There you have it: Neither Nokia nor Apple officially make the best smartphone cameras any longer. Sony has been crowned the new king of smartphone cameras, at least according to DxOMark’s tests.
The Nokia 808 PureView, with its 41-megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss lens, had held the top position in DxOMark’s smartphone camera test charts since 2012, with a score of 77 points – closely followed by Apple’s iPhone 5S with a score 76 points. But now, the new number one is the Sony Xperia Z2.
Hard to believe? Well, the Xperia Z1 already scored very well in DxOMark’s tests last year, earning a respectable 76 points and making third-rank, just behind the iPhone 5S. But with the Z2’s camera module, it seems Sony has significantly upped the ante, not only compared to their own previous offerings but also to everyone else’s. With a total score of 79 points, the Xperia Z2 now takes the clear lead in DxOMark’s smartphone charts.
So, why do the folks over at DxOMark think the Z2’s camera is so good? For one, the Z2’s downsampling mode, which uses the full 20-megapixel output from the sensor to create a smaller 8-megapixel image, provides the best image quality that DxOMark’s testers have seen in any smartphone. With lots of detail, lack of chroma noise, and low luminance noise levels (i.e., grain), the downsampled images from the Xperia Z2 are clearly ahead of its competition, they claim.
The Xperia Z2’s autofocus system is reportedly fast and accurate, while colors and exposure are said to be mostly pleasing and accurate. On top of that, the Z2 makes a third-place in the video ranking, with detailed and noise-free Full-HD video. Add to this its 4K video capabilities – which DxOMark did not evaluate – and you have a winning formula. You can read DxOMark’s full test of the Xperia Z2 here.
But what is equally amazing is the fact that it took two years until someone made a smartphone camera that could outperform the aged Nokia 808 PureView, which still says a lot about the quality of its camera. (We should note that the Nokia 808 PureView never made it to the U.S.)
We haven’t been able to fully review the Z2 (which isn’t available in the U.S. market yet), but the camera will be one of the first things we look at when we get our hands on one. Sony’s smartphone cameras are good, but we haven’t been as thrilled with them as DxOMark has, based on our experiences; the Z2 also uses a smaller sensor than the Nokia 808 PureView, so that raised our eyebrows a bit. But DxOMark’s findings could indicate that Sony has greatly improved the Xperia’s camera technology. We do agree with DxOMark’s assessments on Nokia and Apple, however.