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Camera comparison: LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, iPhone 5s, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z2, HTC One (M8)


Camera comparison: LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, iPhone 5s, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z2, HTC One (M8)


We're tech geeks. We're the kind of folks that friends and family consult with prior to buying a new gadget. And when it comes to smartphones, it usually boils down to one thing – the great majority of people who are about to get one want it to take good photos. Surprising? Well, not really. Studies show that taking photos is one of the top uses for a smartphone nowadays. Smartphone manufacturers are well aware of that and put great effort in enabling their devices to take good photos.

The LG G3 is one of the newest contenders on the smartphone scene, and just like the handsets it'll be going against, it comes with a very promising camera. Its 13 megapixels of resolution, 1/3.06” sensor size, and f2.4 aperture don't sound particularly intriguing to anyone who knows their way around a camera, but the improved optical image stabilization (OIS+), dual-tone LED flash, and fast, laser-assisted auto-focus are perks that many of its competitors don't have to offer.

So it is our duty now to put the LG G3's camera to the test – to see how well it performs against other popular high-end models. And for this camera comparison, we've lined up the usual suspects: the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 3, the iPhone 5s, the LG G2, the Sony Xperia Z2, and the HTC One (M8). Here's a look at what these handsets have to offer in terms of camera specs.

Note: we're using a Panasonic Lumix GH2 as a reference camera.


Okay, we know it is the LG G3's photos you want us to comment on, so that's what we'll start with. At a glance, the phone performs really well. Its images look fine when viewed on their own, with their bright, colorful presentation. But the thing is that the G3 goes slightly beyond the margins of what we'd consider neutral. The majority of its outdoor images exhibit a warm, yellowish tone, and a slight boost in color saturation is also present. Not bad overall, but the G3 could have performed better.

The cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 appear to be guided by the same set of algorithms, at least when it comes to colors. Their photos are neutral to cold-looking, but relatively accurate in most scenes.

The LG G2 has a higher tendency of skewing colors towards the colder side. Sometimes it nails them well, yet it renders other scenes a tad blueish. It's a hit or miss.

As usual, the iPhone 5s produced warm images with saturated colors during our shoot-out. The extra warmness gives a lively feel to the iPhone's photos, thus making them quite pleasant to look at, but it detaches them from reality somewhat.

This time around, the Sony Xperia Z2 didn't do quite as well as it did in previous comparisons. Some of its shots have a very neutral and accurate color balance, while others exhibit a cold, blueish tone. Some slight color saturation can be seen in the shady areas in some of its photos.

And lastly, the HTC One (M8) can't impress us with its daytime photos. Some do look just fine, but others are greenish in tone, and the purple-hued artifacts seen in others don't make the M8's situation any better.

Camera comparison: LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, iPhone 5s, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z2, HTC One (M8)

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posted on 16 Jun 2014, 07:50 7

2. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

And why the he** are the Z2 images taken in 8 mpx AGAIN...?! And not even superior auto...

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 07:51 2

4. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

Superior Auto mode, I think.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 07:57 3

9. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

I don't think so because they test the HDR mode and so, which are not available in superior (though it uses them automatically). But even if they are taken in superior auto, why would they use the 4:3? 16:9 is default in superior auto and actually has a slightly higher resolution.

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 06:29

168. Nick_T (Posts: 177; Member since: 27 May 2011)

The sensor's native aspect ratio is 4:3 - that's why we used it instead of 16:9. Using 16:9 for photos makes little sense as that crops away 30% of the sensor's effective area.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 09:11 7

54. drazwy (Posts: 234; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)

Because the 20MP images from Sony are awful. The 8MP images are by far better.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 09:21 4

58. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Oh my god you have no idea what you're talking about... Yes if you take the images in superior auto mode, the images are sharper and especially in low light a lot brighter and have more colours. But still clearly less details.

But those images aren't even in Superior Auto mode. They are in Manual. The difference in the amount of detail in 20 and 8 mpx images is HUUGE. Seriously HUUGE. Noise, colours etc. are the same as long as shot in Manual.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 09:30 3

60. maherk (Posts: 4854; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

If you own the Z2 like you claim you would've known that it takes horrible 20 mp pictures. Almost every other review out there complained about it and ended up using the superior mode in their camera test. Stop whining for God's sakes, and go watch some Erica Griffin's Z2 videos, that will probably change your mood.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 09:48

67. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

I can upload some sample images to google + if you want to see. The 20mpx images are better in good lighting conditions. In low light and macro I use Superior. Maybe I will. Her videos are so well made and honest

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 10:28 4

85. maherk (Posts: 4854; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

I am not saying she isn't honest, but she isn't as professional as you make her look. Just because her reviews goes along with what you want doesn't make her a reliable source. I ve seen you praise phonearena when a Sony handset wins a poll/review, and attack them when they lose.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 11:42

116. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

You have? If I recall correctly, I have never praised PA for reviews or other comparisons. Yes, if Sony wins a comparison then I might say something like "Way to go Sony you're the best", but I never praise PA's review methods. Good example is the Z2 review. It kinda sucks. I'm just happy that they at least gave it a good score.

And about Erica, she says so many bad things about Sony phones too. Especially the ones before Z2, and in the Z2 she really hates the cameras focus in video for example. She doesn't praise Sony. She praises everything. And so she also bashes everything. About the same amount. I enjoy watching all of her reviews. And the fact that she isn't a professional doesn't exactly mean much. I bet that PA for example doesn't have any more "pro tools" than Erica or Supercurio would have.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 12:05 7

118. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

So what I got from your comment: if Sony "wins" it's ok, but if they don't, you complain to PA that they're wrong.

And you say you're not a fanboy? Haha yeah okay buddy.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 12:11

120. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

No I gave the wrong idea it seems. If Sony wins I'm happy and praise Sony's efforts. If Sony loses, I check out the test more carefully and then decide what to do. This time I just went for complaining because they didn't use 20 mpx. Simple as that.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 12:39 4

122. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Aaannnnndddddd? If you don't like it, express your comment once or go to another site. Simple as that. You coming back every five minutes feeding PA money because of the ads and saying the same thing over again isn't going to get your point across.

Just wanted to let you know in case you didn't.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 13:10 1

131. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Aaannnnndddddd I use adblock btw so they ain't getting any money that way fom me. (Not using adblock because I wouldn't want to give them money, I just hate ads)

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 14:01 2

135. TMach (Posts: 466; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

Plus this review ignores that the Z2's latest software version is 17.1.1.A.0.402. This software update, as is usual with Sony addresses all the camera software issues. A comparison against a p[hone with the latest software is credible this isn't given once owner's have updated their software to the latest version, the earlier software is irrelevant and defunct. This does mean any comparison with previous software has no merit or credibility.

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 07:51

173. Nick_T (Posts: 177; Member since: 27 May 2011)

The comparison was already complete when our unit got the update.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 10:30

87. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)

second that.

as their charts show, superior auto definitely performs better. their photos are not in the 16:9 aspect ratio so it's unlikely to be using superior auto mode.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 11:45

117. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

In good lighting Superior isn't better. The colours are same. Everything is same. Except details, which are a lot better in 20 mpx. Superior is still sharper, though you can change that with after editing.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 23:06

157. jsdechavez (Posts: 758; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Superior Auto takes 8MP res.

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 05:44

166. mistertimi (Posts: 77; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Yeah I wonder if they took them in Superior auto. I'm not a Sony fanboy by a long shot, but PA leaving out details like that is why I will never take their "comparisons" as a truly accurate representation.

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 06:21

167. Nick_T (Posts: 177; Member since: 27 May 2011)

They are taken in superior auto mode, which is the camera's default mode. We used manual mode only for the HDR photo samples so that we could force the camera to take an HDR photo.

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 06:39

169. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Ok. But why are they taken in 4:3 then? 16:9 has a slightly higher resolution in the superior auto mode.

EDIT: I read your comment above,

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 04:56

182. mistertimi (Posts: 77; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Cheers. You might want to put that in the article next time..

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 06:46 2

170. Maryewww (Posts: 32; Member since: 16 Sep 2013)

In their last camera comparison, S5 and Z2 scored exactly the freaking same... PA dudes are high on information

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 07:53 7

6. Chuck.Norrisson (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)

Any review or test without the Nokia Lumia Phones is not worth reading in respect of "camera comparison" - period.

posted on 04 Jul 2014, 06:59

189. jojon (Posts: 360; Member since: 11 Feb 2014)

well said chuck..

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 07:56 8

7. alexvv (Posts: 165; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)

why are you taking the night category out? this is where these phones should really be put in a test. in daylight you don't need an s5 to capture a good photo, it's in the dark that a good cameraphone shines... and well over 1/3 photos are taken at night because this is when people go out, have a drink, eat etc...!

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 07:59 3

10. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Agree... Night shots are one of the most important ones.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 09:32

61. maherk (Posts: 4854; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

Yeah because most of our pictures are taken in low light situations right? For once, just once, leave your fanboyism aside and accept the results for once without all this nagging.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 09:53 4

70. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Sorry, but I can't. This is not fanboyism. This is just simply unfair. Why wouldn't they use the full capabilities of the phones?

Night shots have a huge meaning. Many places look more beautiful during the night or sunset/rise when there's still much less light. Many people go out with friends in the evening when it's already dark. And not to mention that in northern parts of Earth (like Finland where I'm from) it becomes dark already at 4 o'clock pm in the winter. In northern Finland it's dark all the time during the winter.

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