Top 5 Smartphone Camera Comparison – Which one is the best for photography?

Posted by The A-Team on

Smartphones are changing photography.

Compact cameras are declining in popularity. The iPhone is now the most popular camera on Flickr – in fact it occupies the top three spots! Some photogs are even shooting weddings entirely with smartphones (and she did a good job!) Social is where it’s at – instant sharing to your networks is all the rage.

So with these trends in mind, we’ve rounded up the top 5 smartphones in order to compare their photographic acumen and highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

Blackberry Z10

Having once been at the forefront of smartphones but taking a backseat in recent years, Blackberry is making a comeback, and the Z10 is their most ambitious yet.

blackberry Z10


  • Great detail in all lighting conditions
  • Well-designed and responsive camera app
  • Very sharp &  bright screen
  • Accurate autofocus
  • Comprehensive editing options
  • Interesting Time-Shift and Story maker features


  • Tends towards underexposure
  • No manual EC, ISO, WB
  • No filter or effect options in camera app
  • No image stabilization
  • Very few photo apps
  • Very few customization options

Apple iPhone 5

Apple’s handset is the most popular single phone on the market, and as mentioned above, occupies the top 3 spots on Flickr alone. So how does it’s camera stack up? Quite good…

apple iphone 5


  • Excellent clarity at low ISOs in good light
  • Accurate metering and white balance in daylight
  • Extremely easy to use camera app
  • Actual physical shutter button (volume keys)
  • Bright, contrasty, very high-resolution LCD screen
  • Excellent built-in HDR and Panorama modes
  • Effective touch-to-focus


  • Poor flash performance in low light
  • Yellowish results under warm artificial light
  • Occasional moire with very fine detail
  • ‘Purple Haze’ flare is sometimes evident
  • Occasionally slow and fidgety AF (although its accurate)


The Taiwan handset makers’ new flagship is arguably the best smartphone on the market right now. And they turned a few heads with the introduction of a 4mp camera, while the rest of the competition was using 8mp and above. Let’s see how it works for them…

htc one


  • Fast aperture f/2 lens
  • Excellent exposures for night shooting
  • Sharpest camera on the pixel-level
  • Captures the most highlight detail
  • Natural looking colors/processing
  • Wide variety of imaging apps


  • Less resolution than the competition
  • Tends towards underexposure (darker images)
  • Sharpening can be excessive, leading to artefacts
  • Lack of detail in images requiring fine detail


Samsung Galaxy S4

The Galaxy S4 is one of the top smartphones on the market, and you can bet they aimed for the top, including the highest resolution sensor on the market.

samsung galaxy S4


  • Highest resolution of the bunch at 13mp
  • Great balance between noise reduction and sharpening
  • Fast AF, metering, operation
  • Good quality HD video
  • Manual control over ISO and exposure compensation
  • Efficient HDR mode
  • Good array of retouching options in the Gallery app
  • 4.8 inch screen great for composing images


  • No physical shutter-button
  • No image stabilization
  • Soft low-light images
  • Slightly unintuitive menu structure
  • No shutter speed indication

Nokia Lumia 920

This Windows phone is over overlooked, and though not the best, it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve, and does surprisingly well in low light situations (though with an irreversible ‘HDR’ look.

nokia lumia 920


  • Dedicated two-stage shutter button
  • Multiple aspect ratios
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Very balanced flash exposures
  • Captures a lot of detail in low light


  • Poor image quality even at base ISO
  • Camera app interface sub-par
  • Can be overly saturated and contrasty
  • Heavy noise reduction looks bad up close
  • Strong sharpening slightly unnatural look


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