PhoneArena Awards 2013: Best cameraphones

PhoneArena Awards 2013: Best cameraphones
Gone are the days when phones were good only for making calls and sending text messages. Today's top models can give us driving directions, play movies, run complex applications, and most importantly, capture photos and videos. In fact, cameraphones have evolved so much that many people don't bother carrying a dedicated point-and-shoot camera with them anymore, relying solely on their mobile device for snapping shots. That's why we absolutely had to include a category in our PhoneArena Awards dedicated to the year's best cameraphones. Ladies and gents, we give you our favorites – the Nokia Lumia 1020, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the Apple iPhone 5s.

Nokia Lumia 1020


Hardly a surprise, the Nokia Lumia 1020 gets a prime spot on our list of honored cameraphones. And why wouldn't it? Thanks to its outstanding 41MP camera – a notable technological achievement on its own – the handset is capable of capturing images of unsurpassed detail and clarity, as we've proven numerous times already with our camera comparisons. And that's not only because of the sensor's high megapixel count. The optical image stabilization takes a key part in the image-capturing process as well, keeping the frame steady thus reducing motion blur. Videos look beautiful as well, enhanced by the option to get closer to the action with the Lumia 1020's 4x lossless zoom. A perk worth mentioning is the bright xenon flash on the smartphone's back, helping out when taking low-light shots. Last but not least, there's the Nokia Camera application enabling the photographer to take full control over the image with its manual controls. Simply put, the Nokia Lumia 1020 might very well be regarded as the ultimate cameraphone of 2013 and we can't wait to see what Nokia has in stock to succeed it with next year.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3


All of Samsung's recent high-end devices have been outfitted with very capable cameras, and the Galaxy Note 3 is no exception. In fact, it is definitely one of the best shooters out there, striking a good balance between image and video quality, shooting speed, ease of use, and manual control over the image. Plus, its rich feature set includes 4K video recording and 120fps slo-mos – modes that the very few other smartphones can offer. Quality-wise, photos taken with the Note 3 are almost always excellent, low on noise and high on details. Even at night – a case where many smartphone cameras disappoint – the Note 3 still manages to snap a pretty photo. All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a phone well worthy of being on today's list.

iPhone 5s


Yup, the iPhone 5s gets a mention as well! Why is that? Well, just think about it. On one hand, we know that there are better cameras with more megapixels and fancy features like optical image stabilization and the likes. But on the other hand, the iPhone remains one of the fastest and easiest to use cameras in existence. You just aim, shoot, and let the phone take care of the rest! More often than not, its photos would look great despite having a resolution of "only" 8 megapixels. Besides, the camera on the 5s got a welcome upgrade this year, allowing it to take better low-light shots with its larger sensor and improved LED flash. To wrap it up, if you're looking for an easy to use camera that excels in a wide variety of conditions, look no further than the iPhone 5s.

Story timeline

FEATURED VIDEO

165 Comments

1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Ok. Is this a joke now? I've had enough of this BS. I mean seriously. STILL NO Z1! In my opinion it should have been already in the design section, but I'm still ok with the decisions PA made there. BUT! It IS the second best cameraphone this year! PA, I'm very disappointed! The real list should have been: 1. Lumia 1020 2. Xperia Z1 3. Note 3

6. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

158. adecvat

Posts: 639; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

LoL, Z1 > 5s >>> 1020

165. fabbriche

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 27, 2013

In what parallel universe?

16. Long1

Posts: 399; Member since: May 18, 2013

PA: " Ladies and gents, we give you our favorites – the Nokia Lumia 1020, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the Apple iPhone 5s." I remember how all tech media called Lumia 1020 before the release, "THE ANSWER to Galaxy S4 ZOOM." But now in the CAMERAPHONE article they conveniently missed Galaxy S4 ZOOM . Why? Of course- not to give the crown to Samsung again.

46. proto

Posts: 59; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

well S4 zoom si camera with phone functionality and not phone with camera. it is bulky and ... it is bad. It is ireelevant like last years pureview 808.

18. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Completely agree with you... though the Z1 has some noise that Samsung shows better.... But my year old Xperia Acro S is on par with the iP5s which makes this list complete BS. check this detail comparison... https://app.box.com/s/mburru818uy68goyqr5y I have made personal night shots and macro shots comparing my old Sony Xperia with the iPhone 5... and it also wins clearly...

45. Sauce unregistered

No one uses an Acro S.

64. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

This is not a popularity list... and I am not saying that my Acro S should be on a cameraphone list either.... I just stated that even though my phone is old Sony tech it is on par with current iPhone crops... so newer Sony Xperias with better cameras should be better than any current iPhone. The point is that I only mentioned the Acro S because it is the phone I own and I can compare. Plus I can make some pretty cool underwater shots without cases... can you?

84. Sauce unregistered

Obviously you are a proud supporter of your phone, and you'll go out of your way and do whatever you can to defend it's name lol. Underwater shots? Me? No. I need more advanced gear than a silly Sony device. I've tried my friends and my Go Pro gives highly better results underwater than that toy.

97. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

good for you... so badass needing advance gear..... I didn't have to spend ~$300 extra for my casual undersea shots... But when I dedicate my life to mountain bikes or extreme sports I will surely check the Go Pro out... what was the point of your reply to my comment anyway?

19. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I couldn't agree more with your list. The shooter on the Z1 is obviously better than the one on the Note 3.

87. Damitel

Posts: 66; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

I remember the BLIND CAMERA comparison done sometime ago; Lumia 1020 came first, Xperia Z1 was omitted from the comparison which would have been undisputed number 2(many reacted disappointedly to this at the time), S4 and G2 followed as it was understood that note 3 was not included by then. But Iphone 5s being third is very strange here. It was 5th or 6th then. Well, PA make us to believe the judgement you present here as it is ridiculous when you turn out to contract your previous postings. Thank you!

119. MojoDojo

Posts: 102; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

I agree with you about the Z1, that it should be on the list but disagree about the Note 3. I think Lumia 1520 should be there instead. 1. Lumia 1020 2. Lumia 1520 / Xperia Z1 3. Xperia Z1 / Lumia 1520

156. FaisalWibowo11

Posts: 166; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Actually, Xperia Z1's image quality is a bit better than lumia 1520. Xperia Z1's images have a bit more noise , but also more detailed and sharper. Lumia 1520's images have less noise but softer. What makes z1 the winner is a broader dynamic range, better exposure, and better night shots. I have a link here, but I can't post it because my total posts are less than 30. But still, I totally disagree with this list which is a total joke. It should have been: 1. Lumia 1020 2. Xperia Z1 3. Lumia 1520 4. Lumia 925 5. Galaxy Note 3 6. Galaxy S4/G2 7. Nexus 5 8. 5s

159. adecvat

Posts: 639; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Read this: dxomark.com/Mobiles

160. FaisalWibowo11

Posts: 166; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

I read it like dozens of times, I know.

144. taikucing unregistered

Lumia 1020 Xperia Z1 Nexus 5

150. bahkata

Posts: 17; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

so basically 4K video and 120fps slo-mo beat a dedicated camera key and a udnerwater photos :) f*kin sell-outs. not even gonna comment on the iPhone:)

155. saffant

Posts: 274; Member since: Jul 04, 2011

Testing .

2. JerryTime

Posts: 468; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Of course the iPhone 5S made the cut some how It's the same camera last year with a dual flash why wouldn't it be on the list?! There are many more devices that should be on here instead of the 5S. The Z1 perhaps, another Nokia phone?! I mean com on!! SMH...

10. superduper

Posts: 151; Member since: Oct 20, 2013

It's a different camera with a different sensor. It's not all about pixels you know. Remember, pixels eat up storage on your phone and PC. Even worse, they eat up your data plan. :-)

20. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

No way in hell the iPhone 5S is a better camera than the Z1. Just saying.

25. Long1

Posts: 399; Member since: May 18, 2013

But more pixels give you better zoom on the details of the picture. Besides nowadays the high-end smartphones have SD support.

35. zekes

Posts: 230; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

I hate to break it to you but android is moving away from SD cards because of performance issues even in jellybean that's the reason why and some phones you cannot store any apps on the SD card which is actually a smart move for a more smoother user experience

36. superduper

Posts: 151; Member since: Oct 20, 2013

Neither Google or Apple officially support SD storage these days. Some OEMs add it to their phones in order to differentiate their product. But in the medium term SD is an obsolete technology.

53. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

so having a backup and expansion option is obsolete in your opinion?! interesting :)

55. zekes

Posts: 230; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

You're absolutely correct especially if you have jellybean we know how you like smooth operating phones we wouldn't want a sd card slowing you down

61. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

How in the world then is having your tunes, your pics etc..a smoother experience when it's stored in cloud and not on your phone?

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.