Sony Xperia XZ vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Apple iPhone 6s Plus vs LG G5: quick camera comparison

The Sony Xperia XZ is the star of the show at IFA 2016: it's actually the only flagship-level device announced at the show, so it has little competition at Europe's largest tech expo.

However, when you look at it at broader perspective, the Sony Xperia XZ is hardly alone in the battle for customer's attention and dollars. And only in comparison with its flagship rivals, we can really understand how good the Xperia XZ really is.

One thing that Sony has been particularly proud of in the Xperia XZ is its camera: a new 23-megapixel unit with a new, custom-made sensor, the addition of laser auto-focus and color sensor, and improved image processing capabilities. Let's also not forget a first that Sony scores here: 5-axis electronic image stabilization (no OIS on it, though). All of this shapes up to be a solid combination on paper, but it's the real world tests that tell us the whole story.

That's why we brought three heavyweights in mobile photography along: the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Apple iPhone 6s Plus and LG G5 to level the playing field. Now, we can make some conclusions. Take a look at the images from all four handset right below.

Disclaimer: What you see below are resized images. You can find the full-sized samples and examine them in greater detail here: Xperia XZ, Galaxy S7 Edge, iPhone 6s Plus, LG G5. Also, when shooting on the Sony Xperia XZ we used the 8MP images from the Superior Auto mode. We found the 23-megapixel full-sized images generally slightly less impressive as the 8MP ones.

Xperia XZ
Sony IMX300
1/2.3"f/2.0Laser AF, Color sensor
5-axis stabilization
Galaxy S7 Edge
Sony IMX260
1/2.6"f/1.7Dual pixel AF
iPhone 6s Plus
Sony ?
Sony IMX234
1/2.6"f/1.8Dual rear camera
Laser AF, 3-axis OIS

#1: Parrot scene

Sony had a special booth to showcase the improvement that the new color sensor brings to color reproduction and white balance selection on the Xperia XZ. It had a set-up showing the improvement from its previous generation model, the Xperia Z5, but we took things further bringing along Samsung's, Apple's and LG's flagship. The Sony representative at the booth watched with curiosity as we snapped pictures, and was curious about the results. Well, here they are: 

#2: Portrait

Next up, we took a portrait of yours humbly with each of the cameras (this was not a selfie, it was a portrait picture taken with the rear camera of each of the devices). Sony's booth had more than challenging conditions for shooting: the light was changing constantly and we did our best to snap pictures at similar lighting conditions. See the results below.

#3: Sony's IFA booth

We also snapped pictures of Sony's booth with another fellow blogger in the middle, snapping pictures of the Xperia XZ on display. Again, we were faced with Sony booth's challenging image situation. Apart from the challenging light, the booth was set-up impressively well, showing everything in Sony's wide tech arsenal, from the h.ear series of headphones to its advanced cameras and lenses to the phones, of course.

#4: Close-up look

Next up, we used the nearby Xperia XZ as a model. We shot from up close, but not close enough for this to be considered a macro shot. Still, it gives an interesting perspective of how the cameras deal with bokeh and how sharp they are able to capture this image.

#5: Sony sign

Finally, we snapped the huge Sony sign floating above us. With huge projectors beaming Sony's commercials on the walls, we got flare and mixed light, and we were curious to see how the phones will handle this challenge. The results are right below.

At the current time, we are curious to hear your opinion: how do you like the camera on the Xperia XZ? How does it compare against the other flagship heavyweights? Can it take on the iPhones, Galaxies and LGs of this world?



1. kylebelle

Posts: 74; Member since: May 03, 2016

no surprise here.

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I'm not suprised to see Samsung own the cameraphone battle. Samsung rules, nothing else matters.

6. kabiluddin

Posts: 278; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

LOL @"nothing else matters" part. Spoken like a true Samsheep like Hallyu.

8. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I was just kidding, relax! All the other Android OEMs do obviously matter too. Especially OnePlus and Xiaomi with their flagship killers. But talking about camera photography, only Samsung and LG do matter! For real, Ain't kidding now.

2. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

So why have 23 megapixels at all if theyre going to make auto mode just 8? Surely they could sacrifice a bit of those megapixels to improve other camera metrics. Also I've seen better pics from the G5

5. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I think Sony uses the extra 15 megapixels to enhance the brightness in photos and details in videos.

7. kabiluddin

Posts: 278; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Short answer : OverSampling. With OverSampling they are able to produce much nicer color than competitor's phone. DxOmark scoring also reflects that.

17. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

well it's clearly not working........

18. ddzna626

Posts: 6; Member since: Feb 03, 2014

I think from Z5 up to the X series all Superior Auto mode the MP functions can be change to your choosing.

4. SayMobile

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 29, 2014

The S7 Edge clearly is the better camera here compared to the orher three. Sony again producing some washed out images to some extent

9. shield

Posts: 852; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

LG G5 color spectrum camera.

10. eN16HTMAR3

Posts: 253; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

So all these camera modules were made by Sony? Isn't Sony the real winner hands down?

15. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015 That's not how it works

11. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

The XZ looks very good in the last two photos.

12. Kumar123 unregistered

6s plus has the best camera. Sony's not bad but not that amazing either. It lacks the details. LG's photos are the worst here. Terrible white balance from LG's photos.


Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

This is an unfair comparison for the LG G5. In this article they are using the secondary 8MP wide-angle camera vs the primary shooters of the other phones. Contrary to this depiction of LG's camera performance, the 16MP main shooter of the G5 offers much better color and detail while the 8MP wide-angle lens just captures a greater field of view at an expense.

22. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

LOL no, they are using the main camera. Do you know how wide the wide angle camera of G5 is. It would be clearly visible by the fisheye effect. Even LG's main camera is wider than others though. That's why you may be having this misconception.

24. ezfidel

Posts: 63; Member since: Dec 25, 2012

True, but looks like their is some issue there with them g5 pix. They look horrible even the iPhone pictures looked better. I had the g5 before, use to always compare pix with my S7 and when the g5 didn't win it atleast made it close.

13. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Better than previous sony phones so it is at the very least an improvement.

16. hansip87

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

Without the reference image, No one can say which has the right color balance except the reviewer himself.

19. ddzna626

Posts: 6; Member since: Feb 03, 2014

All these camera sensors are built by Sony.

20. hillaryisacriminal

Posts: 242; Member since: Aug 26, 2016

the images captured with sony and Lg were more realistic.

21. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

The Sony pics are actually kinda nice though not quite as sharp as the Samsung. What's the point of having a 23 megapixel sensor and down sampling to 8mp if it ends up being less sharp than a 12mp image? Hope Sony takes a different approach next time around.

26. hansip87

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

Because you/casual users won't have time to let Facebook upload then downsample your 23mp photo on the fly. That's why Sony put it default to 8mp mode. Plus Samsung is known for sharpness post processing because majority of casual users only know that a good picture = sharp picture whereas other aspect is not considered unless there are major flaw with it,

23. Boybawang

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 02, 2013

All cameras are great. The real benchmark now is the 1. focusing speed and 2. Low light performance

25. davidsic

Posts: 5; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

Impossible to compare, pics are too small !

27. TracyH

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 04, 2016

This is not a true comparison - to be truly comparison worthy the photos taken with each camera would have to be all shot in the exact same environment (lighting, distance, camera settings) - as stated these were all taken in an environment where the light was constantly changing, and even though every effort to take them in similar light was made this would have been impossible to accomplish. An even truer comparison would be two tests - the exact same environment with one test using the same camera settings for each phone and a second test using the auto feature with no adjustments (because lets face it most of us use our phone cameras like a point and shoot and often at the last second with no chance to make setting changes). And as mentioned earlier we have no point of reference, we can select which one pleases us the most, we can look at which one has the most contrast or details, but we can not tell which is the closest to what the eye saw - the last shot is a good example of this - the tent cover could be assumed to be white, but was it or was it actually a cream or yellow from the lights in the hall? But at least Sony is still competing.

28. cheetah2k

Posts: 2271; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

They all look great to me.. Buy any of these handsets and you're on a winner!

29. unixpuppet

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 30, 2016

Bare in mind. the SamSung battery exploded... And Sony Xperia XZ this year is much stronger in performance. And it is Android OS too. SamSung Overpirced at $1,000

30. gaudrtyl

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 18, 2016

I was curious about software in relation to these phones. I'm not an expert but how much does tweaking the software used Change how the pictures results would be? can software improvements make one better then the other? I loved sony until I had issues with my Z5 getting really hot and draining the battery within a few hours of a charge. no updates ever fixed that issue on my device. I switched to the samsung s7 and like the camera but hate everything else about the phone. is there any hope for software updates making the new Sony XZ the best instead of just a great camera?

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