You know what the cheese said when taking a photo of its friends?
Say 'people'!

Okay, there will be no more cheesy anecdotes ahead in this article. Although you have to admit that this one was a... gouda joke. What you'll see plenty of, on the other hand, is photos shot with the new iPhone 7. Yup, Apple's new phone is the star of today's camera comparison, and it will be competing against some serious opponents. 

In this camera race, the iPhone 7 will be running alongside the Galaxy S7 edge and the LG G5, both of which are known for their powerful cameras. We've also decided to include the Sony Xperia XZ, which is having the privilege to be featured in a camera comparison of ours for the first time. And no less importantly, we're throwing in the iPhone 6s as well. You know, because we're curious to see how much the iPhone's camera quality has improved since last year. 

On paper, here's what these five smartphones have to offer:

Camera Specs
iPhone 7iPhone 6sGalaxy
S7 edge
LG G5Xperia XZ
Resolution,
aspect ratio
12MP@4:3
4032x3024px
12MP@4:3
4032x3024px
12MP@4:3
4032x3024px
16MP@16:9
5312x2988px
23MP@4:3
5520x4140px
Sensor and
pixel size
1/3"
1.22μm
1/3"
1.22μm
1/2.5"
1.4μm
1/2.6"
1.12μm
1/2.3"
1.12μm
Focal length
and aperture
28mm
F1.8
29mm
F2.2
26mm
F1.7
28mm
F1.8
24mm
F2.0
Focus and
stabilization
PDAF
OIS
PDAF
No OIS
Dual-pixel AF
Object track
OIS
Laser AF
OIS
Laser AF
Object track
No OIS

Looking at specs alone, it is clear that the Sony Xperia XZ has the shortest focal length, meaning that it has the widest viewing angles. Also, it has the megapixel advantage, with 23 million pixels at its disposal. However, it is a well-known fact that megapixels aren't enough to make a great camera. The Galaxy S7 edge, for instance, has the largest pixel size and widest aperture – both properties allowing it to perform pretty well in low light.

Speaking of specs, it is worth noting that the aperture on the iPhone 7 camera is much wider compared to the one on the iPhone 6s. Adding OIS to the formula means that the new iPhone should perform much better at night compared to its predecessor. Or at least that's the theory. Now let's look at some photos.

The photos in the galleries have been scaled down to a resolution of about 2MP to make them load faster. Full-resolution images are available at the end of the article.   

Scene 1: The Mansion



Last week we hosted a blind camera comparison. For those who don't know how that ended up, the Galaxy S7 edge spun circles around the iPhones and the LG G5, collecting over twice as many votes as its rivals. Clearly, people really like what Samsung's cameras produce, and the reason must lie in the vivid presentation of the shots. For instance, the image here, shot with the S7 edge, looks bright and lively, hence it draws attention from afar. 

We're also pleased with the photos out of the iPhone 7 and the LG G5. They're not as vivid as the image from the S7 edge, but they represent the shades of green more naturally. As for the images out of the iPhone 6s and Xperia XZ, they could use a boost in exposure, especially in the shadowy areas. 
 
Scene 1: score
Galaxy S7 edge8.5
iPhone 78.0
LG G58.0
Sony Xperia XZ6.0
iPhone 6s5.0


Scene 2: a colorful close-up



The Galaxy S7 edge's camera may be good, but it is in no way perfect. Here's an example where it failed to set the correct white balance, thus delivering an unnaturally greenish image. The same flaw appears to be affecting the Xperia XZ as well, albeit to a lesser extent. In contrast, the iPhones and the LG G5 deliver better photos, with colors that get closer to real life. The yellows and greens appear more natural in their images, closely representing what our eyes could see when taking the shot.

Scene 2: score
iPhone 78.0
iPhone 6s8.0
LG G57.0
Sony Xperia XZ6.5
Galaxy S7 edge5.0


Scene 3: Crossing the bridge



This is one of the scenes where the LG G5's camera truly shines. First of all, its image is clear and detailed. If you zoom in for a closer look, you'll see no serious traces of digital noise. There's no aggressive sharpening either. Secondly, the camera has retained the natural look of the colors in the frame, without leaning towards the cold or warm side of the spectrum. Overall, the image looks splendid!

Looking at other phones' photos, we can't deny that the Galaxy S7 edge's image is captivating. That's the case for the reasons we stated in Scene 1 – a hint of sharpness and a dash of color boost have helped to produce a vivid photograph. 

On the topic of detail, we see that the Sony Xperia XZ has captured enough of it, but the noise throughout the frame spoils the joy of zooming in and exploring the image from up close. Seeing that much noise is odd. This kind of distortion is usually associated wit packing tiny pixels on a smallish sensor. However, the G5's pixels are of identical size, yet its photo is anything but noisy. Also, the XZ shot the photo at ISO64, which isn't a high sensitivity setting at all. (In digital cameras, higher sensitivity leads to more digital noise, and vice versa.)

As for the iPhones, we see that the iPhone 7 has captured a slightly brighter photo, while the iPhone 6s has gone for a bit gloomier look. Both images look okay, but don't have the same appeal as the ones out of the G5 or S7 edge.

Scene 3: score
LG G58.5
Galaxy S7 edge7.5
iPhone 76.5
iPhone 6s6.5
Sony Xperia XZ6.5

FEATURED VIDEO

112 Comments

1. Richard_G

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 10, 2015

this is the only article in the web that place in the first place to iPhone 7..... Iphonearena

6. Dreamboat

Posts: 50; Member since: Apr 29, 2015

Lol so true. Public votes the edge best camera, PA writes article to discredit that. They've all got their own merits and are decent camera's

9. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Even windows central did a blind test that included iphone 7 and the Edge won best camera. Granted Lumia 950 and edge are pretty close, even when a thorough review was done on allaboutwindowsphone. Definitely wasn't biased since edge won a lot of categories as well.

22. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

^^ Yes. S7 Edge won in almost all other tech sites' camera comparisions. I'll still take the G5's camera over all of the competitors in this comparision, because of dual-camera setup and the G5 is literally neck-to-neck with the S7 Egde.

64. sgodsell

Posts: 7031; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Why did phonearena say that the new Xperia XZ have no image stabilization, when that is not true. Even Sony's website talks about their new 5 - axis image stabilization. Shame on you Phonearena.

19. Bankz

Posts: 2514; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Moral of the story. All phone cameras are capable enough. Heck, Even mid rangers can pretty much handle most of what you throw at them tbh.

112. sraive

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 21, 2014

In fact, LG G5 has the best camera. If you don't believe, check out a valid, true camera comparison, for example the comparison on GSMArena.

90. w1000i

Posts: 238; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

Where HTC 10, the best camera out there :)

96. w1000i

Posts: 238; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

116. babyk

Posts: 379; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

PHONE ARENA WILL NOT STOP THESE CAMERA TESTS UNTIL THEY SOMEHOW FIND A WAY TO PUT APPLE FIRST. WE ALL KNOW S7 EGDE CAMERA IS THE BEST. ....JUST WAIT FOR A COUPLE DAYS AGAIN AND U SEE ANOTHER CAMERA TEST THEN THE S7 EDGE WILL PLACE LAST THIS TIME ..FU..CK PHONEARENA BIAS AS HELL

2. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

2 iphones and they did not included the htc 10 and huawei P9 on the test. those two phone is 2 of the best camera phone this year

5. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

I wasn't expecting Xperia on the list, but no.

49. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Should've included the OnePlus 3

50. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

PA decided to play on safe side

86. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Yep you can't have a comparison of the best without including the HTC 10 and now, the Pixels too.

92. Mikele

Posts: 122; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

Even Nokia 1020 should be in the test best ever OIS for years!!!

100. BoardDWorld

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 17, 2016

Absolutely, and the Xiaomi Mi5 for detail and colour accuracy. 1020 is still one of the best camera's packed into a phone; See 1020, Z5, S7, 6+ & Mi5 compared side by side here:https://youtu.be/446GfntOh6A P.S. This is article is shameless. I saw people commenting on other posts in the past about iPhonearena and such names, now I sincerely know why. You're ruining your sites credibility by doing this.

3. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

S7 Edge...! G'Day!

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

S7 getting low scores? Am I still in PhoneArena?

7. aleksey4738

Posts: 14; Member since: Apr 27, 2013

Wait what??????? Hahahaha hahahahaha cough cough hahahahaha haha this is the first time I see someone say iPhone 7 is better than s7 edge. And to make this even less credible 6s is second place

8. DBounce

Posts: 169; Member since: Apr 26, 2014

This article clearly shows phonearea.com's bias for iPhone, as the blind comparison was dominated by the S7. Weak!

13. keithtae

Posts: 564; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

And even windowscentral did the same blind test and the s7 blows the iPhone 7 out of the water. This site is obviously paid by Apple. Hahahahaha

93. Mikele

Posts: 122; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

The site doesn't interest me anymore I totally believe it's a paid site by Apple cohorts!!!

10. Joms_US

Posts: 200; Member since: Oct 02, 2016

Way to go iPhoneArena.com!

11. Bankz

Posts: 2514; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

The g5 is such an underatted phone. Infact, pound for pound, I'd pick the G5 camera to any smartphone camera on the market right now bar the pixel (since it hasn't been tested)

57. Furbal unregistered

Indeed, if LG would not have such s**tty QC, they might make a profit since they dont have to hold so many phones for replacement stock. I like my G5 very much, other than battery life.

71. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah it's good... by last year's standard.. they overly reuse that old sensor, they even use that sensor again for V20 :-/

113. sraive

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 21, 2014

Yes, it's sad that LG use the same camera sensor since the G4. But in 2015 LG G4 and V10 demolished the competition in camera performance. In this year, the competition catched up and there is not much difference between G5 and others' camera performance. (LG may thought they can save money while still being one of the bests by using the same camera for one more year.)

102. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I have the G5 and i say overall the picture are a bit better than S7 and for sure better than the 7+ ( tested in store ) But the pixel... OMG its simply in another league its beaten my G5 on ALL aspect O_O Battery life if not great on the G5 but far from horrible its a bit better than iphones :)

119. hasapi

Posts: 8; Member since: May 05, 2015

I still have the LG G3, but need to replace it now, I almost bought the Axon 7, at $400usd, G5 is also now at this price. Nearly half the price of a iphone7, so i think ill stick with LG for another year.

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