Contrary to what some might believe, we do actually read what our readers say in the comments. We do find value in your feedback, you know, and we take it into account when pondering ways of improving our content. Seriously. Yes, even when you bash us IN ALL CAPS for things like, let's say, not including the Sony Xperia Z5 in our previous smartphone camera comparison. And we're sorry about it. But you know what, this time we'll let the Sony Xperia Z5 show us what it is made of. Indeed, Sony's flagship smartphone is the star of this camera comparison, and if its camera is as good at Sony claims, it should prove a worthy competitor to the iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Let's see if that's the case. 

Before we comment on any of the photo samples we took with these three phones, let us take a look at their camera specs:


Okay, it is clear that the Sony Xperia Z5's camera is not one to be underestimated. It has the largest sensor and the higher resolution among the bunch, which might translate to good detail reproduction, and its shortest focal length predicts very wide viewing angles. But on the downside, the Xperia Z5's camera has the smallest pixels, which could translate to more digital noise, and the lack of optical image stabilization could hurt the phone's low light performance.

But that's all theory, folks. Let us proceed by examining some real-life photos taken with all three phones under conditions as identical as possible.

Scene 1: Green and Gold



We took this shot on a weekend afternoon, when the sun's rays were barely making it through the thick layer of clouds in the sky. Right from the start, we're seeing some color inaccuracies here and there. The iPhone 6s has added a dose of warmth to its image, as it tends to do in scenes like this, while the Note 5 and Sony Xperia Z5 gets close to reality with their color reproduction.

As far as details go, we want to say that the extra megapixels are giving the Xperia Z5 an advantage over its competitors, but we're not entirely sure about it. Some areas of the image do look clearer, especially when compared to the iPhone's image. Other areas are just a blurry mess, presumably due to heavy noise filtering. But as a whole, the Z5's photo is of above-average quality. 

We mentioned that the Z5 has the widest field of view, and that's clear to see from its photos. However, distortion near the corners and edges of its image is easily visible.




Scene 2: Baba's Boat



The Xperia Z5's wide-angle lens came in handy when snapping this shot, as it allowed us to fit the whole ship (it is actually a fancy restaurant) in the frame. The phone's weak spot, however, appears to be detail. The lack thereof, to be more specific. Details in the shadows are missing if we compare the Z5's photo against those shot with its competitors. And the image from Sony's phone looks a tad colder overall, with slightly blueish colors.  

The iPhone 6s has done a good job as far as exposure goes – light and dark areas have been balanced pretty well. Colors, however, are a bit off. There's a yellowish tint across the entire image, which spoils an otherwise faithful shot. Overall, the image from the Galaxy Note 5 is the one that looks best to us, with most faithful color and detail reproduction.




Scene 3: The Lonely Lighthouse



Is it just us, or is the Sony Xperia Z5 struggling in dynamic scenes? Not that its photo is bad or anything, but the light nuances that are supposed to be visible in the sky are pretty much gone. The Galaxy Note 5 is not doing a great job at it either, or at least not in this particular scene. The iPhone 6s, on the other hand, has managed to preserve the shades of grey and blue in the sky pretty well, and that without underexposing the shadows.

In terms of details, the Xperia Z5 delivers mixed results – some areas of the image look nice and sharp, but blur can be seen in others, especially near the corners. Details in the images from the iPhone 6s and Note 5 look great overall, although the latter's tendency to add quite a bit of sharpness to the image is easily visible.



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111 Comments

1. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

What?!?! LG V10 is worthy of being the 3rd contender in this contest versus Xperia Z5 and Galaxy Note5, not iPhone 6S, PA!!!

19. Ashoaib

Posts: 3276; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

PA Kindly add LG V10, nexus 6p and lumia 950xl in the next article... I would like to see these phones in camera battle

21. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

PA probably reserved that trio for the next camera-comparing article for more clicks later. Business is business!

113. Jango

Posts: 372; Member since: Oct 24, 2014

I think the Nexus 6P would have outshone these 3!

23. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Did you check the results above? The 6S came on top of the Z5 in every test. So if you want to include the v10, you should take the Z5 out, not the 6S.

26. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

iOS isn't Android, maherk! So I was refering to a same platform camera comparision, when I said LG V10 should had been enlisted there, rather than iPhone 6S.

29. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

So the 6S should be left out because it runs on iOS? If so, then what should they compare it with?

75. sadiqahmed

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

they should've compared the 6S plus and not the 6S

102. Shocky unregistered

Apple should have put OIS on both devices. The 6S is by a huge margin, the most popular of the two so no, they shouldn't include the 6S Plus. If you want to blame somebody, blame Apple for skimping on costs.

65. 7a6d3e7

Posts: 22; Member since: Sep 14, 2015

Same platform camera wars will be fun to watch in windows phone platform. My Lumia 950XL vs your Lumia 950XL vs his Lumia 950XL.

35. Kumar123 unregistered

Oh, wow maherk, such a huge transformation. From absolute Apple hater to die hard Apple defender in such a short time. I'm proud of you. LOL, Great transformation. But it seems fake. You are trying toooo hard. How long you are going to keep this I love Apple attitude? Until all people here started labeling you ifan? Until S7 launch? Then you will show your real Samsung ass kissering face. It would be great though. A die hard ifan parsing S7 like crazy. It would be great advertisement for Samsung.

37. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Sorry Apple boy, you're not worth my time.

44. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

I do not mean that 6S should be left out. 6S should be considered when doing a cross-platform comparision, like Lumia 950 vs Note5 vs iPhone 6S. This isn't a bad comparision, though. Happy to see Note5 rule!

50. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Ok now i get your point, and it is valid. I think a test between the Note 5, 6S+ and 950 would be worth to check.

51. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

The results are a joke; the iPhone has the most dodgy colours and the most artifacts, and it still wins. I'll stick with Steve Litchfield's tests; at least he knows what he's doing and what to look for...

73. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

LOL did you look at the comparisons? The Sony camera is by far the weakest of this set. The claim about "dodgy colours" is dubious at best. Androids are known for fudging colors and exaggerating them. YOU have no method of telling which one of these was most representative of the environment. Perhaps the person who was there can tell. I personally despise Apple and I'll never own them (mostly due to pricing) but the camera on the iPhone performs reasonably well under all conditions, and much better than I would have expected.

93. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

True. And less face the facts - 6S camera is very good, may not be as good as Note 5, but a very decent one.

96. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

yes, just like an iPhone camera has ever been, an all-rounder performer. it should be the 6S Plus though i think, considering the size of the other phones.

52. Awalker

Posts: 1973; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Yeah. The iPhone 6S shouldn't be there. They should have included the Lumia 950. I hear great things about that camera.

61. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

iPhone 6S' camera processing is wsy faster than the 5-second processing time of Lumia 950. I'm not an iFan, guys (darkk, meanest, Mxy, Alik, cnour) who know my posts here can testify to that, but heck, I still can admit that fact!

63. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Correction: way faster*

62. Acer_Predator unregistered

why the heck you have to stick that ancient iphone everywhere?

64. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

WTH are you talking about?

69. PhoneBag

Posts: 8; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

LoL what do we expect from PA? aside from Apple they are a huge Samsung fan. So I was not surprised when I saw the article on my FB news feed, they've been always like this.

88. Ahovking

Posts: 711; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

Sony Xperia Z5 Camera came in last in every shot.. so how you think iPhone 6S isn't worthy just shows your bias towards Apple. Its the Sony Xperia Z5 thats not worthy.

91. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

iPhone 6S good, but not worthy when compared versus LG's Camera

2. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

Sony should be ASHAMED of themselves - there are cheapER phones with better cameras than EVERY Sony flagship EVER. And that's coming from someone who knows people who chose Sony DSLR and Micro 4/3 cameras over Canon's and Nikon's!

3. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Really? But professionals at DXO ranked Xperia Z5 above any other Xperia of last year. Are you talking out of your a**??? Or just spewing BS???

31. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

Yeah, but that's a low bar - it falls straight up flat compared to Samsungs, Apples, and even LG's. Sony's mobile cameras aren't competitive at all... ... When Sony's Alpha DSLR cameras are BETTER than market leader Nikon's cameras. For shame!

66. adecvat

Posts: 638; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

DXO only review hardware and not real use.

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