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Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5: Which Do You Think Has the Best Camera?

Steven Blum
9

When it comes to buying a new phone, the camera is key. After all, as the cliche goes, the best camera is the one with you. So you better believe Apple wanted the iPhone 5 to have the best camera on the market. The results of their hard work, however, will probably be disappointing to Apple fans. Looks like the newest iPhone doesn't have the best camera on the market. In fact, in low-light situations, it doesn't even come close to its competitors.

Gizmodo has just published a series of camera tests between the iPhone 5 and its closest competitiors, including the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, Nokia 808 PureView and a Canon S100 point-and-shoot (just for fun) and the results are...interesting! It looks like the Galaxy S3 actually beats the iPhone 5 when it comes to accurate color reproduction in low-light settings, while Samsung's model ties with the iPhone 5 in broad daylight. The Galaxy S3's results are impressive for a phone that a) was released in May and b) didn't announce its camera with nearly as much fanfare as Apple's latest iPhone did.

The results also seem to confirm a hunch we had about the iPhone 5 – that it's primarily playing catch-up to Android phones. As you can see in the images above, the Galaxy S3's low-light photo of a flower looks truly white where it's supposed to look white and truly purple where it's supposed to look purple, while the iPhone 5's image is a yellowed, noisy mess. 

In daylight situations, the winner is a bit harder to surmise. Both the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 take gorgeously-detailed, accurate photos that take advantage of all the light out there. 

Of course, we'll be seeing even more detailed comparisons between these two models in the coming days, so we can't really say which smartphone's camera is comprehensively better. But from what we've seen so far, the Galaxy S3 doesn't just hold its own, it actually beats Apple. And, to make matters worse, Apple had specifically said the iPhone 5 was going to be better at capturing photos in low-light settings. If they can't even make good on that claim, who knows how many other features will end up lacking. 

(Top photo: CNET.com, body photos: Gizmodo.com)

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Comments

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  • Ian Hope Sep 24, 2012 Link

    buy a TWO YEAR OLD XT720 MOTOROLA. GREAT CAMERA

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  • Steven Blum Sep 24, 2012 Link

    Really? How many MPs? :)

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  • Robert Jansen Sep 24, 2012 Link

    Lol @ Ian.

    Still. Personally, I couldn't care less about which phone has the better camera. Differences in quality in the phones mentioned above is so marginally that it doesn't matter anyway.

    Besides, having a camera on you is handy, but if you need a proper photo, you're going to have to use a proper camera. An actual camera that is :).

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  • Steven Blum Sep 24, 2012 Link

    Robert, ideally, I'd carry around a DSLR, but the fact is I only have so much room in my pocket. :) My Galaxy Nexus will have to do for now...

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  • Imran Sep 24, 2012 Link

    first one GS III is wins
    Second one iphone wins

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  • David H. Sep 24, 2012 Link

    I have an award winning camera with 20X optical zoom and a million and one features, I simply love it and think it's the best; it sits nicely in it's water-proof pelican case for months... and more months.
    All of my recent photos are from my phone, because I have it with me!

    That said, I think the superiority of the camera in your title is pretty slim if any.

    White balance is very easy to fix, in fact they'll probably release a software fix for it pretty soon that makes it the same or better than the SGS3 in that regard.

    In the day photo I actually prefer the Apple photo, but it's basically just the light metering, you could have easily focused the S3 on a darker area and had a brighter photo.

    With the ability to focus off center it becomes really difficult to compare, because we don't know where you set your light levels and focus.
    These two photos are ambiguous due to this fact.

    What I would really like to know is
    1) Time to first picture from cold start
    2) Vignetting from lens distorion and barell at maximum zoom
    3) Dead pixel counts and artifacts
    4) Shutter speed max/min
    5) Sensitivity to light (minimum light levels)
    6) Flash capabilities (fill, delay, red-eye reduction, etc...)

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  • Dogukan Sep 24, 2012 Link

    Yeah the S3 wins at low light setting obviously, but in daylight photo iPhone 5's colors are more vivid than the S3. Look at the building at the bacground in iPhone 5's photo. The details are a lot better on that. I wouldn't say S3 beats the iPhone, I think its a tie. But really Apple did emphasize the iPhone 5's low light picture quality. Its nowhere near good in low light.

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  • David H. Sep 25, 2012 Link

    I didn't have a really close look at the pictures this morning, but I think I have to change my mind. There is more to it than white balance.
    The S3 photo in both day and night is better focused and less grainy, fewer artifacts.
    it is much more apparent in the low light, the Apple sensor just isn't as sensitive and producs more artifacts and has slower shutter speed to compensate for this lack of sensitivity.
    I think we'll see some real differences in day time photos if you start using it for moving shots and jittery hands.

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  • CJ Brown Oct 1, 2012 Link

    I think its only a matter of time before more (& newer) apps are available on iTunes & Google Play which will enhance your Smart Phone's Camera to its maximum potential ...

    iPhone5 & Samsung Galaxy S III look "dead even" to me (but I must say, the iPhone5 has improved upon its camera when compared to the iPhone4s) ...

    2013 is almost here, its time for HTC & Samsung to release some new Android Smart Phones (or updated software that various Carriers could do a better job of implementing - such as Verizon "slow as f@ck to comply" Wireless) ....

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