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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)
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)

Knowing that the LG G2 had an outstanding camera, we expected nothing short of great results from its successor. And sure enough, the LG G3 did not leave us disappointed with its 13MP camera. The snapper is about as capable as those on the current leaders on the market, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Sony Xperia Z2, and the iPhone 5s. But at the same time, we can't say that the LG G3 is a leader in the pack. Sure, it is a worthy performer, but it is not superior to its Samsung-made rival. Color accuracy is one of the key areas where the G3 could have performed better, and honestly, we were expecting more from it in the video department. On the other hand, we're very pleased with the details in the G3's photos. Its night-time images, panoramas, and HDR shots are also worthy of admiration.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 once again showed us that it is an all-aroung great cameraphone. Its 16MP camera has its flaws, but at the same time, it excelled in most of the scenes that we shot with it. Given enough light, the Galaxy S5 outruns the competition – not by much, but its advantage is still a fact. Just don't expect it to beat the G3 in a night-time shoot-out.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is still standing strong even though it is a model form last year. With its detailed images and videos, it can give even the LG G3 some heated competition. What's more, the Note 3 is an ideal phone for taking 1080p video.

Then we have the iPhone 5s, which demonstrates that 8MP of resolution should be enough for the average consumer's needs. Apple's smartphone is extremely easy to use, all the while enabling us to capture beautiful photos and videos. Color accuracy, however, isn't its strength.

As for the Sony Xperia Z2, it is also a cameraphone that should not be underestimated. Thanks to its 20.7MP camera, it can capture beautiful, detailed photos in a variety of conditions. But stacked up against the LG G3, Sony's flagship phone is a step behind despite its advantage in megapixel count.

The HTC One (M8) ended up last in our comparison for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the UltraPixel approach hurts image detail dramatically, and that's clear to see once you take a look at photos from the M8 and its rivals side by side. Color accuracy also leaves a lot to be desired. At least its videos look presentable.

Oh, and about the LG G2, it may have lost its flagship status, but it is still a capable cameraphone. With 13MP of resolution and optical image stabilization at its disposal, it produces very likeable photos, at least in most cases. Yet its results aren't as consistent as those from the G3. Some images turn out great, while others have their flaws. And at night, don't even bother trying to record a video.

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 the comparison:

LG G3: Android 4.4.2, build number KVT49L.F400S10e
Samsung Galaxy S5: Android 4.4.2, build number KOT49H.G900FXXU1ANE2
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Android 4.3, build number JSS15J.N9005XXUBMI7
Apple iPhone 5s: iOS 7.1.1 (11D201)
LG G2: Android 4.2.2, Build number JDQ39B
Sony Xperia Z2: Android 4.4.2, build number 17.1.A.2.55
HTC One (M8): Android 4.4.2, software number 1.54.401.10


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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: 4845; 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: 4845; 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: 465; 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: 4845; 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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