Introduction


If you’ve been keeping a close eye on our news feed, then you might have noticed that the Google Nexus 5 has been getting quite a lot of attention as of late. And that should come as no surprise since the handset is pretty great, as we concluded in our Google Nexus 5 review. What’s so special about it? Well, the smartphone has quite a lot to offer for its money – powerful hardware, polished software, and a camera that’s actually really good considering what previous Nexus-branded phones had to offer. It has 8 megapixels of resolution and optical image stabilization for steadier, blur-free images.

However, the competition in the camera department is pretty tough, with plenty of smartphones that have already proven themselves as excellent shooters. These include the Nokia Lumia 1020, the Sony Xperia Z1, the LG G2, and the iPhone 5s, among many others. Clearly, the Google Nexus 5 doesn’t stand a chance against smartphones of this rank. Or does it? That’s the question we’re curious to find the answer to, meaning that it is time for another extensive camera comparison.

Note: the Panasonic Lumix GH2 is used as a reference camera. 


Nexus 5iPhone 5sXperia Z1Galaxy Note 3Galaxy S4LG G2Lumia 1020HTC One
Resolution8MP8MP20.7MP13MP13MP13MP41MP4MP
Sensor size1/3.4"1/3"1/2.3"1/3.06"1/3.06"1/3.06"1/1.5"1/3"
ApertureF2.4F2.2F2.0F2.2F2.2F2.4F2/2F2.0
Focal length--27mm31mm-29mm26mm28mm
FlashSingle LEDDual LEDSingle LEDSingle LEDSingle LEDSingle LEDXenon, Single LEDSingle LED
FeaturesOptical image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, ScenesDigital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, EffectsDigital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, EffectsDigital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, EffectsDigital image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, EffectsOptical image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, EffectsOptical image stabilization, Panorama, Scenes, EffectsOptical image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, Scenes, Effects
Video1920x1080
30fps
1920x1080
30fps
1920x1080
30 fps
1920x1080
30/60 fps
3840x2160
30 fps
1920x1080
30 fps
1920x1080
30/60 fps
1920x1080
30 fps
3x zoom
1920x1080
30 fps
HDR

Details


While not the best in the details category, the Google Nexus 5 delivers commendable results, with plenty of fine elements preserved well in its photos. At the same time, digital noise is generally absent or unnoticeable in areas that aren't of a solid color. But most of the smartphones we're testing can do an even better job at it. The Nokia Lumia 1020, in particular, is the clear winner when it comes to detail preservation. Examining its high-resolution photos at 100% zoom reveals tons of details, including ones you might have missed at the time of composing the image. In second place we rank the Sony Xperia Z1, which can also take photos of impressively high detail for a smartphone. However, its photos aren't quite as great as we expected them to be considering the 20MP resolution of its sensor. That's because when we zoom in we can easily see how finer details are destroyed by digital artifacts. But don't get us wrong, the Z1's photos are still quite pleasant to look at. It is just that the Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, and the LG G2 can produce photos of almost comparable quality despite having 7 megapixels less to work with. As for the iPhone 5s, its images are neither too sharp nor too soft, and about as detailed as those produced by the Nexus 5. Trailing far behind is the HTC One, which takes the least detailed photos with its 4MP UltraPixel camera. Sure, they do look worthy of being printed in a small size or posted on a Facebook wall, but that's about as far as its camera can go. Obviously, 4 UltraPixels are not more than 4 megapixels when it comes to resolved detail.




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73 Comments

1. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

This Ultrapixel "thing" is just huge disappointment...HTC shall stop putting it in flagships and come up with a better idea!

7. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

It isn't but the post processing and the fact that they went only 4MP really cost them. If they fix those two items, they will likely be the top. So now we see what they do with their next flagship.

10. LiyanaBG

Posts: 381; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

HTC always every Camera Comparison they always get worst score. because of stupid Ultrapixel

51. JEEPOFFROADV8

Posts: 36; Member since: Apr 01, 2009

That is a false!! not on other tech sites which i would value there opinion more then phone arena. i had 2 samsung gs4. allthou the gs4 had more megapixels the htc one took better pics overall. sorry. i am not biased towards either phone. just stating facts.

64. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

Are you kidding. Even i have seen both their photos and S4 takes better pics no doubt. By any chance you saw them on your cell? Cause i had seen them on my TV. That could make a difference.

66. pharttart

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 05, 2013

I visit this site on occassion but You are the reason I made an account.....educate yourself on what Megapixels are and edit your comment.

70. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

4 megapixels are still more pixels than a standard tv. Yet their is difference when viewing them. So i asked him If he did . Its a valid question. Dont get over smart.

18. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I'm honestly not surprised by the results. Lumia 1020 on top followed by the Z1 (beat camera on the Android front) with the HTC One in dead last. UP was the biggest disappointment from HTC in 2013.

74. oldhamletman

Posts: 72; Member since: Sep 03, 2011

I bought a 1020 a few weeks back and the 41MP sensor is awesome, on the fly zoom in video and stills is really smooth... using it with pro shot gives an excellent camera solution that is in line with full blown cameras. I wish the 1520 had the same camera.... I'd like the bigger screen, but there is no way I'm giving up the cam on the 1020

25. KillerKeyboard

Posts: 372; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

Hyperpixels.

27. mqmorasch

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

all the shots are obviously done in Zoe mode by the lack of zoom

31. Muayyad

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

No it is not, I'm very happy with the results it gives me for a pocket shooter.

35. x_maly_x

Posts: 72; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Then you must change eye doctor.....

52. JEEPOFFROADV8

Posts: 36; Member since: Apr 01, 2009

your a idiot lol

54. x_maly_x

Posts: 72; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Idiot make you...and fogot splash....

34. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Im sure if they have put Xperia Z instead of One it would achieve a far better score. I don't understand whats the problem with PA. They have put Z aside from the beginning of its appearance. Thats shameful.

42. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

except that the Z has consistently been in the top ranks of this contest, it went lumia, Z, G2 (Although I argue the G2s pictures were better overall, it was close enough that I can see where people would prefer the Z's) as the top 3 more or less. There were some like the panorama test which doesnt matter at all (like less than 1% of people will actualyl even bother with that, it is such a little used feature it should not have warranted it's own category) that they both had poor scores on, but otherwise did very well.

47. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

I was here for say that...

50. JEEPOFFROADV8

Posts: 36; Member since: Apr 01, 2009

why cuz phone areana says so? lol. there camera is just fine and look around the web its got some good ratings. sure htc should have put in at least a 5 or 8 megapixel. but i personally love this phone. hands down still the best overall phone on the market. might not be the best camera phone. but best overall phone and thats what i care about

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I've been expecting the similar results.

3. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Well the fact that the N5's output is comparable to these high-end phones is very telling (OIS definitely makes a lot of difference in indoor/low light situations). Definitely worth your money (combined with the rest of what it has to offer), would love to get one for wifey.

4. noler

Posts: 326; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

No Lumia 1520? HTC One score is "4" because it has 4MP camera?

11. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

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16. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, the scores literally follow the MP count.

43. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

so much for megapixels meaning nothing, eh HTC?

5. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

In daylight details the Nexus 5 comes out on top almost everywhere, where the Lumia loses quite a bit per pixel (more pixels, less sharpening), interesting scores PA. Color reproduction is spectacular on the 1020 though, and overall it often beats out the DSLR.

6. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Did you leave HDR+ on for the Nexus 5 shots, Nick?

8. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

BTW, Photosphere does much better panorama than panorama on the Nexus photo SW. In fact I'd call it best in class providing you can keep the lens in the absolute middle.

9. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Nexus 5 shots are quite amazing

12. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

1020 and Z1 FTW!

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

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