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Phones with the fastest cameras in 2015

Posted: , by Victor H.

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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).

Even the greatest camera is no good if it is too slow to capture a moment

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.

Camera speed comparison of popular 2015 phones

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

Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
HTC One M9
HTC One A9
LG V10
Sony Xperia Z5
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
Google Nexus 5X
Google Nexus 6P
Microsoft Lumia 950
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
View all

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.

Apple and Samsung feature the fastest cameras, Microsoft, Moto and Google also have top models

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.

Camera speed comparison: 2015 models vs predecessors

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

Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5
Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Nokia Lumia 1020
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
View all

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!

  • Options

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:43 8

1. marques57 (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Dec 2015)

So untrue, my BlackBerry Z30 even from locked onl takes 2 sec.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:48

16. Eraman (Posts: 141; Member since: 13 Dec 2015)

I'd test it just now. Less than 2 seconds

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:19 1

24. Nallaikumaran (banned) (Posts: 61; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)

This article is a joke. Sony Xperia Z5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 gets Top ranking (camera) on DxOMark. The Apple iPhone 6s Plus is now ranked No. 4

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:37 7

30. techperson211 (Posts: 1280; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)

Not surprising to me that fruity is the number 1 here. Typical article, yet again.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 10:23 18

39. TyrionLannister (unregistered)

Are you drunk reading? Because this article is regarding speed of camera

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 12:13 1

46. Fire5 (Posts: 303; Member since: 13 Feb 2015)

Lol you are right this drunk XD

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 19:34

61. techperson211 (Posts: 1280; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)

Speed of camera taking pictures and we know that the z5 series and note 5 are the fastest here. No need for expert opinions on that.

posted on 02 Jan 2016, 11:47

73. buccob (Posts: 2699; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

But I bet they didn't even test "Quick Launch + Capture" in Xperia... I just tested my Z3C cold (no recent apps after a restart) and it was between 2 and 2.2 seconds

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:32 4

28. ph00ny (Posts: 1463; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Even the note 5 takes less than a sec to take a pic from lock screen

Turn it on, double click the home button, shutter, and done

Camera app runs all the time in the background for this purpose

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 13:44 1

49. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 841; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)

I love my Note 5 camera. Speed and top-shelf quality.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 21:59

66. rantao333 (Posts: 322; Member since: 21 May 2013)

i have my s6 which is basically same processor with the note 5, after 7 month and various apps installed, now double tab the home button slightly slower than my old iphone 5s swipe from right bottom.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:51

36. Acer_Predator (unregistered)

again apples article money....

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:44 2

2. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2927; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Dat Lumia 1020

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:46 16

3. sachouba (Posts: 219; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)

The iPhone is really fast when it comes to taking below average photos.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:49 6

4. Commentator (Posts: 3722; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

What is "average" to you, exactly?

Dxomark ranks the 6S Plus under only the Edge, Edge +, Z5, and Note V. Seems pretty good to me...

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 08:10 3

17. pooma (Posts: 60; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)

#Commentator he knows very well the caliber of iphone's camera, #sachouba is just trying too gain people's attention

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:23 5

25. SanteriAT (Posts: 11; Member since: 24 Jun 2014)

When it comes to taking pictures I think it's better to have a slower camera if the quality is better. I've tested multiple times the cameras of such phones as Lumia 1020, Xperia Z2, OnePlus One and 2, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 5. What's so "surprising" is, that even though iPhone 6 and 6S take pictures really fast, they are easily beaten in quality by Xperia Z2, Lumia 1020 and even the OnePlus 2. So I'd say that the average would be (in my opinion) the quality of iPhone 6's pictures. (Due to the fact that the pictures taken with iPhone 6S are sharper and better than those taken with iPhone 6)

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:33 3

13. Iodine (Posts: 1395; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)

Rather bellow average than missed shot.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:44 2

14. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2927; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Wow, such high standards.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:52 1

5. ibend (Posts: 6610; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

yay.. finally another thing that iPhone can brag off..
but is it really matter? :-/

btw, how did you measure the time? manually?

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 06:53

6. Nathillien (unregistered)

Hahaha - 12 MegaPixel camera. LOL.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:01 1

7. Nopers (Posts: 457; Member since: 01 Jun 2015)

Megapixels =\= camera quality, on that basis the Nexus 6 camera should be better than the iPhone camera and it's just not. 12 is enough for 3:2 photos which are actually how professional photos are taken, 16:9 is more pleasing to the eye though since 12 megapixels at 3:2 has exactly the same detail as 16megapixels at 16:9

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 08:59 1

20. wildfiregt (Posts: 171; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)

except that 16 mp at 16:9 captures more and image is wider. 16:9 is better for landscape photos. "professional photos " are not taken in 3:2 or whatever. It depends on what you capture.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:30

26. SanteriAT (Posts: 11; Member since: 24 Jun 2014)

Are you talking about 4:3 aspect as I can't remember seeing any phone capturing with 3:2. Also, you don't really do much with your 4:3 and 3:2 pictures as most screens and monitors are 16:9

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 09:52

37. Nathillien (unregistered)

Biggest concern about this so called "test" is that; the more megapixel image has the longer it takes to be read from the sensor, to be stored in the memory ... ... but you have better picture at the end.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 10:35 1

42. TyrionLannister (unregistered)

iPhone doesn't capture in 3:2. It captures in 4:3. It has the same vertical resolution but 16:9 has more horizontal res.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:05

8. Emmanuelz (Posts: 214; Member since: 01 Aug 2013)

The priv is definitely the slowest that thing is awful.

posted on 31 Dec 2015, 07:21 11

9. RoboticEngi (Posts: 1045; Member since: 03 Dec 2014)

And from the lock screen? I guess the samsungs will wipe the floor with the iphones. ...

posted on 02 Jan 2016, 20:35

74. bur60 (Posts: 876; Member since: 07 Jul 2014)

And huawei... and lumia... and any other device

posted on 03 Jan 2016, 06:46 1

75. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

lumia has a dedicated camera button, no need to even see the lockscreen. From a true advantage point it will be faster, by the time it takes me to pull it out of my pocket with my finger already long pressing the shutter, by the time the phone is up and pointing at the object, even my 1520 is ready to go.

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