The famous saying goes: the best camera is the one you have with you. Normally, that’s the shooter on your smartphone. Depending on what device you carry around, results can be disappointing, often lacking in color, detail and come out blurry.
One of the iPhone’s greatest strengths this time around is its camera, so I took it out with its most recent and biggest competitor: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
The iPhone’s 8MP camera may seem like its an outright winner already, as it’s been released to take on point-and-shoot cameras. The Galaxy Nexus has a 5MP sensor, but does fewer pixels mean worse images? For all the images I did my best to ensure I was focussing on the same spot, and all in the same light conditions. (Click images to see full size, due to higher pixel count, 4S images will be larger.)
One thing you’ll notice from the images above is how much more saturation there is in the image taken from the Nexus. And although Apple claims its camera has been designed to give a more natural look, the Android’s shooter is closer to what my eyes saw when taking the image. The Galaxy does appear to be over exposed, and the 4S is sharper and crisper.
Again, the colors are more vivid in the Nexus’ photo. Considering I haven’t changed any settings or added any effects, the Android’s image definitely gives off a more Autumnal feel.
The two cameras appear to do better at different things. The iPhone’s deals much better with bright light, showing the cloud patterns and color in the sky. The Nexus handles the darker parts of the scenery better, but over-exposes the sky.
There’s not much to choose between the two in this shot. I pointed both at the low sun behind the trees to test it, and both came out pretty well. Again, more color in the Samsung’s photo.
My past experience with Android handsets were that the cameras were always really poor. They blurred, even when taking still shots, as the shutter response wasn’t exactly snappy. The Nexus takes the image almost as soon as you press the virtual button. It’s super quick.
Depth of field isn’t fantastic in either handset, but compared to most smartphones, you get good results. Overall, I’d say sharpness was better in the iPhone’s lens, but the color captured by the Nexus is much more like what I saw with my eyes. It appears “realistic” to Apple means “a little washed out”.
The trick up the Nexus’ sleeve: Panorama
Personally, I feel both devices offer a great alternative to carrying around a point-and-shoot camera. The results are great on both. It just depends whether you would prefer the bright colors from the Samsung or the sharp and crisp results from the iPhone 4S.
What do you think? Which image results do you prefer? Comment below or send me a tweet: @TiP_Cam. I will have a full comparison written up at the beginning of next week. Let me know what you’d like me to compare.
UPDATE – LOWLIGHT/INDOORS: Since it wasn’t dark earlier, I wasn’t able to add in any lowlight shots, here are a few I snapped in and outside of my home:
As expected, with its improved lens, the iPhone 4S dominates in the lowlight conditions. The whites in the photograph are white, the images is much crisper and brighter than the one taken from the Nexus.
Again, outside in the dark, the iPhone 4S picks up way more light than its competitor. Image is also sharper. The Nexus’ outdoors shot looks very blurry.
With the flash turned on, Samsung’s appears brighter, but the color is way off. The actual color of the bay window is much more like that in the 4S’ shot. Overall, in darker/indoor conditions, the iPhone 4S produces much better results with brighter and much sharper images.