The trend of carrying a point and shoot camera wherever you go is no more. The smartphones have replaced the cameras with their improved camera capabilities. This would suit those consumers who do not demand too much on the image quality.
As the smartphone cameras are gradually getting enhancements, they have started using the BSI sensors, especially in the primary camera in order to obtain better low light performance. As this BSI sensor adoption took place at a rapid pace in 2012, almost all the high-end smartphones now have the same incorporated in them.
In 2013, it seems like the smartphones have taken a giant leap as many of them are coming up with 13MP rear shooters that would offer great details. The Taiwanese tech giant moved further by introducing a new concept called UltraPixel, which will offer the best low light performance.
Nevertheless to mention that HTC One is not the only one in the lineup of smartphones with good camera as there are many such offerings including the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, Lumia 920, Xperia Z, Nexus 4 and more.
According to a recent PhoneArena report, the camera samples from the smartphones mentioned above have been compared with the reference shots taken with a dedicated camera - Panasonic Lumix GH2 with a 18-55 mm kit lens. The folks over there have used the automatic settings in all the conditions, night mode and macro mode.
Before we go in to the details of the camera comparison, here is a glance at the camera spec of each of the smartphones involved in the test.
HTC One has a 4MP camera termed as 'UltraPixel' with autofocus, LED flash, optical image stabilization and a 2.1MP front camera for video calling. Further, both the handsets are capable of recording 1080p videos.
Nokia Lumia 920
Lumia 920 has an 8MP rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED flash and PureView technology and a 1.3MP front camera for video calling. Moreover, Lumia 920 with the PureView camera has features including Smart Shoot and Cinematograph.
Apple iPhone 5
iPhone 5 scores comes with an 8MP rear camera with the iSight camera technology, which includes features like backside illumination, spatial noise reduction, dynamic low-light mode and faster photo capture. Further, the handset has a 1.3MP front camera for video calling.
Samsung Galaxy S3
Galaxy S3 comes with an 8MP primary camera with usual features like autofocus, LED flash and a 1.9MP front camera with better video calling ability.
Sony Xperia Z
Xperia Z houses a 13MP Exmor RS rear camera with HDR, autofocus, LED flash and sweep panorama and a 2.2MP front camera for video calling. The Exmor RS technology offers the similar image quality as the digital cameras.
Google Nexus 4
Nexus 4 features an 8MP rear camera with autofocus, LED flash, 1080p video recording and a 1.3MP front camera.
Now, here are the results of the camera comparison made using all these smartphones. When testing the 100% crops or zoom in the image shown above, iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 and Nexus 4 are offered the first rank and HTC One comes in second with Lumia 920 and Xperia Z at the third.
As compared to the performance of Lumix GH2, HTC One offers spongy a images and Lumia 920 shows a lot of noise and softening resulting in less sharpness. Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 performed similar to each other with controlled noise. Xperia Z is greatly affected by smudginess while the noise is highly noticeable in Nexus 4.