The new iPhone models (6 and 6 Plus) have just made it into customers’ hands, and the good people over at DxOMark (an imaging software company that keeps tabs on the latest smartphones) have already put the devices through a series of camera tests. The results speak a clear language: no matter how many (or few) megapixels the competition packs into their smartphones, the iPhone camera is still the number one.
It’s no secret that smartphone camera technology is getting better and better, and hence it’s no surprise that with each new smartphone generation, we see ever more capable photographic tools. Correspondingly, whenever one of the major manufacturers announces a new model, chances are it’ll dethrone whichever device was the previous record holder in terms of photo and video capabilities.
Such was the case when the new Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced, and before that when Sony unveiled its Xperia Z3 smartphone. Nokia and Apple, as well, regularly contributed new mobile devices with excellent cameras, and it’s no different this time around with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. According to DxOMark’s test, the new iPhone generation has the best camera of all current mobile devices, scoring 82 points and followed closely by the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z3 and Z2, scoring 79 points each.
Where the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are clearly in the lead is autofocus speed, thanks to their on-sensor phase detection pixels that make focusing in good light a lot quicker. But also in low-light conditions, both phones are focusing quickly according to DxOMark. Compared to the previous champ, the Galaxy S5, the new iPhones show slightly inferior image quality where it comes to texture – which was to be expected due to the Galaxy’s higher pixel count – but perform equally well, if not better in all other categories.
For video, the iPhones have the edge over the Galaxy S5 in terms of autofocus, stabilization, and color reproduction, whereas the Samsung scores better in the exposure and noise departments. Overall, though, DxOMark calls the new iPhone generation the “class leader” in video, even though the devices lack the capability of shooting 4K that is present in some competitor devices.
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If you’re thinking of stepping up to the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus from the iPhone 5S purely because of the camera, you’ll gain slight benefits mostly in the autofocus, noise, and texture categories – in all other aspects, the old iPhone fares just as well as the new ones. These results are hardly surprising, considering the consistently superb quality of iPhone cameras in the past and Apple’s choice to stick with an 8-megapixel sensor. The addition of optical image stabilization in the iPhone 6 Plus and phase-detection autofocus make both devices a viable choice for the discerning mobile photographer.
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