Camera comparison: Sony Xperia Z vs Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, iPhone 5, Nokia Lumia 920

Ladies and gents, it is time for another camera comparison between the top smartphones in existence. And without a doubt, all eyes are on the Sony Xperia Z, which is equipped with the company's new Exmor RS camera sensor. With 13 million pixels and perks like HDR video mode, Sony's top-of-the-line handset should be a great performer, but will it manage to beat the fierce competition?

Well, it won't be an easy battle. Today we're comparing the Sony Xperia Z with the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, iPhone 5 and the Nokia Lumia 920, all of which have proven their photographic capabilities. We're also throwing a 12MP point-and-shoot camera as a reference - the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS, which is now a model several years old.

For the purposes of this testing, all smartphones are set to their maximum resolutions for both images and video. We have to let them show their best after all. Also, we have not altered their settings for any of the test scenes. All smartphones are shooting in automatic mode. Shall we begin?


With its 13MP camera, the Sony Xperia Z can capture photos at higher resolution than what the other competitors are capable of. However, despite that advantage, the details in its photos are smudged and a weird purple tint is present around edges. The Nokia Lumia 920 produces equally disappointing results as the details in its photos are too soft for our taste. The Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 produce noticeably sharper, more detailed images, but the iPhone 5 captures even better photos, although it leads only by a hair.

Yeah, some digital noise is indeed present in the iPhone 5's photos, which isn't surprising considering the far-from-ideal lighting conditions. As a matter of fact, it was pretty gloomy when we took our outdoor sample shots. But the noise level is tolerable, just as it is on the images taken with the Galaxy S III and Note II. The Nokia Lumia 920 and Sony Xperia Z suppress noise through software algorithms, but the downside to it are the aforementioned muddy details seen in their photos.

1. iPhone 5
2. Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2
3. Nokia Lumia 920 and Sony Xperia Z



1. samsunggalaxylover

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

samsung phone cameras will stay the best.


Posts: 19; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

Samsung.. Its screen is too much dim even when brightness is full

90. fahqman

Posts: 38; Member since: Jan 06, 2013

I thought we're talking about cameras here. Did you feel threatened by Samsung and felt you needed to say something right away?

117. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I feel threatened by the amount of bias in this "comparison", i wonder how much Samsung and Apple payed PhoneArena? Why is the Note 2 even here? I mean its results are almost the same as the S3, only with more noise, just use a diferent phone in the comparison no point in using 2 phones that have almost the same camera.

125. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

what bias?? let your eyes be the judge... if your eyes said the samsung or the apple has the worst quality.. then so be it.. everyone has their own opinion..

257. Emily1985

Posts: 127; Member since: Nov 08, 2012 "The Best Smartphone Camera" 1) Nokia Lumia 920 2) iphone 5 3) BlackBerry Z10 (Sony Xperia Z performance close to bb z10) 4) Galaxy SIII 5) Nexus 4 When you do not get money from Samsung and Apple you get different results ;)

274. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

True. even though i'm hard core fan of IOS and Android i still admit that again and again no phone including IPhone 5, Xperia Z, upcoming galaxy S4,Lumia 920, galaxy camera etc.... beat Nokia 808 Pure View camera yet. if you don't believe that just watch 1080p of 808 pure view on your pc/mac in full HD. I try out the 808 camera still the best.

275. pureviewuser

Posts: 501; Member since: Nov 11, 2012

Mind you they will catch up making nokia bring up their standards which in turn make them bring up their standards even more its a win win for all consumers who will have better products,

276. hitman

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 05, 2013

Your correct. Bias not even mentioned Nokia has the only one with OIS and others use only digital image stabilization as well nokia Lumia has aperture of 2.0 which is widest among the rest. Did not even include HTC one. This article is one sided. Clearly it is between Iphone Lumia and HTC one and Samsung comes on top. How come?

208. dr_fajardo12

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

Don't get it, before this camera comparition iphone 5 had the better cam ( like them im not including 808), now, the iphone5 cant win against note 2, or sammy 3?. dont get it phonearena...

246. Hemlocke unregistered

My eyes must be screwed up, because the S3 and Note II only had one picture that appeared better (The first). Their horrible focal lengths really betray them.

252. stylinred

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

I wonder if the 920 was running the portico update which fixed the soft image issues? either way nothing will beat the 808 pureview for awhile

265. gbpost

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 24, 2012

agred- that's the main problem I found with my S3- screen brightness. It's there for things like photos. But for emails, reading etc it's quite subdued. But as we're talkgin about cameras, the Z is very good. Not as consistently good as the iphone 5, or nokia 920 (in low light) but I prefer the photos from the Z to those I used to take on the S3 (and for indoor shots I prefer the Z easily over the Note 2).

36. Wiki_jaan

Posts: 704; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

too many anti-samm ppl here

101. fahqman

Posts: 38; Member since: Jan 06, 2013

Hate = Envy in PA

37. Muzhhur

Posts: 261; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

just corean stuff, I dont think they are better than sony nor nokia

99. fahqman

Posts: 38; Member since: Jan 06, 2013

That Corean stuff rules now. Numbers don't lie. Enjoy your 2nd tier device and have a nice day :)

121. terabyteRouser

Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 18, 2011


48. AamirSIII

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

Woah... something has gone really wrong with PA lately... 920 is night photography champ, S3 and Note 2 can not be beaten in day time photography, macro and details in video, and Z has best night time video... 1-S3 2-Note 2 3-920 4-Z 5-is**t

68. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

hey! the Iphone camera isn't that bad. It certainly isn't the best, but it still is pretty decent(probably the only decent thing on that phone) It still might be last, but it doesn't deserve to be called "ishi*t" camera-wise just my 2 nickels

105. fahqman

Posts: 38; Member since: Jan 06, 2013

I own a note 2 and I feel like iphone 5's pic quality is just as good as Samsung's and Sony, too. 920 is pure joke. Pure'Gray'View's hype is just like what apple did & still doing with their retina BS which isn't even 720p in 2013.

247. Hemlocke unregistered

Look at the S3 or N2 side-by-side with the i5 and tell me how much better those 720p screens are. The iPhone 5's screen crushes them, and the tech industry agrees with that assessment.

51. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

IPhone or galaxy's best in day. Lumia 920 in low light. iPhone best overall I would say. This coming from someone who will never buy an iPhone.

64. amansingal14

Posts: 309; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

1- Lumia 920 2-Sony Z 3-Sammy s**t3 4-Sammy Big s**t2 5-Rotten Apple iCrap And yeah try using a Nikon DSLR, Sony Alpha instead...

70. pkiran1996

Posts: 166; Member since: Oct 22, 2011

Another anti-samsung person. What is wrong with you? The Galaxy Note 2 is arguably in the top 3 smartphones right now and you call it sh*t? As dedicated android user (Nexus 7 and 4), I would still never call the iPhone crap. You're just anti-samsung, and I have no idea why.

79. asingha94

Posts: 295; Member since: Apr 08, 2012

Samdogs are may be in the top 3 smartphones,but we are talking here about camera.Koreans know only adding core & adding ram. They need to born one more time to make good camera phone. So go get a life.

102. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

dude.. you can read tons of reviews on the internet.. no single reviewer ever said that the s3 or note 2 camera sucks.. they even always praise that those phones has one of the the best 8mp camera.. i knew that your ip5 camera is slightly better.. but doesn't mean the samsung's suck.. grow up boy..

195. amansingal14

Posts: 309; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

Dude read any review, Nokia and Sony beats all others in the camera dept.... thats why I say that I shall no more view any camera comparisions on this site, iGalaxyArena

197. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

dude my response is not for yours but for asingha94..

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

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