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
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

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
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

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!



1. marques57

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 31, 2015

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

16. Eraman

Posts: 164; Member since: Dec 13, 2015

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

24. Nallaikumaran

Posts: 61; Member since: Sep 14, 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

30. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

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

39. TyrionLannister unregistered

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

46. Fire5

Posts: 315; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

Lol you are right this drunk XD

61. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 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.

73. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 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

28. ph00ny

Posts: 2066; Member since: May 26, 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

49. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

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

66. rantao333

Posts: 346; Member since: May 21, 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.

36. Acer_Predator unregistered

again apples article money....

2. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Dat Lumia 1020

3. sachouba

Posts: 267; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

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

4. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 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...

17. pooma

Posts: 96; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

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

25. SanteriAT

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 24, 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)

13. Iodine

Posts: 1497; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Rather bellow average than missed shot.

14. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Wow, such high standards.

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yay.. finally another thing that iPhone can brag off.. but is it really matter? :-/ btw, how did you measure the time? manually?

6. Nathillien unregistered

Hahaha - 12 MegaPixel camera. LOL.

7. Nopers unregistered

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

20. wildfiregt

Posts: 179; Member since: Jun 10, 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.

26. SanteriAT

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 24, 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

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.

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.

8. Emmanuelz

Posts: 222; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

The priv is definitely the slowest that thing is awful.

9. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

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

74. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

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

75. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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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