Six clicks: Top six camera phones compared

Six clicks: Top six camera phones compared

Summary: I had the opportunity to capture photos with the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), LG G2, Apple iPhone 5s, Nokia Lumia Icon, and Nokia Lumia 1020. They all take great photos, but I did notice some differences.

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  • Six top camera phones of today

    It's difficult to judge the camera capture capability of most high-end phones today because with the right lighting and setup you can capture great photos with nearly all of them. I took the latest and greatest phones out for a spin this weekend and tried to see if any device stood out from the rest.

    I took photos using the Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, HTC One (M8), LG G2, Nokia Lumia Icon, and Nokia Lumia 1020.

    In the particular shot I took of the side of the yard, showing lots of shapes and colors, I thought the Nokia Lumia Icon stood out as the best. Check out the following gallery for the photos and judge for yourself.

    You can view the full-size images I used to gather these Six Clicks photos in this Flickr album. There are two other photos taken with each phone too. This album does not include the full resolution Nokia Lumia photos, but just the default ones most people use for typical sharing purposes in order to offer the fairest comparison with the other camera phones. With the full 38 and 20 megapixel images, the Lumias stand out from the pack.

    The camera software on these phones, other than the iPhone 5s, is full of features that let you take amazing shots with some settings changes. I enjoyed the software on each of these phones, especially seeing it evolve and get better with continued development from the manufacturers.

  • Nokia Lumia Icon

    The Nokia Lumia Icon is only available on Verizon, but there are options from AT&T and T-Mobile for devices with a similiar camera.

  • Apple iPhone 5s

    The iPhone has the simplest software, but honestly it takes great photos and is still a device I recommend for many folks.

Topics: Mobility, Android, HTC, iPhone, Nokia, Samsung, Windows Phone

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14 comments
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  • and.....????

    That was a pretty lame article, I was expecting a better comparison, high and low points, insight in to why one is better then the other. Instead I got a few pictures of the side of a house with a sentence of fluff.

    What a waste of time.
    KBabcock75
  • This is what we call filler....

    Take one picture with 6 phones and call it an article....
    mase123987
  • Where are....

    Low light shots, with and without flash......low light shots with action, again with and without flash.

    Stuff that's hard to take shots of....really what this "article" has is simply easy shots that any camera would do a decent job of.
    cmwade1977
  • Finally,

    an article that I don't mind "work at home" spam being on!
    sdcphoneguy
  • Has anyone told you..

    That's a terrible byline pic.
    just sayin'
    db.
    davidtb
  • There Are No 'Top Six'!

    There The Top Two - and then there are all of the rest!

    " This album does not include the full resolution Nokia Lumia photos, but just the default ones most people use for typical sharing purposes in order to offer the fairest comparison with the other camera phones. With the full 38 and 20 megapixel images, the Lumias stand out from the pack."

    In conclusion: the iPhone is junk, the Droids are passable (you have manufactured an excuse for having them around) and even when you hobble them - the Lumias Rock!
    Mujibahr
  • Why is the iPhone in this list?

    It makes no sense whatsoever as there are more than 6 Andriod phones that are better than the 5s, so when you include Nokia's offerings the iPhone would be lucky to get in the top 10.
    Pastabake
    • Re: Why is the iPhone in this list?

      @Pastabake

      Clearly in your world it is a matter of definition that any Android phone would be better than an iPhone 5s.

      Strange thing is that and serious photography based comparison will tend to put the iPhone at or near the top.

      You see photographers get distracted by silly gimmicks like actually taking good pictures, rather than important things like how many bits of noise it can count.
      Henry 3 Dogg
  • Eye of the Beholder

    First, I must admit that I was expecting more to the review.

    Nevertheless, I must completely disagree with the author. Perhaps it is a case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Based on the pictures in the gallery above, The Lumia phones are actually the worst. The best images are from the iPhone, the Galaxy, and the LG G2. They are crisp, and with good colour saturation.

    The Lumia 1020 is by far the worst. Although both Lumia pictures look like they were taken on a very cloudy day and show poor object definition and the colours are washed out, the fence shadow onto the gravel passageway is in fact imperceptible on the 1020.

    It is hard from my perspective to conclude that the Lumia pictures/phones were the best two.
    manuel5
  • Calibrated screen

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that unless you have your screen calibrated correctly you can't tell much from these images at all.

    Would have liked to see some images taken in different conditions. Backlit, bright sun, macro etc etc.

    The "motordrive" on the 5S wasn't mentioned at all or the led "flash" that has different colour balances according to the conditions. I have no idea if any of the other phones/cameras have those features.
    RichardGoulden
  • a phone camera capable of 38 MP???

    I wondered about that, so I decided to get educated and this is what I found.

    www[dot]engadget[dot]com[slash]2013[slash]07[slash]24[slash]nokia-lumia-1020-review[slash]

    This seems to surpass even the highest end DSLR on the market which would sell at several thousands of dollars for the body only, never mind the special lenses needed.

    Go see the above link and get educated yourself if you're skeptical.

    Thanks, Matthew, for educating me. Phone makers today really want to supplant camera makers and put them out of business...
    bart001fr
  • Photos

    My Lumia 920 takes better pictures that these.....must be the photographer.
    Foreseen
  • Thanks

    Thanks for the pix Matthew. I thought the NokiaIcon1 was the only camera that nailed the exposure just right on the yellow plant. iPhone 5S surprisingly to me blew out the highlights on the yellow wrapping paper as did the Galaxy 5S, but less so.

    The picture of the little alley in the backyard was nailed by the iPhone. The iPhone's dynamic range really shows off in this shot being able to nail the dark shadows created by the fence as well as capture the ray of sunlight falling onto the stone path discretely. The Galaxy and LG phones may as well be called 2A and 2B as they look practically identical, but neither one of them nailing it just right with shadows on the fence as well as details of the wood on the fence not being rendered in detail as good as the iPhone. The Nokia's and HTC looked terrible in comparison.

    The picture of the truck was a mixed bag. The Nokia's nailed the exposure and brought out the clouds distinctly which no other phone managed to do. Unfortunately that's where it ends as pixel peeping shows the Nokia's completely getting obliterated when it came to actually rendering the truck which looks pixelated (jaggies) along the side wall of the truck body.

    To my eyes, the pic of the truck is a toss up between the iPhone and Galaxy phone with the LG looking like it got the white balance just a little off and the HTC just lacking everything. The iPhone does just a little better job with exposure getting more details in the clouds than the Galaxy phone.

    Pixel peeping the truck show surprised me because looking at the rim of the right front tire showed off the Galaxy phone's ability to suppress noise. I was very surprised as the noise was the best controlled out of all the phones. Unfortunately this came at a cost as the visibility of the tops of both tires disappeared with the iPhone still getting just enough of the tire so that you can see the whole tire (barely, but it's there). In the process of removing the noise, it looks like some of the details were lost in the process so that's kind of a toss up.

    Some people don't like noise, but some would rather see the detail in the photo. I would give the nod to the iPhone cause I'd rather see the whole image with noise rather than have a well controlled image with zero noise.

    Overall taking into account all the pictures here the iPhone and Galaxy phones performed best overall with my preference for the iPhone's shots. With the exception of the yellow flower shot, the iPhone gave the most life like photos, but that's just my opinion. Others will undoubtedly have their preferences and give their nod to other phone.
    Maha888
  • Note 2 with Camera360

    With this Camera App you can definitely enjoy the with whatever the megapixel. I have second hand note 2 brought from quikr.com. I enjoy my camera using these App (Camera 360)
    mahesh.mehtac