Samsung Galaxy S5 featured in our list of being one of the very best Android camera smartphones with 12 MP Camera or above here. The iPhone 5s has always been regarded as perhaps the best smartphone to click pictures thanks to a very simple app and high end optics. Since Samsung and Apple have always been at loggerheads in the battle of supremacy, we thought why not compare the camera capabilities of the two flagships which has become a major differentiator in deciding which smartphone to pick.
Since both Apple and iOS offer intuitive third party apps to help enhance images, we kept the battles of ecosystems completely out here. All the images shot and compared below were shot with the default Camera app of the devices with auto settings on. We did not use any sort of external lightings either and the only illumination source was the natural lighting at the scene. Also, we only attempted to focus the scene once and promptly pressed the shutter on the device to stay fair.
Before we go into finding out which of the two cameras takes a meaner shot, lets run through the camera specs of the two phones. The iPhone 5s features an 8 MP iSight Camera with pixel size of 1.5 microns with an aperture of f/2.2. The device also has a dual tone flash capable of 1000+ combinations when firing flash, though we did not use the same anywhere in the pictures below. The iPhone 5s has a 1/3 inch CMOS sensor. The new ISP included within A7 allows for twice the focussing speed as that seen on the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5s camera also has auto image stabilization.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 on the other hand features a 16 MP Isocell sensor. The device does have picture stabilization like the iPhone 5s, but you do have the option of turning that on or off. The 1/2.6 inch isocell sensor on board allows for super fast focus and supposedly low noise levels when shooting in low light. The pixel size on the S5 is 1.5 microns while aperture being the same as iPhone 5s at f/2.2. The Focal length on the Galaxy S5 is 31 mm as compared to 28 mm on the iPhone 5s.
So on paper, apart from the Megapixel count, the two devices look relatively well matched. Do those extra megapixels make the difference or will the bigger pixel size on the iPhone 5s will grab the fight, lets find out taking few examples.
Here is the walkthrough the camera app on the Galaxy S5:
The image was shot indoors with a 60 Watt bulb overhead. The colors are definitely richer on the S5 shot but at the same time, the iPhone 5s produces more realistic and natural colors. The image on the S5 while being better to look at is heavily post processed and it comes to personal pick which one you would prefer. Also look closely in full res, you will see the iPhone 5s produces better details clearly showing the texture of the robot’s head and eye.
The story repeats in this shot as we attempted a closeup with several subjects all of different colors. While the color reproduction of the S5 is really rich and good to look at, it lacks severe details. Just look at the leeward side of the blue angry bird and compare. The color tone of the iPhone is also more natural as the S5 makes the dog look like white in color when it reality it is more yellow owing to processed and enhanced White Balancing.
These pictures taken at night were our favorite to make the point about details. The large pixel sizes of iPhone pick the details of the tree in the background, the grass and the mud brilliantly while the S5 misses it completely. The S5 has very high contrast levels making the scene look deeper than it really was. Both images have digital noise thanks to the lights at the back, but the iPhone definitely stands out here too.
Another macro shot, but we included this to clearly show a blue-ish hue in the images taken by S5 which makes yellow blown out and look like whites. The iPhone 5s gets the color naturally. But what is worth noticing is, the details the Galaxy S5 picks. The text is definitely clearer and crisper there. On both the devices we focussed on the ‘2005’ location, but the S5 has more area in focus too as compared to the iPhone 5s. Definitely, despite an overblown exposure, the S5 picture looks better while the iPhone 5s looks a bit muted though truer.
The only reason we took this shot was to see how the two devices will behave with induced noise. Once again, the image by S5 lacks details, just look at the grass next to the pole. However, it does a better job of muting the rays coming from the lamp post in the background which the iPhone 5s is unable to. The S5 also makes the sky look really good despite nowhere near natural and how the condition was in reality.
Even in broad daylight, the macros from the S5 lacked sufficient details when compared to the iPhone. The color distribution on the leaves shown by the S5 looks artificially uniform. Also the veins are pretty much muted out by the S5 while iPhone 5s does a great job of bringing them to notice.
This is a shot that pretty much shows what the Isocell sensor on the S5 is capable of. We focussed on the leaf for a shot while blurring the background. It worked perfectly on the S5 in the first shot. We stayed true to our commitment and the iPhone 5s just could not focus on the leaf. Even after clicking the shot, we tried a few more time and each times iPhone struggled with focussing. While we are at it, we must add, the shot taken by the S5 is brilliant here. The details are very crisp, the contrast is accurate and there is no odd blue hue.
In broad daylight and with landscape shots, both the phones were great. The colors on the iPhone 5s here are a tad richer. The details produced by both the cameras was perfectly good. We personally would lean towards the S5 in this shot simply because of the colors and finer white balance.
The last shot was a bit of a disappointment from both the devices in honesty. We clicked the same shot with Intelligent Auto mode on our Z1 and it produced better results than either devices. The iPhone shot although has sufficient details has a lot of noise while vice versa is true for the S5 shot. The S5 shot if you look closely looks more like a painting than something shot by a camera, the colors are so rich at places.
Overall, while the Galaxy S5 is crazy fast at focussing and takes a really good shot and mutes a lot of digital noise, we have to go with the iPhone 5s as our winner here. The device may take shots that are slightly muted in front of the heavily post processed S5 shots, but produces great details. The exposure on the S5 overblows at places while that on the iPhone sticks to more realistic scene. Image Stabilization on both devices work great as we barely made an effort to keep our hands still.
Which of the two do you prefer seeing some of the shots we took? The iPhone 5s or the Galaxy S5? Let us know in the comments below.