The iPhone 5s is a smartphone that is in many ways better than its predecessor, and one of the upgrades it brings along is the improved 8MP camera. Yup, the resolution hasn't been boosted, but other aspects of the snapper itself have been tweaked, including those larger, 1.5-micron pixels and that wider, f/2.2 aperture. As a result, the camera should perform better, especially in low light situations. However, are the photographic skills of the iPhone 5s on par with those of the competition? Well, that's what we're here to find out.

For today's camera comparison, we have chosen to stack up Apple's finest against some of the top smartphones out there. Among them is the LG G2, which has already proven itself as a very capable shooter with its 13MP OIS camera, grabbing the first prize in our previous challenge. Of course, Samsung's best handsets, namely the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3, are also in the game and will defend the company's reputation with their 13MP cameras. And to make things even more interesting, we've brought along the HTC One with a 4MP, optically stabilized UltraPixel camera, as well as the Motorola MOTO X and the Motorola DROID Ultra, both packing 10MP Clear Pixel cameras. So yeah, the fight will be pretty tough. Let's get straight into it!

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


Thankfully, the weather and lighting conditions during our testing were favorable, allowing all of the smartphones to present us with the best results they could achieve. And the ones that gave us the best impression were the LG G2 and the Samsung Galaxy S4, which packed tons of details in their photos. They weren't leading by miles, however.

Daytime photos taken with the LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy S4 look great even at 100% zoom, so we can comfortably examine even the fine details in them, such as the leaves on trees or the license plates of passing cars. The iPhone 5s and the Galaxy Note 3 photos look very detailed as well, but still, they are a step behind the G2 and the S4. Also, we see that, as usual, the iPhone's photos are noisier than what we're used to seeing.

Photos taken with the Motorola MOTO X, DROID Ultra, and HTC One are usable, but their detail levels are average at best. Nevertheless, the images they produce are perfectly suitable for uploading to a social network and even making small prints.



1. tech-head

Posts: 133; Member since: Sep 02, 2011

Go LG G2!!!!

10. nerdylish

Posts: 51; Member since: Apr 13, 2013

And the iPhone 5S! :)

28. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

keep telling urself that

43. nerdylish

Posts: 51; Member since: Apr 13, 2013

Butthurt much?

104. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

i got nothing to be butthurt over

46. Dorothy69

Posts: 498; Member since: May 21, 2013

Actually, the first iPhone picture is about as blurry as swamp water - I can't make out anything under Christoper Columbus. Galaxy Note 3 and Lumix GH2 are clearest. But, go ahead and keep fantasizing.

73. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Well, no disrespect, you either need glasses or a new monitor, cause I can see every single letter and detail.

84. BillyG

Posts: 305; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

you need to tell the last sentence to yourself. go ahead... do it now...

113. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Hell, I'm glad someone else thought it was blurry, I clean my monitor and my thanks for confirming this for

47. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2429; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I think they should redo the night test with the iPhone 5S. There is clearly some sort of backlight in the photo (most likely from a car's headlights as evident by the shadow you see). This could give results that are different than if that car wasn't there.

70. Dorothy69

Posts: 498; Member since: May 21, 2013

So, if they car weren't there shining a light you really wouldn't be able to see anything in the pic - isn't that called CHEATING Dr. Phil?

29. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Just another sponsored article by LG, nothing to see here.

36. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Why the hate? Camera comparisons aren't sponsored, it's just a comparison. I'm pretty sure that you won't say that if the Note 3 wins this comparison.

66. robcar

Posts: 110; Member since: Jan 18, 2011

And you have this argument every time your team loses?...

79. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

I agree. PA made this so LG would look good and pay them more. And I only say this because we all saw the G2 get destroyed yesterday in the blind comparison.

83. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

Yeah, like that blind comparison was really blind....on the first day everybody knew, which picture belonged to the selected phones, so it really was unbiased....LOL. If there were only crops, and not full pictures, then it would had been a fair fight

2. MrTzr unregistered

You forgot to include the Z1.

81. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

They wouldn't want anyone beating the G2! LG is Phonearena's biggest sponsor.

3. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Where's Lumia 1020 and Xperia Z1?

8. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

I think the 1020 is out of question, because it performes so much better than the others that it wouldn't be a fair comparison. The Z1 is a more interesting one, wondering why they left it out of the article.

12. nerdylish

Posts: 51; Member since: Apr 13, 2013

LOL! Nah, read comment #7.

19. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

.... :D

20. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

I would definitely add the z1 but not the Nokia 1020. The 1020 is a year old phone with a great camera attached to it. No different if Sammy was to add a great camera to a year old S3. Plus where do you draw the line? What if you add the perfect camera to a 2 year old Galaxy S2?

59. Immolate

Posts: 310; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

So you're saying that the 1020 isn't qualified to compete with the other cameras, even though it's better than all of them by an impassable gulf, because it's an old phone? The tech may not be impressive, but neither is the Moto X or the iPhone, and they do just fine. Also, the 1020 was release in the US in late July 2013, so less than three months old here. Sounds like you just don't like getting smacked around.

65. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

1020 is a good backup camera and good call quality, it ends there.

100. Johann

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

Well wouldn't it be quite a fair comparison because the iPhone 5S is basically a year-old phone with a fingerprint sensor added onto it? You have to include the best phone camera into a comparison of phone cameras.

4. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

I would agree this accurate.

88. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I agree. But I heard that Note 3 has a toggle "Smart stabilization"used for taking low light photo, and we have to toggle in unlike built in as G2. PA can you check it?

5. quadrazeus

Posts: 359; Member since: May 03, 2013

An excellent and well balanced camera comparison by PA! Butthurt sammities attacking in 3..2..1..

22. PorkyBurger

Posts: 585; Member since: May 18, 2013

Why butthurt. I think well done. :) Don't be so...idk lol.

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

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