Camera comparison: Nokia Lumia 925 vs Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Note II

Not many of Nokia’'s smartphones are worthy of bearing the PureView badge. The title is given to only the maker’'s best cameraphones, among which is the Nokia Lumia 920 from last year. This particular smartphone, however, wasn'’t quite as capable as the competition, and an extensive camera comparison that we did a while ago proved that.

Yet now, the Nokia Lumia 925 is here to show us, hopefully, that PureView handsets shouldn'’t be underestimated. It comes with an upgraded 8.7-megapixel shooter backed up by optical image stabilization and six-element optics, controlled by software algorithms thoroughly refined by Nokia'’s camera team. And if that’s not enough, the Nokia Lumia 925 can shoot photos at ISO3200, which may come in handy in tricky low-light situations.

So yeah, the Nokia Lumia 925 is supposed to be a great cameraphone, but is that really the case? And is the smartphone's camera as potent as those on the current high-ends? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out. We'’ve brought along a handful of smartphones to compare the 925 against – the 13MP Samsung Galaxy S4, the HTC One with its 4MP “Ultrapixel” camera, the iPhone 5 with its 8MP snapper, and the Samsung Galaxy Note II packing an 8MP camera. All of these devices are known to be pretty decent cameraphones, so the battle will surely be heated. Oh, and there’s also a Panasonic Lumix GH2 thrown in – a stand-alone, Four Thirds digital camera with its stock 14-42mm lens, serving the purpose of a reference device.

Before we begin our camera comparison, allow us to make a few things clear. All of the photos and videos have been taken with the respective smartphone set to automatic mode, unless stated otherwise. No tap to focus has been used, leaving each phone to decide for itself what it should focus on and which object it should expose best. Also, HDR mode has not been used while taking any of the photo samples you'’re about to see.

With that out of the way, let’ us get this camera comparison started!

Overall presentation:

Before we dive into details, let us first take a look at some scaled-down photos. All of the images here have been downsized to a width of only 1920px as that's sufficient for most people'’s needs. The goal of this is to present the photographs from a typical user'’s point of view. That'’s how the average Joe would view and use them – posted on a social network or a photo sharing web site, for example. And by the way, a digital photo of this size is perfectly suitable for making 6”” by 4”” hard copies. They all look pretty nice, don'’t they? At low resolutions, many of the imperfections associated with smartphone photography, such as digital noise and inadequate detail levels, are barely noticeable. Other factors, however, are still into play.

The Nokia Lumia 925 pleased us with its balanced performance. Its photos have pretty accurate exposure and color representation, but could use a little bit more detail. Even better results are delivered by the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note II, which manage to pack a great amount of detail in their photos, all the while retaining the color saturation down to a neutral level. The pictures captured with the iPhone 5 have an overall warmer tone, but they still look very pleasing to the eye. Besides, this is the smartphone producing best indoor photos, given enough light, of course. As for the HTC One, its camera gets the job done and has the most neutral color balance, but some scenes aren't exposed sufficiently.



1. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

umm wheres xperia z..

3. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

And why would you include that terrible performer in a test of the best?

11. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

HAHAHA!! you forgot the last test they did, Xperia Z is 3rd behind Iphone 5 and S4!! So Hahahaha

12. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Haha... never stop trying to bash Sony, last time you said Xperia ZU have terrible viewing angle, now Xperia Z you better check this before you say anything about Xperia Z camera

19. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

What viewing angles have to do with the camera?

35. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Because bone keep talking about BS Last time he said Xperia ZU have terrible viewing angle. Now he said Xperia Z have terrible camera I just proved it that all the things he said is ONE BIG LIES

45. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

xperia zu indeed has terrible viewing angles.

50. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Hahaha it seems you have to much s**t in your eyes go check this

124. t0litzsanity24

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

i have a question...why is it that viewing angles is a big deal to you?...what are you goin to do if u wanna use or view ur phone?..sideways??

13. MachidoDen

Posts: 202; Member since: May 30, 2013


14. MachidoDen

Posts: 202; Member since: May 30, 2013

BONE?? i think You were the one Who said bad viewing angles for zu And later after giving many links to u U just went off?? Everyone is waiting for ur reply on that article

31. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

U mad Sony's blurship was left out? The flashless ZU won't make it either haha. No flash on a $900 device.

33. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

That is true. Instead of making it so slim, they could have used a better camera and a bigger battery. 3000mAh just won't cut it for a display and processor like that.

42. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Im more to slim due to its huge size, the batt. Is OK, bigger batt means its like carrying small ipad (not the mini)

54. flynfree

Posts: 374; Member since: Jun 09, 2013

And the battery .. can't compare to note 2, it suck with that 6.44 full hd display, just plain phablet, no pen slot, better stick to note series.

91. yudi.nemesis unregistered

being able to use anything as stylus is great and combine that with 6.44" full hd and sharp display you have nothing to worry about productivity. i still remember when people bashing and comparing Xperia Tablet Z small battery (6000 mAh) with bigger battery in Nexus 10 (9000 mAh), but according to battery life test on gsmarena Xperia Tablet have about the same battery life like Nexus 10 only about 1 hour less when it comes to web browsing. so i think Xperia ZU battery life will be just fine. and according to Sony Xperia ZU can have up to 16 hours 3G talk time up to 7.5 Video Playback and up to 120 hours music listening we all know in real life situation the result can be much worst than that, but for now those official numbers are good enough for big device with small battery

85. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

N y youre being biased against SONY?

109. bgdkid unregistered

hmm let me see last time i checked iphone and samsung cameras are MADE BY SONY..

4. ghaniosman

Posts: 78; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

First of all congrats to PA for a mobile optimized site! Better late than never!

18. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

i came here to say that only...

64. Potato.

Posts: 607; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

..NO. U didn't

84. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Phonearena are BIAS AGAINST Sony phones.

117. Kal-el

Posts: 96; Member since: Dec 14, 2012

I have note 2 & i love it ...not cuz it's samsung, i've owned everything (htc, moto etc) ....literally LMAO but QUESTION!!!!??? are any of the modes changed in the photo taking such as Night mode to ensure the camera's full potential...NOOOOO!...making this "shootout" ARTICLE of a "CAMera review" redundant. Nokia should have killed everything in night mode at least thus keeping at least 2nd in the list if ANYthing. NOOB-Arena

118. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

even thr bravia engine cannot reduce the noise and increase the sharpness of thr camera pics... :p The company know for making camera is bashed by others comapny in camera quality..

2. quyenqchau0813 unregistered

I have too much bias toward Nokia that I think I should compliment on the iPhone pictures ^^!

23. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

This is a terrible camera comparison. Some photos are taken from far, while some from nearer place.

52. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

The phones also have different depths of field and apertures; they may have been taken from the same distance and cropped badly or just the nature of the setup.

126. faune

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

They are taken from the same distance. Focal distance in Lumia 9xx is further than others.

5. Cesar

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

HTC ONE takes more detail :o

65. Potato.

Posts: 607; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Exactly.. do not believe on these comparisons..

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

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