Camera comparison: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8), Galaxy S4, iPhone 5s, LG G2, Nexus 5, Sony Xperia Z1
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We've tested dozens upon dozens of smartphone cameras over the past several years, and Samsung's offerings have always been among the very best. The Galaxy S II, for example, was an excellent performer for its time, producing detailed images and even 1080p videos (which was a feature rarely seen on a smartphone in 2011). Then came the Galaxy S III with its improved BSI sensor, super-fast burst-shot features, and drastically reduced shutter lag. Keeping up with the trend, the Galaxy S4 made the jump to 13 megapixels of resolution, while its set of software features received a welcome expansion – modes allowed the user to remove moving objects from the frame, and slow-motion videos were also added.
Having all that in mind, it goes without saying that our hopes for the Samsung Galaxy S5 are set pretty high. Will its new, 16MP camera manage to tackle the fearsome competition, however? Well, that's what we're here to find out – it is camera comparison time again! We've chosen to pit Samsung's flagship against some of the best smartphones out there, including the HTC One (M8), the Samsung Galaxy S4, Apple's iPhone 5s, the LG G2, the Google Nexus 5, and last but not least, the Sony Xperia Z1. Here's a quick look at what these phones' cameras have to offer:
Color representation can make or break a photo, which is why it is important to know which phone captures the most accurate colors. The bad news is that neither of these phones is flawless in that respect. However, some of them do a better job than others. The Samsung Galaxy S5, in particular, captures most scenes in great fidelity, especially when given lots of light to work with. Gloomy, cloudy scenes have a slightly more saturated tone to them, but we're not bothered by that at all. However, brightly-lit white objects, such as the petals on the daisies in our photo sample, may turn out too bright, presumably because the software is set to boost the contrast of the image up a notch. But overall, we're very pleased with the Galaxy S5's color reproduction.
As for Samsung's flagship from last year, colors in its photos are not bad at all. In fact, we have to admit that some of its shots look better and more accurate than those from the S5, at least color-wise, while the new flagship has the upper hand in other scenes.
The iPhone 5s has an opinion of its own as to how things should appear. Its photos are very pleasing to the eye with their lively colors, but they turn out a tad warmer than what we'd call neutral. Nevertheless, the iPhone's photos are still very pleasant to look at.
The LG G2 is a strange beast. Sometimes it takes photos with excellent color fidelity and gets closer to our reference photos than any other phone. In other scenes, however, it can't get its colors exactly right, or at least not from the first shot. For example, the sky in one of our photos turned out violet, then we immediately re-took the photo only to get a much more natural image. Similarly, the HTC One (M8) delivers mixed results, but its gets its job done well most of the time. We noticed that better results may be obtained if we tap on our subject before taking the photo in order to aid the camera in setting its exposure straight.
Next up we have the Sony Xperia Z1. Its photos look nice when looked at on their own, but a quick check with our reference shots makes it clear that the phone boosts the colors' intensity quite a bit. The Google Nexus 5 is last on the chart. Not that its photos are bad, but their colors are often overly warm.