Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S camera comparison (video)

by: Chris SmithNovember 5, 2013

A video comparing the cameras of the Nexus 5 and iPhone 5S has been posted on YouTube, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each device.

The iPhone 5S is one of the main handsets the Nexus 5 will be compared with, so it’s expected to see such comparisons in the wild. Who’s got the better camera combo? Some will say the iPhone 5S while some will say that the Nexus 5, however the video above (from SuperSaf TV) will show you that there isn’t a clear winner.


Looking solely at the hardware, we’ll remind you that the Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), LED flash and Full HD video recording, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera with Full HD video recording.

The iPhone 5S has similar cameras, an 8-megapixel camera with auto image stabilization, backside illumination sensor, dual-LED “True Tone” flash and Full HD video recording, and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera with backside illumination sensor and 720p HD video recording.

Camera battle

The front-facing cameras of the two flagship devices offers a similar performance when it comes to recording video and taking photos, but the Nexus 5 seems to be the winner. “Selfies” taken with the iPhone 5S seem to be overexposed in this particular test, although we’ll note that there was only one test performed in well-lit environment.

When it comes to the main camera, there isn’t a clear winner. The iPhone 5S offers manual focus during video recording, while the Nexus 5 doesn’t, and an overall better video recording performance, at least for SuperSaf. As for the sound, whether we’re talking about the front- or rear-facing camera, the Nexus 5 is louder than the iPhone 5S.

When taking outdoors wide photos with HDR mode off, the iPhone 5S appears to offer better quality photos especially for images with various lighting conditions. But once the images are taken with HDR mode on, the Nexus 5 is ready to offer better contrast. As for close up pictures in outdoors well-lit conditions, both devices offer “great detail,” and “sharp” images.

For indoor photos in good lighting, both devices offer a similar performance, but when flash is needed, the iPhone 5S will deliver better pictures than the Nexus 5.

Wrap up

This is just one comparison between the cameras of the two devices, and it’s certainly not the only one you’ll see – in fact, we’ll have our own Nexus 5 review for you, in which we’re going to take an in-depth look at the camera. But the conclusion here seems to be that the Nexus 5 can definitely hold its own against the iPhone 5S in the camera battle.

A camera comparison between the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 4 is also available here.

  • Rushan

    Nexus 5 FTW

    • Support us http:/

  • emanuele_zanetti

    I’m not an expert, but to me the Nexus 5’s camera seems to mark a big improvement from the Nexus 4’s. I like the photo samples I’ve seen so far, expecially those taken in low-light conditions. I’m not saying the Nexus 5 has a better camera than the iPhone 5s, but I think there’s no big difference between the two.

  • Bobby Wright

    Google still needs a software patch for the N5 camera. This Sony sensor (with OIS) is too good to be so inconsistent. My N5 comes tomorrow!!

    • NeedName

      That’s what I’m seeing in this video — the N5 camera seems rather inconsistent vs the ip5s.

      • Give your feedback about this device http:/

    • MasterMuffin

      They said they’re already working on a camera software update for N5

  • Mvrcel Lgt

    if he didnt tweak the settings, the n5, even if a bit too saturated for me (not real image) is more of my kind. The AF and flashlight on Iphone is better though.

  • George Av


  • Kenny Woodard

    It’s funny how in all the earlier reviews, everyone was saying the camera would be a weak point. Now, it’s being compared to really what is probably the top 2 cameras on smartphones ( iPhone 5s and Nokia 1020 ). I think I’d still take the iPhone 5s mainly from a hardware point tho, I don’t really like the protruding, big lense of the Nokia or Nexus 5. The iPhone has a classy, smaller lense.

    Honestly, I’m much more interested in the battery on the Nexus 5.

  • Alu Zeros

    i bet the camera will improve and will be better if google comes up with some updates

  • spade

    Not bad at all, allready good enough for me..

  • Melad360

    Wow finally a nexus with a good camera :D

  • mbkarki

    Full disclosure: I am a Nexus as well as an Iphone user and most of my devices are Android. But I find it foolish to compare Iphone camera with the Nexus. Iphone outweighs the nexus one by at least 4 times.

  • rozroz

    120 FPS slo-mo is the greatest feature on the 5S camera. amazing.
    wish some other android got close to this quality (no, the NOTE 3 is crap quality).

  • adam evans

    This video makes the camera look lots better than the verge would have you believe!

    • Sundeep Vallabhajosyula

      They really destroyed the Nexus 5 as if it had the worst camera ever…all the samples and comparisons I’m seeing are saying quite the opposite…I don’t know what (magical?) iPhone the Verge compared it to but they seem to be wrong on the Nexus 5’s camera…

      • You know Mukulabs, this is an another proposition http:/

    • This is Muku shuttr competitor http:/

  • dimitri waz

    The I phones camera is washed out and has not so good audio quality. The nexus has a more saturated, deeper camera with awesome audio. The only thing is that the I phones camera had better stabilization and smoother video as on the nexus had a blurier frames when moved.

  • Jesus

    So, a camera comparison without any photos.

    • Cole Raney

      There is a video

    • RoC1909

      There is a video, moron.

      • Niwangba

        some people prefer photos, opening a real jpeg taken from devices give you a better opinion

  • Andrew Hope

    Wow, I thought the Nexus 5 camera was gonna be passable at best, but it looks pretty decent here. I would actually consider this over my HTC One except that the HTC has pretty much the best front camera sound recording capabilities.

  • Gelo Quebral

    I think Nexus 5 is better!

  • Balraj

    Every other site says n5 camera is okay not great
    Battery life also okay

    • Pura

      so ?

  • needa

    the iphone camera definitely shows more detail. the color accuracy is much better also. the nexus camera seems to over saturate things with color just like the samsung camera is prone to doing. i think it is there to fool you into thinking you have something better than you really do.

    judging by the reviews… i have to wonder how many nexus pics were discarded in order to get the perfect pic.

    admittedly i am not a fan of over-hyped phones with dirt cheap internals. so i am kinda harsh on the nexus. but im not a fan of the walled garden either. so im kinda harsh on the iphone also.

  • Jesus Domingo

    The image quality on the Nexus 5 is already good, the problem is with the focusing speed and accuracy. That’s hopefully going to be fixed soon.

  • Alessandro Di Sciascio

    There is a significant performance difference in terms of autofocus speed and accuracy. There is also an IMMENSE difference in terms of how long it takes from whipping out your phone and having taken a photo.

    Those are things that are critical for most family photography. Landscapes and other static subjects in good lighting might indeed be a level playing field, and the HDR+ feature seems pretty cool.

    I was actually waiting for the N5 hoping to buy it instead of the ip5s ($399 vs $749 was pretty appealing) … the camera reviews have convinced me that I’ll have to wait a couple more years to see what Google puts and order fruit phones for now.

  • Ol

    Once again brilliant review! Really helped me to make up my mind in purchasing the nexus. Thank you.

  • noone2

    This video didn’t comment on the biggest problem for Nexus cameras: Focus! Previous cameras took forever to focus if they even could at all. They were slow to launch to camera and beyond slow to focus, even when you tell it where. Then once you told it where, it would constantly adjust.

    The N5 may have a nice sensor, but the sensor is worthless with the garbage software. And it is garbage if you compare it to the 5S, S4, and probably most other flagships. It ruins the camera imo.

  • Impressed

    Wow, after hearing all kinds of “meh” or even bad reviews of the Nexus 5 camera capabilities, I’m really glad to see this post. The nexus 5 shots look pretty darned good to me!

  • roiji

    The Nexus 5 was recording video from the front mic, not from the back, for both modes using the front-facing camera and the back camera.

    The iPhone was using the back mic (if it was there) on when using both the front-facing and the back camera.

  • Jhedpredon

    Still thinking, If Google bought Nokia instead of Motorola. WOW ULTIMATE PHONE IN THE WORLD. BEST SOFTWARE AND CAMERA

  • Sky Baun

    nexus 5 > iphone 5

  • Magnetic1

    How do you compare the image quality to say the cheapest version of Leica M8?

  • disqualifieddd

    I’m with noon2, I have yet to see a comparison of motion pictures.

  • iPhone6S

    I’m waiting for the iPhone 6, the iPhone 5s is too weak for me…

  • Mark Washington

    Low light cam recorder is way better on the nexus 5 than iphone 5s

  • Sumit

    Very good comparison Chris!!!

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