Camera comparison: Huawei Ascend P7 and Oppo Find 7a vs Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G2, iPhone 5s, HTC One (M8), Sony Xperia Z1

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Until recently, Huawei and Oppo were brand names with little to no recognition on the smartphone scene – pretty much nobody had heard about them. Things, however, have changed a bit over the past few years. Both companies have proven that they're capable of producing quality smartphones, and their current flagships – the Huawei Ascend P7 and the Oppo Find 7a – are built to compete with all those heavily advertised brand name flagships. Seriously, check out our in-depth reviews if you're not convinced that these phones are actually worth checking out. That's why we decided to give the Ascend P7 and the Find 7a a chance to compete in a camera comparison against several well-known models: the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G2, the iPhone 5s, the HTC One (M8), and the Sony Xperia Z1. Will the two Chinese warriors stand a chance against these fearsome opponents?

Note: We're using a Panasonic Lumix GH2 with its kit lens as a reference camera.

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It was a bright, joyful day when we took our outdoor photo samples; not a single cloud was obscuring the sun's rays. In other words, the conditions were ideal for a camera shootout as, given all that light, each handset could show us the best that its camera was capable of.

The Huawei Ascend P7, in particular, does a commendable job at reproducing colors faithfully. Not all of its shots are perfect – about one in ten of them turns out warmer than it should be – but even if that is the case, the deviation doesn't bother us much. The Oppo Find 7a, on the other hand, can't quite nail its colors as well, or at least it couldn't capture them accurately as often during our shootout. As it becomes evident from our photos, its camera has a tendency of making some scenes more reddish or yellowish than they should appear. These flawed frames don't look bad, but they don't look perfectly natural either.

Overall, photos from the Samsung Galaxy S5 look great in terms of colors. Some of its scenes have a slightly cold-ish feel to them, but that's nothing you should be worried about. What's a bit more worrying, however, is the disappearance of details in very light objects which occurs in some shots – see the flowers in the sample gallery below and you'll get the idea.

Photos from the iPhone 5s are, as a whole, very pleasant to look at. Images taken in broad daylight have lively colors that bring everything to life. Yet one issue with Apple's phone is that if you have an object that is already bright in color, the camera's software will likely boost its saturation up a notch.

The Sony Xperia Z1 is not the best contender when it comes to color accuracy. Colors in its photos are boosted a notch, but all in all, its daytime photos turn out quite lovely.

This time around, the LG G2 didn't perform as well as we expected it to. Simply put, its results tend to be inconsistent – some of its photos turn out much colder than they need to be. Others, however, look excellent. This could be an issue with the software responsible about balancing an image's colors.

As for the HTC One (M8), we wish HTC's flagship produced better results. Several of its photos have a greenish tone, while others are overly warm or cold. As a general advice to all owners of the handset, manually tapping on the subject being photographed will help the phone's camera set the exposure more accurately.


Since both the Huawei Ascend P7 and the Oppo Find 7a pack 13-megapixel cameras at their backs, their full-resolution images should look equally well detailed when viewed from up close, right? The Ascend P7 produces photos with great, but soft details.Don't think of this as a bad thing, though - detail represented this way looks very natural, although they are not as pronounced as when they photos have been over sharpened. Furthermore, unwanted artifacts are absent from the P7's images, save for the noise that can be seen in solid colors, such as the blue sky in our pictures. The Oppo Find 7a is an even better performer when it comes to taking detailed shots. In fact, it takes the gold in this category even though it is running against several higher-res rivals. Tree branches, cracks on walls, the texture of tree bark, and other minute details are preserved in great, natural clarity. What's more, the camera software does not add any excessive sharpening to the image (but just the right amount) and does a good job at filtering out digital noise without killing fine details. Frankly, we're impressed with Oppo's flagship and its performance in this particular aspect.

Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S5 isn't lagging behind by much. Its 16MP photos are almost as pleasing as the Find 7a's in terms of details, but the slight noise-reduction and post-processing sharpness that is added makes those details look a bit unnatural. That's why we've given the S5 and the Ascend P7 the same detail score – details in images by the S5 are clearer, but slightly unnatural, while the P7 takes softer, but truer-to-life details. .

As for the Sony Xperia Z1, the phone's default camera mode captures a 20.7MP image which is then scaled down to an 8MP one. The result is a file that lacks the artifacts the full size image has, but still contains rich, sharp detailsThe 20MP mode is available in manual mode, so can switch to that if you prefer taking full-resolution images with the Xperia Z1. These, however, don't look very nice at 100% zoom due to artifacts visible across the entire frame.

The LG G2 produces results that you'll either like or not. On one hand, you'll be getting photos that are very low on noise. Details, on the other hand, are pretty soft and may look unpleasantly artificial to some at full size. But overall, the G2's photos are detailed enough to be considered very good.

Then there's the iPhone 5s. It may have “only” 8 megapixels to work with, but it puts them to very good use and its photos turn out very detailed for their resolution. Noise is kept well under control and is hard to notice in well-lit scenes.

Last in line is, unsurprisingly, the HTC One (M8). The Ultrapixel camera has a resolution of just 4 megapixels, which puts HTC's flagship in a tricky situation. Its photos are acceptable, we have to admit, but not on par with those from its rivals. There is very little to zoom in on and crops don't look pretty due to their low pixel size.


Taking photos in broad daylight isn't a challenge for a smartphone's camera. Indoor, low-light shots, however, are quite a bit more difficult to take because of the trickier lighting conditions. Nevertheless, both the Huawei Ascend P7 and the Oppo Find 7a can capture a very good image even when light is scarce. Just don't expect to get perfect results every time.

The Huawei Ascend P7 tends to take sharp, detailed indoor photos. Digital noise is noticeable, yet within tolerable limits and isn't an issue. With the Oppo Find 7a we got images that contained less digital noise as it had been reduced by the camera's software post processing, details turned out softer. As for the photos' color accuracy, results were a mixed bag – both phones demonstrated a tendency of producing slightly warmer photos in artificial lighting, although only in about one of two frames. When using a flash, the Oppo Find 7a manages to produce a more natural-looking image.

As for the rest of the handsets, the Sony Xperia Z1 and the iPhone 5s take the most likable photos. Apple's handset strikes a very good balance between color accuracy and detail level, while the Z1's images are a tad grainier, but sharper and a tad more detailed. Even in darkness, Sony's device manages to illuminate the scene with its LED light really well.

Indoor samples from the Galaxy S5 turned out very detailed, but a bit cold-looking. Especially in low light and darkness, when the phone's LED light goes off – it tends to mess up the image's color accuracy quite a bit. Similarly, the LG G2's indoor photos are perfectly usable when there's good illumination. Details are sufficient and noise is low. But colors could be quite off in low-light scenes.

Lastly, the HTC's indoor and low-light photos are a hit or miss. Colors are sometimes inaccurate and often lifeless. Detail level is average at best due to the sensor's low resolution.


So, it turns out that the Huawei Ascend P7 excels at taking panoramas, topping this category! It produces pano images of very high resolution – our sample below clocks in at over 55 megapixels – and the stitched photo contains excellent fine details. Putting individual images together is also executed really well.

Panoramas made with the Oppo Find 7a don't look quite as good, but are still pretty usable and of high resolution. However, the software can't seem to be able to filter out moving objects and to stitch image pieces together seamlessly, which produces unwanted errors in the frame. Moreover, the Find 7a won't capture more than a 180-dergee field of view, while the P7 can easily snap a full 360-degree shot of your surroundings.

The Galaxy S5 stitches photos well and produces a very high-resolution, high-quality image that is a pleasure to admire, but the fine details in its panoramas don't look as good as in the panos from the P7. Apple's iPhone 5s also takes gorgeous panoramas, as you can see in the image below. The resolution of its shots, however, isn't as high: the S5's panos weigh in at over 60MP, while the iPhone's are of about 25MP.

As for the other handsets, the HTC One (M8) produces unwanted accordion-like artifacts where its pictures connect, not to mention that the image's colors are just way off. The Sony Xperia Z1 isn't good at all as its panoramic photos are stitched poorly and just don't look good. But the most disappointing results came from the LG G2. Its panoramas are so bad that they are practically unusable.


This comparison would feel incomplete without a set of night photos in it. Again, we'll start by commenting on the photos taken by the not-so-popular contenders. The good news is that both the Huawei Ascend P7 and the Oppo Find 7a are usable at night. But on the other hand, we were expecting to get a bit more out of their cameras. Night photos from the Huawei Ascend P7 are of average quality. They are slightly noisy and not as detailed as you'd expect out of a 13MP camera. Also, colors often lean towards the colder side. The Oppo Find 7a is about as good as Huawei's handset. Details appear to be softened by the noise reduction algorithms. Furthermore, the images often have an overly warm tone to them.

We got much better results with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5s. Both snap very detailed night shots with relatively accurate color representation and not too much digital noise. The LG G2 takes night photos that are almost as good. Details are sufficient, but colors aren't always accurate. While the night photos from the Xperia Z1 suffer from severe color inaccuracies, they impress with a high detail level. The underdog HTC One (M8) is, again, last on the chart. Its night photos are okay, but lights appear overly bright and “burn” whatever happens to be near them. Also, colors are on the colder side.


Time for the last category in our camera comparison – videos. The Huawei Ascend P7 impressed us only with the excellent sound quality in its video footage. Image quality, however, even at 30fps 1080p, is rather disappointing. Details are poor and the artifacts introduced by the software compression are spoiling things even further. A heavy motion blur makes night videos unpleasant to watch. In contrast, the Oppo Find 7a takes 1080p video in great detail. Night-time footage is grainy, but its fluidity is retained well. The only thing we didn't like was the average sound quality.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is better at shooting 1080p video than these two handsets. Its videos are smooth and detailed, while the camera controls its focus very swiftly. Night videos are quite enjoyable as well. Sound quality is pretty good overall.

The best thing about the iPhone 5s and its 1080p videos is the excellent software image stabilization, which keeps the frame very steady as you hold the camera. Details are plentiful and the footage is smooth even when shot at night. The only issue with the iPhone's videos is the poor quality of the sound in them.

Videos from the Sony Xperia Z1 look decent. They aren't as detailed as, let's say, those from the iPhone
or the Galaxy S5, but they're still pretty good-looking. Besides, Sony's handset records surrounding sounds in great clarity. Even night videos are recorded at a smooth framerate.

We like the smoothness and stability of the 1080p videos from the LG G2. What we don't like, on the other hand, is the digitized sound and the slow auto-focusing. Furthermore, the phone's night videos are barely usable, spoiled by unacceptable levels of motion blur. You should really forget about using the 60fps option in dark environments.

And then we have the HTC One M8. Its 1080p videos are actually pleasant to look at despite the lack of optical image stabilization. What's more likable is the sound in its videos. Compared to the rest of the bunch, the One (M8) excels in that respect. Night video footage is also decent despite the occasional motion blur.


We knew that the Huawei Ascend P7 and the Oppo Find 7a, along with their 13MP cameras, had plenty of potential, but we didn't expect them to be this good. We were surprised by all the detail that the Find 7a captured in its photos, while the images from Ascend P7 pleased us with their accurate color balance. Of note is that the latter captured the best panorama shots.

What's even more surprising, we're now convinced that the Ascend P7 and the Find 7a rank among the best cameraphones we've ever tested, right along with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z1. Sure, we can't deny that these cameras differ in image presentation – the S5 and Z1, for example, rely on sharpened details to impress viewers while Huawei and Oppo's handsets produce softer, more natural details. But at the end of the day, all these four handsets fall within the same level of camera quality even though some users may like one camera's approach and others will surely have a different favorite.

That aside, things in our camera comparison turned out, more or less, as we expected them to. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5s once again showed us that they can capture quality videos and photos, both at night and in broad daylight. The Sony Xperia Z1 also demonstrated that it is a great camera all-around. As for the LG G2, its camera could have done even better in our testing, but nevertheless, it deserves to be listed among our favorite cameraphones.

Lastly, the HTC One (M8) couldn't do much to impress us with its Ultrapixel camera. When it comes to image quality, HTC's finest is leagues behind other phones of this class, and even though its photos are usable, they don't meet the expectations one would have for a contemporary flagship device.

The final 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 final 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 either, since we consider it a separate thing from photo-taking. We've done this in order to end up with a final rating that is representative of a camera's performance in those areas, which we think are most important to users.

Software versions of the smartphone units used in this comparison:

Huawei Ascend P7: Android 4.4.2, P7-L10V100R001C00B116SP03
Oppo Find 7a: Android 4.3, 1.2.0i
Samsung Galaxy S5: Android 4.4.2, KOT49H.G900FXXU1ANCE
LG G2: Android 4.2.2, JDQ39B
iPhone 5s: iOS 7.1, 11D167
HTC One (M8): Android 4.4.2, 1.54.401.5
Sony Xperia Z1: Android 4.4.2, 14.3.A.0.757

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