Camera comparison: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, iPhone 5, Nokia Lumia 920 and Galaxy S III
What's common about all six of the smartphones we're comparing is that their cameras launch almost instantly after being triggered. In addition, the shutter lag on all six has been brought down to a minimum so that whoever's using them won't miss that special moment they're trying to capture. What sets them apart, however, is the UI.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 stands out of the crowd with the plethora of modes, built-in filters, and unique camera features. One of them is Dual Shot, which combines footage from both the rear and the front facing cameras in a single video. Imagine capturing the thrill of a rollercoaster ride and the frightened expression on your face simultaneously! Another neat feature is the built-in Story Album, which organizes photos that you've captured in an album, as the name implies. And let us not forget that the S4 can now take HDR photos as well.
So yeah, if features, camera modes, and manual settings are your cup of tea, then the Galaxy S4 was made for you. Its predecessor – the Samsung Galaxy S III, also offers plenty of flexibility in terms of tweaks and manual adjustments, but its feature set isn't quite as rich.
The HTC One camera interface is also highly versatile and overs a few handy tricks up its sleeve. For example, with the smartphone you can capture HDR Full HD video, slow-motion video at 120 frames per second and “Fast HD” 720p video at 60 frames per second. Also, its UI is neatly organized and straightforward to use.
The Nokia Lumia 920, on the other hand, comes with the stock Windows Phone 8 user interface, which is relatively basic in terms of features and settings. There is a solution to that, however, namely the so-called “Nokia lenses” that act as filters enhancing or modifying photos in a particular way. Additional lenses can be obtained via the Windows Marketplace.
The Sony Xperia Z's camera UI is okay, yet a bit unpolished. Launching the camera from the lock screen automatically launches the “Superior Auto Intelligent” shooting mode, which we find neither superior nor intelligent due to its unpredictability. Simply put, it does whatever it wants, so our advice is to stick with the “Normal” shooting mode. We must mention that the Sony Xperia Z supports both HDR photos and HDR Full HD videos.
Last but definitely not least we have the iPhone 5 with its incredibly simple and easy-to-use interface. Pretty much anyone and their grandma would be capable of using it without any problems. Sure, it offers no manual adjustments whatsoever – even the photo's resolution is beyond your control, yet nevertheless, the smartphone somehow manages to pick the proper settings almost every time.