Camera Comparison: Google Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5s, Sony Xperia Z1, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, LG G2, Nokia Lumia 1020, HTC One72
All the previous Nexus-branded smartphones were great devices as a whole, but failed to impress with the quality of their cameras. The Google Nexus 5, however, turns out to be quite different in that respect. As our testing goes to show, its 8MP optically stabilized camera can capture very detailed and good-looking images – images that are good enough to rival even the best guys in the camera department.
To no surprise, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the undisputed leader of cameraphones thanks to its big 41MP sensor and xenon flash. Even though its rivals are steadily catching up, it will take quite a lot of effort to produce something that will outperform Nokia's high-end snapper. Still, even the Lumia 1020 could have been better, if it had better color reproduction.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is also packing a larger than normal sensor, but it is a 20MP one and is physically smaller than that of the 1020. However, it helps it score very good results when it comes to details and low-light performance. However, the color fidelity could have been better and we wish it performed better with night shots and panoramas.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4, with their 13MP cameras, are both great performers overall. They take some the best smartphone photos and videos we've ever feasted our eyes on and they get the job done well in any conditions, be it when we're shooting during the day, at night, or indoors. The rich set of modes and settings offered by their camera software enhances the experience even further. We should also note that they deliver the best panoramas.
Beautiful images can be produced with the LG G2 as well, especially when its 13MP camera is given optimal light conditions. It delivers detailed images with very good amount of noise.
The iPhone 5s with its 8MP snapper is definitely the simplest to use for taking photos and videos. You just point, shoot, and enjoy! And the results are almost always great, which makes the camera on the iPhone 5s suitable for the needs of the great majority of consumers. Its panoramas are also of great quality.
The HTC One can't do much to impress us with. Sure, its photos do look okay in small size and its videos have excellent sound in them, but as a whole, we're not amazed by its 4MP “UltraPixel” camera. The images it produces are good enough for using on social networks or for making small prints, but if you're really serious about mobile photography, better look elsewhere.
Disclaimer: The overall score for each phone represents its average rating, but note that we're only taking into account the Details, Color representation and Indoor categories in the Overall score. We're factoring all the others (such as Night and Panorama) out, since those represent situations where users are less likely to take images in. Video recording isn't included as well, since we consider it a separate thing from photo-taking. We've done this in order to end up with an Overall rating that is representative of a camera's performance in those areas, which we think are most important to users. It's not an ultimate rating, though, so if you're particularly interested in a specific area, such as Panorama, or Video, just check out the devices' ratings in that category!
Software versions of the smartphone units used in the comparison:
Google Nexus 5 – Android 4.4 – Build KRT16M
iPhone 5s - iOS 7.0.3 (11B511)
Sony Xperia Z1 - 4.2.2 Build 14.1.G.2.257
LG G2 - Android 4.2.2 - SW version D80210a-EUR-XX
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Android 4.3 - Build JSS15J.N9005XXUBMI7
Samsung Galaxy S4 - Android 4.2.2 - Build JDQ39.I9505XXUAMDM
Nokia Lumia 1020 - WP8 8.0.10328.78 - Firmware 3049.0000.1330.1001
HTC One - Android 4.2.2 - Software 2.24.707.1
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