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Smartphone Camera Comparison: iPhone 7 vs. Galaxy S7 vs. LG V20 vs. Lumia 950

We showed you 16 sets of photos taken by four unspecified cameras, with all identifying data stripped away and presented in a randomized-on-load order for each block, all in an effort to ensure that you would be able to judge based on the quality of the photo and nothing more. And so, based on this wide range of photos, it's time to see just who makes the best smartphone camera today.

According to more than 13,000 of your votes, the best smartphone camera is the Samsung Galaxy S7.

The Galaxy S7 was up against another Android phone in the LG V20, as well as the new iPhone 7 and the Windows 10 Mobile-powered Microsoft Lumia 950.

Why these phones?

Simply put: they're the best smartphone cameras you'll find. We went with what we expected would be the top four — it's been several months since we last did this and we wanted to both revisit some "older" excellent phones (Galaxy S7 and Lumia 950) that have received new software in the interim and pit them against the newer smartphone camera beasts on the block (V20, iPhone 7).

Including the Samsung Galaxy S7 was a natural choice — it won our last smartphone camera comparison, and with software updates the already great camera has only improved. The camera in the Galaxy S7 is also the same as you'll find in the Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy Note 7, so you can easily extrapolate these results to those phones. It was a great camera earlier in 2016 and it's still a great camera today.

The other carry over was the Microsoft Lumia 950 — it's also the oldest phone here, nearly a year old at this point. Including it wasn't to throw a bone to the Windows phone crowd, no, the Lumia 950 had a great camera in late 2015 and with the recent update to Windows 10 Anniversary Update it received a whole new app and camera features (panorama!) worth testing again. But could it measure up to a raft of newer phones? There was only one way to find out.

And then there are the new phones. LG's V20 was announced in early September, but has started shipping in some locales (but not yet the United States). The version that we used for testing here was a pre-production Korean unit, but one that should be representative of the final product. LG has made serious strides in its camera performance over the past few years and has often led the way when it comes to new technical features. We should note that the LG V20 sports an extra-wide-angle 135º secondary camera, and while we do love the option, it wasn't used in this comparison.

The other new phone that was the impetus for doing this comparison again won't surprise anybody: the iPhone 7. Apple's made a big deal about their smartphone cameras in the past few years, and the previous iPhone 6s performed well in good lighting conditions in our previous showdown, but floundered as soon as the lights went out. With a widened aperture of f/1.8 and (finally) stabilization in the smaller iPhone, it looks like the device might be on even technical footing with the others. And while the iPhone 7 Plus has a secondary camera that's essentially a 2x zoom, like the V20's wide-angle camera it wouldn't make for an apples-to-apples comparison.

We also carried the Honor 8 to take photos. Despite the dual-camera hype around the phone, it was immediately obvious that it was the worst of the bunch by a noticeable degree, especially in low-light shots and anything with motion, so we dropped it from the comparison.

How we shot

Over the course of a few days I carried these four phones to various locations to put them to the test in a variety of settings and conditions. Every photo was shot in Auto mode with settings matching what you get out of the box from the manufacturer — down to automatic exposure and even auto HDR when the camera felt it was appropriate. The only modifications we made to any photos were stripping identifying data before uploading.

Yes, every one of these phones can shoot in RAW with manual controls (iPhone requires a manual app, of which there are many) and we know and embrace that these files would be better for editing to create a better image than the full-auto JPGs. But that's not how "normal" people use these phones. There are hundreds of millions of these smartphones out there, and the overwhelming majority of people taking photos with them aren't bothering with manual modes or with editing RAW files. That requires technical knowledge that most people don't have, and that's okay.

And to be perfectly frank, if you really care about fiddling with your white balance, ISO, shutter speed, and everything else, then you already know what you want in a camera — and you don't want the tiny lens and sensor you get in a phone. You want a real camera with real controls and a big sensor and beautiful lenses.

But, as they say, the best camera is the one you've got on you. Messing around with manual controls means you're going to miss the shot. Smartphones these days produce some really amazing photos on auto. We're not professional photographers, and odds are neither are you, so Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and LG have all designed their camera apps to be accessible to the populace at large.

No modifications were made to the photos before comparison, although for display here they were automatically shrunk to a more manageable size.

Spec Showdown

There's one last thing before we dive into the photos: specs.

CategoryApple iPhone 7LG V20Microsoft Lumia 950Samsung Galaxy S7
Megapixels12MP16MP20MP12MP
Resolution4032x30244656x24924992x37444032x3024
Sensor Size1/3"1/2.8"1/2.4"1/2.6"
Pixel Size1.22μm1.12μm1.12μm1.4μm
Apertureƒ/1.8ƒ/1.8ƒ/1.9ƒ/1.7

Alright, that's a lot of numbers. But what do they mean?

Megapixels is a count of the total number of pixels you'll find on a camera sensor, arranged in a grid. The "mega" in megapixel means one million, so a "12 megapixel" sensor will have 12 million pixels on it. More pixels mean a more detailed image. We're only now getting into the era of 2K smartphone displays and 4K TVs and compute monitors, and 4K only equals 8.8MP, so every one of these cameras will produce images "bigger" than your screens. More megapixels mean, though, that you can crop in closer without losing detail or that you can print a larger image — even poster-sized at 12MP — and not start seeing the pixels.

Resolution is the size of the pixel grid, width and height. Multiply the two and you'll get the pixel count, and thus the megapixels.

Sensor size is the literal physical size of the sensor. More megapixels mean the camera will produce a bigger image, but it doesn't mean that the camera itself is actually bigger. A bigger sensor can collect more light for a brighter photo, or fit more pixels for a bigger one. Sensor size is measured as a fraction — the larger the number, the larger the sensor (remember, in fractions a smaller denominator results in a bigger number). Of these four phones, the Lumia 950 has the biggest sensor — but it also packs in the most pixels, which leads to our next measurement…

Pixel size is a measurement of the physical size of an individual pixel on the sensor. This is where megapixels and sensor size collide and where the rubber meets the road. A bigger pixel can collect more light, which in daylight use you won't notice, but as soon as it goes dark the bigger pixels can produce brighter and less noisy images. It's worth noting that these are still microscopically tiny pixels we're talking about here — 12 million on a plate the size of a pinky nail. So they're measured in micrometers (μm). The biggest pixels here are on the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 at 1.4μm, and that's 1/70th the thickness of a human hair. These things are tiny.

Aperture is the size of the hole the light is passing through, and it works exactly the way you think: the bigger the opening, the more light gets to the sensor. The more light on the sensor, the better an image it can produce. Aperture is expressed as a fraction (the "ƒ" stands for "1"), and so the smaller the number in that fraction, the bigger the opening. We could get technical with it, but it's worth noting that the difference between ƒ/2.0 and ƒ/1.4 is double the light.

Take it again!

One more thing — just for giggles and your own edification: we've created a copy of the blind survey from before. It's still blind to start, but when you select your favorite photo this time it'll tell you which phone you picked. This is just for fun, we won't be tallying these into the 13,557 that informed the results below, we just want you to know what your own eye picked.

See which photos you picked as the best

The Photos

So we've said that the Galaxy S7 won, but how did it win? Let's go through each photo comparison.

Indoors

On the artificially lit interior shot, the Galaxy S7 pulled way ahead, besting the next-best iPhone 7 by a solid 45% to 28%, largely due to its more pleasing saturation. Truth be told, the V20's image was more accurate than both of them, best capturing the yellowish hue of the lighting inside Findlay Market without squashing the red of the metal beams. But Samsung's win here is a trend you'll see repeated over and over: hyper-saturated colors are more pleasing to the eye.

When the lights went down inside, both the LG V20 and Lumia 950 performed well. Actually, all four phones performed admirably, but the Lumia and V20 both struck a balance between the iPhone's muted color palate and the Galaxy's too-saturated look.

Outside

As soon as we step outside into the green environs of Washington Park, the Galaxy S7's propensity for hyper-saturation again becomes an asset, bringing brilliant, truer-than-life colors to play. But as before, it was far from the most accurate — even if it was the most-liked image by an incredibly wide margin (67% vs 11-12% for the others). In this outing, the V20 did an admirable job of balancing the shadows and sunlight, though the end result was a flat image. The iPhone 7 and Lumia 950 sat in between these two extremes, giving images that were practically indistinguishable.

In bright lighting, none of these phones faltered in capturing a lightning-fast photo, each freezing the water jets of the fountains right in place. But it was the Lumia 950 that came out on top with contrast that actually gave depth to the water jets, though at the expense of the overall brightness of the image.

Stepping outside, the Galaxy S7's propensity for hyper-saturation again becomes an asset, bringing brilliant, truer-than-life colors to play.

Panoramas were the most special camera mode that we tested, and here the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 were neck-and-neck, with the latter winning out in the polling by a mere 1%. It's easy to see why both ranked high — the dramatic brightness contrast of the approaching storm wreaked havoc on the V20 and the Lumia 950, producing images that were overly dark on the sunlit left side and too bright in the dark clouds on the right. The Lumia 950 in particular struggled mightily, with shifting color balance and an unforgivable stitching error (we didn't notice it until long after, alas). Both the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone did an admirable job keeping the brightness and colors in check across the entire exposure, though again the saturated hues of the Samsung again pushed it over the top — even over the superior brightness balance of the iPhone 7. And in case you're wondering what that light streak is in the middle of the storm on the iPhone's photo: that's what happens when a sweep-style panorama meets lightning.

For all of its strengths in the daytime panorama, the iPhone 7 fell flat at night.

Thanks to optical image stabilization and a twice-as-large aperture than before, the iPhone 7 is finally a competent nighttime shooter. But it was not the best. In fact, it fared the worst, though none of its nighttime shots were particularly bad (though they were undersaturated). It was the Lumia 950 that won the nighttime poll, barely edging out (you guessed it) the Galaxy S7 by just 46 votes. Both produced sharp, high-contrast images with plenty of color. It came down to preference; the Lumia toned down the brightness to bring out more detail in the brilliantly lit stadium, while the Galaxy ramped it up and pushed the hues towards warmer tones.

For all of its strengths in the daytime panorama, the iPhone 7 fell flat at night, producing a final image that was terribly dark, undersaturated, and weirdly blue. But the worst performer was the Lumia 950, which committed the exact opposite sin: a too-bright night shot that washed out almost the entire image — a shocking result given the excellent nighttime single-photo showing. Coming down to LG and Samsung, the LG V20 had the best overall nighttime performance, balancing brightness and color and contrast beautifully in stills and panoramas.

Portrait

So that's a lot of taking pictures of buildings and plants and things, but what about people? After all, many of those moments you're going to want to capture are going to involve the people in your life and the things they're doing — and the things you're doing, so being able to capture people and faces cleanly and accurately is of some importance.

Portrait photography has long been one of the iPhone's strongest suits, and it lives up to that in our testing. At least it does in well-lit conditions. The Samsung's penchant for oversaturating made my face go all pink and red, the LG V20 went bright and pink, while the Lumia ended up giving me something of an artificial tan. While I don't mind looking like I've gotten more sun than I actually have, it was the iPhone that manage to produce the most natural-looking photo — soundly trouncing the competition with nearly half the vote.

Taking portraits, it was the iPhone that manage to produce the most natural-looking photo.

But as soon as the lights went down the Galaxy S7's tendency towards oversaturation dramatically lifted the Samsung's quality, sitting it between the practically ashen iPhone 7 (I get some sun, I swear!) and the almost Trumpian overly saturated LG V20. The Lumia 950, for all its bright aperture and big sensor, struggle to find balance in the darkness, exposing the background just as well as the others but leaving the subject dull and dark (like my soul).

When it comes to photos using the flash, our pick for the best is — just don't use flash. Each phone fired off a quick flash first to get focus and balance and then a brighter and color-calibrated flash to match the scene, and each produce a photo that's unflattering at best. Flashes on phones are simply too close to the lens and subject, and there's no physical way around that reality. That said, the Galaxy S7 secured the most votes in this comparison, thanks again to its saturated looks and a relatively close color balance, though it was the second-place V20's colors that were probably closest to accurate.

Food

Second to selfies, it's food photos that rule the social media photography landscape. Who doesn't love sharing a beautiful photo of a gorgeous dish and bragging about how tasty it is? As with most of these comparisons, in good lighting each phone performed admirably — only 5% separated the top three: Galaxy S7, iPhone 7, and LG V20. The iPhone and Galaxy S7 practically tied, with some preferring the iPhone's brightness while others opted for the Samsung's colors (though the LG V20 seemed to strike a nice middle-ground between the two). The sole outlier was the Lumia 950, which seemed to go for a longer exposure that led to blurriness, all while not giving the brighter image you'd expect from more time.

Take your meals in the dark, however, and you'll notice a predictable pattern: the iPhone is undersaturated, the Samsung oversaturated, and it's the LG and the Lumia that strike a happy balance. In the end it was Windows Phone, with the Lumia 950, that won this round with a brighter and cleaner photo that best balanced the many colors of the salad.

Selfies

With the front-facing camera LG made a decision with the V20 that I believe to be a critical error. The phone's predecessor, the V10, was their first phone to feature a dual-camera standard-and-wide-angle setup, but unlike the V20 and G5, the dual cameras were the front-facing cameras. Yes, two selfie cams — one at a standard 80º and the other at an extra-wide 120º so you can easily capture more of your environment along with your head. It was a nice enough feature, and with the G5, LG did the thing we wanted most out of those cameras: put them on the back instead with a standard-angle front-facing cameras. Not wanting to lose out on the wide-angle fans of the V10, though, LG included only the wide angle camera on the front and the dual cameras on the back. Consequently, any traditionally-framed front-facing photos are actually cropped from the middle of the 5MP shooter and they look abysmal.

LG's wide-angle selfie cam produces traditional photos that are actually cropped from the middle of the 5MP shooter — and they look abysmal.

At the same time, Apple's upgrade the front camera in the iPhone 7 to 7MP, allowing it to (in theory) offer the most detailed photos of the bunch — all the rest are at 5MP. And in practice the iPhone 7's front camera did fair quite well. In good lighting, just as with the iPhone's rear camera, it managed to offer the most realistic skin tones. It actually faired better in the darkness than the bigger and better rear camera, refusing to crush saturation out of the image. But the Galaxy S7 handled the dark better out front as well, firing off an HDR image that nicely balanced the shadows and bright lights in the rear, even if a lot of facial detail was lost along the way.

Macro

Get up close with any of these phones and you'll probably get a good-and-sharp photo. We pointed ours at a standard quarter dollar coin and each was able to get crisp captures as a result. While the Lumia 950's 20MP resolution hadn't aided it much in the rest of this comparison, unless you really wanted to crop in, when it came to macro photos it was able to capture even more detail than its 12MP and 16MP rivals. The Galaxy S7 and LG V20 both produced nicely-balanced photos that replicated both the texture and color of the wood and the detail of the coin. Oddly, it was the iPhone 7 that went for oversaturation this time, dramatically ramping up the yellows for a very unnatural look.

Overall Tally

And so, coming out on top with a commanding 39% of the overall vote was the Samsung Galaxy S7. The LG V20 and Apple iPhone 7 duked it out for second place, coming in at 22% and 21%, respectively. The Microsoft Lumia 950, despite being a year old, still came in at a respectable 18% overall.

When you start to break it down, the iPhone fares much better when you only focus on well-lit photos, matching the Galaxy S7 at around 1/3 of the total vote. Take away the bright photos, though, and the Galaxy S7 wallops the competition, the V20 rises to a strong second place, and the iPhone falls to a distant last place behind the Lumia 950. But if taking pictures of people is your thing, grab an iPhone 7 — especially the 7 Plus with its 2x zoomed lens.

We, as animals of a base nature, are drawn to saturated colors. It's programmed into our very DNA, from the food that we eat to the clothes that we wear to the characteristics we look for in a mate, brighter and bolder colors are better. That's what we're drawn to in photos, even if it's more colorful and brighter than real life — and that's what smartphone makers are increasingly giving us in both the photos taken by the camera and the quality of the screen.

Samsung, by the results here, is clearly giving the people what they want.

Samsung, by the results here, is clearly giving the people what they want. It won the most of these contests and the most overall votes, but it was still far from the majority choice in nearly each comparison. LG and Microsoft, too, amped up the saturation in their photos. In isolation there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the iPhone's photos, but as soon as they're compared side-by-side with the competition the iPhone's saturation deficit stands out in dramatic fashion.

Of course, you can shoot in RAW with any of these cameras and adjust the brightness, saturation, and everything else to your liking — or even adjust a JPG photo afterwards — but that's not what this comparison is about. Most of the photos we take are impromptu moments captured on the fly, not something we stage and frame and ensure is beautifully lit and perfectly positioned. It's about capturing the moment, not as we see it, but as we want to remember it: bright, vivid, and full of color.

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

133 Comments
  • "I own a V20, which in no way colors my next statement. The V20 clearly produces the best pictures." "I own a Samsung Galaxy S7, which in no way colors my next statement. The Galaxy S7 clearly produces the best pictures." "I own an iPhone 7, which in no way colors my next statement. The iPhone 7 clearly produces the best pictures." "I own a Lumia 950, which in no way :sobs uncontrollably: They all look pretty great to me, interested to see how the Pixel stacks up.
  • I'll be back at it again soon enough, eh? *sigh*
  • Wish you could have had the new Motorola Z Force DROID with you instead of the Hawaii.
  • That might be worse than the Honor
  • I'd love to go back to Hawaii for a week or so!
  • Autocorrect? ;-)
  • Man you have done a huge mistake in V20's resolution, I think the number you gave was in 16:9 mode cause its about 12Mp while the actual 16Mp sensor is in 4:3
  • Except this was a blind test so you couldn't just go on preference . This is about as fair as it gets
  • Preferences are just that, most popular doesn't necessarily mean the best. Just look at the music industry :)
  • I just want to applaud Derek and anyone else who worked on this. Truly excellent work, and a really useful and interesting analysis. Bravo.
  • I retook and here are my choices Indoors, high contrast - Lumia
    Indoors, artificial - GS7
    Indoors, dark - Lumia
    Landscape - GS7
    Motion - Lumia
    Panorama, day - V20
    Night - GS7
    Panorama, night - GS7
    Portrait, rear, light - iPhone
    Portrait, rear, dark - GS7
    Portrait, rear, flash - GS7
    Food, well lit - iPhone
    Food, dark - V20
    Selfie, dark - GS7
    Selfie, light - GS7
    Macro - Lumia Over all that's the GS7 winning 8, Lumia with 4, V20 with 2, and iPhone with 2. In most of the categories where the GS7 didn't win, it was my second choice. So over all, pretty conclusive win for Samsung. I was surprised how well the Lumia fared though. I honestly expected the iPhone to do better. In real world use, I am a tinkerer. I like to play with settings, and I like to run everything through snapsead afterwards. I suspect the V20 would do much better for me in that context, since I could add in the saturation and contrast that I preferred in the GS7 photos, and keep the greater detail from the V20.
  • I have lumia 950 and S7 Edge best of camera today...love both the camera's..in pure darkness lumia flash is awesome...S7 camera is faster...
  • I agree. This is the Android Central I used to know.
  • But, I think tainted by the fact that the V20 was pre-production and could see significant improvements in its camera at launch....based on the HTC 10 improvements and the improvements to the 950's camera that came with the Anniversary update.
  • Perhaps, but you can only review the phones as is, not second guess it. The V20 is essentially the same camera as on the V10, G5, and even the G4, so there is a lot of established data there, if the results from the V20 were noticeably different to those devices, I'm sure Derek would have noticed. In fact, for many of the categories, Derek said he felt the V20 produced the most accurate results, suggesting the camera performed perfectly well, it's just that people preferred the shots from the GS7 due to the more dramatic look.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S6 is the king of smartphone cameras (from my perspective anyway LoL). Nothing comes close. Plain and simple the Samsung Galaxy S6 takes the greatest photos I've ever seen in my life. #TheGoldStandard
  • Until the S7 ;)
  • Richard?
  • Period. Haha!
  • RICHARD YARRELL
  • Where is that guy?
  • Goodness me I thought I was the only one who thought that lol any time I read "gold standard" or "period" I think of Richard. Although I think he's been surpassed somewhat by a certain someone who believes in total conspiracy against the Big S lol
  • So TRUE!!!!!!
  • I have to agree with you there mate, my S6 does better than my S7 in my opinion. They are both excellent cameras just the same. Perhaps my judgement is clouded by my annoyance at the reduction of pixels for better night shots! The vast majority of my photos are taken in daylight, the low light thing is off no interest to me at all. Better they worked in how these cameras handle contrast in bright sunlight and shaded areas type shots... Anyway, that's my two bob's worth... Good article, well done guys!
  • I think y'all should have tested the iPhone 7 Plus instead of the regular iPhone 7. I mean if you're gonna test the best from Samsung, LG, and Microsoft, why not test the best that Apple has too, i.e. iPhone 7 Plus. Just gotta be fair, ya know.
  • The 7 Plus has the 2x zoom camera, which we wouldn't have tested alongside the V20's wide-angle camera, and the main camera is identical to the iPhone 7's one camera.
  • I know the iPhone's second camera allowed it to yo optical zoom but 8 assumed it captured additional information in the same fashion as the P9 and Honor 8, color and monochrome. Huh, well that's good to know that it doesn't
  • Logically it cannot work that way. The field of view of the 2x lens is much smaller than that of normal lens. Also, the aperture is different, and it's not optically stabilized. Basically, if you were going to use it to sharpen the 1x image, you could only sharpen the center of the frame, and even then the 1x picture is probably better anyway (especially in low light).
  • I thought I read that on the IP7P that both cameras work together when doing anything 2x and under. Is that not true?
    I think you should have used the 7P in the test, but other than that good test.
  • Info on the iPhone 2nd lens and portrait mode https://m.mic.com/articles/155711/i-phone-7-plus-portrait-mode-has-anoth...
  • Would have been nice to see the 7 Plus against the rest. Samsung S7 has just a fantastic overall camera, especially in low light unbeatable
  • The main camera in the 7 Plus is exactly the same camera, down to the OIS, as in the standard iPhone 7. Makes no difference — just like S7 or S7 edge or Note 7.
  • There's plenty of iPhone 7 vs note 7 comparison out there Android Authority just did one . And the results where the same as all the other iPhone 7 vs gs7 are n7 . fact is Samsung has had the best camera I think since heck the gs5 . Worst for apple is they pulled out all the stops for this camera maybe next year ,well next year will bring a brand new gs8 camera as well
  • GS7 is the best cam available, the camera on galaxy s5 was mediocre, the Note 4 camera was amazing. but in 2k15 i believe that G4 and 6P camera were slightly better than S6 or N5.
  • "Samsung S7 has just a fantastic overall camera, especially in low light unbeatable"
    There are other cameras that are better in low light: Ultrapixel. I've tested them side by side as a professional photographer. The downfall of the UP camera was resolution.
    I agree that the S7 has a fantastic overall camera though, and I enjoy the one on my S7 Edge. I was fully expecting the S7 to come out on top.
  • Let's do this again with more phones: GS7, Note7, G5, V20, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Moto Z Force, Moto Z Play, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X.
  • I… I don't have enough pockets.
  • Almost be worth the backpack full of phones to confuse casual onlookers. Presuming said onlookers weren't the types to steal backpacks full of phones...
  • Chuck the lumia. Nothing against it, but how many ppl are actually considering it and would change based on a picture comparison. There probably are a lot more considering many other phones right now. If your considering a lumia the biggest decision is the ecosystem and that's a rather small crowd doing that.
  • The reason is that Windows Central is a sister site along with iMore. This article is published on all sites and therefore it makes sense to at least have 1 representative.
  • I agree about the Lumina. But only because, as a Lumia user I find there are no apps for it, no support, and everyone pretty much acts like it doesn't exist. For that reason alone I'm switching to either the Samsung or the iPhone 7 and would never recommend this phone to anyone.
  • Supposedly the Note 7 (although packing the same sensor/optics) has improved processing so it'll be interesting to see a comparison...
  • Same cameras with no noticeable difference: GS7 + Note 7 iPhone 7 + 7 Plus 6P + 5X (also likely about to be succeeded by the Pixels) Probably G5 + V20
  • I would love to still add lumia 1020 against all these phones
  • Note 7 has improved processing though, from comparisons I have seen.
  • And the results would be the same . Look no further than all the gs7 vs what ever phone . And the results are the same . No shame in admitting the obvious . Samsungs camera are the best hell they have there own camera department
  • It's a SONY sensor.
  • Some are Sony and some are Samsung own sensor . Point is Samsung still tweaks the camera, processor ,and there lens . Reason that in most head to head with a Sony Xperia Samsung is the better
  • I'd rather wait for the new Pixel devices instead of the Nexi from last year.
  • Hope and pray, HTC is not known for their cameras. I love the way nougat runs on my Pixel C, I so want those phones to be acceptable.
  • Mind you, the camera on the HTC 10 is definitely competitive these days -- I'd be happy to take photos with it.
  • Agreed. If this test was done in manual mode by someone who does photography for a living, the HTC 10 would possibly be a tie for first, or a very close second.
  • Ooh ooh good point! The Pixel looks to be packing a pretty powerful camera!
  • The iPhone 7 Plus camera is literally identical to that of the regular 7. The only category the 7 Plus would win that the 7 didn't already win is a zoomed in, "telephoto" shot.
  • But even then, the telephoto camera on the 7 Plus is inferior to the wider camera. It not only has no OIS, but it also has a much smaller aperture and more artifacting.
  • Yay this post is finally up! I had a feeling that the S7 would win. However, I do have to give you props on the fact that you have shown here that each of these solid cameras have a weakness. It just becomes a matter of your preference and what lighting situations are the most important to you to have great pictures in.
  • Nice review Derrick! We should have a Cincinnati Android Central meet up!
  • YES!
  • Would be nice to know which pictures I picked the first time around instead of having to go back and retake it. There were some that were toss ups and I don't know that I'd choose the same ones again. I remember being more drawn to the ones where the details were clearer and not just the vibrant colors. Great work guys.
  • Good deal. Thanks for your hard work. Cameras as good as these are why the point and shoot pocket camera market is dead, except for long zoom models, and high end 1" sensor pocket cameras.
  • As an S7 user I'm not surprised at all.
  • The bridge photo, the GS7 is by far better than everything, and yet again it does seems S7 is the best cam atm, V20 might be after it with IP7 too. Don't forget Manual mode, that is the only mode that actually u can squeeze the most our of your cam.
  • Manual mode has its place, but it definitely takes away that spur of the moment, capturing life as it unfolds thing. Big time.
  • Should've put the Nexus 6p with that bunch.
    Nobody cares about the Lumia 950. Plus it doesn't even crack the top 10 best cam phones, according to DOXMark.
  • The test was for 2016 phones had to draw the line at some point
  • 2016 phones? It says in this very article the 950 is from 2015...
  • Uh, I don't think DxOMark ever tested the Lumia 950 or 950 XL. And they should have.
  • You what does? The Motorolas and the HTC. Above the S7 and Apples.
  • DXOMark is a total joke, don't even mention that site...
  • When we say the best camera amongst these flagships we are really splitting hairs. Many times during the survey I had to pick a shot that may or may not have actually been the best shot so I just had to pick one. In my book they were all great photos for the most part. There were some bad shots as well, but you can't go wrong especially with the top 3.
  • I know these blind comparison articles and follow-up analysis must be a lot of work. Thank you!
  • Why no HTC 10 since it ranked as high as the S7 on DxOMark.
  • I mean, it's high mark doesn't mean that it's great like the S7. I have an HTC 10 (love it, especially audio capability), but the camera isn't its greatest strength, compared to these other devices.
  • I strongly disagree. The HTC 10 is on par with these cameras. But would have liked to see it in the bunch to blindly compare
  • Plus the HTC 10 also has the best front facing selfie camera among all smartphones - the only one that includes OIS. Also for the next few days one can purchase this flagship directly from HTC for only $550 (no interest financing available) and also get a FREE 1 year warranty that covers everything including changing carrier.
  • Let's be real here: just because a camera has OIS, doesn't automatically make it better. That said, I love the quality of the pics taken from the front-facing camera. I believe it could've been included for that.
  • The HTC 10 is considered one of the top cameras for 2016. Ranked with the highest score on DxOMark. This is an Android site and 2 of the 4 aren't Androids. I understand the i7 but not the Windows phone. When it come to the 2 Android phones it should have been the S7 the HTC 10 since they are the top ranked this year. I feel that it should have been 3 Android phones and the i7. No the cam on the 10 is one of its strong points and far better than at least 3 phones on this list and MAYBE all 4.
  • I agree with excluding the Windows Phone part. But beating all the other phones? Be realistic. Not really. I'm coming from an LG G4 so my expectations are high. The HTC 10 takes very good rear pictures, enough to be an all-rounder, but the G4 took better. The S7 got it this time, which is fine to me lol.
  • With the updates that the HTC 10 camera has received I believe it is better than at least 3 and can hold its own against all 4.
  • Is the HTC 10 now able to record 1080p60 video? Have they added the great post-processing options they had before? I'm not being snarky. It's been a while since I last used the 10 and I wanna see if anything has changed since then. It's a very capable camera, and much improved from earlier HTC flagships.
  • This test was done by the senior editor of Mobile Nations. The MN family includes Android Central, iMore and Windows Central. The latter is why the Lumia 950 was included. Like it or not, it's one of the best phone cameras of the past year. Oh and this article was reprinted on each site. And each has it's *own* set of comments. Interesting reading. ;)
  • You need to step away from that line of thinking. HTC has greatly improved their cameras.
  • No one's denying that buddy. I completely agree.
  • DxOMark is unreliable with numbers that do not really show actual results. They also ranked the Sony Xperia Z5 very high one year and no one even dared mentioning it as a top contender. They still don't provide actual camera samples do they?
  • Clueless!
  • DxO's scores concern mainly the sensor. They're not entirely wrong with the Z5. It has a very good sensor. But the software processing and camera app lets it down. HTC packed great hardware in the 10's camera. Software could use some spit and polish, but this is a major leap forward for HTC.
  • And the software plays one of the biggest roles in actual image quality that's why I don't take their tests too seriously. You can have the best sensor in the world but if the software processing and algorithms aren't top notch the end result won't be the best available image.
  • Software is key to the photography experience. Not only image processing algorithms