Best smartphone cameras: Galaxy S7 vs. iPhone 6s vs. Nexus 6P vs. Lumia 950

Recently a new smartphone waltzed onto the scene, throwing a gauntlet to the ground: we have the best smartphone camera, Samsung said. There are already some excellent smartphone cameras out there — we learned that from our previous smartphone camera showdown, and with the new entrants into the field the time has come to do a proper comparison between them all. So let's do this: it's Apple iPhone 6s Plus versus Huawei Nexus 6P versus Microsoft Lumia 950 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 (otherwise known as the challenger and the new kid on the block).

Why these phones?

We went with four phones for this cross-platform showdown to keep things simple, picking what we know to be among the greatest and latest cameras. So there's the iPhone 6s Plus, which has the same sensor and lens set up as the smaller iPhone 6s, but adds in optical image stabilization for improved shake reduction and better nighttime shots.

Samsung Galaxy S7 camera

On the Android side there are so many phones to chose from that we went with the big brother of the barely winner from the last time around: the Huawei Nexus 6P. It has the same sensor and lens system as the smaller LG Nexus 5X, but the Nexus 6P has a more powerful processor and picks up electronic image stabilization in the process.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 was one of the strongest contenders the last time we did this, so it was only natural to include its successor: the Galaxy S7. It sports a wider aperture and a sensor that's larger yet packs fewer pixels for a claimed dramatic improvement to nighttime performance. Both the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and the 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge have identical cameras, so we went with the slightly more pocketable S7 standard.

Lastly, there's the Microsoft Lumia 950. The flagship Lumia phones have always had incredible cameras, and the Lumia 950 promised to pick up that torch and keep running with it. It packs a 20MP sensor behind an ƒ/1.9 lens with OIS. And unlike the other phones on here, there's a dedicated camera button to make launching faster and easier. (OK, Samsung allows for a double-tap of the home button.) Like the Samsung sister phones, the Lumia 950 and its bigger 950 XL sibling have the exact same cameras.

The LG G4, another strong contender from last time around, was left out of this round. With the LG G5 coming soon, it didn't seem fair to include last year's model in this comparison. Fret not, we'll come back to it all again when the G5 finally arrives.

How we shot

Over the course of a few days we took these four phones to various locations to try them out in a variety of settings. While a few feature advanced manual controls, we left each camera in full automatic mode with automatic HDR enabled. Keeping with the expectations of how you would use a smartphone camera, we shot every photo hand-held. The only alteration made to any photo before uploading was resizing as needed.

iPhone 6s Plus camera app

Technically, yes, both the Galaxy S7 and the Lumia 950 offer the option to shoot with manual controls and spit out RAW image files that are better for editing than the JPGs we know and love. But, the truth is most people who buy these phones aren't going to bother with manual modes — they're daunting and finicky and RAW files take some time to fully wrap your head around. There are apps available for the iPhone and Nexus 6P that add some of those controls, but again, that's not a thing a "normal" person is going to be include to do.

And let's be honest: If you're the kind of person who cares about setting your white balance, fiddling with the ISO and tweaking the shutter speed, then you already know what phone you want when it comes to the camera. Fact is, you probably don't want to do any of that on a phone at all — you want a real camera with real controls and a nice big sensor and lens to go with it.

You can shoot some really nice photos with a quality smartphone on auto. We're not professional photographers, and we don't expect you to be either. But if you want to get technical with your smartphone, there are phones that'll let you do that.

Spec showdown

One final thing before we dive into the photos: let's talk specs.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryApple iPhone 6sHuawei Nexus 6PMicrosoft Lumia 950Samsung Galaxy S7
Aspect Ratio4:34:34:34:3
Sensor Size1/3"1/2.3"1/2.4"1/2.6"
Pixel Size1.22μm1.55μm1.12μm1.4μm
Focal Length29mm29mm26mm26mm

But what do all those numbers mean?

Megapixels is shorthand for the total number of pixels on the camera sensor. The pixels are arranged in a grid, with "1 megapixel" meaning "1 million pixels." So the Lumia 950's 20MP camera has 20 million pixels on it. More megapixels equal a more detailed image. Smaller-resolution photos might look fine on your phone or computer, but once printed at poster size they might fall apart in quality. Thankfully, the minimum 12MP sensors we're looking at here have enough detail that an 8x12-inch print would look fantastic, and even a full 24x36-inch poster would look pretty good.

Microsoft Lumia 950 camera

Resolution is essentially a different way of looking at the pixel count. Megapixels are computed by multiplying the horizontal pixel count by the vertical pixel count, and those two numbers just so happen to be the resolution.

Aspect ratio is an abstraction of the resolution that will give you an idea of how "wide" an image is. Your smartphone, computer, and TV all likely have 16:9 displays, which is to say that for every 16 units on the long side, you'll find nine on the short side. The 4:3 aspect ratio is a more "traditional" shape, narrower but taller, and what were used to from old film photography and pre-HD televisions. Most phones give you options for aspect ratios and total resolution.

Sensor size is a the physical size of the sensor. Having more megapixels doesn't necessarily mean you have a larger sensor, it might just be more but smaller pixels packed into the same space. Sensor size is measured in fractions, to the larger the number (i.e. the smaller the denominator), the larger the sensor. Of our four phones, the Nexus 6P has the largest sensor while the iPhone 6s has the smallest, but they're all fairly close to the same size — just 0.1 inches separate the two.

Pixel size is where sensor size and megapixels meet — it's a measure of the actual size of the actual individual light-sensing pixels on the sensor plate. Because we're talking about putting millions of pixels on a plate roughly the size of your pinky finger nail, we measure these in micrometers (μm). The larger the individual pixel, the more light it collect, and thus the better quality and brighter image it should able to produce. Still, we're talking about impossibly small things here — the Nexus 6P has the biggest pixels in our comparison at 1.55μm, and that's still 1/50th the width of a human hair. In a word: tiny.

Aperture is the size of the opening through which light flows to the sensor. It, too, is expressed as a fraction (the ƒ is standing in place of the number 1). The larger the number, the wider that opening, and thus the more light that gets through. (Because of this fractions thing, it seems a bit backward. An aperture of ƒ/1.7 lets in more light than ƒ/1.9 — because fractions.) A consequence of the wider aperture is a narrower depth of field — the range in front of and behind your focused subject that will also be in focus.

Focal length is a holdover from the olden days of film cameras, measuring the distance from the lens to the film. In essence, it's an indicator of how wide your photo will be, except that it's an inverse — the longer the focal length, the narrower your field of view. Think of it as looking through a tube — the longer the tube, the less of what's on the other end you'll be able to see.

The Photos

Okay, let's get to it. We've laid out the photos in a grid so you can easily compare them side-by-side. They are arranged in this order: iPhone 6s, Nexus 6P, Lumia 950, Galaxy S7.


As you might be noticing, none of these is a particularly bad camera. In fact, we'll say they're all pretty great, so our analysis here is going to trend towards nit-picky preferences. Your opinion may differ, and that's OK. When it comes to indoor photography, none of these phones come up short. The Galaxy S7 tended to produce photos that were a little more saturated than the rest, but when it came to balancing darks and lights it was hard to top the Lumia 950's HDR "Rich Capture," which was able to accurately and cleanly bring out detail and visibility in the windows photo. As things got darker the iPhone and Lumia struggled a bit, though, with the iPhone producing a photo darker than the rest and the Lumia ramping up the brightness too much to the point that it was blowing out light sources and washing blacks with gray.


When it came to outdoor shots, things started to get interesting. The Nexus 6P occasionally struggled with brightness, sometimes producing photos that were overexposed, and other times offering conspicuously dim photos in acceptable lighting conditions. The iPhone 6s Plus, Lumia 950 and Galaxy S7 all were consistently great in direct sun and under cloud cover, though the GS7 tended to produce images that were more vibrant and a touch brighter. While the iPhone's colors may have technically been more accurate, it's hard to argue that the GS7's results don't look better.

Panoramas unfortunately leave the Lumia 950 out of the equation (as with the RAW and manual photography statements, we're going with the default app on these phones, and the Lumia Camera app does not support panoramas). The GS7 and iPhone both offer sweep-style panoramas, while the stock Google Camera app on the Nexus requires the user to pause and let the phone take photos at specific points. Under favorable lighting conditions either method will produce fine results. But under less-great conditions (backlit, or dark as you'll see below), the Nexus-style approach seems to yield sharper, brighter, and better balanced results.

As dusk began to set, the iPhone and Lumia photos reflected the yellowing of the light, while the Galaxy and Nexus compensated by tweaking things towards toward the blue side of the color spectrum. For portrait photography that may be ideal, unless you're into the jaundiced look, but it's not exactly an accurate reflection of the conditions in which the photo was taken.


When it started getting dark is when things started to go south for the iPhone. While it excels at well-lit photographs with accurate colors and sharp details, the small sensor and tight aperture mean that there's simply not nearly as much light getting into your photos. And so the cameras with larger sensors and wider apertures tended to perform better.

The Nexus 6P occasionally struggled with blown-out bright spots in the darkness and noticeable oversaturation. When it came to preserving detail in the darkness, the Lumia 950 was king thanks to its large sensor, wide aperture, optical stabilization, and a significant bump in pixel count over the competition. The difference is very noticeable on close inspection of the vertical lines of the bridge railing where buckets of fine detailing comes through that's lost in the muddled results of the other phones.

But the greatest darkness struggle came with the panorama (again, leaving out the Lumia). The iPhone, even with the benefit of OIS, produced an image that was hilariously dim, losing all sorts of detail into inky blackness. For all the true-to-life tendencies of the iPhone's image processing, it falls far short here. The Nexus went to the other extreme — its dark panoramas were crisp and bright, too bright, actually. Where the iPhone lost detail to the shadows, the Nexus blew out the brights like it was nobody's business. Somewhere in the middle you'll find the Galaxy S7. None of these phones produced a panorama that was close to what the naked eye saw or the regular photographic capabilities of these cameras.

Challenging Lighting

This section originally was going to be titled "Food" (because we all apparently love to take and share pictures of our meals), but it ended up being a better test of how these cameras perform under challenging lighting conditions. In particular, that delectable Nueske ham sandwich on grilled sourdough with asparagus, grilled banana peppers, and a melted mix of gruyere and gouda, was illuminated by the red glow of the neon signs seen earlier in this overview and indirect sunlight coming in through the windows behind the photographer.

That sort of lighting is something our eyes are perfectly capable of adjusting to — we know that it's red light and we see the asparagus and lettuce as green, the banana peppers as yellow, and the ham as pink. But a smartphone camera, even the vaunted LG G4 with its color spectrum sensor that's supposed to be able to compensate for that, struggles in that light to portray what we see. The iPhone was perhaps the closest to reality, although the Lumia did a commendable job of preserving detail and sharpness at the edge of the sandwich — if it had been even remotely closer to the correct color temperature it could have been a really great photo.

The beer photo was taken after a fresh pour of Breckenridge's Nitro Vanilla Porter in a dimly-lit bar, and the Galaxy S7 performed admirably here, with a capture bright and crisp enough that you can almost make out the individual miniature nitrogen bubbles. The other phones? Not so much.


The minimum focusing distances of each camera were surprisingly different. The Lumia 950 let us get closest, but only marginally more so than iPhone 6s Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7. The Nexus 6P was roundly disappointing in comparison, requiring nearly twice the minimum distance before it would focus cleanly.

When you crop in, however, the Galaxy S7 surprised with a comparatively sharp capture. The other phones claimed to have been focusing, but even after repeated attempts we weren't able to get a straight-on macro shot that approached the GS7's sharpness. Coming at the coin from an angle surely would have helped to produce more in-focus captures, but that's not really pushing the cameras to the limit.


When it comes to the front cameras on these phones, all but the Nexus 6P have 5MP units, while the 6P (and its 5X little brother) have 8MP front-facing cameras. Regardless of how many megapixels you're working with there, we're talking about a camera that has a smaller lens and a smaller sensor ... and something you'll generally be pointing at your face (as you do with a front-facing camera).

As with the rear cameras, in excellent lighting they all perform incredibly well. But throw in challenging lighting conditions and things start to fall apart. The iPhone was the only camera that was able to consistently and accurately focus on my mug every regardless of lighting, but its comparatively tiny sensor and aperture meant that photos in the dark were, well, quite dark — and it struggled to balance the bright light in the first set against the relative darkness of where I was standing. But my face was the closest to well-exposed than the others, even if that resulted in a horribly blown-out background.

Even when it good light the Galaxy S7 struggled with detailing on my face. Where the iPhone, Lumia, and Nexus all picked up copious skin detailing, something with the Samsung phone resulted in smoothed-out skin — and yes, the "beauty mode" that was enabled by default was turned off before these photos. That said, the front-facing HDR that both the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s Plus fired off resulted in the closest-to-balanced photos between my spot in the shade and the sunlit city behind me.

Upon heading into a darker environment, things got even more difficult for each of these cameras. The Lumia and Galaxy struggled to focus — despite poking the screen to tell it where to focus. The iPhone struggled in the dim light, but at least its facial recognition saw my face and accurately focused. But the award in this round goes without question to the Nexus 6P. Not only is its bigger 8MP photo more details, it also had zero trouble focusing and producing a crisp and relatively bright selfie as a result.


For all this talk about photos, let's take a few moments and talk about video. With the proliferation of bandwidth in recent years, video on a smartphone has become more practical than ever. There's been a lot of focus on improving photography on smartphone cameras, but where do we stand with videography? There's a lot more at play here — shutter speeds, variable brightness, stabilization, and audio, just to name a few.

A lot of what was discussed above in photography applies to the video capabilities of these phones as well. Interestingly, despite the fairly uniform fields of view each camera provided in photos, it's all over the map with video. The iPhone 6s and Galaxy S7 have fairly similar fields of view, while the Nexus 6P's videos are noticeably tighter cropped (due to the reservation of buffer pixels on the sides of the viewing frame for its electronic stabilizations). The Lumia 950's video is the widest — where all the others crop in for video, the Lumia's videos are actually wider than photos shot at the default 4:3 aspect ratio.

iPhone 6s Plus camera

On the colors front the iPhone and Lumia tended towards warmer while the Galaxy S7 frequently produced video that was colder with more pronounced blue hues. As with photography, the iPhone 6s Plus struggled mightily in the darkness — it was fine in decent light, but as soon as the lighting grew dim it started offering video that was noticeably darker and muddier and less saturated. The Lumia 950's videos in the dark actually tended towards being too bright.

Stabilization also is a concern with photography (shaky video is bad video), and it's quite evident from the "wobble" you get with the Nexus 6P since its stabilization is exclusively electronic. While it would be fine for static shots, as soon as you introduce any movement to the 6P's camera — even the slight movement you inevitably get from just holding it while standing still — there's noticeable wobble in the picture. And when there's not a static point for the 6P to lock onto (the shot of the flowing waters of the Ohio River) you get to see all the shake that's not being removed. Considering how great the Nexus 6P is with photography, the stabilization's a serious disappointment here.

Audio quality varied noticeably between the phones as well. The indoor audio quality of the iPhone and Galaxy were the closest to the natural sound of the space, but once outside the iPhone's audio clarity noticeably degraded as it picked up more sound from outside the focus area of the camera and struggled to handle wind noise.

The Lumia 950's audio was, for all the emphasis on its quartet of microphones, remarkably flat and almost entirely absent bass. The Galaxy S7's audio, on the other hand, was picked up a huge amount of ambient noise with a "warmer" audio profile, but also picked up a lot of ambient noise. Both it and the Lumia handled wind noise far better than the iPhone or Nexus.


As we would hope with any smartphone camera app, the interface offered by each phone is dominated by the viewfinder. As each camera has a 4:3 sensor (at least they're set so by default), that leaves space for major camera controls that don't overlap the image you're trying to capture.

The iPhone camera app is one of the simpler offerings — nowhere will you find tools or settings buried under in-camera menus. Controls are on the short ends of the display — one side hosts small simple single- and two-touch toggles for features like the camera flash, HDR, and flipping between front and rear cameras, while the other end has large buttons to jump into the Photos app to view your captures, a big round shutter button, and to access filters (in photo modes).

Switching between modes is indicated by a strip of words along the edge of the viewfinder — they compress and fade away towards the sides of the phone as if to indicate a dial, and in fact swiping in either direction across the viewfinder will switch to the next mode with a blurred transition effect. This is simple, but it's also a pain in the rear if you want to switch from, say, pano on on end to a time-lapse video on the other and have to swipe across the screen five times to change modes.

Nexus 6P camera app

The Google Camera app on the Nexus 6P is even simpler. Primary controls are all on one side of the viewfinder: big buttons for the shutter, switching cameras, and jumping to Google Photos, plus one-touch cycle-buttons for the timer, HDR, and flash. Switching between photos and video is done with a simple swipe across the display, but it's not at all immediately obvious that you need to swipe to change — the only indicator is a pair of dots at the bottom of the viewfinder. More advanced modes like panoramas as well as general settings are relegated to a menu button in the top left corner of the display.

The Lumia camera app carries on the theme of simplicity — the jump-to-Photos button sits on one end with the shutter button on the other. Single-tap controls for switching cameras, the flash, and HDR/Rich Capture sit on top of the viewfinder, while accessing additional lens filters, the timer, and settings is accomplished through the three-dot menu button next to the shutter.

Where the Lumia camera steps above and beyond the others is the little > button next to the Rich Capture toggle. Tap that and you're switched into manual mode with full control over white balance, focus, ISO, brightness, and even shutter speed. No other default camera app offers so quick and intuitive access to manual camera controls.

The Camera app on the Galaxy S7 takes after the camera app on the Galaxy S6, surfacing a huge number of options with a plethora of menus. It can be a little daunting at first, but it's not terrible. Along one side you'll find buttons to open the Photos app, start recording a video (this is the one default camera app here that doesn't require a preliminary tap or swipe to get to video mode first), capture a photo, switch cameras, or change modes (more on that in a bit). Along the other end of the viewfinder are a settings gear icon, menu for changing the aspect ratio and image size, a flash toggle, timer menu, HDR toggle, and a menu with live previews of various filters. There's also a > button, but unlike the Lumia where it unveils more controls, here it collapses this list of buttons.

The Mode button is where things really get interesting with the Galaxy S7, though. Tapping it opens as pop-over menu with 10 different camera modes. Some are useful, like pro (a manual mode with control over shutter speed, focus, ISO, white balance, and brightness), panorama, live broadcasts to YouTube, and hyperlapse. Others are of questionable value, like selective focus (refocusing after the fact by taking multiple photos at once), video collage, and food (which creates a fuzzy focused area circle you can drag around with everything outside that being slightly blurred).

But for all of the complication and silly features that Samsung's added to their camera app (and do note that they've pared things back a bit in the GS7), they've carried over the most useful camera feature of the Galaxy S6 to the GS7: double clicking the home button at any time, even with the phone off, will launch the camera app, and it will do so ridiculously fast. It's a shortcut that's been somewhat emulated on the Nexus 6P with a double click of the power button, but that's not been entirely reliable in our testing. And not nearly as fast as the GS7, and the placement of the 6P's power key about halfway up the edge of the phone means it's occasionally a stretch to reach.

Lumia 950 camera app

The Lumia 950 is the only one of these phones with a truly dedicated camera button — a hallmark of Windows Mobile devices. Press and hold it for just a moment at any time and it'll launch the camera, right? Just one problem: the default settings hobble this shortcut by relying too heavily on the proximity sensor to prevent accidental launches while in your bag or pocket. You can disable it, but it's not something an average user would think to look for — I thought I had a dud camera button at first. That camera button is also a two-stage shutter button; press halfway to focus, all the way to capture. It works really well and I definitely preferred it to tapping the on-screen button to capture a photo.

And then there's the iPhone. Where each of the other phones has a hardware shortcut to get to rapidly open your camera (and they're not even the quickest — double clicking the volume down button on the LG G4 or V10 will launch the camera app and take a photo), the iPhone 6s Plus offers no such option.

There are two ways to quickly get to the camera on the iPhone. If your phone is on the lock screen, dragging up from the bottom right corner will open to the camera, but that requires a click on the power or home button (which in this case we're hopefully doesn't unlock automatically with your fingerprint) and then a quick swipe up the screen. If your phone is already unlocked, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Center and then tap on the camera button in the bottom right corner of the screen.

We'd love to see Apple implement a similar camera launch hardware shortcut on the iPhone. It wouldn't be a double click of the home button, as Apple's designated that action to launch Wallet, though double clicking the power button is unassigned and could be of use here.

Read the reviews

There's a lot more to each of these phones than just the camera. Want to know more? Check out our reviews!

Apple iPhone 6s Plus review

Huawei Nexus 6P review

Microsoft Lumia 950 review

Samsung Galaxy S7 review

The bottom line

So who makes the best smartphone camera? More than ever, that's a toss-up — these are all four great cameras, with strengths and weakness in each.

A lot of it comes down to your personal photographic (or platform) preferences. If you want true-to-life colors, you'll want an iPhone or Lumia 950. But if colors that pop are more your thing, then the Galaxy S7 will serve you well. If you're taking a lot of photos or videos in the dark, then you shouldn't bother with the iPhone, and you should avoid the electronically-stabilized Nexus 6P if you intend to shoot a lot of video. If you need the most detail and intuitive manual controls, the 20MP Lumia 950 is the phone for you. And if you want the fastest possible access to the camera, double clicking the Galaxy S7's home button will serve you well.

For a long time Apple was king of the smartphone cameras hill thanks to their obsessive focus on camera quality over the megapixel race. Samsung's dialing back to 12MP in the Galaxy S7 over the 16MP in the GS6 is all the indication we need that the megapixel wars are over — the focus is on quality and everybody is delivering excellent sensors and software to match. If there's anything to take away from this match-up it's that you would be well-served by any of these cameras — and they're attached to some really great phones to boot.

If push came to shove and you needed us to offer a recommendation of the best smartphone camera — knowing full well that there's always another phone on the horizon that threatens to take even better photos — we would tell you the Samsung Galaxy S7 has the best camera of the bunch, but only by a hair. But, like we said, it comes down to your personal preferences. So which phone do you think took the better photos?

Derek Kessler

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.

  • A bit disappointed that the s7 didn't win by a bigger margin. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why? Its a great camera. If anything, its a testament to how great all OEMs are getting.
  • This shows how difficult it is to make a awesome overall camera. Competition is what drives innovation and seeing that all these cameras are GREAT in their own light shows how difficult it can be for a company to differentiate their camera from another. Improving one aspect means diminishing another. Im just happy to be in a time where differences between margins for cameras are not as wide as they used to be, because in the end, we the consumer win.
  • Ding ding ding! A small loan of a broken G4
  • As the person who reviewed the Galaxy S7 edge, and collaborated with Phil Nickinson who wrote our Galaxy S7 review, I can't say that I'm surprised. The Galaxy S7 has a great camera, no doubt about it, but there are lots of areas in which the Galaxy S6 (and edge, edge+, Note 5) match or beat it. This is still a leader, but it doesn't blow away the last generation.
  • I agree. I owned a Galaxy S6 and now own an S7 Edge after owning a couple other phones in between. While I like the S7 Edge a lot more than the S6 all things considered, I think the camera in the S6 was better for outdoor daylight photography for sure. As someone who travels a lot and likes to sight see and hike, I wish Samsung would have stuck with the same camera as last year because it just provided a lot more detail in outdoor well lit environments. Although my wife and I will be having a baby soon, so the insane focusing speed and great low light performance of the S7 will be much appreciated for that use. So it really comes down to use case. By the way, my previous phone was a Nexus 5X, and with HDR+ enabled (I always had it enabled) that camera is tough to beat. The S7 Edge is more of a side grade when it comes to the quality of the resulting photos (and in some cases a downgrade), although the speed of the S7 Edge camera absolutely puts the Nexus 5X to shame.
  • Hope all goes well for you and your wife! You're right about that fast focussing and low light as you'll find yourself taking thousands of pics of your little one (who refuses to stay still). It can be really frustrating when your cameraphone isn't up to the task and loads of shots come out blurry. I *think* the S7 would be the best phone for this scenario, but I wish more comparisons would focus on taking pic of moving subjects (in less than ideal light) to see which one has the fastest shutter speed (and therefore best chance of freezing the action). Maybe a standardized test like taking a picture of a rotating fan in low light or something like that? I got burned a while back by the LG G2 which loads of reviews said performed well in low light. It did, kinda. All it did was keep the shutter open for ages (assisted by the OIS). This was fine for low light static shots (which the reviews focussed on), but completely useless for taking photos of my kids. I had to get rid of it because the shots were so blurry.
  • Not sure I agree with you. I was outside taking pics for work to order parts from. I was blown away by the s7 edges detail even when zoomed all the way in. I have an s6 that takes great pics as well but not as good as the s7. Just my opinion. BTW my son has a iPhone 6s that takes great pics as well but not as good as the s7. I don't have a nexus to compare with though
  • I don't think we'll ever see any of the major OEMs "blow away" their last year's model again. At this point, I think it'd take an actual DSLR to make me think "Holy ****, this makes the S7/6S Plus/V10 look like a hot garbage!" Posted via the Android Central App
  • He said it won by a hair. He just neglected to mention it was a 3 foot thick hair.
  • I think they are not even close, but I guess it is all relative.
  • I am sure that it did.
    However, the press dare not burn down the Apple product.
    The fanbois would riot, and the ad revenues would melt.
  • Maurice, I find your comment ironic considering an android "fanboi" just a few comments above us is throwing an absolute FIT bc the GS7 Edge didn't win by more than a hair.... You mobile phone conspiracy theorist crack me up...
  • Yes it is true to certain extent. Apple centric press run by ifan boys are seriously Apple centric, like imore, BGR etc, etc. If S*** drops from Cupertino, it will be praised to heaven. However, you can't say that about Android press, who tend to be much more impartial in their reporting. Hence overall there is no question about serious bias in press for Apple products.
  • I'm really disappointed a BB Priv wasn't included,I don't come around here much but was really blown away with the review and think the Galaxy Rocks!Thanks,:-)
  • Are you okay bro?
    What is BlackBerry??
    Priv has a good back camera but not that great one to let it compete with those giants.
    The Priv front facing camera is the worst ever!
    Stop joking!
  • Although the thought of showing phones on their default settings has merit, you guys do a disservice to your audience by not covering the RAW capabilities of the phones that support it. At the very least you could provide RAW versions of some of the same images you took to compile your comparison shots.
  • Think it was pretty clearly explained why RAW was left out of this. The big reasons being that not all four devices shoot RAW photos, and the average person isn't even going to use RAW mode if they had the camera. Posted via the Android Central App
  • he didn't READ the article. he looked at the pictures and conclusion section.
  • Yes, it was clear. As I said, I do't disagree with the idea of showing the camera comparisons the way most people will use it. But adding a section in the article would help people evaluate the added features available in some of the camera packages. It seems nobody else cares, perhaps that's because the feature is truly unwanted by most everyone, or perhaps it is a feature that people are ignorant of the pluses and only are aware of the minuses. Something that could be addressed in an article like this. Seeing as a camera comparo seems to be the first thing that gets published as soon as new phones get released, it clearly is a determining factor for device selection. Better education makes for better consumers. Although, educating people about the features probably isn't as attention grabbing as a straight out comparo to "pick a winner" though, so I get it.
  • not all the phones supported, panoramic photos but you guys included that.. not all the phones included actual OIS but you still shot video and compared it with the phone that didn't have it... what you guys mean to say is "The iphone doesn't support raw" so we just wont cover it.
  • RAW?
    Please. We still live in a vertical video moron world.
  • Seriously. I'm an engineer who builds smartphone apps for a living and I am also a hobby photographer who knows how to use manual controls and occasionally uses RAW on my dedicated Sony mirrorless camera, but even I don't use RAW on my phone. The number of people processing RAW from their phone has to be like 0.0000001%, no exaggeration.
  • Not to mention that unless the correct lens profile is available, correcting the distortion would be a little more tedious. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not really. It's a fixed focal length lens. Adjust the distortion once and you have the values you need going forward.
  • Oh god. I hate vertical videos. People in my campus do it all the time with their phones.
  • S/\MSUNG FTW!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Where's the blackberry priv? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Haaaahahahhahahahaaahahhahahhahhahhhahahaaaa... phew. Look, I really like the Priv for what it is — good and secured OS, great screen, the only Android keyboard worth using, but the camera is not at all worthy of being included in a comparison to the likes of these phones.
  • Hehe. I was waiting for somebody to ask. However agree with Derek
  • f/2.2 is pathetic on a smartphone that costs $949. Heck, that's what you find on a cheap $99 Chinese-brand smartphone.
  • There's so much more to a camera and the resulting photos than just the aperture of the lens, but yes at this point we shouldn't still have f/2.2 on a high-end phone.
  • Well to be fair the 6S Plus base price is $749, which is less than my S7 Edge.
  • On the other hand, anybody that buys a 16GB iPhone deserves a good smacking.
  • Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Considering live photos and 4k video shooting, anyone with a 16GB iPhone 6S or its Plus cousin will find themselves running out of memory real damn quick. Posted on an LG V10
  • They don't include expandable storage so you have to pay them for either a more expensive phone with more onboard storage or buy storage through I-cloud. I think it's quite dumb the iPhone has a 4K screen but barely has a 1080p display...
  • They don't include expandable storage so your forced to either buy a more expensive Version for more onboand memory, or you are forced to by storage through I-cloud either way is more money for them. I honestly don't get why the iPhone 6s records in 4K yet barely has a 1080p display....
  • The majority of the population, it seems :-) Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think the S6's camera is better then the S7's camera. I have yet to see pictures taken with the S7 that beat the S6. Citizens 4 Constitutional Freedom
  • I have definitely taken plenty with the Galaxy S7 that look better than the GS6, but it's not a guarantee — the GS6 still has a great camera.
  • Having both n5 and 7 edge the camera on both are very good . The difference being much faster focus of the 7 and better low light . The low light pictures on my gs7 match the ones on my Sony a58 ...that's a dslr not a phone FYI Posted via the Android Central App
  • Walk into a Best Buy or electronic store with a live GS7 and take a side by side with your GS6, guarantee the shot on the GS7 will be better. Won't be miles better (remember this is only a year difference so treat it as such but it's better. Especially in low light. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It might be, but in no way is it guaranteed. More than enough evidence to support that the GS6 will sometimes take the better shot.
  • Well to start with I have a red/green colour deficiency as do 5% of all the male population. However, viewing these on my PC I agreed with your comments and I would choose the S7 camera over the others but not by much. Excellent article - well done!
  • You and me both!
  • Wow. Never heard of that.
  • I really think speed and focusing should be a test on these articles. I bet you will get different results on each phone taking a picture of a constantly moving toddler. The s7 amazing autofocus helps an awful lot at this.
  • Yes, this! I returned a LG G3 because of this issue. As long as lighting was adequate, it was lightning fast. The second that you needed the flash, it took forever to get the lighting exposure. My son was 2 at the time, and I missed way too many shots. I swapped it out for a GS5 Active, because Samsung allows you to hold down the shutter (which sets focus and calculated exposure), then release it to take a pic instantly. The G3 would do the focus (after turning off burst), but still waited to test exposure/flash. It was the one and only reason I returned that phone. I had lots of really nice pics of where my son had been standing 3 seconds ago...
  • Ha, I made a similar comment in reply to someone else above, definitely feel like there could be a standardised test for this. I got rid of an LG G2 for this reason - It was absolutely awful at taking pics of my kids in anything less than ideal lighting.
  • You should have included a GS6.
  • I'm sure they're planning an S7 vs S6 comparison.
  • A good comparison. In all angles I may say. Good work done
  • The 6P also has double press power to launch camera
  • Did you read the article Posted via the Android Central App
  • I actually made this comment before I finished reading because I thought it should be included in the beginning when he mentioned the dedicated camera button on the Lumia and the dojblenpress home shortcut on the S7
  • Well, I know I'm probably biased because I use an S7 but I'm surprised the 950 didn't do better. Seems Microsoft isn't too concerned in improving the camera software on WP10 ( does match their lack of interest in really improving WP10 altogether). I have to say I am NOT a fan of the pixel decrease that Samsung did though. Which is why I'm curious to see what the horrendous G5 will do. Last year the G4 beat the S6 thanks to the manual controls and laser autofocus. This year, with the S7 having the full manual controls now available, it will probably come down to low light and pixel counting. I don't get all the fuss around the iPhone camera though. Yes, it's a nice camera, but I don't recall Apple EVER being "king of the smartphone cameras hill". Nokia phones have continuously beaten Apple cameras. And for a time, so did Sony's Xperia line. And since the S6, so did Samsung's. And LG's since the G3. That said, I think it's time for me to pick up the S7 and put it against the G4 and the Nokia 930 to compare them myself (I'm definitely leaving the Nokia's 808 and 1020 out of this for obvious reasons...and the Z3C too because it'd be beaten senselessly).
  • The iPhone 4S destroyed every other phone available during its time. The iPhone 5S was the first phone to have half decent low light photos apart from a couple Nokia phones that nobody wanted. And I would say the iPhone 6 had the most well rounded camera until the Galaxy S6 and LG G4 came along. I have never considered an Xperia phone to have the best camera at anything for its time (always too many megapixels for their own good and poor post processing), but to each their own.
  • I've never been a fan of the megapixel race. I thought that the HTC One M7 took some great photos with its 4 megapixels, due to a good camera app and the "ultrapixels" taking in loads of light.
  • The best thing about the Xperia cameras is the two-stage dedicated shutter button. I went from a Z3C to a G4, and while the G4's actual camera (lens, sensor, image processing software) were just leagues ahead of the Z3's, I think I got better shots on the Z3 because having a real shutter button with two-stage function makes the act of capturing the shot so much easier. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nokia 808 was a couple months after the 4S and walked all over it. Nokia has had the smartphone camera game for years. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, but dude, it ran Symbian? You can barely even call that a smartphone. Might as well have bought a dumbphone and a real camera if you didn't care about having a half decent smartphone experience.
  • The 808 with Symbian was still better than Windows Phone 7. And iOS isn't much better than Windows Phone either. It has more apps but that's pretty much it. At any rate, we're talking about cameras here. Not operating systems. So it's pointless to discuss Symbian versus iOS versus WP. It's cameras against cameras. And the 808 (and 1020) trump pretty much every smartphone camera on the market still.
  • LOL @ "destroyed". The 4S may have just about caught up to the N8, but the 808 that came out a few months later set the bar so high it's still a valid benchmark in 2016 (at least in terms of sheer image quality). As for the 5S, it may have been "half decent" in low light, but it wasn't even in the same league as, say, the Lumia 920.
  • The 808 did indeed destroy the iPhone 4S in the camera department, but it came out 5 months later, was twice as thick as the iPhone 4S and ran Symbian, which was long past its prime and quite a terrible OS by 2012 standards. Now you and DJCBS can argue we're talking about cameras and not about the merits of the phones themselves, but if we're just talking about cameras, why aren't we including DSLRs in this comparison? To me a smartphone camera is worthless if the phone it's on is a hot pile of garbage. The 920 I will give you because it was actually a decent phone for it's time even though Windows Phone wasn't very popular.
  • Hey, you're the one who said "destroyed every other phone", not "destroyed every other device that qualifies as a smartphone based on my personal standards" :) Also, the reason we're talking about just the cameras and not the entire phone is because that's what this article is about - the cameras in smartphones.
  • Exactly, I said "destroyed every other phone". I don't consider the 808 a phone ;P
  • was it just me, or did the s7 video test seem a little choppy compared to the others?
  • Looking at the pictures and saying overall which ones I liked best I consistently picked the S7 pictures with the Nexus pictures winning a few and the iphone and Lumia winning 1 or 2 each, but consistently I picked the GS7, so that was my winner, and for the budget conscious the Nexus 6P.   BUT as you said you really can't go wrong with ANY of these!
  • What a thorough article. I enjoyed reading it and glad to see Samsung edged ahead by a hair.
  • My GS6 and GS7 Edge both have been Absolutely Stellar cameras for me, Samsung has really stepped up their game I'd have to say. Thorough comparison article, thank you for all the detailed testing and information.
  • I'd really love to see more smartphone manufacturers incorporating a two-stage shutter button.
  • For as cool as it seems to feel more like you're using a "real camera" by having a shutter button, in the reality of holding a thin and light phone the shutter button can actually just add more shake to the device and make it harder to take photos. Having a huge, touch-enabled viewfinder is a suitable replacement for the physical shutter button at this point.
  • Agree and many phones still have a hardware button that doubles as a shutter option. Volume +/- on a Nexus.
  • Volume buttons are good for selfies. For rear cameras, they are useless.
  • Disagree completely. Tapping the screen to take a picture is a huge ergonomics downer.
  • Totally agree. I used to have a Z2 which had a physical shutter button - thought it was brilliant at the start but after a while I realised that tapping the on screen shutter button was a better way to get a completely still photo - the actually act of pressing the physical shutter meant you moved the phone ever so slightly.
  • This. I always ended up shaking my Lumia while clicking via the two-stage shutter button. I just used it to launch the camera.
  • There are reasonable people running mobile nations site unlike the biased Rene who just defends anything Apple right or wrong. Good work guys. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Great article Derek! Great views of Cinci! (I'm a local)
  • ..and why not include the LG G4 in comparison if they are going to use the iPhone 6s.
    My wife uses the iPhone 6s, I use the LG G4, viewing pictures from both camera's on both our computer monitor and HDTV my wife and I are in agreement. The LG G4 takes a better picture than the iPhone 6s especially in low lighting conditions.
    I guess A/C didn't want to embarrass anyone with year old tech. Posted via the Android Central App
  • iPhone 6s is ~6 months out from replacement. The G4 is only a few weeks from replacement.
  • But as someone points out below, why not the V10? It's pretty high end, and fairly new, right? I mean, I know you're not going to re-write the article about it, but how do you feel it compares? Not even close? Or just below the Nexus?
  • The LG V10 uses the exact same camera sensor as the G4 so it's understandable why it wasn't included. Posted on an LG V10
  • It isn't understandable, it is obvious. The V10 would have handed these phones their butts. Especially if the photographer can use the manual controls. Even in Auto, I think it would have beat the S7.
  • It's pretty clearly explained ... actually quite close to the top of the article.
  • Your salty replies are one of my favorite things about articles with contentious comment sections. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Explained, but not accepted. Pretty weak competition for the S7. Take the (LG) champ out of picture and it certainly makes it easier. Explain away, but it has never stopped AC from comparing older phones to new phones before. Since when has that ever mattered. You take the best of what is currently selling on the shelves and compare them. Oh wait, yeah, most readers are Samsung owners and can you imagine if a year old phone beat the latest and greatest S7. Might lose some AC regulars and deal with a lot of flack.
  • The G4's pictures get a bit on the muddy side when you look at them on a computer. It takes wonderful pictures, but if you get really picky and start to look at the technical details, both the S7 and 6P (both of which I have on hard to compare pictures with in an obsessive fashion) take better pictures in pretty much every condition... and the G4 starts to fall on its face when things start to get dark (most noticeably focusing issues). So yes, the G4 is a great camera in its own right, but that sensor is now a generation back which is a shame as they used it on the G5. I really wanted to replace her G4 with the G5, but when looking at all the shots that people took at MWC, the camera performed exactly as my G4 does.... not going to cut it after I've seen what the S7 and 6P can do.
  • V10 destroys them ALL Posted via the Android Central App
  • I would have liked to see that on the comparison. I'm eligible for an upgrade soon, was considering the V10. As long as they have their exposure calculation done before releasing the shutter, unlike in the G3. I returned that because I kept missing actions shots. I mention this in another reply in more detail...
  • I have the LG v10, you should check out the LG v10 photo thread on AC, it's some awesome pictures on their. Data_theNew_Greed
  • I have the V10 and I'm really disappointed they didn't use it here Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm also surprised they left the V10 out. The camera on the V10 is just simply superb and would have probably won.
  • If camera is the primary reason you want a smart phone, then I agree. V10 is a fantastic choice. I bought one thinking it would serve me well, but After a month or so of use I decided I was sacrificing some things to get that camera and moved to a Nexus 6P. It's "good enough" for me. I'm no photographer and use my camera for posting to social media or to take pictures while shopping for stuff for my new house.
    I'm happy the Nexus 6P is such a well rounded device and also happy to see its camera holds up to the "big boys"
  • Well, because the V10 is OLD. Didn't you read the article? The G5 is just around the corner. What they really meant was, the V10 might win and how would our thousands of Samsung visitors feel about a ......(god forbid) LG win against the latest fancy over priced S7? The G4 is considered one of the best camera's currently sold and the V10 actually is an improvement. Nah, sorry dude, can't include something like that in a camera shootout!
  • And the winner for daytime photos is the S6. Looks like samsungs improvements in low light cost them the unanimous daylight crown.
  • Reminds me of when I upgraded from S3 to S5. The S3 takes way better photos in low light, but the S5 is better in daylight. I generally get nothing worthwhile when taking a picture of fireworks on the S5, but the S3 picture looks reasonable on the web, after a bit of basic post processing with something like snapseed or Google Photos.
  • I still have to get used to this dedicated camera button, but it's a very convenient feature.
    I know I don't have the best camera around, but I like it anyway. Posted via Xperia Z5
  • The iPhone videos looked so incredibly clear. All of the android videos looked kind of "smoky" why is this?? Very strange. Loving my S7E camera so far tho. It's amazingly fast and the pictures look great.
  • Any parents give you the stink eye for standing there and videoing their kids? I know I would have... :) Great comparison, thanks for the article.
  • I got a little bit, waved one of them over to explain what I was doing, gave them my card, they shrugged and walked away.
  • Nice pictures of Cincinnati! Didn't know that other techies were out here with me!
  • Why no sony xperia z5? It has an amazing camera. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's let down by the software. Amazing hardware, not so amazing imaging algorithms.
  • Apple generally does a good job with its cameras, but it's clear that the company was hamstrung by putting a higher-resolution camera into an existing iPhone body. You really need a lens brighter than f/2.2, and preferably a larger sensor with bigger pixels. My hunch is that we'll see Apple recover some of its form when the iPhone 7 hits, since the new shape will give it more freedom to redesign its camera system.
  • The iPhone will try and then samsung will release the note 6 . The gs6 camera is better in my opinion then the iPhone. The fact is the iPhone is not the benchmark any more . The galaxies are the new benchmark cell phone camera to beat . And I've seen more then a few YouTube gs7 vs what ever phone camera and it's pretty clear in most situations where it's better . Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd agree -- I just think Apple has a big chance to get back in the game with its next phone. The Note 6? Well, that depends on whether or not Samsung actually updates the camera in a significant way. The Note 5 didn't, so it could be a different landscape in the fall. Maybe.
  • One thing people Never think about when viewing these photos is the source (screen) they are viewing them from..
    If you are at home looking at this thru a desktop browser and a cheap $200 best buy monitor, that isn't properly calibrated, they won't look ANYTHING like the original photo. the colors on your cheap monitor are wrong.
    I view these thru a calibrated iMac 5k and have also looked at them thru my brothers computer with cheap TN panels that cost $179.
    These photos look COMPLETELY different on his cheap displays than my display.
    If you are viewing these on an over saturated samsung display, they do not look the same either.
    You can go out and buy a $10,000 camera that takes the best pictures ever, but when you get home and view those thru a cheap TN panel, they will look terrible.
  • Most people judge these photos on what they have in front of them . And the fact that most have at least a phone are tablet with 1080p that's more then enough to form a opinion. On what there naked eye sees. And for more prove on which is better . Two of the biggest photography magazine also picked the gs7 as the best camera . And I think they'd know a thing are two about photography Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hi, Daniel Bader from iMore here*. As with my article at , this article clearly shows the iPhone blowing away the GS7 in every shot*. * Not really, of course.
  • Haha your kidding right ......?? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lmao... Posted via the Android Central App
  • They all look pretty good to me, probably a professional photographer would tell the difference. between those 4 awesome cameras...
  • I think it's time for a new prescription for your glasses. Some of those pictures look really terrible. But then, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people like pictures that look terrible, at least according to AC.
  • "obsessive focus on camera quality." I see what you did there!
  • I did my own little camera test in what I call the worse photo conditions grandson basketball game in one of those dimly lit high school gyms me with my new gs7 edge and my daughter with her iPhone 6s plus . And the focus speeds and low capabilities just blow the iPhone away . And this is how a lot of parents use there phones . There no replacement for focus speeds and sports . My opinion if you want the best cell phone camera get the gs7 . For a cheaper option get the note5 enough said Posted via the Android Central App
  • Random question, but when taking those shots, did you let it auto-focus or did you manually touch the screen to focus somwhere before shooting? I've been getting mixed results with the auto focus in lower light settings on my S7.
  • I just point an shoot that the only way your gonna get the shot . No idea be lying if I said every shot would make sport Illustrated but most where keepers . . Now let's not think for one minute the gs7 will be used on the sidelines of the NFL. Are replace a good dslr with a good lens . But for a cell camera it's a beast . What I can say for a fact is that the auto focus is faster then any cell camera that's out right now posted on my gs7 edge gold are my note 5 the beast
  • Let me guess. Your conclusion is that it comes down to personal preference, right? I don't even have to read the article. That's ALWAYS your conclusion, even if it means "you might prefer dark, blurry crappy pictures, so we're not going to say that camera is bad".
  • Actully they picked the gs7 for overall best camera . But you know those nexus guys are gonna be heated . And get all off topic . With there at least we get the latest upgrades first comment in 3 2 1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, overall best -- by a hair. A very thin, microscopic, begrudging hair. Back in the dark ages of print, when I first got started writing reviews, I recall my reviews editor telling me this story about why one needs to tell the truth boldly: He went to a press conference, and some product manager came up to him and said, "You ruined my company! After you wrote that review, I haven't sold a thing!" My editor told him, "Well, your product is crap. We serve our readers, not our advertisers." And it was crap. The editor didn't care how it would impact advertising. That publication had real integrity at that time (not so much later, but that's a long story). I miss the days when reviewers had the guts to call something great and something crap, and not equivocate in order to make everyone happy. I didn't study the pictures enough to say which camera is best and which is worst, but I see enough blatantly crappy pictures in this article to know it's not just a matter of preference. Unless by "preference", you mean, "I prefer to take pictures only of stationary objects with a tripod in bright daylight, in which case, they're all good enough."
  • Ugh what a pathetic world we live in. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well there is a certain degree of opinion to any review, and a good reviewer knows to note that. A review isn't unarguable facts and truths, and it certainly doesn't depict exactly and precisely the positions of everyone who reads the review. That's why review scores are typically rubbish: just because the reviewer thought something was more important than something else does not mean the consumer believes the same. A review shouldn't be "This phone sucks, and you'll hate it," it should be "I thought this phone sucked, and I hated it, and you probably will too." Emphasis on "probably."
  • Cameras are the new processor. Even mid ranged phones have adequate cameras and all of the high end gear has similar high end performance, with some peaks and valleys across the spectrum. And just like with needing a dedicated desktop for some kinds of work, one may also need a dedicated camera for professional reasons. People need to appreciate how good things have gotten. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Gotta get on my N7 to tell which one did best :) VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • It always seems like Apple is always the " good enough" camera in these tests. Great job guys, good review! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree. In standalone reviews it's praised as being the hallmark for smartphone cameras, but put it next to the best and it doesn't do as well. It's a great camera, no doubt, but it's not the greatest.
  • It is more then Good Enough. What makes it a great camera is that it is consistent. Average users can depend on it every time to take very good pictures no matter the situation. A G4 or S6 in the hands of a phone enthusiast might edge it out, but after they fiddle with their phone for 5 minutes getting that shot (if the moment hasn't passed), the iphone user already got their great picture and are well on their way to doing something else. So in everyday life, the iphone camera has a lot going for it.
  • i thought the Lumia phone won. It had more life like photos. It's a shame it isn't on the nexus. Oh well.... Thanks for the article.
  • Unless you need panoramas, looks like Lumia is the winner to me. Nicely done. Posted from my Droid Turbo
  • The Lumias do have brilliant cameras. Hopefully new camera features and improvements (including panorama) is planned with the next major update (Redstone).
  • It's there now! :)
  • This was truly an amazing review. Although, I must admit, I have the Galaxy S7 and was secretly hoping for it to win--nevertheless, thank you for this comparison!
  • Thanks, excellent article.
    Had problems with my Lumia 950 XL concerning just about everything...except the camera.
    Took great pictures.
    Unfortunately had to return it due to everything else.
    You validated my opinion.
    Great minds think alike.
  • I do think the Galaxy S7 looks the best, but like they said, only by a hair. I honestly wouldn't be disappointed if I had any of these phones as far as the camera goes. It's crazy how good smartphone cameras have gotten. Even Nexus devices have good cameras now. Gotta love how technology is improving. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wish the Droid turbo 2 would have been in this comparison. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It would have lost pretty badly. It's a decent camera but it doesn't have OIS, and it's a relatively small sensor.
  • Now that's a heaven of a review! I bought nexus 6p few days ago. It's fine for me. But I think S7 is the boss of the camera (well, currently).
  • The nexus 6P has a great camera. You won't be let down by the camera in anyway. And just think, if you bought an S7, you would have a whole lot less money in your pocket, all that bloatware, no fast Android N update. So you got the better phone.
  • Great study. Thanks a lot
  • i absolutely love how close things have gotten where cameras are concerned. It really is a thin margin between them. Great, detailed article. Very well done!
  • Frankly, as seen in this article all the phone camera have improved greatly. Yes, iPhone may have lead the pack but it languish in it and everyone has caught up with it...Samsung in particular. As written it comes down to platform choice but then if you are on iOS you only have one but on Android all the OEMs are improving every iteration. You can't really go wrong with any of these phones. I have to admit when I was using the S6 for a while I was very happy with the camera on it. I'm back on the Nexus 6P and even do miss the camera on the S6. That said I found everything here quite true with my camera experience with it(6P). I do tinker with RAW files etc but general use it is dead on. It is on the best camera for a Nexus phone. This was a really great article and informative.
  • I'm really not sure why the Droid Turbo 2 wasn't inclu........hahaahahaha just kidding. I drop phones....I miss my S6 snapper.
  • The Beauty Face effect (even when turned off) of my s7 Edge and my s6 before it drives me insane. Such good cameras on the back let down by the one on the front Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am looking at the samples here just like anyone else who's reading this article.
    It says "If you want true-to-life colors, you'll want an iPhone or Lumia 950." Which of the samples from those two cameras are showing "true-to-life colors"? You mean what's called "flat" images? Could you tell me which of the samples from those two cameras you prefer to the other two?
    And you REALLY like selfies from iphone and Lumia better than ones from the other two??
    Are we really looking at the same sample images?? I am baffled.
  • When I saw the selfie on the rooftop I laughed with the comparison cause Lumia knocked the rest out -well- brutally... You can actually see the colours of the sky there. I guess we all see the same pictures but we dont see the same things. Personally i liked the lumia and galaxy pictures more
  • Who Dey!
  • I have both a Lumia 950 and a new S7 edge I received about a week ago. So far, it is close between the cameras. At this point I would have to give the nod to the Lumia over the Galaxy, but things may change as I take more photos. Great review, btw.
  • What about videos and sound recording?
  • I agree. At least they had the guts to include other non-Android phones in the review. I give them credit for that. And actually I think the 950 won in this comparison, but that is just my opinion. And I don't even own a Windows phone.
  • Cincinnati!! Love the Music hall pics! Hope you went to the symphony while there and avoided Vine street, lol.
  • Vine Street through most of OTR isn't all that bad these days! In fact, before taking that photo I had dinner at Senate on Vine.
  • I own the three except for the Huawei. IPhone 6s - most natural photos, perfect skin tones, what you see is what it shoots 950xl - zoom in and count the hairs, spots and wrinkles. Close to DSLR quality. S7 - unnatural colours but bright and vivid When I want to take photos, I take the 950XL, when I want to take photos and use a phone for more than just making phone calls, I take the iPhone. Sorry Samsung, nice looking phone, rubbish OS and only Ok'ish photos But yes, good unbiased article
  • I think peoples standards have shifted. Photography use to be about capturing what you saw in real life. These days, the best picture is what looks most pleasing to the eye, regardless of how true it was to the subject. So bright and vivid, real or not, wins now. You can't make it better then the real thing in my opinion, but most today would disagree and Samsung knows it.
  • Great article! It's a shame so many people seem to comment without reading. Even worse some claim to have read it but clearly lack reading skills. Posted via the Android Central App
  • <i>the ham as pink</i>
  • I think the Lumia 950 won a few more of those rounds than the Galaxy S7, but I have to agree that there were situations where the Galaxy S7 was the clear winner. The iPhone 6s Plus was terrible in low light, but it best the Nexus 6P in the day. Overall, I think the best camera is the Lumia 950 for it's beautiful, intuitive camera application, physical camera shutter, and copious amounts of detail, but the Galaxy S7 is only a half-step behind.
  • On quite a few of the tests I could see no discernible difference and in some the S7 does look better but it is only marginally and in one the iPhone did look better. Smartphone cameras are at a stage now that there will only be marginal differences in the market leaders but they are getting harder and harder to see. I do think some people will say a particular camera is better just because of the phone it is on and that has come both from reviewers(not this site) and from commenters. Next time you do a camera shoot out please don't tell us which phone is which straight away. It would be really interesting if you did the tests then see what the comments are then reveal what phone took what after a few hours. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Derek, do you used 8mp or "20mp" on Lumia 950? The 8mp have better quality because of oversampling.
  • This is proof the others have caught Apple in the race for the best camera that's all that needs to be taken away from this. The V10 is a superior video recording device that happens to be a phone, if you do YT then that's your choice and the only distinction I'll make from this comparison. Trying to compare who's got the best camera when all these phones are near the $800-$900 mark is sort of silly. They all have good cameras at this price point, it comes down to minor things, as was mentioned. Those under 30 still take lots of pictures at night because they go out the most often and yet they still buy iPhones. Instgram is full of washed out, horrible pictures. That's seemingly okay because what's important is that selfie, what your having to drink or what your eating. This critical thought sort of comparison is for people that intend to other things with their camera phone, like actually take a decent picture....
  • No Z5? It easily beats anything on an iPhone, like the S7.
  • Not surprised at the Lumia 950. I miss the pics I took with my ICON. MY S6 edge is a good camera but I can definitely tell the difference.
  • Yeah, the 950 is Microsofts version of the Nokia camera. Certainly not the same as it was done by Nokia themselves.
  • I agree with author conclusion that S7 is on top but just by hair. Can't deny that S7 take better videos in most cases, it's sound cancellation is better, OIS. Img quality - I don't like S7 of it's yellowish white, here Lumia is best, but sharpnes and details are also very important.
    My top:
    1. S7 edge
    2. 950XL
    3. 6P
    4. 6s+
  • I went to AT&T today and played with the S7 for about an hour. AT&T use stark white tables to display their items, the S7 camera would NOT take a white picture. Every shot of the table was yellow as snow that's been compromised....
    It was SO yellow, I walked out without buying the phone, which was my intention.
    I almost bought another Note 5, but changed my mind and left.
    I took a picture of the table with my iPhone 6S+ and the table was Stark White.
    I don't understand why samsung phones can't recognize white for white. It cost them a sale today because of it.
  • Which is why people can't legitimately decide which camera phone is best by what they see here on the web after the fact. Only the actual photographer can see first hand what the camera is taking a picture of and decides if it is accurate.
  • "Best Camera" and "smartphone"??? I can't believe you'd even consider the two being able to exist together. The best a 'smartphone' can hope for is "adequate". If you want to do *real* photography, get a stand-alone unit that's meant to take photographs. A phone/tablet camera is meant to do the job if you don't have a real camera with you, or don't want to carry one with you. It does the job of an Instamatic 100, that's about it.
  • Enjoy dragging around your 2 pound EOS and spare battery and tripod and lens cap and filters and various accoutrements strapped around your neck in that oh so stylish and convenient camera bag... Meanwhile, by the time you have your professional photograph, I'll be a mile down and, hopefully, clear of your superiority complex.
  • OK, goodbye. Enjoy your substandard output.
  • Substandard based on what? A DSLR? The S7 is using dual pixel autofocus, an f 1.7 aperature and a 1 1/3" sensor. Of course it's not going to take as good a picture as a DSLR. but it's much more convenient and takes fantastic pictures as long as your subject isn't too far away. It takes outstanding low light pictures and fits in my pocket. I'm pretty sure I know where you're keeping yours... Now go troll We're talking about cell phone cameras here.
  • This is a website about Smartphones, there are plenty of websites about cameras if that's what you want to read about. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree partly, but many photo situations are spur of the moment and the phone is the only way, because it is all you have at that moment. So if you are going to use it, you might as well find which one is best.
  • Oups. That was meant as a reply. ^^^^ So what's your point? I mean besides letting us know what an elitist prick you are? Posted via the Android Central App
  • i phone f and sucks just look at photos on facebook ther always of
  • What? Posted via the Android Central App
  • They're all very good. We all see and perceive a bit differently. Buying any top end phone should get a good camera.
  • I thought Sony made mode of the cameras?
  • What's being discussed here isn't so much the quality of the camera but the aesthetics of the in-camera photo processing, which can be changed with manual adjustments or software updates at any time. Personally, for quick Instagram shots, I like a little extra saturation and sharpening, so the S7 looks pretty good to me. (For photography students, a good exercise is to capture a raw image with a DSLR on completely manual settings -no cheating by dialing in to the light meter- and then take a photo of the same scene using a camera with really good in-camera processing. Process the raw image before looking at the in-camera processed image, and then compare the two to think about what you might have done differently with the DSLR and, more importantly, to consider at what times it's better to let the camera handle the processing.) Viewing the raw images, taken with identical manual settings, would have been helpful because that would show the actual capabilities of the camera hardware. But even that is open to different interpretations because most camera settings are a compromise and a setting that favors one camera might make another camera look bad. Doctor DR Li L1 says it best; none of the top-end phones are going to have a disappointing camera.
  • They should have used a good DSLR camera to set the baseline of what a near perfect picture should look like, then take the phone camera pictures to see which one comes closest and post them all up. Only the actual photographer knows what the subject of the picture looks like in real life. Less obvious defects, no one looking at these pictures on the web can pick one as being better then the other, since we weren't there. Or maybe I am just old school, where I try to take pictures that are true to my real world subject. If it is bright and vivid, it must be the best picture, right?
  • That's a good point, except that not everyone is into journalistic style photography. In terms of the camera, if "better" is the one that works most best for a specific photographer, then the workflow becomes an important part of the equation. On my Nexus 5, if I run into a composition I like, I can take the camera out of my pocket, take the shot, edit it immediately, and then have an acceptable-quality image on Instagram in just a few seconds. If I think that circumstances are worthy of a breaking out the DSLR kit, not only is capturing the image a million times more complicated, but it also usually results in a big stack of raw files awaiting editing. With a high quality camera and the ability to produce raw images, upgrading my phone might sound expensive but it's actually a pretty cheap way to add a valuable tool to my photography kit.
  • I agree with what you are saying. I just suggested the DSLR as a benchmark. I so rarely use my DSLR now, except for complicated shots that I know my phone can't obtain. Sunsets, moving action, pictures where color accuracy is priority, etc. I take tiny product pictures in a light box and my main camera is set up on a tripod with everything preset. But with larger products, I actually use my G3. But I use a robust camera app on my G3 with lots of setting, plus I use pretty complicated post processing software on a color calibrated pc monitor. The shots I get out of my G3 are amazing and would blow these pictures in this article away. Even better then my 20d DSLR in many cases. POINT being, if you know how to use all the tools available to you and have the knowledge, a phone camera can produce about as good of quality pictures as many dedicated camera's. I know everyone isn't a photographer, but it drives me crazy when someone whips a phone camera out, takes a picture in full auto, complains about the results and wishes they had there DSLR with them. I ask them, well did you adjust the white balance or another setting that even a basic photographer would know can improve the shot dramatically, they say no. So you own a DSLR, but you don't know how to adjust these settings? Well, your DSLR wouldn't have taken any better picture in full auto.
  • After dabbling for most of my life, about six or seven years ago I got more serious about photography and put together a complete kit, based on my Canon 7D. After several years of being scolded for not using a full frame camera, I started looking at the options and made my next "lens" purchased a Fujifilm X10, which some pros liked as much as their Canon 3D Mk III's. So I wasn't surprised when cell phones started producing images that rivaled the heavy equipment. No, I don't expect a phone to take great surfing shots at 100 meters, but that's a small price to pay for a 5 ounce substitute that captures reasonable images. The bottom line is that it's a tool that allows me to get back to the fun of photography without spending my time managing gear. And makes me even more amused when a pro-styler lifts his white-lensed DSLR to his eye, presses the shutter release and has his flash pop up. My Nexus 5 is dying a slow death and I'm leaning towards the S7 because of waterproofing, and I like the Nexus 6P for the price (and straight Android), but the G3's battery grip looks good. Any recommendation? I want to be able to quickly and easily take high quality images but I'm kind of tough on my phone.
  • As someone that likes alternating phones as OS bc I get bored of them so easily, I've never used a camera phone and just thought "Wow, this GS6 edge camera is so much better than the iP6" or "My iP takes better pics than my 6 edge." I've had androids users and apple users try to tell me a certain pic on my FB page was taken with a certain phone and most of the time they was wrong or clearly guessing. If one camera gives you crap low light, the other probably has problems taking pics of whites. The race is mobile camera is over. It's so close now that it's basically a pointless topic. Pick the phone you like, take care of it, show it off and love it. Don't hate on someone bc they don't like what you like.
  • And what is this whole discussion about ?
    If I want good quality picture I will buy decent photo camera .
    I've own different cell phones from almost 15 years and I took maybe 20 pictures during this time period. Don't let these companies fool you !
  • You are right, an actual decent camera will do better, but there are times you want to photograph don't always offer that convenience. You must miss out on many great picture memories in life by living by this standard. I would rather have a crappy picture of a special moment, then miss it all together.
  • Very interesting write up Phil. If I took anything away from this article, it's just how amazing all these cameras are).
    As an owner of a 6P, it is nice to see it holding it's own, especially when you consider the camera track record of previous Nexus phones. Perhaps if I had one wish now, it would be for a high spec vanilla android Lumia phone... Om nom nom nom nom nom nom.
  • Man, that Lumia 950 takes awesome pics! Almost makes me wasn't to go back to Windows Phone. I'm still waiting for reviews on the G5 before I finally retire my Nexus 5. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have a Nexus 6P and i consider that for the needs of the typical phone owner the camera is pretty good. The writer forgot that if you press twice the power bottom in the Nexus 6P will turn on the camera pretty fast. Posted via the Android Central App
  • From the looks of it, it seems like every phone in the article is able to take great photos. There's some differences between them when it comes to sensor type and processing plus camera software, but from what I see, I think in most situations, either will do well. That said, as an all-rounder, I'd pick the S7. It does well in nearly every situation and doesn't require much effort apart from pressing the shutter. The Nexus 6P got a very close second, with the lack of OIS and the frankly barebones camera app holding it back, followed very closely by the iPhone 6S+, with its underexposed night shots holding it back and then the Lumia 950, which was held back by the lack of a native panorama mode and a tendency to make daytime shots a little warmer than usual. Note that just because the 950 is last in my books doesn't mean it's a bad camera. It's actually a pretty good one. Let me explain that the difference between these 4 aren't very significant. In fact, it's the tiny things that set them apart, and they may or may not be significant to you. Ultimately, regardless of which platform, be it Android, iOS or even Windows Phone, these phones pack in the cameras to really showcase their platform. You really can't go wrong with either of them if you're a multi-platform type of guy (like me) and if you're loyal to a single-platform, this is proof that there's a great camera or more for every single mobile platform out there.
  • Wow. I didn't realize there this much passion over smartphone cameras. How things have changed... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't know, i liked more the pictures from s7, but in video it was a disappointment for me, the iphone video was extremely stable, and better exposed, also other looked not sharp enough sometimes. But the audio recording on iphone is still mono, and the gain on S7 is still too high.
  • How is the moto x pure edition's camera?
  • This is one of the most eloquently written and thoroughly researched articles I've seen in years. Thank you, Derek, for taking such pride in the work you produce. Can't wait to read more!
  • The one thing that stands out to me about this review is that it seems to sing the phrases of the S7's "Pro" Mode. As a owner and very photo enthusiastic user of 2 of the phones in this review (iPhone 6S+ and the S7 Edge) and the LG phones that were left out (which was a mistake as the V10 & G4 are still formidable competitors) the LG camera interface has IMO the best manual mode of any camera smartphone out at this time. The only manual mode that comes close is the ones I've used on previous Nokia phones such as the 1520 and Lumia Icon. The S7 Pro mode is not intuitive or easy to use. The only thing I like about the S7 Pro Mode is that all of the controls are on the right side which makes accessing them with one finger easier, but they're not fluid in their feel. Rather they seem to jump around and it's not easy to see what number your setting until you get it there as in the ISO or Shutter setting. There are large gaps between the "shown" numbers on the screen and only when you are adjusting it do you see the actual numerical factor your choosing.
  • You see, you have real life hands on using these camera's. Things only someone using them would know. Posting comparison pictures on the web in this article, try as they may, does not reflect real usage. Comments like these are helpful for me. I appreciate it. I couldn't agree more on the missing LG camera's. As those are the ones I own. I think it really discredited the article not having them there. It almost looks like to me they did it on purpose. Fearful of how the bright and shinny new Samsung might do against them. But maybe that is just me and it was not for that reason, but either way, it was a mistake.
  • Firstly, great job AC comparing these cameras for us! Very helpful in comparison shopping if camera quality is an important deciding factor, which it usually is for me. Here are my thoughts: 1) It's really amazing that Nexus and "top camera comparison" are in the same sentence, and it's high time Google got their act together and gave Nexus devices something other than mediocrity. Hope this trend continues to be a priority! 2) We as consumers win, when we have to debate the, often times, minor nitpicking details between camera photos to try to determine a winner. Many devices use the same sensors anyway, so what we're really debating is differences in software processing, camera app features, focusing quality, and other secondary features. As the article stated, most of these cameras are fine, just pick the one with the features you care about most. 3) My personal preference in this particular comparison would be the S7, 6P, 950, Iphone. I would have liked a LG device in the mix, but I can understand why it's not at this time. I've had an LG device of one kind or another as my daily for the last 4 years, so I hold no loyalty whatsoever to Samsung or anyone else really. But I do appreciate a good quality camera.
  • You should have included LG G4. For whom it would not be fare? A friend of mine who knows about photography made a comparison (total 20 shots indoor, portraits mainly and abstract) between G4 and S7 Edge. For what we saw S7 won in details, but not in all photos. S7 has a weird process in photos, and it looses detail. G4 was a little bit darker but in my eyes with more detail. And it costs less than half than S7 or Iphone 6s.
    So i think it wouldn't be fare for competitors. G4 is the best vfm this time, and probably G5 won;t bet (too) good (in photos) in order to replace the G4. Unless a third party company makes a Xenon Flash peripheral for the G5. Then we talking...
  • Sorry, can't have a $350 year old G4 winning against a $700 bright new shinny flagship phone. It just wouldn't be right. We will wait until Samsung has had its day in the sales sun before we bring in the G5. By then our majority readers who own a Samsung won't care.
  • That iphone selfie camera is terribly narrow
  • Great review! As a current G4 owner, I'm pretty in live with my camera, but I'm anxious to read a comparison inc
  • They won't. The G4 is one of the best phone camera's out right now and very likely could have won this comparison. Rest assured, you got one of best there is available.
  • I'm pretty surprise to see how well the Nexus did! I quite liked it the best:)
  • I had no idea the Nexus 6p camera was so good o.o
  • Yessir! I was lucky enough to pick up a 32gb nexus 5x for 250$ a few months ago and i have been AMAZED by the camera.
  • But they talked about it struggling in daylight? I was going to get the Oneplus 3 but the camera seems just "good enough" depending on what review you read. I was looking at prices and I can get a nexus 6p 128 gb for around $450 on swappa. I can find a galaxy s7 edge for $520 on eBay. I want a phablet phone with an amazing camera, what worries me about the s7 edge is it seems to crack so easily and I can't find a good tempered glass protector for it. The Nexus 6p isn't waterproof so that's something to consider too...
    I need a new camera phone before I leave abroad at the end of July..... What to do.....
  • So which is the best? Tldr. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No Xperia Z5?!
  • Nexus 5X, 6P, 6, 7, 9 and more is now on sale only at NexusPhoneOffers:com
  • The S7, Lumia, and 6P produced better photos than the iPhone. The S7 and 6P though were the two best out of all of them. But the lacking of OIS in the 6P is an issue worth taking into account.
  • I've taken pictures side by side in a very dark office building when we had a blackout. One with the S7 edge, one with an iPhone 6S (regular, not Plus) and the S7 is head and shoulders above the iPhone. If you're only operating in well lit spaces, it's not a big difference. But if you live in the real world where lighting isn't always perfect, the S7 blows away the Phone
  • There is a disconcerting amount of lens distortion in the S7's pictures.
  • Can I ask which restaurant serves that yummy sounding sandwich? I'd love to check it out before my company leaves Downtown
  • Good discussion on Latest Smart Phones Cameras, I bought the iphone 6s they have good camera feature, Some times it depends on the person who taking shoots. I know there are more smart phones in the market which have better cameras then Apple iphones. Thanks
  • FYI the apple isn't complete due to the bite Samsung took from it. To bad the USA company hadn't made their product in the USA I've got to wonder what sort of education Samsung got from Apple building for them ? I love the build quality and IOS but as a former Apple guy I have got to admit that Samsung has the ball in there court I use the Note 5 and love it I hope apple one day brings a phone that will compete with it to the table and that day I'd be more than happy to sport the American branded company again. As for all the arguing over what brand has better camera who cares all of them are great let's move on to stylus, screen size and quality,adjustability of settings and so much more then you will find why Apple has the bite missing !!
  • I'm a huge windows fan but to me clearly the galaxy s7 won here, to me it isn't that close. I think the s7 just pulls away lol. IPhone was actually very disappointing when compaired to the others and in most shots I felt the iPhone had the weaker camera.
  • I
  • This was a really great job. Keep it up. Cant wait to see the comparision with the LG G5 and if available the htc m10
  • to end all the hoopla and see if its a name ppl are picking to win or an actual image... why not do a blind comparison and lets see if the S7 only wins by a hair or if the Lumia or iphone or 6p is the winner. because this will continue to be a thread of "the phone i own should win" lets get the results blindly from the community. post it on androidcentral and imore and lets crown a champion and have an actual established margin not decided by only the authors. seems fair to me.
  • That would be to objective. And add another one, a DSLR used by a pro as a benchmark. Have all the camera phone pictures unlabeled, except for the DSLR and tell people to pick the best one closest to the DSLR. Opps! The 950 won, oh that wouldn't be good on a Android site. Can't have that. Or better yet, toss in some other current phones, like the G4, a Note 5, and a Sony. If you really want to get dangerous, toss in some older phones with great camera's, like the S6 and a Lumia. I would be willing to bet, there isn't much difference and people may actually pick a G4 or S6 as the winning. Now wouldn't that be entertaining.
  • I don't need a review to tell me if a camera is good. If it works for me then it's all gravy. I use a V10 and an iPhone 6S so there is no bias. They both work for me in pretty much every situation. I can't recall a time where "oh damn I wish my V10 wouldve been handy for that shot" or "geezus manetti that iPhone 6S wouldve been perfect for this video". It's a shame so many people get butthurt over reviews if their device doesn't get the BEST CAMERA EVAR AWARD. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Excellent article Derek. Great job.
  • I love Cincinnati
  • Man! This is tough! These are all great phone cameras, and frankly, all great phones!!! I don't have quite the eye for this that some do, but I can still see and appreciate many of the strengths and weaknesses of each model presented here, and the #2 takeaway behind "they're all great" is "not a one is without assets, nor without liabilities relative the others" so we can all just completely shut our mouths over "this one just kills that one." That said, to my eyes, I have a hard time picking a 1st place.....though I do think I can identify a last place. And to me, that unfortunate title seems to go to the iPhone: the darkest, the dullest, the narrowest of field. ----HOWEVER---- I want to stress to the point of breaking that last place among these four is like "the least esteemed Beatle" - still awesome! As for the other three, while this phone had enough demerits to keep me from being able to say definitively that it's my favorite, the single most striking thing across all of the phones for me was just how damned sharp the photos are on the Lumia! Amazingly crisp pictures! I love it! The Nexus, I felt, was the most well-rounded of the four (terms like "wholesome", and "aww, shucks" come to mind), and the Galaxy was the one that I felt had the most brilliant moments of.....well....brilliance. :-) I suppose if you held a gun to my head and forced me to choose just one phone based solely on it's camera, I guess I'd pick the Nexus for its holistic, stalwart quality. Though I totally heart the dazzling crispness of the Lumia and there's no denying the vivid excellence of the Galaxy! ....and all this has been written on an iPhone! :-) Cheers!!!
  • Samsung will always stuff slightly better cameras in their devices just to say they're the best.
  • Sony Z5 not included in the shoot out? Serious omission me thinks.
  • As I juggle the decision between the perfectly adequate $200 Nexus 5x and the brilliant S7 (I decided I didn't like the ergonomics of the Edge), I'm finding that only the Samsungs and the Sony's have that desirable combination of a good camera, waterproofing, and wireless charging.
  • Really a great review. Thanks.
    I'm considering buying the S7, but it is certainly a big disappointment that the camera can only shoot in 4:3 or 16:9.
    I'm quite sure that the Lumias used to offer 3:2, but that has gone with Win 10. I'm not sure why the mobile manufactures only offer those odd formats and they could at least provide 3:2 as an option and use cropping.
  • Just curious why you'd want a 3:2 format except for printing, and if you need it for printing, wouldn't you be cropping the image anyway? My main criticism of the S7 is that the display is TOO nice, to the point that your photos will look completely different on other phones and monitors.
  • Personally I think 4:3 is usually too narrow and 16:9 is usually too wide. Maybe because I have always been used to the 3:2 format from the film days and also from the current professional digital full frame and APS-C cameras. The manufactures could quite easily provide the 3:2 format and other formats like 1:1 through software, so why not make everybody happy :-)
  • I guess this differs for different people, but the reason the lack of 3:2 doesn't bother me is because the sensors on these phones are designed to capture the full amount of pixels either in 16:9 or 4:3, the Lumia I believe is a 16:9 sensor. So if you capture in 4:3 or 3:2 mode, you're cutting out a significant amount of your aperture right off the bat. I prefer to capture the whole image, and then if I need to, I can easily crop it to a 3:2 later if I decide I want to, without permanently losing those extra pixels and aperture from my photo.
  • Best to me are the S7 & the Nexus. But I agree on the iPhone getting more realistic shots with little to no distortion, thats how it's 'posed to be. Funny how Microsoft's 20 mp is the worst.
  • If you go back, you'll notice though that where the 20MP really shines is in the cropped photos. Where each photo went through a 100% crop, the 20MP photos are zoomed in significantly more due to the higher MP count, but you'll notice the quality is almost as good as the 100% crop from the other lower MP cameras that are relatively speaking, zoomed in less.
  • It would be nice to update this review a bit since some things have changed in the Lumia corner. Panorama has now made its way back to the native camera app, at least on the Insider builds, and works really great-- it uses the sweep-style mode and turns out some pretty decent panoramas. As well, a recent firmware update has really upped the photo quality back to where it used to be on my Icon running Windows Phone 8.1. The other thing that was left out about the Microsoft camera is the ability to swipe the on-screen camera button to the left to open up a more visual version of the full-manual controls that overlay over top of the viewfinder and allow you to capture photos at different ISOs and exposure times without leaving the interface. I find this extremely useful in low light conditions or when trying to capture motion-blur photos because you can sweep through the different exposure times and sensitivities, taking a photo on each setting, and then go back later and find the one that looks the best. It really is the closest experience to using a DSLR on any phone camera in my opinion. But then again, I live over at Windows Central, so my opinion might not count for much ;)....
  • Lumia 950 has the best camera. Half a step behind is the galaxy s7 :)