Camera Shootout - Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge v LG G5 v HTC 10 v Microsoft Lumia 950 XL v Apple iPhone 6S Plus v Huawei P9 v Google Nexus 6P

Update (05/03): The results are now in! To find out which smartphone has been crowned the winner, head over to this post: Which smartphone camera is the best? The results are in!

Original post: If there’s one question we’re often asked, it is which smartphone has the best camera? In the Android space, we’ve got the reigning king from Best of Android 2015, Google’s Nexus 6P, along with new flagship challengers from Samsung (Galaxy S7 Edge), LG (G5), HTC (10) and Huawei (P9).

Of course, the smartphone industry is bigger than just Android and we all know that Apple’s flagship, the iPhone 6S Plus, can take some incredible photos but does its six-month-old camera still stand up to the Android competition. And if there’s one area where Microsoft’s Lumia range does stand out, it’s in the camera, so how does the Lumia 950 XL stand up to the best that Android and Apple have to offer?

To answer this, we could have conducted some laboratory-based testing but as we’ve found out before, a killer score in the labs doesn’t always translate to real-world perfection. Instead, armed with these seven phones, we descended upon the banks of the River Thames in London to conduct a real world test that aims to challenge today’s smartphone cameras to capture scenes that you’re like to share.

Which smartphone is truly the current smartphone camera king and which one falls flat? Does the Galaxy S7 Edge’s dual pixel technology deliver the best overall? Is the Lumia 950 XL’s PureView lens and Carl Zeiss optics the envy of all? What about HTC’s new UltraPixel camera, the iPhone’s iSight camera or the Nexus 6P’s impressive snapper? Finally, how does the dual lens battle pan out with the LG G5’s dual lens array (of which we’ve only used the standard camera lens for this comparison) going up against the Huawei P9’s Leica-branded dual camera sensor setup.

Let’s find out and we want your help to decide the winner! Hit up the first few galleries below, vote for which camera you think is the best in the poll below each gallery and then scroll through the pages. We’ll close the voting in around a week’s time and then reveal which smartphone we’re saying is the current crop’s Smartphone Camera King.

In each of the galleries, images are in this order: Phone A, Phone B, Phone C, Phone D, Phone E, Phone F and Phone G. When conducting the shootout, each smartphone had HDR turned on and each camera was set to capture at the maximum available 4:3 resolution.

A total of 2-3 shots were taken on each phone per gallery and the best selected for inclusion in this shootout. Each image is 100% full size and unedited and you’ll find a link to a Google Photos gallery (which opens in a new tab) for each set of images for those that want to access the full resolution images.


Gallery 1

Full resolution gallery: Google Photos

It wouldn’t be a camera shootout on the banks of the River Thames without a shot that epitomises the ever changing city. Shooting from the Golden Jubilee bridge, this shot encapsulates icons such as St Pauls Cathedral, Embankment Pier and to the right, the Shard.

In this shot, the focal point is the two tall buildings to the left of the Shard but also look out for how each smartphone handles the sky, the cloud trails and the detail in the river in the foreground. To see how large the depth of field of each camera is, also look at the detail in the Festival Pier signage directly beneath the focal point.


Gallery 2

Full resolution gallery: Google Photos

From a river shot to the Royal Festival Hall, the scene of many dramatic triumphs and the Southbank Centre. This shot proves to be an interesting test as not only does each phone have to capture the detail the sign, but also the sky in the background and the shopping terrace towards the bottom of the scene.

In this shot, the Royal Festival Sign is the focal point but look out for how each smartphone captures the intricate brickwork detail behind the sign. Don’t forget to also look at the green moss on the river bank at the bottom of the scene and the detail in the cloud trails visible on the sky.


Gallery 3

Full resolution gallery: Google Photos

No smartphone shootout would be complete with out a test designed to really test how each smartphone handles blow outs and flares from direct sunlight. In this scene, you can see the Grand White Building and the results are definitely interesting as some smartphones can handle the direct sunlight while others definitely fail.

The focal point is the spire to the right of the two in the middle on the Grand White Building but also look out for how each smartphone handles the sky to the right and the colour of the overall building (which as the name suggests, should be white). The bridge trusses on the right also prove an interesting test of detail.

Head on over to the next page to check out more images and continue voting for which smartphone you think is the best.