At the snap of a finger: which flagship takes photos the fastest?

At the snap of a finger: which flagship takes photos the fastest?
It feels like it has been ages since the first modern smartphones came to be back in 2007. In an industry characterized by mind-blowingly rapid progress, we've quickly gotten to a point where the initial A + B + C equation to what makes a great smartphone is now absolutely inadequate. In fact, it has grown into something our word editor can't even properly display. The process has gotten insanely complicated, in other words.

And while we're mostly talking about different approaches that, inevitably (with flagships, at least), lead to a great outcome, it would be completely wrong to assert that one can produce an objective, one-size-fits-all, device that is better at everything than the rest. Indeed, the nuances are there, and different manufacturers invest in different aspects of the package that smartphones have grown to represent. One such major aspect is the camera.

Yep, no big surprises there – pretty much without exception, flagship cameras are the object of the most sizable investment for manufacturers, and that's understandable. And yet, the main focus is on image quality. Pursuing that is a perfectly-understood necessity, but that's hardly all there is to a shooter. As you gleaned from the title, we believe that the time it takes you to power on your camera, focus on your object, snap a picture, and have your phone save it to its memory so that you're ready to shoot again, is also a factor when it comes to what makes a great cameraphone. That's especially important when you get one of those unexpected, "Hell-I-need-to-take-a-picture-of-this-right-now" moments, where every second counts.

So which modern flagships excel in this field? Let's find out!

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91 Comments

1. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Lol....Lumia takes 10 secs to fire up ?! Does their camera app also offer to put the kettle on while opening the app ?

2. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Seriously 1...2...3 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10 You really can miss a moment.

53. Sid91 unregistered

Photo subject already left the building, Its focuses and takes the pic quickly but than processes for like 8 seconds Lol the 1020 is a year old but still thats a long time to take a pic, I think thats for 41mp pic processing time on the old time processor, for just 5mp its considerably less but nowhere near the others

57. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Lol.....its a year old phone while z2 s5 are just 3 months old.....there is a huge diff in processor.....just wait until 1020 successor is announced with sd805

63. srgonu

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Note 3 is around 9 months old fyi

80. hellbread

Posts: 309; Member since: Nov 21, 2014

Iphone 5 is more than two years old now and still takes pictures 3 times faster...

82. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Nothing to do how old 1020 is. The huge different is 1020 is trying to process and save a 41mp picture. You are comparing 41mp to 8-16mp or 20.1mp in Sony's case.

5. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I thought this was well know by now, the 1020 does indeed take a LONG LONG time to take a pic, i reckon my HTC One can take 30 pics or more while the Lumia 1020 takes one. I have compared both side by side.

22. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

Maybe you could take 30 pictures before the 1020 is ready to take its second, but that one picture from the 1020 will be far and away better than any of those 30 and the end result is all that really matters in photography.

43. Ikechukwu

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

Wise words

48. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

So projecting, you don't know that

60. khaledmhawesh

Posts: 38; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

you will miss the moment in 10 sec. tell me how nice it is taking a perfect picture of something you dont need :P

64. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

Except it doesn't take 10 seconds to take a photo on the 1020, from the lock screen it takes 4 seconds to capture an image.

85. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Complete non sense. You will take 10 seconds to take a picture you don't need and remember you have to stay still. You kid is doing something you have to snap, you don't have to wait 10 seconds and pray to God that the picture is not blurry mess... Because you will have to wait 10 seconds again.

90. srgonu

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

For the waiting game there are DSLRs.

6. Beijendorf unregistered

It's 10 seconds to start the app, take a picture and save it down to the internal memory. Not just to start the camera application.

13. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

There is difference between 4, 13, 16, 20MP vs 41MP

17. hurrycanger

Posts: 1759; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

The article really got the chance to make fun of the 1020. But anyway, the z2 has 20mp right? Why does the 1020 take more than 3 times the total time just because it saves a pic twice as big? It is slow. The extra 20mp shouldn't take 7 seconds to save. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

20. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

The reason the 1020 is so slow is because it's handling those massive images on a Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC (dual 1.5GHz Krait cores), a chip that shouldn't even be able to handle that much data coming from the camera. Nokia actually had to work with Qualcomm to re-design the camera stack to get it all working, so it really is no surprise that it's slow processing each image.

24. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Nokia/Microsoft already doing this with Qualcomm in the be Nokia Lumia 1020.

33. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

"The reason the 1020 is so slow is because it's handling those massive images on a Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC (dual 1.5GHz Krait cores)..." All because Microsoft artificially crippled Windows Phone OS to only support two cores at the time, even though the kernel could support 32 cores. So Nokia couldn't use a newer/faster four core chip from Qualcomm.

51. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Actually WP8 supports up to 64 cores right now, with the potential for more if ever needed. Remember, it shares its kernel with a desktop OS, so there is plenty of potential available to unleash if/when components ever get to that point.

39. hurrycanger

Posts: 1759; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Understandable then. I forgot about that. But then that's a sad part about the 1020. For a flagship from last year, it deserved a better processor. The rest about the phone seems great.

47. wilsong17 unregistered

excuse fan boy

86. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

In fact it is because of Windows Phone, because this old age OS can not handle a dedicated Image Chip. To tell you how it is bad. In fact, Nokia was limited by WP.

31. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

2X pixels, it takes 2X large photo and catch so much details. Plus processor. It doesn't mean that close number has to be closer, u know there is 0.01ms can make difference in ranking.

16. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

No, it doesn't take 10 seconds to fire up. I have a 1020 and from the lock screen it takes 4-5 seconds to take a picture, but then takes another 4 seconds or so to save that image. So for taking the first picture it's actually close to being on par with the others in this round up, it's taking that second picture that really takes time. Having said that I'd still take the 1020's camera over any other at the moment, the images it produces are so much better than any other smartphone that it's well worth the wait. Plus you rarely need to take a second shot as it tends to get things right the first time.

28. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

You fandroids laugh at the speed of the camera of the L1020, we WP fans laugh at your phone's imaging quality.

32. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Their photos are so tiny to compare our Nokia Lumia 1020 photos.... Lolololol. We need only one photo and they need 100 photos to choose best one.

54. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Go check dxomark. Xperia Z2 and GS5 has put your beloved pureview tech to shame.

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