8 = 13 (5 first places - Detail, color, exposure, indoor, night)
Samsung Galaxy SII = 14 (3fp - detail, macro, video)
IPhone 4 = 19 (2 fp - macro, ease of use)
LG Optimus X2 = 24 (came 2nd twice - once joint 2nd on indoor, and second behind a joint first on macro, was never top)
If you add it up where joint pushes values down for the next place - i.e if 2 devices are joint first, the next would get 3 points and the last 4 (instead of 2 & 3 above)
Nokia N8 = 14
Samsung Galaxy SII = 14
IPhone 4 = 21
LG Optimus X2 = 27
So N8 and Galaxy SII are the clear winners here.
19. calamazoo (unregistered)
Thanks bluechrism, that's about right, it's clear from the images also :-)
22. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
thanks for saving me on the math. i was about to do the same thing.
"if you want a simplistic over saturated blur shot.. use the iphone4"!!
im sorry, but the iphone4 should not be in this comparison. Yea, last year it was relevant but cameras have moved well beyond the iphone. Wheres the Arc? That would have been a much more reasonable comparison than the frikkin iphone.
personally after lookin at the pix, id give the slight edge in like 60% of the shots to the SGS2.. just ever so slightly. The N8 produces great shots for a phone though, no doubt.
My bet on the Optimus 2x is that its the base android software more than it is the lens. Base android has never been that great at photos. A simple software update from LG could fix it up quickly.
24. jill66 (unregistered)
NOKIA N8 has the best camera (his top reputation for cameras is not a coincidence).
20. sorr932 (Posts: 3; Member since: 20 May 2011)
iPhone 4 video capture is better than Nokia N8?
you've gotta be kidding!
21. Sinple (unregistered)
iphone clearly take lousier video than n8
23. paul2 (unregistered)
2 points for reviewer:
1) As the SGS2 been reviewed by many sites now, and some have criticised the initial few seconds of video as unfocused due to delay in autofocus - it would have been useful if you could have considered that
2) I also am wondering why you omitted the SE Arc as one of the hot recently released phones, to include a 1 year old previous generation model ?
25. weirdfisher (Posts: 51; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)
After installing a patch for N8, the image file size is about 5mb.
I also get continuous af and 30fps for the HD video
The patch is free
48. NeXoS (Posts: 286; Member since: 03 May 2011)
iPhone shouldn't even be in the comparison, the Arc should've!
29. kit (unregistered)
Where is the Xperia arc??? I want to see the result of this phone compared to others except Iphone4. I have seen Iphone4's pic on my computer...its pictures are the worse of all.
30. marc (unregistered)
to all of you idiots still saying the 25fps on the n8 is bad what do you say about current big screen movies being shot in 24fps? and why does the the icrap win for ease of use where it doesnt even have an dedicated camera button? where the n8 got both onscreen and the camera button and didnt phonearena say in the post they'd have to give it a draw but for some reason the icraps 1st and the n8 second?and whers the SE Arc? this website should be changed to iphonearena!
49. NeXoS (Posts: 286; Member since: 03 May 2011)
FYI, FPS on the iPhone is faked, it's not 30fps, it's 15 and they just double the frames. That's right, look it up iPhoneArena, do some real research before doing your "comparisons" instead of counting the viral ad dollars Apple is paying you.
That's why the video on the iPhone sucks and shouldn't even be in this group that does true 30FPS.
32. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Out of all the 30 comments so far not one of them have been iPhone fans. I hope you all realize who the predominant majority is here. Would've liked to have seen the Omnia 7 in this though.
56. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Ignored once again. Hmmm...I wonder why..
33. gwerg (unregistered)
When will You compare the quality of zoom in video? It's really important feature.
34. gwerg (unregistered)
Why iPhone got first place in shooting macro? I think that orange picture of white paper is not good.
35. StylinRed (unregistered)
Let's not forget you can download a patch that will give the N8 30fps along with many other features if you so wish
36. dara (unregistered)
this is ridiculous - to say that iphone4 has better detail than optimus and equal as sgs, and then use 100% crops of 5MP with 8MP to compare!
To compare, you MUST magnify the iphone's shot frame to match that of 8MP&12MP 100% crops and then talk. -.-
37. vivek.ray (Posts: 22; Member since: 08 Apr 2011)
I dont think PhoneArena have got any technos around nowadays , they handle their phones to their PR who in return catch images and view it on screen like this :
PR 1 - "Look iPhone pics look soo good (while they're admiring its display)"
PR 2 -Look at this , saturated and deep black on my GalaxyS 2 (again they viewed on screen).
Atlast they saw N8 and Optimus , they didnt liked the looks of arc in front of iPhone so omitted it . Followed regular method of posting crops and videos and at end instead of camera test it turn out as screen test
1.Retina 2.SA2 3.AMOLED 4.LCD
hats off to PhoneArena :D , u gave ur critics a good chance :D(aint a joke :( )
38. vishu9 (Posts: 252; Member since: 03 Mar 2011)
finally..happy to see iPhone receive some bashing on PhoneArena!!...never mind if its only in the cam department....Comparisons or not my N8 can beat any freakin phone-camera's ass out there! :)
PS they really ahud have included Arc in this comparison coz from wat i hear its a real winner camera in the android segment.
39. ImLagunero (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 May 2011)
WHERE IS THE XPERIA ARC?
40. silvercat13 (unregistered)
In the video part you have lost the fact that N8 is able to zoom on 720p videos up to 3x in an optical-like fashion thanks to the big sensor and a smart algorithm.
The other phones I guess will just crop the image, making the artifact quite clear. This would be nice to have a look into.
43. and1one (unregistered)
Man, this is one of the lousiest review I have ever read in any sites on the internet. How can you compare a freaking Apple iPhone 4 to Nokia N8-00? Or even to LG Optimus 2X and Samsung Galaxy S II? Another is others were right, where was the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc? However, none of this phones should even compare to Nokia N8-00 with its wide-angle lens 12 MP camera phone with 3x Smart zoom 720p video recording. Well, maybe Galaxy S II and Optimus 2X have both wide-angle lens when it comes to video recording, but that's just not it. It doesn't have 3x Smart zoom like Nokia N8-00 or even the stereo sound recording. Even if talks of the fluidity of the videos (30fps), what you are seeing in your everyday life is more or less compose of only 24fps (televisions or cinemas). Color rendering is must consider too when looking at those images and videos. That so sad that an Apple iPhone 4 can compare to this 8 MPs and a monster 12 MP cameraphone? iPhone 4 is not Nokia N82 that can compare to INNOV8 or C905. Because N82 has a high-quality camera with better color rendering than iPhone 4. Even Nokia 6700 classic or Sony Ericsson C905 is better than iPhone 4. Lastly, if Samsung Pixon12 or Sony Ericsson Satio cannot withstand the power of Nokia N8-00, then definitely other cameraphones out there has no authority to compare there shitty smaller sensor to Nokia N8-00. You see, N8-00 has been compared to an 18 MP DSLR camera, but surprisingly, some on the scenes I saw, a 12 MP cameraphone can beat those shots by a DSLR!
51. email@example.com (unregistered)
Dear writers in PhoneArena,
First of all, I'm wondering what the hell is doing iPhone 4 in such article?
Maybe bacuse you have a "i" infront of your real name? You miss a SE Arc, but put a iCrap in comparison?
Second: Can you explain how the video of iPhone 4 is better than Nokia N8? I've never seen such choppy videos with undeal colors like one on the iCrap.
Third: What is this section "Easy of use and speed"?!? iPhone 4 don't have dedicated camera key and it's rubbish and painful to make pictures, but it's easier? On N8 you've only one touch and the camera is on. What is more simple or easier of that? I don't need to "tap" anywhere.
Come on... Get lost with articles like this.
52. cyborg (unregistered)
This review is so rigged. So many flaws. I was really expecting something worth reading.
I want GSMArena to have a remake of their megapixel droid shootout to exclusive to 8MP droids: SGS2, LGO2X, SEArc
N8 is exempted. iP4 is disqualified.
53. whoa (unregistered)
I'm gonna have to disagree a little here. Yes the Samsung has full HD resolution but I don't think it's using it very well. It doesn't take a professional or a trained eye to see that the videos shot on the N8 are crisper and reveal more detail than that of the Samsung. Over all I'd say a very fair review, though the iphone should never have been here, or the LG. The only real comparison could be the Samsung vs the N8 because of the Samsung's 1080p resolution. Still, I take issue with the video challenge though as I see the N8 as the clear winner. Good article though.
54. SGean (unregistered)
Thumbs up if you think PhoneArena should redo the comparison with the xperia arc in it.
57. fhfdgfdgh (unregistered)
What about the quality of zoom in video mode?
59. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
Phone Arena had to include the iphone because they might as well. Whether the iphone4 is included or not, you iphone haters would mention it anyways. So there. I say, put your money where your mouth is. The ip4 outsold all the other phones here. Meaning, the ip4 is the better phone overall. It has a very good camera. And consider that its hdr feature is not even turned on here, which I think is not fair because the other phones are used at their best settings, so why turn the iphone's hdr off?