What camera phone takes the best pictures?

November 3, 2015

man holding camera with quality word in front

What camera phone takes the best pictures? – I’m sure that many of you want to get a definitive answer to this question. Before we can do that, we need to define what “Best pictures” means. In this article I refer to “best pictures” as the highest quality images in both daylight and low-light, as a “best picture” can be measured by the image composition in photo competition for example, which is not related to the camera hardware itself.

So my goal was to fine out what camera phone allows you to capture the highest quality image out-of-the-box. If you are searching for the camera that takes the best selfies, you should probably read my other article, best selfie smartphone for 2015.

OK, so if you are still reading this, I assume that you do want to know which camera phone takes the highest quality pictures. Finding the answer isn’t that easy, because there has to be some sort of a measurement objective and all the phones should be tested equally using the same hardware and software tools.

One of the sites that already becomes a standard for image quality testing is DxOMark.  The site test and rate camera-embedded mobile devices based on various metrics and a proprietary software. If you visit their website and go to the mobile category, you can see a list of the top performing phone cameras.  You’ll see the overall score, but to get the photo and video image quality rating separately, you need to click on the phone’s name.

I’ve been following this site for qutie sometime and I compared its results versus some other online unbiased reviews. I found that their result stands hand-in-hand with what other reviewers conclude. It’s not 100% match, but it certainly suggests that their test are done well and the site is a good source to know which camera phone performs best in different categories. The categories tested for Photo are: exposure and contrast, color, autofocus, texture, noise, artifacts and flash. The video adds stabilization test instead of flash test.

So to find out which camera phone takes the best pictures, we need to analyze the results of the top leading camera phones. Here are the results of the DxOMark mobile photo rating for the top 10 camera phones.

  • 88 – Sony Xperia Z5, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
  • 86 – Google Nexus 6P, LG G4
  • 84 – Motorola Droid Turbo 2,  Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Sony Xperia Z3+
  • 83 – Motorola Moto X Style, iPhone 6s
  • 82 – iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
  • 81 – Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z2, Google Nexus 6
  • 80 – Samsung Galaxy S5

* via dxomark.com/mobiles as of 11/3/2015. Checking the top 15 leading camera phones

So according to DxOMark mobile phone rating reviews, the Sony Xperia Z5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge offer the best image quality. You can dive to specific tests to see which one has better textures and noise performance, etc; but the overall score tells us that those are the two leading camera phones as far as the photo quality goes.

Keep in mind that not all the latest phone have been tested, and you there’ll be more phones tested after we publish this article. So know you have a source where you can go and get a bird-eye view of the best performing camera phones.

As for low-light performance. The Google Nexus 6P achieved the best compliments and they mentioned that it was the best tested to date as far as detail preservation in low light goes.

If you still have doubts, you can choose two or more camera phones that you want to check and just search some comparison on the web. This will give you a better understanding how one specific camera is compared to its peer.


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