Samsung Epic 4G vs Apple iPhone 4 vs Motorola DROID X - the camera comparison

Samsung Epic 4G vs Apple iPhone 4 vs Motorola DROID X - the camera comparison
Introduction:

Smartphones have been evolving steadily from their humble business oriented roots from a few years ago to the ultimate convergence device on the market which have been encroaching on playing fields generally held captive by specialized functioning products. One specific area that cell phones are constantly closing the gap on is the camera department – especially with smartphones which seem to encompass a host of functions. Cell phones are easily compact and now utilize some decent sensors internally which can make you consider about ditching that traditional point & shoot you've been putting away more often of late. This past summer, we've been treated to a host of new current generation smartphones that pack a wallop in the camera department due to their ability to shoot stunning images and videos that can be appreciated by those who took them. Naturally, there are individuals out there who really want a well rounded smartphone that can take not good, but great images! So we've taken the three best smartphones from this summer which we've seen take the best pictures and pit them against one another to see which one really can out gun the other. And to compare the images produced by these top-end smartphones, we've included shots from a 12.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix FZ35 camera.



Interface:

Nowbefore we get right into the gritty action, we need to compare thedifferent interfaces that each handset offers, because as you know, itplays a key role in truly providing that exact point & shootexperience.

Between the three handsets, the iPhone 4by far employs the most simplistic interface which doesn't add anylevel of personality to the experience of taking photos. There are onlythree icons lined up on the top edge which enable you to set the flash,turn on HDR photos, and switch to either the front or rear cameras. Оnthe right pane, you'll find the on-screen shutter key, icon to get intothe gallery app, and an on-screen switch to shoot videos or photos.That's about it! There's actually no scene modes, options, settings, oranything – nothing! Then again, the iPhone 4's overall straightforwardand simplistic attitude radiates in every aspect of the phone; cameraincluded. The thing with the iPhone 4 though is the fact that it hastouch to focus, meaning, you touch an area on the display and it'llautomatically focus on it – at the same time, adjusting the exposure tobest take the shot. Although the constant change of exposure can resultin good or bad images, you simply have to play around with touch focusto get a handle of getting the best shots.

The photo gallery onthe iPhone 4 has remained unchanged since the original's inception,which can be regarded as a good or bad thing, but luckily, it functionsas it should. However, it's almost hard to fathom that the iPhone 4 isincapable of even editing photos on the go without the need ofdownloading an app. You can only trim lengthy videos you've recorded,but that's pretty much the extent of its editing capabilities; sadly.However, there are some wonderfull image editing apps in the App Store,like Photogene for example, that pack a great amount of options to letyou enhance your images.


If you're looking for an eclectic mix of features to appeasethat inner amateur photographer inside of you, then the Samsung Epic 4G'svast options and modes will surely cater to your desires. The interfaceitself hosts a bevy of setting modes that easily blows away the onesoffered by the Motorola DROID X. At the same time, the presentationwith its listing view and associated icons will easily allow anyone totake images without feeling too overwhelmed. Without a doubt, thededicated two-level shutter key will aid those who want thattraditional point & shoot feel, but it's supplemented with touchfocus as well. Additionally, there are just some other novel featuressuch as blink detection packed with the Epic 4G. And for those who area bit more comfortable with the ins and outs of camera settings, theEpic 4G allows you to set the ISO, white balance, and exposure.


With its processing prowess, the gallery app onthe Epic 4G exudes all of the graphical eye candy that one would expectwith a handset packing a 1GHz Hummingbird processor. Not only does itemploy some 3D-like effects as your tilting the phone left or right,but it executes it so flawlessly to make you appreciate the addedeffects. Since it's an Android powered device, sharing media content issuch a joy since you'll have the ability to instantly share it with ahost of services – like SMS, Twitter, Picasa, Facebook, and email. Inaddition, there are a couple of editing options you can apply on aphoto – like rotating or cropping them. Sure it's nothing too fancy,but it's still more than appreciated over what the iPhone 4 has tooffer. Videos on the other hand don't get anyone love seeing you can'tedit them in any way directly on the smartphone.


Finally, we've got the mechanical bucket of DROIDness with the Motorola DROID X– which of course flaunts its specs on paper with its 8-megapixelcamera with dual-LED flash. Similar to the Epic 4G's interface, the onein use with the DROID X offers a decent mix of shooting modes – but notmore than the Epic 4G. Instead of being presented with a list view whenchoosing a specific mode, you'll have to swipe between the optionsbefore you simply stumble upon the one that's perhaps to your liking.Still, the whole process seems a bit laborious and prefer the easy tojump into presentation of the Epic. As a whole, the interface is prettymuch in line with most handsets out there, but it's clear from acursory look that it doesn't radiate the Epic's depth of features –while still standing above the simplistic nature of the iPhone 4.


Since the handset is bathed in Motorola's new skin, the gallery app alsotakes advantage of the peppy speeds of its 1GHz OMAP processor. Whenheld in portrait, both photos and videos are presented in a grid-likeview which makes it super easy to swiftly jump to specific shots.However, tilting it sideways to landscape, we see the interface showingoff its processing prowess as content is reeled with a 3D like effectto it. Yeah it's nice and all, but we really wish it were moreresponsive; meaning that it has a tendency to continue scrolling afterclicking on a specific image. Hands down, the DROID X owns the photoediting department with its insane amount of options which includethings like effects, resizing, cropping, brightness & contrast,color & saturation, and frames. It'll easily make editing on the gosuch a breeze on yourself. Not stopping there, there are even somelengthy editing tools at your disposal for videos – like resizing,removing audio, and extracting a frame. So if you really want to getproductive without the aid of a computer (or third-party software),you'll most likely find the DROID X to be more than satisfactory forachieving your needs. As for additional image-editing software forAndroid, the currently-available options are much less than what you'llfind for iOS, but there are some good offerings, like PicSay.




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39 Comments

1. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Are you kidding me? The simple fact that you have to use a special setting to capture decent images speaks volumes for the iPhone's camera. Every single image taken with the iPhone is over exposed until the user goes into HDR mode or whatever. Not that any other camera here was any better. Frankly, the Droid X's camera was the most disappointing thing here.

2. mr. droid

Posts: 278; Member since: Aug 21, 2010

and the iPhone is the most disappointing phone all the way around. its quite sad. honestly, i feel the droid x has the best camera. something is out of whack with this review.. 7 pages of stuff i read that took 25 minutes of my life i will never get back. go to the stores (like wal-mart where they sell all of these phones side-by-side) and see for yourself. i am not trying to be bias (because i have the droid x) personally, the BEST phone camera i have ever seen goes to the droid2.

3. gunarrr unregistered

Your username speaks volumes for your bias.

4. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

I'd have to test one out for myself and compare it to my N97, E72, and N95. My friend has one, and a few of the images I've seen didn't come out well at all when they were uploaded to Facebook. They were darker than they should have been, and details didn't look that good. Something I noticed in the images here as well. My friend may not know how to use the 2 stage shutter button though. Who knows.

5. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

My user name will lead people to believe I am biased, but that is hardly the case. Take the N95 for example. Great camera, maybe even the best camera available in 2007 and 2008. It had one fatal flaw however. Every image taken, where there was a bright color, the color was made to look completely unreal. Yellows, reds, blues, didn’t matter. Everything looked like it was colored in with a marker. The images were still very sharp, but the colors made them look unreal. I see that with the iPhone 4 as well. When it comes to a camera phone, I want to see details, and I want images that look exactly as the scene was. No brightened colors, no black lines around blades of grass. I want realistic images. Whether it’s Apple, Moto, Samsung, HTC, or even Nokia, I’ll call anybody out if I see something to call them out on.

6. lolipopjones

Posts: 51; Member since: Jun 21, 2009

SO a phone that offers HDR is bad? Yeah you have no argument... you are just a tard.

10. DonkeyPunched

Posts: 321; Member since: Jan 10, 2010

Yea, you are clearly being bias. Whether or not you like the iPhone for all it's features and what not, this review was extremely accurate and the pictures on the Droid X look like pictures from a flip phone. It showed how blurred each texture became. The colors blurred too much to the point I couldn't even tell if there were leaves on the tree rather than just seen green/brown. This had nothing to do with how the phone works, the calls, or the apps. It was all about the camera and I believe the iPhone did win in terms of quality. Btw, I have an Epic, so that might affect how people see my comment, but I'm actually trying to be honest.

16. xq10xa unregistered

"i feel the droid x has the best camera." & "go to the stores (like wal-mart where they sell all of these phones side-by-side) and see for yourself. i am not trying to be bias (because i have the droid x) personally, the BEST phone camera i have ever seen goes to the droid2." you opinion became void right there buddy.

17. PapaJay224

Posts: 866; Member since: Feb 08, 2009

ARE YOU PEOPLE KIDDING ME?!?!? First of all there is obviously some sort of stencil brush effect they keep using on the droid that makes it look PhtoShopped, Secondly this whole Article is basically about iPhone HDR. I have seriously never been so discusted with an article on this website as much as I am rightnow with the absolute BIAS this site has.

24. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

this site is so funny. it kept saying "there is clearly no difference between these pix" it doesnt take but 2 seconds to look at the daylight pix and compare them with the real camera to see that the Epic wins the pic contest in almost every situation. The iphone4's camera over saturates, over compensates, and exept for a few shots, looked the least like the control shot taken from the digital camera. Without HDR the iphone wouldnt have even been in the contest. Point is, all the cameras are fine,from what i can tell the Epic/galaxyS has the best pictures over all without retouching, HDR obviously makes a difference, but phone arena is so openly biased when it comes to iphone comparisons that they can never be taken seriously.

31. XxVerbalxX unregistered

awesome

34. deago78

Posts: 172; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

You misspelled "disgusted"...badly

7. am0795 unregistered

No offence but phone arena, you are way off...my droid x at the D1 Rate is 30 fps...excuse u but my droid x at that even surpasses the icrap 4......iv'e tested in the apple store...the epic 4g i have nothing to say to...a 5 mega pixle.....no it still loses, my photos look amazing and with the 2.2 update..which you obviously dont know i guess comes out rommorow...the gallery and the inetrface is and will be much improved...

11. DonkeyPunched

Posts: 321; Member since: Jan 10, 2010

Lol, you make it sound like as if phone arena doesn't know the specs of the phone. They clearly do research on the phones and inform you about these updates, such as your Droid X 2.2 update. You're just a pissed off user because your phone did the worst. The pictures show it clearly. Stop bitching or stop coming back to the site. Its that simple.

18. PapaJay224

Posts: 866; Member since: Feb 08, 2009

Clearly not.

35. deago78

Posts: 172; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

You misspelled "offense"...come on many...this is fourth grade vocabulary test material...

8. mr. droid

Posts: 278; Member since: Aug 21, 2010

there is a way to get the 2.2 update now on the droid x. people have been complaining that it is making their phone run/work like crap compared to what it used to. although thats what they are telling me. nothing more nothing less. some people are afraid of change..

9. bummy unregistered

So iphone4 shots are all overexposed until you turn HDR on, which is THEN comparable to the other camera's regular shoots. Only bonus is in dim light situations where HDR is a bonus.... but this is just software right? are there apps out there for android to do HDR type imaging?

12. Legacystar

Posts: 131; Member since: Dec 31, 2009

does anyone else notice that every shot taken by the droid X looks like it's zoomed in closer then the other cameras? i think there is something wrong with your settings Phone arena.

19. PapaJay224

Posts: 866; Member since: Feb 08, 2009

LegacSTar THANK YOU!!!! It looks like they have a pencil effect or some sort of effect added to them. Thats why this review is BS! -1 PhoneArena

21. bl@cksleep unregistered

The Droid X is 8mp vs. 5mp of the other two, which means it's pic sizes are different ie: different image dimensions. 100% crop of a smaller image means you don't "zoom" in as close as on a larger image. You'll notice the Droid X and Panasonic FZ35 camera have a similar crop factor given they are the closest in mp count and image dimension, so their image sizes are the most similar. Likewise the Epic and iPhone will have a near identical crop factor because of their similar 5mp sized sensor. A little digital photography basics.

36. deago78

Posts: 172; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

-1 for being too over excited

13. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

The review is accurate. Each phone has things over the other. The camera in this case is definitely better on the iphone. Stop hating.

14. lolateveryone unregistered

phone arena really needs to take out the HDR photos as it is unfair to manipulate the settings. If you are going to keep them in the review, you might as well either adjust the settings for the other phones or just download a photo app since the android phones actually allow for apps like that to be used. The DroidX took the best indoor shots IMO. The HDR on the iPhone had some noticeable ghosting effects. the iphone did take the best outdoor shots though. The Epic took the best night shots. Nice try also on saying that the phones produce better overall photos than that dedicated camera too

20. PapaJay224

Posts: 866; Member since: Feb 08, 2009

+1 Exactly, but thats the thing with iPhone it always has to have 1 little tweak to compete with leading phones. They tweak the Droid X camera to some stupid blur brush effect in photoshop and then write a whole article on HDR on the iPhone... Its like they are trying to prove it isnt a piece of trash...Well PhoneArena YOU AND the IPHONE are TRASH!

23. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

why you taking it soo personally? Also, is there even anyone arguing with you guys anymore? Dont like the topic...dont read it! Hardcore fanboys are no longer with teh iphone but seemingly with all these android phones. Phonearena does not write these reviews (which are great reviews) to piss off a few of you nerds-they call it as they see it. As far as i can see, i agree with them ( about a million or so other websites do as well :) )

15. Matistight1 unregistered

I compared the samsung captivate camera to the iPhone 4, only difference is the iPhones camera catches way more color than the captivate, when tested inside. Didn't test outside.

22. JWL342 unregistered

How can the epic 4g be better then the droid x here when it has the same camera as the fascinate and in your fascinate review you say the following "The Motorola DROID X is the same price and produces much better looking images." ?? Side note i think the galaxy s cameras are better just confused by the conflicting reviews.

25. vzw fanman

Posts: 1977; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

i have 2 questions for the people who performed these tests: 1) Was the Droid x set on 6 MP (widescreen) or set on 8 MP (large)? 2nd most important thing, was the lens of the droid x dirty? did it have finger prints or smudges? you should make sure it's clean and clear in every shot. if there are fingerprints in front of the lens it drastically decreases quality.

28. PapaJay224

Posts: 866; Member since: Feb 08, 2009

I am agreeing with your comment. My HTC Incredible takes amazing photos, Im pretty sure better than any of these. And hope I am not trolling in saying so.

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