Camera comparison: iPhone 5 vs Nexus 4 vs 8X vs DROID DNA vs Lumia 920 vs Note II vs Galaxy S III

Phone cameras are constantly getting better and better. True, they do so at a relatively slow pace, but they are moving forward, despite the limitations imposed by the thin profiles of today's phones. Those who have been with us for longer know that we like doing such camera comparisons every once in a while. It's a very good way to update ourselves on the current status of camera technology in phones, and to see how the latest high-end smartphones stack up against one another.

This is one of our biggest camera comparisons yet. We'll be comparing a whole bunch of awesome handsets, including the iPhone 5, Nexus 4, Galaxy S III, Note II, Lumia 920, DROID DNA and Windows Phone 8X! However, since almost all of these devices feature very good mobile cameras, we'll be using the Panasonic Lumix GF3 as a reference device, so that we'll know which of our lovely smartphones is closest to the real deal. With all of that said, let the last camera comparison for 2012 begin!


After carefully examining the test samples we got with our handsets, we came to the conclusion that the iPhone 5 is the leader of the pack in this respect. The iPhone has always been a top player when it comes to details, and its 5th edition doesn't disappoint. Close behind it, though, are Samsung's Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III. These two are also great performers, though their images look a tad more digital upon close inspection. The rest of the phones we tested are still very good, but aren't quite of the same class as the first three.



1. ama3654

Posts: 295; Member since: Nov 27, 2012

well done Galaxies, top notch devices all round!

35. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Why do the seen results differ from the written ones? Oh, wait, Ray wrote it. I am pleased with the effort and thoroughness, but there seems to be some strange skewing. Also, no 808 PureView, Sony Xperia, etc?

42. abdullah

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

sony is the best bro

131. abhishek48

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

Good Joke, People Please read but Look at the indoor Shot. HTC droid Dna is the only phone which has most details and you can actually see time in the clock in center, which you cant see on any other phone's photos, Outside photos are grt on all phones. I have Droid DNA and it takes better sharper pics than even my Nikon L310 which is an advanced point and shoot with 21x zoom. With best screen, best cpu and gpu and BEST Camera too DROID DNA owns all phones

143. trixxx05

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 13, 2012

Biased answer ;)

144. abhishek48

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

really , DNA has highest benchmark fluid performance best camera, PIcs are sharpest, to compare camera they need to keep all phones on same tripod as comparison is useless, do not and I am sure image sense chip with f 2.0 will come on top

158. badini007

Posts: 18; Member since: Jul 02, 2012

I totally agree with you Abhishek... When I combined all above images and compared them Droid DNA image was having more details than others and here is the link for the combine image >

53. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Butthurt about Nokia much? The only true PureView, 808, would have absolutely embarrassed the bunch in this test, but it really isn't a relevant phone in other categories. It can't be considered a high end smartphone, not by a long shot. As for Sony, I agree they should've put it in the comparison but I doubt it would do more than average. The upcoming Sony Exmor RS sensor is what we should be interested in seeing..I think it will be the camera to beat it 2013

66. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

PA, as i read through, i've noticed that no one has been actually satisfied with the comparisons. On top of that, Ray's name has been abused (whether biased or not, that's completely up to him. And i won't judge him on the matter, not saying that he is or he is not biased). And these things keeps on continuing... My suggestion is to keep one separate professional especially meant for a particular subject throughout the site. For example, Ray can review phones, Michael can review apps, John can take care of the articles... Ray, don't take this personal, it can be you or someone else reviewing new phones and the features inside it, that's great. But when it comes to a particular subject like this one, Camera, i want to read a real pro review it. See, Ray can't be reviewing phones and at the same time compare the cameras as well, that's not right. Different individual reviewing a phone, when it goes against other phones compared by another individual results in confusing conclusion! Which is not good. What i'm giving is just a suggestion...i just don't like having to read the crowd go wild because of the confusing conclusion.

90. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Good point, or, alternately, have each staff member put their comments in and a score, and go from there. So if we see "writer 4" giving "device C" 9 points while the other writers give it a 6, we can see any perceptional.differences.

92. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Or at least have each category have its own score. say there is 4 phones in the round up, have each category worth 4 points. 4 points to first, 3 points to second, ect. add up each category at the end for each phone and the winner is decided numerically. It still is biased by opinion like it always will be, but at least then its a clear cut winner at the end... none of this "well, this camera really did great in all the shots.. .but were gonna go ahead and throw it to the iphone for the win... because its an iphone"

119. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

That's an option, too. Car magazines have been doing it like that for decades. Biggest point of contention would be how points are scored/weighted

106. apocalypsebc

Posts: 148; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

I agree! They should get results from professional photographers opinion. And from well known Photographers with high tec cameras.

135. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Well you have to note that Ray just put together the article. He didn't take (all) of the pictures. Check out the videos. "Hey guys Joooohn V..." Just something to note.

91. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Yes, the 808 would have put the others to shame for most of the contests (to the point that it could have been the baseline instead of the P&S), but calling it the "only true PureView" is silly. It is Nokia's name, they can apply it to what they want, just as apple will put "retina" and "I" on darn near anything they can, or Samsung naming everything but their non-smartphones Galaxy, even though initially that was reserved for their best smartphone, etc. And no, I am not "butthurt"; the iPhail uses Sony optics which are right up there with Nokia in terms of smartphone camera quality (though Nokia excels on the software and pushing-envelope front) but the sudden juxtaposition of rankings and results from prior tests and reviews is mildly alarming, to whit, the Lumia bests the iPhail4Stretch on everything except still detail capture, which is likely resolvable with a software update. Mix these results with those in the Lumia 920 vs iPhail4Stretch and the ranking order should be switched. That said, I am disappointed that HTC did so relatively poorly. For a while they had among the best smartphone cameras you could get outside of a Nokia N8.

107. apocalypsebc

Posts: 148; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

I agree as well. Did you see how the Lumia 920 wasn't even mention in the video test and by looking at the video it out shined the rest. Its great being able to go to other websites and get true infomation all around. Video/Camera!

116. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 2012

That's the OIS at work. I used it at a football game the other day. The guy in front of me used a galaxy at the same time. He was blown away by the results. I do hope that the software fix for the still shots gets here soon though. I would like to see the 920 find its way to the top of the list. All in all, these phones all have pretty good cameras.

149. cdgoin

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 28, 2010

I Noticed the "Cropped" shots of the comparison, do NOT match the actual shots in the slideshow above. NO one there would adjust the pictures to make thier point..? Nah.. BTW zoom the actual photos and the iPhone is weaker than the Droids or Windows phones.

164. Sp12er

Posts: 6; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Pureview is on a whole different dimension.

47. ahmed_ali_yossef2010

Posts: 164; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

the Iphone leads this battle not the galaxies this is obvious

56. AnTuTu

Posts: 1620; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Features comparison: 1. Note 2 2. S3 3. Lumia 920 4. Nexus 4 5. DNA 6. 8X 7. iStretch or iPhone 5

80. CellieCell

Posts: 151; Member since: Apr 14, 2010

1. HTC 8X/NOKIA 2. IPHONE/S3/NOTE 2 (TOSS UP) 3. DROID DNA/NEXUS 4 did anyone else laugh when they saw john V's face? LOL sorry not trying to be rude. good smile.

121. Miley_3d

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 02, 2012

1.S3 & Note 2 2.Lumia 920 3.iPhone 5 & Nexus 4 5.DNA & 8X But for me is best 8 Megapixel Just Samsung Galaxy S3

157. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

nope iphone 5 has better cam than s3

136. MC1123

Posts: 1256; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

lol... features yes..but camera 1. 808 PV 2. Lumia 920 3. N8 4. Xperia TX 5. iPhone 5

140. ahmed_ali_yossef2010

Posts: 164; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

you forgot to put the camera of Nokia3310 before the IPHONE 5

2. xperiaboy

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 08, 2012

no sony devices ? :(

26. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

These devices are a mere comparison of flagship phones that has usually, 8 megapixel sensors. here's the real ranking of camera on smartphones to day by phone arena itself.

101. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

It isnt just megapixels, otherwise a Titan 2 would win against anything short of an 808 PureView

129. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

hey, i think you're lost. I was not saying that it's a comparison in terms of pixel. I was just stating the fact that all the phones in this comparison are around 8MP modules.

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