Here are the results of the Camera Phone Death Match.

For those of you who missed it, I posted two photos, taken from the exact same place and same time – one photo was from an iPhone 4 and one was from a Nexus S. I asked our readers to guess which one was which, and vote on which one looked better.

I’ve posted the photos again, below.  They were not altered or retouched in any way, except for one of the photos being reduced by a few pixels so that they have the exact same pixel dimensions (otherwise it would be easy to find out which is which).

Special thanks to Bruce’s ThinkPad, affectionately known around 360Cities headquarters as “the pizza box”. Bruce has since cleaned his screen, as per your comments in the previous post.

Click through to see the full size version.

Camera X

 

Camera XX

Here are the results:

 

 

The Answers

Camera XX = iPhone 4

Camera X = Nexus S

Conclusions

  • This comparison is totally unscientific. It was hardly a controlled experiment. But I did my best to make sure that each photo was exactly the same. Yeah, they don’t line up exactly. Maybe the iPhone 4 photo is pointing a little bit more towards the window (off-frame to the right) and therefore has a little bit of flare. Maybe the Nexus S lens was a bit cleaner? I don’t know.
  • I deliberately chose a “difficult for auto-exposure” kind of image. Some people commented on the previous post that I should shoot something outdoors, in the sunshine for this camera comparison. But come on! That is the easiest test for a camera. If you want sample shots like that, go to the device website and see their sample shots. If a camera cannot make a decent image in a sunny landscape setting, then it is probably a useless camera. This image has a mixture of light sources (halogen and overcast daylight) in rather equal parts, and some strong backlight from the window. This is not an easy scene for an automatic camera.
  • The iPhone 4 camera, to me, looks considerably worse. Now, that does not mean that it cannot make a nice image of this scene. It can. But from this one angle, it seems that the Nexus S chose a better white balance and exposure. This comparison really doesn’t tell you more than only this one data point.
  • Did I intentionally choose this one angle where the iPhone had trouble? No, I didn’t, promise!
  • Interestingly, the Nexus S had around 82% of the votes for “best image” from the very start.
  • It’s not a big surprise to me that more people think the iPhone 4 camera is making what the majority of people feel is the nicer photo.
  • Anyway, I no longer have gadget envy, I’m very happy with my Nexus S camera :-) I already liked it, and now it’s nice to know that it can at least hold its own with the iPhone 4 camera. Maybe I’ll do a more scientific camera phone death match when the weather is a bit nicer here in Prague.
  • Have I missed any interesting insights? Please leave a comment!

3 Comments

  1. Steve Martin says:

    I am shocked to learn that I, a Nexus S owner, am an Apple snob. I just assumed the nicer photo was the iPhone.

    But I am still stunned that anyone with a brain uses a Think Pad, which is an oxymoronic term.

  2. John Gore says:

    Haha, nice test and interesting findings! Here is a brain spinner for you: Have you considered that most of the readers could have been worried that the iPhone would be outdone by Nexus, so they actually voted for the “worse” photo as “better”. That would skew the figures a LOT. haha!

    As an iPhone 4 user I have to say I am very happy with it, and have used the camera for a few fun snaps. But I think with fun snaps nobody cares much about the quality as obviously it will not equal an SLR, but its far more portable, and so is available more of the time to take those fun snaps. For this, any camera phone will do really.

    As for the iPhone vs Nexus / Android debate, I find I am really no longer interested. Both have great web browsers, great screens, and great email / SM apps. Thats what mobile is all about, so right now its hard to put one ahead of another, they are all great.

    But, as a final note, the retina display on iPhone 4 is really something else. Stunning (but at a cost :( ).

  3. jelmer says:

    worst test ever!

    I don’t have the Iphone
    but the pics are warmer off the Ipone
    thats an software trick, the pics are les,
    same trick you can do with other camera phone.

    Take same test with the nokia N82…and you will be surpriced.

    aaah im wasting time.