This is undeniably the year of the Android camera. Over the last few months we've seen phone after phone come out with an intense focus on camera quality — to varying degrees of success — and many of the folks who use these phones every day couldn't be happier. This quantum surge in camera quality leaves a lot of folks who value the pictures their phone can take stuck between several great choices for an entirely new reason.
One of the big things OnePlus has been talking about with their latest smartphone release is how special their camera is, and how much work went into making it great. As we saw in our review, the camera in the OnePlus 2 is certainly capable of delivering quality photos. Now it's time to throw this camera in the ring with two other phones with amazing cameras, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the LG G4, to see which phone comes out on top.
For this camera comparison, each set will have the Galaxy S6 on the left, the OnePlus 2 in the middle, and the LG G4 on the right. The images in this post have been resized to 2048 x 2048 but are otherwise unaltered. Totally untouched versions of each photo are available at the bottom of the article.
The photos in this first set were taken Full Auto with the focal point determined by the camera. In this set you can see the G4 looks a little washed out compared to the OnePlus 2 and Galaxy S6, despite being the most color accurate.
The OnePlus 2 and Galaxy S6 are remarkably similar in detail for the foreground and background for this image, enough so that it's hard to call one a clear winner over the other.
This photo set is tap to focus, with Auto for all other settings. The tap point here is the five purple flowers arranged like the points of a pentagon in the left bundle of flowers, and in this instance the OnePlus 2 is the clear winner.
The colors are brighter and focal point sharper than either the Galaxy S6 or the G4. Samsung's camera is a close second here in overall quality, while LG's image gets a little grainy around the focal point.
This photo set is Full Auto HDR, with important points in the foreground and background. Once again LG manages to be the most color accurate, though OnePlus and Samsung manage to be more visually appealing with their post-processing.
Each photo shows great detail in the foreground, but the OnePlus 2 brightened the left side of the posts noticeably more than the G4 or Galaxy S6. LG is also noticeably weaker in the background details than either of the other two cameras.
Next up we have Full Auto with a ton of little things to check out. Detail is incredibly important with shots like this, and the OnePlus 2 fell flat on its face compared to the Galaxy S6 and LG G4. While the photo looks great zoomed out, there's almost no detail in the centers of the flowers for OnePlus.
LG clearly wins this round, with an incredible amount of detail all over the place. The Galaxy S6 is a close second, but not quite as clear as the G4.
An unfortunate consequence of failing to capture the appropriate detail in Full Auto is what happens when you take the same photo with HDR on. In this set you see a nice light look to all three photos, but if you look at the flower petals you see the OnePlus 2 washes out even more detail to get there.
The G4 is still the clear winner up close, but the Galaxy S6 is right on its heels.
This mural photo is another tap to focus shot with everything else set to Auto. The focal point is the green dot on the paper the old man is holding.
While each camera did a great job capturing the photo, the G4 failed to grab detail around the focal point once again. The Galaxy S6 and OnePlus 2 did a much better job grabbing all of the detail in the surrounding image, with no clear winner between them.
Lots of cameras take decent photos in perfect lighting, but low light is another matter entirely. This shot is another Full Auto in a dark room with a single light on 14 feet behind the camera.
Of the three photos, LG wins in both color accuracy and clarity. The Galaxy S6 is by far the worst here, being the most grainy and washed out for almost everything. The OnePlus 2 does a great job with color accuracy, but is still fairly grainy once you look away from the bamboo.
This next low light shot is with no lights on in the room at all, with a little light coming in through the window. Like the previous low light shot, the G4 photo is significantly clearer.
The Galaxy S6 is a blurry, grainy mess in comparison, with the OnePlus 2 sitting somewhere in the middle. The S6 captured the most light, but failed to do anything useful with it.
Last but not least, the flash on each camera is tested in this photo. Like the last photo, no lights were on in the room at the time. Tap to focus was used first, with the focal point being the red dot on the lifeguard figurine.
The LG G4 and Galaxy S6 capture significantly more light than the OnePlus 2, with LG being the most color accurate of the three.
So which camera is the best? There's no clear answer here. Each of these cameras has some clear strengths and weaknesses. The G4 does great in full auto if you're going for color accuracy, and detail, but struggles as a tap to focus camera. The Galaxy S6 works well in every environment except low light, where it struggles with clarity and focus. As for the OnePlus 2, it's a great all around camera that sits somewhere in between these two heavyweights, which is a big win for OnePlus.
It's also important to keep in mind that we're using unfinished software on this OnePlus 2. The current build is supposed to be quite close to the retail version of the software, according to OnePlus, but not exactly the same. We also know there's a manual mode coming to the camera soon, which opens the doors for even more comparisons in the future.
If you'd like to see the full resolution images for this comparison, you can do so here.