Phones with the fastest cameras in 2015


By now, you must have seen the various camera comparisons that show the differences in camera quality (if you haven't, here is the one we did when the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus launched and another one we did upon the launch of the Galaxy S6), but there is one specific and very important metric that is not often in the limelight: camera speed.

After all, even the greatest camera is of no use if it's not fast enough to capture that moment you want to photograph (cough, Nokia Lumia 1020, cough).

That's why it's important to know not only the details around image quality, but also - the camera speed. In order to test this, we have developed our own simple testing method: we place the phone on a tripod, open the camera app and shoot a picture from the same distance, and we do this multiple times until we feel that we have a very accurate average speed for the camera of that particular gadget. Naturally, we've done this test for all the major phones released in 2015, so it's time to look at the results and see who's winning when it comes to being the fastest on the block. Take a look at the results right below, shown in seconds.

The time needed to start the camera app, focus, take a pic and save it.

sec Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s
1.7
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
1.6
Samsung Galaxy S6
2.2
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
2.1
LG G4
2.7
HTC One M9
3.75
HTC One A9
3.1
LG V10
2.7
Sony Xperia Z5
3
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)
2
Motorola Moto G (2015)
3.4
Google Nexus 5X
2.8
Google Nexus 6P
2.2
Microsoft Lumia 950
3.5
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2

One thing is immediately clear: the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are winning by a large margin: in fact, they are nearly twice as fast to capture an image than equally high-profile phones like the Sony Xperia Z5 and HTC One M9.

The second thing worth noting is that Samsung is trailing close behind: its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 are just a split second slower than Apple's offerings. What's interesting here, though, is that in real-life situations, we've found that capturing an image on a Samsung phone might be even faster than these results show (and faster than on an iPhone). Why? Simple: Quick Launch. The double-click shortcut to start the camera is extremely useful and easy to get accustomed to, so often times, you would be able to start the camera while pulling the phone out of your pocket, without even looking at the screen. This is an important advantage and one that the iPhone cannot fully match.

There are two other phones worth mentioning when it comes to camera speed. First, the Moto X Pure 2015 edition is the surprise in this test: a $400 phone, much cheaper than the competition, it manages to score excellent camera speeds that are above and beyond its class of devices. Second: the Nexus 6P. The universally praised 5.7" aluminum slab not only features an absolutely stunning camera with a super-large new Sony sensor, it is also zippy. Just like Samsung, the new Nexus line also supports a double-click shortcut (you double click the power/lock key) to start the camera without looking at the phone.

With all these results laid out neatly in the table above, it's clear to see the differences between the most important phones of 2015. Since we've been doing this exact test for more than a year, though, we can also look at the improvement that we've seen in camera speed over the years. Here is how much faster smartphone cameras have become in a wider historical perspective.

The time needed to start the camera app, focus, take a pic and save it.

sec Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s
1.7
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
1.6
Samsung Galaxy S6
2.2
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
2.1
LG G4
2.7
Apple iPhone 6
1.9
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
1.93
Apple iPhone 5s
3
Apple iPhone 5
2.7
Samsung Galaxy S5
2.5
Samsung Galaxy S4
3.4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
2.8
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
2.7
LG G3
2.7
LG G2
4
Nokia Lumia 1020
10
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2

Good news is that this benchmark shows that smartphone makers are making noticeable improvements even in this little aspect of the camera experience. Here's to hoping we jump one step further in camera speed in 2016!

Note: You can always refer to our dedicated PhoneArena Benchmarks page to see all of the benchmark results for all the phones that we have tested!

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82 Comments

82. mitchytan92

Posts: 92; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

Note that this is just normally open camera app and snap a photo. It does not take advantage of all the shortcuts to access the camera app, like Samsung's double click home button to open camera app.

81. rocky46ruet

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 23, 2014

wrong, iphone takes photo faster but without foucusing. resultiing blurred photos. its a piece of sh!t

80. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

In the end, it isn't about who device wins or what device wins. I don't care who/what device wins, as long as the information is accurate. Even if it means stepping on the precious toes of Apple, Samsung, Sony, HTC or whoever. Accurate reporting is what reporting should be about as long as it is releatively easy to obtain the facts. To openly lie when it is so easy to YouTube or Google or in many cases, JUST PULL THE DEVICE OUT OF MY POCKET AND TIME IT MYSELF; should make PA think about the articles they post. Even though the vast majority of the readers here aren't tech savvy and are stupid, doesn't mean we all are. For 2016 it is my hope PA will do better. The few tech sites that are left, are so into Apple's pockets. I don't need for Apple to send me a device to review, I can wait until it become available on retail and do a review. PA, you're making me really consider making my own tech site, which would NEVER be bias, won't be full of ads, won't have annoying popups that take up the whole screen and it won't have biased article writers. There are lots of jobs where people lie to make money, namely lawyers and politicians. But when you have to deal with the public on this level, there are some things money shouldn't be able to buy...one being honesty and self respect After all, if you're willing to lie for money, what else would you be willing to do for it?!

78. ermayo93

Posts: 15; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

Biased. There are numerous other manufacturers not mentioned here that are on a par with the best of the ones noted in the article.

77. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

I have Xperia Z5 Compact, and I felt that those stats concerning speed are incorrrect, so I tested it. From turned off screen to focused picture it takes from about 1,5 to 2 seconds. They might oversee it, because with photo under button, it takes picture, before the screen turns on. I made photo of a stoper, by pressing stoper start, and shutter key at the same time, and 1,5 two 2 seconds is what I got...

76. Yousefjaber

Posts: 53; Member since: Nov 24, 2015

Note 5 ftw

72. 3_nity

Posts: 8; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

This article is for idiots

71. killer7D

Posts: 551; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

This is non sense .. I bet you money that my Galaxy S6 opens the camera App and shoots a photo much faster than the iPhone 6S. This is totally misleading !!! I am afraid that you guys used a copy Galaxy S6 in your experiments !

69. ejcapri

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 08, 2015

Wow; after reading this article and it's results I now accept that you guys (Phone Arena Staff) favor Apple. Writers such as (Victor H) don't do the proper research before reporting results to consumers. I have a Sony Z3v and it 100% DOES NOT take me 3.7 seconds to start the camera app, focus, take the picture and save it. Honestly it was disappointing in the PhoneArena brand to read this because of how misleading the information is. Not trying to be a nasty reviewer but I encourage writers and staff to really put some effort into doing research better and being better reporters. This was bad.

67. techguyone

Posts: 214; Member since: May 18, 2013

Odd, if I hit my sony camera button from a locked screen state, I can get a picture in sub 2 secs time, I'd suggest the results are wrong. (Sony Z3 C)

65. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

In my memory, PA never bash Apple for example: PA say Z5P 4K is useless but never say iPhone is dangerous when it burns

44. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

People on here talking about PA staff is full of liars, and how pathetic the site is, yet they're here everyday ranting essay style. Hmmm.

45. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

They're here everyday to see articles about everything other than Apple. Unlike YOU! SMH

64. ninja_master

Posts: 306; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Well you're here everyday to troll on people just for green thumbs

50. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Not to mention how they called someone out for trolling Samsung articles then show up on every Apple article ranting. Kinda of hypocritical.

56. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Very hypocritical my dude.

53. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

That fact that you don't just makes you then type of person who would fall for anything and stand up for nothong. Maybe if one of us sues PA for blatant lying the site will change.

54. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

It's indeed what to do: SUE! I'm sick of the iBaism of PA! And when we lament, they send us warnings, and limit/ban anyhow! SMH

55. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

******iBiasm******

58. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I haven't had such. Maybe because I don't make fan boy comments.

57. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I suppose that was about me? Again indirectly talking about my post? Reply to post directly just like I do you. I love tech. Just remember you never know who comes here to read these articles and look at the posts. At least I provide and argument of why something is good or bad. You just come here to be just ass you are. Yes I spelled as with 2 esses on purpose

68. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

You better watch what you say to me.

70. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Huh? What did I say to you?

43. Ninetysix

Posts: 2967; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

I hate it when my fav phone doesn't win in benchmarks...grrrrr... https://youtu.be/qtBHW5Nn2zI

47. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

No, we just like the results to be accurate.

48. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Accurate results are rarely seen on PA.

62. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

(facepalm)

63. willard12 unregistered

You clearly missed this part, Brosephine: In real-life situations, we've found that capturing an image on a Samsung phone might be even faster than these results show (and faster than on an iPhone). Why? Simple: Quick Launch. The double-click shortcut to start the camera is extremely useful and easy But, I can't blame you. Of course, PA would figure out a way to manufacture a "quick camera" test to not show the quickest camera.

79. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The article is about camera speed as far as how fast you can take a picture. You are such a loser. You obviously didnt even read the article.

32. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

OH, PA will you ever just simply state the obvious, you don't want to upset Apple a sponsor of your site so that you can always get early hands on action with the latest iPhone. But this is simply ridiculous. It already has been proven( BY PA ITSELF) that the camera app is always running in memory in the S6, S6 edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 so that a double click on the home button brings up the camera app in less than a sec. But here you state the iPhone 6 as being quicker. You have JUST CONTRADICTED YOURSELF AND SHOWN A CLEAR BIAS TOWARDS EVERY OTHER DEVICE IN FAVOR OF THE iPhone. for the new year your general editor needs to sit down with the staff and clearly set rules in place about non bias journalism and hold the staff to that standard or else ( show them the door). You guys can no longer be trusted for honest reviews and advice anymore.

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