The Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and iPhone 5 are the best smartphones on the market right now, in part thanks to high-end cameras and sensors tucked into the back of each smartphone.
Smartphones are the go to camera for millions of users, and Apple is even making it a major part of the iPhone marketing campaign as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 hit store shelves with newer camera technology and arguably better camera apps.
We have the iPhone 5, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 in and with our full reviews complete we are running through comparisons to see how each of these smartphones performs in a variety of situations. This week we compare the cameras on the best smartphones on the market.
To test the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 cameras we took photos in a variety of settings from sunset to sunny, indoors and out. We test the low light performance of each smartphone camera and the flash in a room with little light. For the video comparison, we shoot still subjects and puppies running indoors to highlight what to expect while trying to capture pets and kids.
For all of these tests we used the auto setting, only controlling flash when needed, as this represents how most users will use the cameras on these smartphones. The iPhone features few controls, while the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 offer enhanced camera apps with special features like HTC Zoe and a dual shot mode to keep the user in the photo. This comparison will focus on the results, rather than the apps.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One vs. iPhone 5 Camera Showdown
Here are iPhone 5, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 camera specs;
- HTC One – 4MP Ultrapixel camera capable of 1080P video
- Samsung Galaxy S4 – 13MP camera capable of 1080P video
- iPhone 5 – 8MP camera capable of 1080P video
Each camera features varying sensor and pixel sizes, but rather than focusing on specs, here are photo samples to show how these cameras compare in the hands of an amateur photographer.
All of these photos come direct from the phone with no editing on the phone or off. Click on a gallery to compare the full size samples.
Sunset Sample Photos
The following photo samples show the HTC One vs. Galaxy S4 vs. iPhone 5 camera performance at sunset. Each camera performed well in this test so it is difficult to pick a winner. No matter which smartphone you pick, pretty sunsets are within reach.
Flower Sample Photos
Next we took photos of a flower that decided to bloom early in Ohio. While this isn’t the best flower photo it shows the HTC One, Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 camera capabilities for capturing color. The iPhone delivers more vibrant pinks, but the HTC One offers a great range of colors.
Detail Sample Photos
In this set of sample photos the HTC One delivers a better looking image while the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 are much brighter than the actual deck. We get a look at some detail as desk stain from 9 months ago peels off and the wood shows signs of wear.
Depth of Field Sample Photos
These photo samples come form the HTC One, Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5, showing user controlled depth of field on a flowering bush.
Texture Sample Photos
The next six sample photos show off the camera’s ability to show detail in light and shadow as well as the detail and texture of a gate lock with an inviting yard in the background. In these samples the HTC One and iPhone 5 deliver better looking photos.
Indoor Photo Samples
Next up we take a look at how the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 cameras perform indoors. In the first set of photos we look at non-moving objects in a well-lit room. Next up we look at photos of pets in ok lighting. This shows the ability of each camera to capture a puppy who is quick to move while taking photos, even when laying down. The Samsung Galaxy S4 delivers the better looking photos in this example.
Low Light Photo Samples
The HTC One boasts better low light photo performance and in the samples below it’s a clear winner. We took the first three photos in a dark room and the only one with a semblance of a subject is the HTC One. With the flash on, the smartphones perform well, but the HTC image is less washed out.
Next up we recorded two sample videos from the HTC One, iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 at 1080P to see how they perform when capturing a puppy playing and how they deal with changing light conditions. The playlist below contains two samples from each camera. Watch them at 1080P to compare the samples best.