Battle of the megapixels: 6-way blind camera comparison

UPDATE: Voting is now over and the results have been posted here.

If you're among the people who still think that a high-end smartphone can't be as good of a shooter as a dedicated point-and-shoot camera, get ready to have your mind blown away. That's because we're once again taking some of the best cameraphones out there for a shootout at the alley. Which ones we've picked, however, is something we chose to not share with you, guys. Instead, today we're having a blind camera comparison, in which you can vote for the photos you personally like the most.

To keep things fair, all of the smartphones we're comparing were set to their standard camera mode during the shootout – no scenes modes were used, nor manual tweaks, nor exposure controls. In other words, we decided to let each camera decide for itself what the optimum settings in each scene were. 

In addition, all images have been scaled down from their original size to a resolution of about 2.8 megapixels (width of 1920 pixels at an aspect ratio of 4:3), including the reference photos taken with a Panasonic Lumix GH2 and its kit lens. Seems low? Well, it's actually not. A photo of such size is large enough to fill any of today's high-definition displays and offers sufficient resolution to produce quality 6" by 4" printed photographs. Besides, those photos from last weekend's party that you were tagged in on Facebook are much smaller in size, yet nobody seems to be complaining. 

Outdoor photos

We're now giving you our first set of photo samples – four outdoor scenes captured with six different high-end smartphones and a reference shot for each scene taken with the aforementioned camera. Judging by what you see below, which phone's photos do you like the most?

Which phone's outdoor photos do you like the most?

Phone #1
Phone #2
Phone #3
Phone #4
Phone #5
Phone #6

Indoor photos

Now it's time to up the ante as we're moving the action indoors. In here the smartphones we're comparing will have an even harder time taking a good-looking photo as the light that's available just can't beat the brightness output of good ol' Mr Sun. A total of three scenes were captured in our studio – one using a strong light source, another with the lights dimmed down to a medium setting, and the last frame was taken with the lights set to "low". Which phone's indoor photos do you like the most?

Which phone's indoor photos do you like the most?

Phone #1
Phone #2
Phone #3
Phone #4
Phone #5
Phone #6

Video quality comparison

And lastly we're going to demonstrate how good these six mysterious smartphones are at capturing video. As any other high-end device out there, these handsets are capable of capturing 1080 video at 30 frames per second. Which one does that best, however, is up to you to decide. We've stitched together a set of 15-second video samples taken with the phones we're comparing so check them out and then cast your vote below! Note that the audio from the videos has been removed – we're focusing solely on video quality after all.

Video quality: which phone you think is best?

Phone #1
Phone #2
Phone #3
Phone #4
Phone #5
Phone #6

The true identity of each smartphone used in the comparison will be revealed in a few days. Now vote for your favorite, in case you haven't done so already, and don't hesitate to join the discussion down in the comments!



1. wendygarett unregistered

Camera quality is so subjective here... I don't know which should I vote here :(

4. joesseth

Posts: 61; Member since: Dec 18, 2012

Do you need help? or brand?

24. wendygarett unregistered

Uh ok, #4 attract me overall, but not bad for the #2 indoor...

32. Aeires unregistered

I voted that way as well, colors and lighting seemed to be more natural in those examples.

33. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

For some Nokia fans, I think they will vote for #6 because the toyish color is easily recognized as the beautuful "free Instagram feature" of Lumia 920

34. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

lol. and i thought iphone was the colorful one. i voted random #'s

57. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

then PA has to censor them as well lol

75. yero789 unregistered

It will be so funny if phonearena announces the names of the phones and the 6th one won't be Nokia :D :D :D I voted for 3 different phones.

76. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

You should have not said that... they are BTW dear PA. Can't we compare pics side by side??? Isn't it obvious that will make it so much easier for us to compare?

146. kclgphilsbsa

Posts: 765; Member since: Jan 21, 2013

160. alila2

Posts: 169; Member since: Nov 01, 2011

1st #4 2nd #5 3rd #6 #1 #2 and #3 I care less. Hopefully i didn't vote for the iphone .

164. samsunggalaxylover

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

I think #4 is the galaxy s4 or s3.

162. cloud_atlas1991

Posts: 62; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

DAMN! #4 blew me away!!! This is a good trick, PA!

179. Tonick

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

Specifically registered on this site for this test. Clearly: Phone# 1: Apple iPhone 5 (min sharpen; detail - not bad) Phone# 2: Sony Xperia Z (max blure; max saturation; noise) Phone# 3: HTC One (very big sharpen; subtle details - not exist) Phone# 4: Samsung Galaxy S4 (middle sharpen; very big details; correct exposure) Phone# 5: Nokia Lumia 920 (super saturation :-)) P.S. Sorry for my English..

191. Tonick

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

Sorry I lost 1 phone somewhere.. Phone# 1: Samsung Galaxy S3 Phone# 2: Sony Xperia Z Phone# 3: HTC One Phone# 4: Apple iPhone 5 Phone# 5: Samsung Galaxy S4 Phone# 6: Nokia Lumia 920

40. AamirSIII

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

phone #5 is Samsung Galaxy S4 and its the best here!

113. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Phone 5 it's an iphone 5 or Xperia z due to better colors, phone 6 lumia 920 or BBz10, phone 4 it's an S4.

135. -Shadow-

Posts: 95; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

phone 4 is iphone 5 as you can see that the low light photo is the same as the iphone 5 (the 17th)photo in the last comparison whith HTC one and others.

138. babyk

Posts: 379; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Look at the stabalization in the video, phone number 4 more likely to be Iphone 5

140. -Shadow-

Posts: 95; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

Thats what i said

150. mathburn

Posts: 9; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

i think Phone 5 won't be Xperia Z. i just guess that Phone 2 might be Xperia Z because it's loss most of detail just like Sony phone performed.sorry for my bad English anyway.

120. Guoilyt

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

I think Phone 4 is an iPhone and 5 being an S4 or Xperia Z

58. LonghornTech

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

It's not really blind because if you've followed the major cell phone offerings it's easy to tell which is which.

62. LonghornTech

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

I feel like people are only judging the outdoor pictures by the last photo. Phone 1 does the best job reproducing the image on all but the last photo where it overexposes. Phone 4 does the second best and the rest have odd color tendencies. This blink comparison should really not group a bunch of photos in to one category. I'd make sense to just go photo by photo because there is not one camera that does the best on each photo.

70. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

So clear for me that two are exceptional... it's like A >> B >>>>>>>>>>>>>> rest CDEF

101. amansingal14

Posts: 309; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

Results already - 1. iPhone 5 2. S4 3. HTC 1 4. Nexus 4 5. Xperia Z 6. Nokia 920 Regardless of which phone is originally what, PA can just change the names and reveal differently as they are usually convicted of being bias... However, I do bet that either Lumia or HTC is #4, and I really like #4 and #6. Voting in all categories for #4...

111. shikroi

Posts: 187; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

I think theat number 4 is samsung.

108. TROLL

Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

O so the L920 beats all cameras?

154. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

My Guess -HTC One -Galaxy S4 -Xperia Z -iPhone 5 -Lumia 920

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

In come the people starting a war in 3..2..1..

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