The Apple iPhone has been heralded as the leader in smartphone camera quality for a number of years, but things have changed dramatically. Earlier this year, Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 showed they could go toe-to-toe with the iPhone, something that was only dreamed about previously.
Now that the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are upon us, it was automatically assumed that Apple would one-up everyone again, but that doesn’t appear to be the case — at least, according to some DxOMark camera tests. It’s important to note that in our own testing, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus‘ new cameras produced attractive, high-quality images with more detail than last year’s iPhone. Overall, we found the new iPhones’ camera experience to be slightly better than Samsung’s Galaxy S6 lineup.
However, leading camera reviewer DxOMark finally reviewed the iPhone 6S, and concluded that, although the megapixels have increased from 8 to 12, the quality is about the same as last year’s iPhone 6. The site gave the iPhone 6S a score of 83 for photos and 80 for videos, which translates to an overall score of 82. That is the same exact score as last year’s iPhone 6 received, but more importantly, there are now seven Android phones with better scores.
Apple was able to offer “slightly” better detail in bright light and the autofocus continues to be fast and accurate, but DxOMark says the noise levels on the iPhone 6S are “much higher” than competing smartphones.
As of right now, DxOMark has ranked the Sony Xperia Z5 the best smartphone camera with an overall score of 87. The original leader, the Galaxy S6 / Galaxy S6 Edge drops to second with a score of 86. It’s followed by the surprising Google Nexus 6P (84), LG G4 (83), Galaxy Note 4 (83), Moto X Style (83), and Xperia Z3 (82). The first Apple phone doesn’t make an appearance until the eighth spot, which is the iPhone 6 Plus with a score of 82. The iPhone 6 (82) and iPhone 6S (82) round out the top 10.
You may have noticed the absence of the iPhone 6S Plus. That’s because DxOMark hasn’t finished its review of that phone yet, but based on how the iPhone 6S and last year’s iPhone 6 Plus performed, it’s unlikely the 6S Plus will score much higher.
Of course, there are a number of tests made on smartphone cameras each year, and not all of them agree with DxOMark’s findings. The good news is that the fierce competition between Apple and other manufacturers is pushing camera quality to levels we only imagined a few years ago, and the battle for best camera is only going to heat up next year.
Apple won’t sit lightly on the news that its camera didn’t earn top marks, and it’s almost a lock that the iPhone 7 will once again change the game. Apple is already rumored (as is Samsung) to be working on dual-lens technology that could rival the quality experienced from DSLR cameras.