Which phone camera is better?

I get asked a lot about which mobile phone camera is better based on price, brand, and overall popularity of a model. While there are some aspects of a camera in a phone that make it slightly better over another this doesn’t stand true in most cases.

see also:
Android Camera Blind Test
Asus Zenfone 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

What manufacturers are not telling you.

Most of the cameras placed in the phones are made by one company – Sony. Which means, with a little bit of digging, you would notice almost all flagship phones carry the same model number when it comes to the sensor at the back of the camera.

What this means is that all cameras will take the same image the same way with the same color treatment as all the rest with the same sensors. Here’s a sample from a range of devices:

 

The slight differences between the images produced come in post-processing. Where, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ comes out slightly saturated compared to a shot from the Huawei P10 Plus, for example but the difference on quality is minute. Yes, there will be differences in terms of aspect ratio since all of these want to take a photo differently based on maximum lens capabilities.

What makes a phone’s camera better depends entirely on what you need it for.

There’s a reason that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) focus on specific capabilities that are usually not present in the competition.

Take, for example, ho the LG G6 comes with a wide-angle lens focusing on being able to capture more of the scenery compared to the Zoom lens on the Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom that can get you up close up to 2.3x optical zoom.

How about how the Huawei P10 Plus focuses on the monochrome part of the shot allowing for better details specially for playing with lights and shadows; the secondary camera allows for post-process image blur and color when needed.

Each of the phones mentioned are only some of the options for different kinds of capabilities added on top of, basically, the same image across all of them if you took the special pluses out of the way. Perhaps now, the new way of asking about getting a new phone based on camera should be “How is this camera better than the competition?”

see also:
Huawei P10 and P10 Plus

What do you need the mobile phone camera for?
Mabuhay Manila.

Drew Uy

I do words, food, coffee, and photos.

Hit me up on Twitter @ginuhit

2 thoughts on “Which phone camera is better?

  • September 29, 2017 at 2:08 am
    Permalink

    sadly, the basic premises are wrong:
    1. the Sony sensors vary greatly, for example in receptor pixel sizes etc. Look up e.g. the IMX362 with 1.40 microns pixels (U11, Zenfone 3 ZOOM..) against IMX298 at 1.12 (Oneplus 3t, Zenfone 3 non-Zoom…).
    2. Of course, the camera software also varies greatly in balancing eg. sharpening vs. noise etc.
    All that makes for very different results, unless you use the photos only at miniscule sizes on your mobile or online.

    Also, try to compare identical subjects at similar distances to be able to see the differences

    Reply
  • September 29, 2017 at 2:11 am
    Permalink

    sadly, the basic premises are wrong:
    1. the Sony sensors vary greatly, for example in receptor pixel sizes etc. Look up e.g. the IMX362 with 1.40 microns pixels (U11, Zenfone 3 ZOOM..) against IMX298 at 1.12 (Oneplus 3t, Zenfone 3 non-Zoom…).
    2. Of course, the camera softwares also varies greatly in balancing eg. sharpening vs. noise etc.
    All that makes for very different results, unless you use the photos only at miniscule sizes on your mobile or online.

    Also, try to compare identical subjects at similar distances to be able to see the differences

    Reply

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