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  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    5s camera has the same sensor size and f number as GS4 camera, and 120fps video has already included with gs3 (480p120 - gs4 and note3 has 720p120)

    So everything pretty boring, and apple still locks down any manual control whatever. The 2-led flash is quite innovative though.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Samsung and all the other IMX135 integrators marched down the pixel pitch scale though to 1.1µm, which as we've shown does make some fairly large tradeoffs. Also high framerate 480p has been around for a while on phones, it just always looks fairly terrible.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I doubt that lowering MP count with the same sensor size results in any cleaner image, if downsampled to the same resolution. I will wait to see the actual comparison shows up. Reply
  • revimack - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Apple is maintaining MP count while increasing sensor size, not lowering it. Same MP count + larger capture area = cleaner image. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Think of it. What's the difference between big one pixel and small two pixel downsampled into one? Reply
  • HaydenOscar - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    The difference? The difference is obviously visible, just look at low light comparison photos between the One and the GS4/Note 2. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    One has quite lousy low light performance and very bad dr at base iso. Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Yes, in low-light it helps. But Apple doesn't even use OIS to help with that. And at 13MP, the GS4 has much more detail in good lighting. Reply
  • akdj - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    "And at 13MP, the GS4 has much more detail in good lighting."
    Also known as noise---13MP on a smaller sensor introduces more 'noise'. Even the iPhone 5's camera trumps the G4 (I own both). Low Light, daylight, tungsten or fluorescent---doesn't matter. I really wish Samsung would quit with the increase in megapixels and concentrate on both the pixel size (it's like a bucket to collect light---the bigger the bucket, the more light captured) and sensor size. Both make significant improvements to still capture than more megapixels. APS-C sensors on DSLRs are locked in and around 14-18 megapixels precisely BECAUSE of this phenomenon. And those are 30-40 times the size (the sensor) than our smart phones. HTC did an incredible job with the '1'. It looks as though Apple has made some excellent refinements to the 5s as well.
    Megapixel wars have been over for a while now. Thanks for the excellent review.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    iPhone 5 trumps GS4? DxO analysis and actual studio samples from dpreview says elsewise. Reply
  • Commentzilla - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    It would be helpful if you were talking about the "iPhone 5S" not the "iPhone 5" from last year. Reply
  • darwinosx - Monday, September 23, 2013 - link

    What makes dp review definitive,,,,nothing. The general consensus is that the S 4 camera hardware and the now year old iPhone 5 camera are equal while the software on the now year old iPhone 5 is better. Even more so now with iOS 7. Interesting that you refuse to include the iPhone 5 s in your comments. Agenda? Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Sony's 24MP APS-C sensor is in a few Nikons etc... Nevermind their Alphas and higher end NEX, so I wouldn't say APS-C has been deliberately locked in at 14-18MP, unless by APS-C you really meant Canon. Reply
  • runner50783 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I respecfuly disagree with you, http://connect.dpreview.com/post/0586582857/samsun... in most side by side comparisons you can see a clear advantage on the GS4, specially in the detail levels.

    I own a GS4 and my brother a iPhone 5, the GS4 takes better pictures in most cases...
    Reply
  • Commentzilla - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    @runner50783

    It would be helpful if you were talking about the "iPhone 5S" not the "iPhone 5" from last year.
    Reply
  • runner50783 - Sunday, September 15, 2013 - link

    @Commentzilla

    It will be even more helpful if you looked at the string of comments before trolling...
    Reply
  • ZozPrime - Friday, October 04, 2013 - link

    Totally agree with everything you said.
    I'm really into photography, I have the iPhone 5 & the S4, honestly I'm pretty disappointed with the S4 photo quality & colour accuracy, lets not even get into low light, I've played around with my brothers 5S, very nice pics (for a phone) doesn't beat my 7D but for what it is, i like it.
    Pretty sick of hearing people fight about silly stuff tho, I love my S4, but lets be clear, the camera is not the selling point or its key feature & it far from the best smart phone camera.
    Reply
  • akdj - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I wanted to post another quote---from another review, from another professional photographer that again---is in complete contrast to your opinion
    "people take pictures with the iPhone than any other camera. And a while back the iPhone became the number one camera on the photo sharing site Flickr and it has never lost its crown. Despite the proliferation of point-and-shoot cameras with impressive technology and ever-cheaper DSLRs, the smartphone is and will probably remain the primary camera for a lot of people.

    Unfortunately, cameras from many other phone companies like Samsung and Motorola simply don’t match up to the quality of images coming out of the iPhone. I’ve tried many, many different Android devices over the years which promised better images but none have delivered. The only real smartphone contender in the camera space is Nokia, which is doing some great stuff with the Lumia line. But where Nokia is pushing the pixel-count boundaries with the 41 megapixel Lumia 1020, Apple has chosen to go in a different direction.

    Before I launch into the stuff that I found interesting about the new camera’s technology, a bit of background. I’m a reformed professional photographer that has shot just about every kind of camera from film to digital, professional and pocket. Weddings, portraits, landscape, wildlife, sports, industrial, you name it. I’ve processed film and prints by hand and machine and have taught photography as well. I don’t know everything photographic there is to know, far from it, but I’ve been around a bit.

    Over the last few years, the iPhone has really become my go-to camera. The DSLRs have sat on the shelf and even a compact Panasonic 4/3 camera only comes out infrequently. This means that when Apple introduces a new device I’m all ears when it comes to what they say about its camera.

    The iPhone 5S is no exception, and there is some pretty great stuff here."
    Reply
  • Touche - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link


    "Over the last few years, the iPhone has really become my go-to camera. The DSLRs have sat on the shelf and even a compact Panasonic 4/3 camera only comes out infrequently. This means that when Apple introduces a new device I’m all ears when it comes to what they say about its camera."

    OMG, please stop with this BS! Not only is iPhone's camera OK at best, it offers nothing regards to manual settings, and DSLRs and 4/3s take a back seat to it?! It is obvious from all your posts that you are full of it. It is the most popular Flickr choice?! Wow, that is some top quality camera argument if I ever saw one.
    Reply
  • CadentOrange - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital...

    A bigger pixel has a bigger photon capacity, and thus will have better dynamic range and noise characteristics. This is not news to any serious photographer or engineer, as alluded to in this Anandtech article.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Check the iq between 16mp d4 and 36mp d800. D800 has wider dr and quite comparable noise, at least up to 12800. Reply
  • JMS3072 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Please tell me you're joking. The Nikon D800 has a sensor area that's more than 50 times the size of any smartphone. It has 4.8µm pixels, for crying out loud! Reply
  • andy o - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Actually, when this debate was all the rage back when Canon introduced the 5D, which was compared to the 20D, the engineers (electrical, optical) were most, if not all, on the side of "sensor size, not pixel size" is what makes the difference. The photographers were mostly on the pixel size bandwagon, but that's misleading cause it's only true when you look at the images at 100% (1:1) on a screen. But when you down/up sample to same size, the noise differences all but disappear, like nerd1 alluded. Reply
  • andy o - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Also, re: photon capacity. If the microlenses are doing their job 2 pixels will collect the same amount of photons as 1 pixel when they occupy the same area. Reply
  • akdj - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    They can't 'occupy the same area'. Pixels are separated---they aren't joined together, there is 'dead space' between them. Hence a deeper, 'bigger' pixel will pick up more light than two smaller pixels 'occupying the same area'. Again---take a look at larger APS-C and Full Frame cameras and how they've recently (over the past 5 or 6 years) locked in to a pretty standard 15-18 mpxls (APS-C) and 22-24 (Full Frame with the exception of Nikon's flagship).
    Keep in mind, when we're watching our glorious 1080p televisions---we're looking at 2 megapixels;)
    Bigger, deeper photons and larger sensors is where better photographs originate. Not more megapixels (when we're talking this small of a sensor), especially in darker situations. Though even in perfect 100 ISO daylight scenarios---high megapixels counts can and DO allot for a ton of noise even in the blue sky! A couple companies are getting this right. A couple aren't.
    Reply
  • andy o - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Except that's what microlenses are for. And I don't know how much marketing it is, but Canon is making gapless sensors now. And when you actually compare the raw output and resample to have same image size (physical) the noise differences disappear. Reply
  • lilo777 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    "Bigger, deeper photons and larger sensors is where better photographs originate. " if this was that simple, one pixel sensor would be the best :-) Also, HTC One camera would work better than the one in iPhone 5 and SGS4. All reviews found that it was not the case. Obviously, there is a real trade-off between pixel size and pixel count. With equal sensor size, this trade off is not a trivial matter therefore one can't say that iPhone 5S' camera is better than SGS 4's camera simply based on pixel size. Obviously SGS4 will perform better in well lit conditions. Reply
  • kylewat - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Pretty sure the HTC One camera rocks. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    "larger APS-C and Full Frame cameras and how they've recently (over the past 5 or 6 years) locked in to a pretty standard 15-18 mpxls (APS-C) and 22-24 (Full Frame with the exception of Nikon's flagship)."

    No they are not. Newer crop of APS-C cameras are 24MP range, and recent 16MP 4/3 shows some exceptional ISO performance, matching previous gen FF cameras. They are DIFFRACTION limited, not noise-limited.
    Reply
  • chaosbloodterfly - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    You have losses on pixel borders I think; that and some quantum mechanics stuff regarding countable photons at really low light.

    Doesn't mean it doesn't work, just that it doesn't work perfectly (and nothing does). For example, the Nokia *I forget name* phones do this.
    Reply
  • chaosbloodterfly - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Oh and you run into wierd wavelength effects too I think, considering green is about 0.5 uM. My physics on this is a little rusty. Reply
  • DERSS - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Not only smaller pixels capture less light, the sensor's blind area because of interpixel structures is relatively much bigger. Even with backslide illumination such blind areas can go very significant. Reply
  • WaltFrench - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    There would be a slight degradation because each pixel has a fixed overhead of connection circuitry, so a two half-sized pixels aren't quite 50% of the original's area. We'd need somebody who understands the current BSI technology to comment as this may no longer be a big issue. But I think it is.

    Otherwise, yes, a smart algorithm should be able to make a good tradeoff, possibly better, between better detail that you might want in a well-lit crop, versus averaging in a low-light setting.

    “Should” being the operative word. It seems there's a huge variation in approaches here; some approaches may fail badly in some circumstances even if they're better in most. Besides the hardware, there's a software arms race here.
    Reply
  • kylewat - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    You've got to take some quantum physics. At the smallest level, photons act like waves and particles. When you are dealing with things at the wavelength level you start introducing noise. I would say whats the difference between 1 big pixel and 4 smaller pixels. If you have to split the energy from say 6 photons, you can easily do that on the 1 big pixel but the 4 smaller pixels can't get them all; and they all might even only register 1 photon each (losing 2 photons) because they were treated as noise by the ISP. This is just my guess on how it all would work.

    Anyway, I hated quantum physics. I have no idea if what I'm writing makes sense, but I do think it is nonsense to think that two downsampled pixels would equal one large pixel. And intuitively, my reasoning is at the smallest level there are quantum mechanical issues. At larger pixels I assume the best thing you can do is just improve the optics. Reduce noise introduced by the lens system etc.
    Reply
  • ajcarroll - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    there is a difference, if the smaller pixels have less than half the information. Remeber difference colors are at difference frequencies. red has a lower frequence than green or blue. lower frequencies means longer wave lengths, and a very red, red had a wavelength around 700nm.... so if your pixel is less than approx 1400nm, it's less than 2x the wavelength of the deepest color you're trying to detect.... 1100nm is simply not going to reproduce color with the same fidelity Reply
  • joelypolly - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    You forget that there is still electronics between the pixels and its not just a gapless design. Microlenses, defraction are all things that need to be compared. Reply
  • Midwayman - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    You're talking about 4 pixels down sampled to 1 normally, but you lose area to wiring, etc every time you sub devide an area. 4 pixels isn't the same as one larger one with 4x the area. Reply
  • chaosbloodterfly - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I think he means relative to other smartphone cameras, not the 4S. Reply
  • Yazz_ - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I've had 4MP camera's nearly a decade ago that took far better pictures then a lot of the more recent 12-20+MP. Resolution means almost nothing for picture quality, it's mostly how good of a censer and lenses you have. Still have that old Kodak digital camera around someplace, first camera I ever saw with Bluetooth. P.S. - if you need a visual image of what I mean by quality, think to the "snow" image affect you can see in solid colors when you look up real close. Even multi-thousand dollor DSLR's have difficulty reducing those artifacts in low lighting conditions.

    Sorry to turn this into a rant, but the current resolution is pretty high, and we're constantly syncing backups to the cloud, unless you notice a tiny insect by chance after you've taken a photo and you want to zoom in and see if there's a visible smile on it's face, you don't really have much to gain at all to gain from increasing the resolution beyond what the 4S already has.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    So far I've noticed quite some large diferences between 8MP cameras and 13MP in terms of detail. I think between 8MP and 20 MP (Xperia Z1), 13MP is probably the sweet spot for a lot more detail than the 8MP one, and without being much slower (20MP+).

    Also Apple's take on picking the best picture from 10 others, is very stupid. It will drain battery faster than it should if it takes 10 pictures all the time. Using OIS to take the more steady/better picture would've been much better, along with other low-light advantages that OIS has.
    Reply
  • akdj - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    You don't have to shoot in burst mode. You still have a single shot option. It's definitely not 'stupid' (the burst mode---it's actually extremely intelligent). In fact...it's extremely ignorant for you to consider this type of engineering 'stupid' in any sort of discussion. It's by far and away one of the hardest and challenging types of engineering considering the spatial limitations inside of a 'phone'. Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Shooting a quick burst and picking the best one is pretty logical, other phones have been doing it for quite a while (HTC's been doing it since last gen) and even pros with real cameras will fire quick bursts during a shoot to then pick the best one... How's it a battery drain if you can turn it off and the stream is probably going thru the processor at all times anyway... Now, automatically combining them in a pseudo always on HDR mode would be a different story and that would probably take a bit of a battery penalty as it's processed. Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I'm very skeptical about the 2-led flash - at least Apple's implementation of it. To me some of those demo pictures looked like they had the colors very off. They might've been "richer" or whatever, compared to normal flash, but still looked very off to me. We'll see

    But yeah the 120fps is something other phones can do too. G2 could've done that too, but for whatever reason they picked 1080p@60fps instead - only.
    Reply
  • akdj - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Are you an actual photographer? After now my third response to your comments, I'm beginning to A) Doubt the condition of your display/monitor on your computer...>B) Doubting your understanding of photography, period...and C) why in the WORLD you're injecting doubt into an extremely well written review by an ACTUAL photographer???
    Do you have some sort of objective here or a goal of some type?
    The iPhones have traditionally had excellent cameras for some time now---and continuous updates, upgrades to their subsystems, sensors, and the processing have been welcome. Hard to read your silly comments that completely go against what a professional photographer has concluded.
    Don't worry---if you bought an S4, you've got a decent camera. It's OK for others to have good ones too! In fact---as far as online posting of pics; Facebook, Twitter, Flikr----they're all dominated by iPhones as the #1, 2 and 3 'most used' cameras for shots taken. Hard to argue with that...not to mention the now iPhone-ography events, studios and....well, you get the point. They've taken on a life of their own and absolutely devastating the sales of compact point and shoot cams.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Let me know when iPhone allows me to do exposure compensation, let alone setting ISO and color temperature. Lomo is also popular and may take impressive pictures but it never makes a good camera. Reply
  • heishin - Monday, September 23, 2013 - link

    camera+? EV compensation. WB could be locked, but not set, yet you could use that option to achieve the desired effect if you know how. Won't let you set ISO though. Again not see it as a problem as camera will always try to use the lowest ISO for given conditions. IMO your point is moot, not everyone need these options on point and shoot camera, they slow you down. And if you are really need and use them then most likely you shooting in RAW, and that's a whole other territory. Reply
  • The Saint - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    "Shorter focal length has generally been a tradeoff for a while to decrease the z-height of the module further, and you see a lot of smartphone vendors hovering around 28mm or slightly lower, which is relatively wide. Marketing will then turn around and market the wider angle like it’s some positive thing, which is hilarious. Apple has thus far been steadfast at staying around 30mm, but there’s no denying that the 5S will indeed be a bit wider angle than the 5 in practice. Ideally I’d love to have a smartphone module with around a 35mm focal length in 35mm equivalent numbers."

    35mm is a very narrow field of view for a modern point-and-shoot, particularly on a smartphone. A substantial portion of the pictures taken with smartphones are going to be of people indoors in close quarters, where a wider angle is immensely helpful. If a smartphone I was interested in had a 35mm equivalent, I'd actually be very disappointed.
    Reply
  • trane - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Absolutely agree. 35mm is far too limiting. This is where Nokia got it spot on with the Lumia 1020 - 25mm is the sweet spot for detailed wide shots. Of course, you can zoom in to cut down the field of view, but there's no way you can get a wider image on a longer lens like 35mm.

    Also, the important thing about the "bigger pixel size = better picture" spiel is that it comes with a huge caveat - only if the sensor technology is identical. The best example in the professional world is Arri Alexa versus Sony F65. Despite 3x smaller pixels, the F65 produces usable pictures at ISO 6400 with 14 stops of dynamic range while the Alexa struggles at ISO 1600. The other thing is with higher resolution, the relative noise is much more organic. Which is why the Lumia 1020's 5MP oversampled pictures look stunning at high ISO, despite a lower pixel pitch. In short, bigger pixels is not always better. The important thing is to hit the sweet spot between sensor size, pixel pitch and sensor tech.
    Reply
  • trane - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Having said all of that, at the ~1/3" sensor size, 1.5um and 8 MP is quite possibly the sweet spot given today's tech. Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I disagree. Lower resolution gives brighter photos in low-light, but 13MP gives significantly more details, from what I've noticed, and I think 13MP with OIS > 8MP with no OIS for low-light, while being much better in good lighting conditions in terms of image quality.

    So it may have been the "right trade-off" for Apple this time around, since 13MP without OIS would've been too bad in low-light for them, but overall it's not the best choice. 13MP with good OIS is the sweet spot between image quality and good low-light performance.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    That being said, I look forward to next year's 1/2.3" sensors, with same 13MP resolution and OIS. 20MP like in the Xperia Z1 is too much, and requires too much processing.

    But if Samsung doesn't go with 1/2.3" sensor next year and OIS, they're dumb. I expect HTC to go with 8MP and 1/2.3" so they're still able to promote the "ultrapixels" thing, so it will be interesting to see how they compete, if they both have that sensor but with different resolutions.
    Reply
  • trane - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Ah, if you add OIS to the mix then I completely agree. Unfortunately there's simply no way to put OIS in such a compact frame. Maybe next year with a ~4.8 inch iPhone 6. Reply
  • akdj - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    "I disagree. Lower resolution gives brighter photos in low-light"
    ????? What are you talking about???
    K---I give up.
    Reply
  • extide - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    With the same sized sensor, lower resolution = bigger pixels = less noise/more light collected. Pretty simple... Reply
  • quickbunnie - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I think the point that Brian has been trying to make is that the detail you get from a 13MP image is not the right usage model for a smartphone camera. Instead, he would prefer improving on other components if possible, such as low light performance, which given the normal usage of a smartphone, is more important than getting a certain amount of detail.

    Also, I feel that you incorrectly assume that in bright lighting the S/N is comparable between an 1.5 um and 1.1 um pixels and the remaining difference is purely resolution. Even the 1.5 um pixels are showing plenty of noise here: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-6452_7-57602212/apple... Smaller pixels will do worse, particularly when you're looking for the type of details that a 13 MP sensor will show over an 8MP sensor. With the right software, you could manually increase the exposure to compensate, but parts of your image would start blowing out and motion blur begins to creep in more obviously.

    I do think that OIS is a fantastic advancement for smartphone cameras, and you're likely correct that 13 MP + OIS > 8MP. However, I think that an 1.5 um 8MP + OIS is > 1.1 um 13MP + OIS.

    Anyways, I'm not an expert, just trying to make interpretations as I understand them.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    Yes, but in that case I mentioned 1/2.3" sensors, which is what I think more manufacturers are likely to use it next year - Samsung especially, and I think HTC, too, since they have no choice if they want to keep the "ultrapixels" thing, while fixing the high noise they've gotten in their daylight pictures with the One camera.

    So we'll see which is better then, but while 1.5 um 8MP + OIS is > 1.1 um 13MP + OIS, it's possible the better trade-off is still 13MP + OIS when you have a larger 1/2.3" sensor, since then you can make the "standard" resolution a higher one, and it's likely the difference in detail will remain bigger than the difference in low-light performance.
    Reply
  • quickbunnie - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    You're correct that once you upgrade to a larger sensor size, the trade-off sweet spot between resolution and pixel size may be different. We won't really know until we see real photos, though, but I think everyone can agree that bigger sensors is a good thing (whether you want higher resolution or bigger pixels). Reply
  • CadentOrange - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    It depends on who they're trying to aim the camera at. That's the biggest dilemma when designing a camera with a fixed focal length lens.

    35mm is the favourite of many notable photographers, e.g. Henri Cartier-Bresson. Casual cameras tend to start from 28mm so I guess that's what many will be familiar with, but it's a pretty terrible focal length. It's not long enough nor is it wide enough for anything particularly interesting. And to be honest, most people could move to 35mm and not notice the difference.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Casual camera used to start from 35mm or 38mm years ago. People crazed wide angle so much so that now most camera start from 28mm or less.

    Phone cameras have basically no dof control so wider is always better. You can simply crop afterwards.
    Reply
  • prashaantt - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Cartier-Bresson actually used the 50mm, probably until his dying day. I guess your confusion was because of the rough 50mm-equivalent of around 35mm for modern, cropped DSLR sensors. Reply
  • evonitzer - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Yeah, a lot of people like the 50mm lenses (on film) for the natural appearance. Super wide lenses are a relatively new obsession. For the distances of typical cell phone snaps, shorter lenses make sense, but it makes any landscape a bit ridiculous. Ah compromises. Guess I'll have to carry a 'real' camera after all. Reply
  • djboxbaba - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Great article Brian, as always :) Reply
  • RunAroundInCircles - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Brian, I would love to hear your take on the Xperia Z1 although we know very little about it at this point. I am excited about simply for the fact that it has the largest sensor on an android phone yet. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Funny fact is that current Z1 sample shows extremely terrible IQ even at the base ISO.
    It is really puzzling, considering that Z1 uses the exactly same sensor used for sony point-and-shoot cameras, which are known for generally good IQ even with high ISOs.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I don't know what Sony keeps doing, but they keep making worse cameras, with their same sensors that others are using, too. What gives? My guess is they're keeping the same bad camera software employees around. Reply
  • dollystereo - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Good article.
    Thank's for sharing.(I miss this level of articles in Gizmodo)
    Reply
  • Yeoman1000 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I like that the 5S (and ofc the HTC one) are going the way of quality over quantity. But, a dumb question if I may. The 5S and HTC one share the same sensor size? But, looking at the micrometer size of each pixel. Apple has 8m x 1.5, and HTC has 4m x 2, resulting in arbitrary, totally nonsense values of 12 vs 8. But shouldn't these be the same if there sensor size is the same ( I believe they're both 1/3)?
    And considering the HTC One has more depth to it than the 5S, in theory, couldn't it accommodate a larger sensor too assuming the chassis stayed for another generation ofc? Any knowledgeable individual feel free to educate me :)
    Reply
  • AngelOfTheAbyss - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    You should think in terms of surface area, i.e. 8M x 1.5 x 1.5 vs 4M x 2 x 2. Reply
  • Yeoman1000 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Ah, that does make sense. Still a slight discrepancy though? Makes it 18 vs 16. Do the sensors have different aspect ratios, or are they slightly different sizes, despite being 'classed' as 1/3" ? Reply
  • AngelOfTheAbyss - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    The aspect ratios are 4:3 on the 5S and 16:9 on the HTC One. Reply
  • Yeoman1000 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Roger that. Thanks for the info. :) Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    So then why is Brian saying that "it finally shows everything" in the frame?! Reply
  • RYF - Sunday, September 15, 2013 - link

    The display aspect ratio of iPhone 5S and most of the high end Android Phones is 16:9. Google default camera app view finder is cropping the top and bottom of the 4:3 of the image to fill the entire 16:9 display. It looks nice at the view finder, i.e. no black letter box at the left and right, but we will have difficulties in framing the picture.

    To fit a 4:3 image in a 16:9 display, we will have to leave it with letter box at the left and right of the display. That is what Brian is referring to.

    However, for HTC One, the sensor has maximum resolution, 4 MP, at 16:9. So this is not an issue.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Sony has already shown it's possible to put a 1/2.3" sensor in a 8.5mm body, without a bump, so I'd expect such a sensor from the next Galaxy S and HTC One flagships (at least if they are smart enough to do that). I doubt Apple would move that quickly to 1/2.3", though, even with the 2014 iPhone, especially if they want to keep sub-8mm thickness. Reply
  • Yeoman1000 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    It would be nice to see HTC (or anybody) providing a few more megapixels whilst maintaining or slightly increasing the 2.0um pixel size, I suppose 4MP is quite small, compared to say just 5MP. I suppose the extra physical size of the image can probably make the camera somewhat more versatile or useful (more opportunity to crop for example).

    I remember thinking the curvy rear of the Moto X (at about 10.5mm thickest, 5.6 thinnest?) might do well to hide a large sensor, whilst giving the impression of a relatively svelte device.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    If my math is correct, then a 1/2.3" sensor for the next HTC One should allow for an 8MP camera while keeping roughly ~2um pixels. So this really is the ideal move for HTC. If they don't do that, then they're doing it wrong. Reply
  • RunAroundInCircles - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    I have always thought this. That curved body seems like the ideal opportunity for a big sensor. I do hope this happens down the road. I love the HTC and all of the choices they made, but unfortunately 4MP for me is just too small. I think I will try the approach of Z1 even though they have increased the size of the phone too much IMO. I'm fine with a thick phone especially the way HTC have done it, just not pleased with a tall and wide design. Reply
  • MarcLeFou - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I'd be interested to see a comparison on the camera on the Lumia 1020 with the same type of analysis. Actually, a comparison of the best cameras on each platform with this amount of detail would be a great article to see. Reply
  • MarcLeFou - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    And even against a cheap point and shoot and an average DSLR would be even better! Reply
  • ananduser - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    There's literally no comparison; the 1020 is king. The iphone 8mpx camera was already good enough. A slight sensor increase and a wider aperture will only marginally improve pictures in low light scenarios and that's about it. Noticeable results in smartphone cameras happen with incredibly innovative approaches, you know like Nokia's truly remarkable 1020.
    A while ago a GSMArena shootout established the 4s as having the best camera, on par with the S2(the 4s a slight advantage on stills and the S2 on video). The 5s and the S4 respectively, barely improve on those past performances.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Nokia's "truly remarkable" 1020 with the camera lump that makes it a 1/2 inch thick... I think that has something to do with it. I'm sure you can always get better results by physically distorting the body of the phone until it fits the component. Reply
  • evonitzer - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Welcome to real life where there are compromises. Many folks find the bump (10.4mm actually) to be acceptable, given the spectacular photos. But fine if you disagree! Get the new Motorola Droid Ultra, which is the thinnest phone available and has a mediocre camera. Success? Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    Actually S4's camera is very close to 1020 in good lighting. And 1020 is not that great in low-light (better than S4, though, since it doesn't focus at all on low-light).

    1020 is really overhyped in terms of quality. It will be beaten soon enough, and without such large resolutions and sensors. Its real advantage is in the zoom, Sony has gotten close to that, too with the Z1.

    Plus, taking pictures is really slow with 1020, and that's a real disadvantage for normal people. We were just getting "zero shutter lag" and such cameras and phones, and now comes Nokia and puts us back in the early 2000's with low shutter speeds, where you wait 2 seconds for a photo to be taken and processed?
    Reply
  • ananduser - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    Depends. It's slower when you take 2 pictures at once. It's faster, normal, while taking only the 5mpx image. Anyway, the 1020 is definitely NOT overhyped. It's 5mpx result is literally the best, containing the "distilled" info of the entire 41mpx sensor.

    What you omit is that the camera on the 1020 gives you manual, fine grained access to all of the parameters of the camera. Everything on the iphone and the galaxy and whatnot is automatic; 0 control from the user. You will always get a better picture on the 1020 by virtue of simply controlling exposure time, ISO, changing the focus, etc. You'll be able to create cool effects(like bokeh and others) with the 1020 and never with the iphone. Seriously have a read here: http://blog.gsmarena.com/nokia-unleashes-a-number-...
    Reply
  • michaelljones - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I concur. Brian should write an article about all things camera phone and compare and contrast the different top end phones cameras. He alludes to each here, but the focus on the iPhone (while appropriate for the moment of course), sadly doesn't give the necessary context to see the iPhone 5S vs. the Nokia 1020 vs. pick you 2 favorite Android phones (maybe HTC and a galaxy?).

    I like in depth analysis, but I also want in depth comparo's please!
    Reply
  • evonitzer - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Not affiliated with the site, but dpreview has good comparisons between the desired phones. I'm sure Brian will also do an analysis, but it might be a while!

    Dear Brian. Not a complaint. I love your thorough reviews and wouldn't ask you to change. But there are other sites that are pretty good too.
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Monday, September 23, 2013 - link

    Meanwhile in the real world the Nokia camera is a gimmick because nobody buys that phone. Reply
  • aliasfox - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I think it's probably fair to say that the 5s doesn't introduce a whole lot in the way of new hardware, and that most of the improvements have to do with optimizing the software as much as possible. The sensor size and lens are relatively minor and incremental improvements that are nothing close to truly stepping up to a 1/2.3" or 1/1.2" like some of its competitors. One could even argue that the dual LED flash is more software than hardware - having algorithms that quickly process color temperature and setting the flashes to compensate.

    That said, it would be nice to see this software on an improved camera platform next time around. A 1/2.3" sensor with OIS, best shot functionality, and white-balancing flash would completely bury the budget point and shoot market. Aside from zoom, they'd offer little to nothing in the way of improvements. An Elph's F3.5-5.9 lens may be sharper, but losing out on 1+ stops even at the wide end means potentially ruining the shot with a higher ISO...
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Camera manufacturers sandbagged the P&S market even worse than Intel handled budget mobile with Atom... There's no reason that the current $350-500 advanced compacts shouldn't be the norm (and significantly cheaper) rather than the one exception in each manufacturer's lineup these days. Something like an SD110 or LF1 still crushes any phone (with 5-7x zooms starting at 24-28mm and f/2.0, plus RAW capture etc).

    Instead each manufacturer has maybe one of those in their lineup, possibly two (one pocketable and one not, e.g. SD110 + G15, LX7 + LF1, etc), and like twenty different budget P&S with very little differentiation other than the ever longer travel zooms at the top... And they wonder why the P&S isn't selling when they've been pushing zoom and MP rather than the better cameras they could (and have) build. Occasionally you get some sorta long overdue innovation like the RX100 and it takes the rest of the field years to offer something comparable (meanwhile Sony gets to happily charge $750 for it).
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Blah, meant S110 obviously, not SD110. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    One correction - with $350 you can buy a m4/3 camera with kit lens. P&S cameras really stand no chance nowadays. Reply
  • Impulses - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    I agree that a lot of older M43 models can be a great value (as can a ton of old/used DSLRs), but none of those stand a chance of fitting in a pant's pocket, even with the smallest of M43 pancake lenses. I can't be the only person in the world that doesn't mind having a phone in one pocket and a camera in another... I'm actually about to get myself a M4/3 btw, but I still think there's a place for pocket P&S, camera manufacturers have just been marketing the wrong aspects and pumping out too many crap models while pricing advanced models too high (i.e. $350+, my point from the start, they should have only one or two budget models and what we know today as advanced compacts should be cheaper and more varied). Any M4/3 kit lens would start at f/3.5 as well too, tho obviously on a much larger sensor it's a different matter. Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    I wonder which OEM will come up first with the idea to use a triple-LED to capture the range of colors much better and more accurately, much like we have the combination of RGB to cover the full spectrum of colors. I imagine such a triple-led would help take pictures with much more accurate colors when the flash is used. Reply
  • watersb - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    When Brian Klug says "Some Thoughts", it's like a spider saying "Some Pig"... Always an amazing event. Looking forward to full review, but until it is done, this is of course excellent coverage. And non-trivially, at the same time as IDF! Very much appreciated! Reply
  • watersb - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    Brian, a few years ago, there was that CalTech telescope team that demonstrated the use of integrating over a "burst mode" sequence of shots to eliminate atmospheric-turbulence distortion.

    A SPIE presentation, I think, rather than an ADASS one.

    Could that work for smartphone photos?

    Also, using data from the accelerometers seems like an obvious way to aid in the generation of a deconvolution kernel, I suppose that's a standard EIS approach now?
    Reply
  • Yogi_77 - Sunday, September 15, 2013 - link

    Galaxy S5 is pretty much sure to have 1/2.3" 16mp sensor, like the one found in Galaxy Camera. It will be a improved version of that particular sensor with F/2 OIS lens without optical zoom ofcourse. Expect better led flash and 4K video recording as well. Atleast that's the plan of Samsung which can always change at the last moment. But this combo looks quite likely to appear on Galaxy S5 in first half of 2014.. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    4K video is such a waste. Samsung loves to put features in nobody will use just to have a bullet point.

    Hell I have a GoProHero 3 and it records video at 4K. But 4K video is useless at this point in time. It consumes tons of storage, and trying to find a 4K display to replay it on is an expensive endeavor.
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Monday, September 23, 2013 - link

    Great, another cheap plastic device with a terrible UI and lag on high end components. No wonder Samsung had to cut production of the S 4 by millions of units. Reply
  • Suvorov Sulla - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    The more microlenses you have to use, the more difraction you get. The smaller their aperture is, the worse it turns out. Two 1µm pixels aren't the same as a 2 µm pixel. Reply
  • Ritchey - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    "(which you should, especially for video)"
    Thank you!
    Reply

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