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Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4

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Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4

Did you know that the Samsung Galaxy S7 can block telemarketers from calling you? Or that heat inside it is dissipated by a liquid cooling system? Or that its components are rubberized to prevent water damage? Or that it has a camera feature similar to Apple's Live Photos? Or that you can make it block notifications whenever your favorite game is running?

That's great and all, but we suppose you're a lot more curious to know how well the Galaxy S7's camera performs. And we're here to shed some light on the matter. In fact, we're about to compare the Samsung Galaxy S7 against three other well-known shooters. Firstly, there's the iPhone 6s – a phone that we feel obliged to include not only for its very potent camera, but also because it is among the Galaxy S7's biggest rivals. Then there's the Galaxy S6, Samsung's flagship from a year back. Naturally, we're expecting the Galaxy S7's camera to have a lead ahead that of its predecessor, but we're eager to see how big of a gap there will be between the two. And the LG G4 is in the race to spice things up a bit by giving its competitors a good run for their money.

Before we take a look at the images we've shot, here's what these four handsets have to offer in terms of camera specs:

Camera specs
Samsung
Galaxy S7
iPhone 6sSamsung
Galaxy S6
LG G4
Resolution and
aspect ratio
12MP @ 4:3
4032 x 3024 pixels
12MP @ 4:3
4032 x 3024 pixels
16MP @ 16:9
5312 x 2988 pixels
16MP @ 16:9
5312 x 2988 pixels
Sensor and
pixel size
1/2.5"
1.4 μm
1/3"
1.22 μm
1/2.6"
1.12 μm
1/2.6"
1.12 μm
Focal length
and aperture
26mm
F1.7
29 mm
F2.2
28 mm
F1.9
28 mm
F1.8
Focus and
stabilization
Dual Pixel AF
Optical stabilization
Phase detection AF
No OIS
Phase detection AF
Optical stabilization
Laser AF
Optical stabilization

Clearly, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a lot to stand its ground with. It might not have the most megapixels (which is something you shouldn't be worried about anyway), but it has wider aperture, larger sensor, and larger pixels. This should allow it to pick up light more easily than its rivals, thus producing better photos, especially in low light. But that's all theory, as we like to say. Let's now take a look at some photos and see if the camera on the Galaxy S7 is as awesome of a shooter as specs indicate.

High-resolution photo samples might take a few moments to load. 

Scene 1: A walk in the park


Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4

It was a gloomy afternoon when we took this photo, and it looks like every single one of the phones had a different opinion as to how the scene should look. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is treating us to an image that captivates with its vivid, saturated colors. We wouldn't call it the most color-accurate, but this is definitely the photo that best draws our attention. The iPhone, on the other hand, shot a dull, cold-looking image, which is not the kind of behavior we expected of Apple's handset. 

Surprisingly, it is the Samsung Galaxy S6 that delivers the most life-like colors, with an image that looks very close to what our eyes could see in real life. As for the LG G4, its camera appears to be trying to introduce warmth to the image, but the result isn't exactly great. Hints of red and pink appear in areas of the photo where they shouldn't be.

Colors aside, we see that all four cameras managed to capture plenty of detail. Only the image from the G4 seems to be a bit hazy in certain areas, but this could be due to the fact that the camera doesn't sharpen the photo as much. 

Scene 1: EXIF data
Samsung
Galaxy S7
iPhone 6sSamsung
Galaxy S6
LG G4
ISOISO64ISO25ISO64ISO50
Shutter speed1/1001/331/501/40

Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4


Scene 2: Hotel London


Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4


We took these four shots later that day. It is clear to see that the iPhone's image stands out, but not exactly in a good way. Colors in it are much warmer than they should be, which gives us a rather unnatural reproduction of the scene. All other phones managed to deliver colors closer to reality, although we still see an odd hint of red in the G4's photo. As far as details go, we're pleased to see that all four phones managed to snap clear shots, with little to no visible noise even if we take a close look. Again, the LG G4 seems to be less aggressive with the sharpening dial, so its photo looks very natural even at 100% zoom.

Scene 2: EXIF data
Samsung
Galaxy S7
iPhone 6sSamsung
Galaxy S6
LG G4
ISOISO50ISO25ISO40ISO50
Shutter speed1/2891/1971/1481/134

Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4


Scene 3: Playground


Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4


Looking at this particular set of shots, we can say that all four cameras managed to capture the bright, saturated colors very accurately, without exaggerating them or making them appear duller than they actually are. That's a good thing, of course. However, the iPhone's photo could use a bit more exposure. As the case is with the previous couple of scenes, details captured by all four cameras are plentiful, with the LG G4 introducing the least amount of filtering. 

Scene 3: EXIF data
Samsung
Galaxy S7
iPhone 6sSamsung
Galaxy S6
LG G4
ISOISO50ISO25ISO40ISO50
Shutter speed1/2531/1601/1321/120

Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4



Scene 4: Yellow flowers


Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4


Mahonia aquifolium, also known as Oregon grape, is the plant producing these pretty yellow flowers. All four phones captured their natural beauty rather well, with plentiful details and pleasing colors. There are some slight variations in color tone between images, but we wouldn't call them a big deal in this particular scene. 

It is worth pointing out that the bokeh effect – that artistic blurring of the background – is most pronounced in the LG G4. There's also plenty of it in the photos from the two Galaxies. The iPhone 6s produces the least amount of bokeh, which doesn't come as a surprise given its camera's narrower aperture – a factor that determines how much blur will be present in the out-of-focus areas.

Scene 4: EXIF data
Samsung
Galaxy S7
iPhone 6sSamsung
Galaxy S6
LG G4
ISOISO50ISO25ISO50ISO50
Shutter speed1/1891/1591/1001/120

Best smartphone cameras compared: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, LG G4

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