Clash of five smartcam titans: G4, Galaxy S6, Xperia Z3+, DMC-CM1 and 808 PureView

This is the kind of comparison you appear to love so much, the kind this club is more or less famous for I guess. I captured three scenes (two outside, one inside) with the most prestigious smartphone cameras out there: the LG G4, Samsung Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z3+, Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 and the Nokia 808 PureView. 

While I'm at the beginning of this post, I really have no idea which one performs best. I made several shots with each device and selected the best shots. I will share most of the shots I selected here and have a look at the crops as I go along. As always, you will find ALL original shots on Flickr for you to admire at pixel level in every corner.

First, you'll see a small pond with the sign "zwemmen op eigen risico" - which is Dutch for "swim at own risk" (but you figured that out yourself already, didn't you?). It's a simple shot but interesting to compare focal length for instance, since I'm standing at a wooden fens that protects me from falling into the water - hardly any room to move to capture the very same frame.

Everybody seems to be most interested in the "clash" between the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6, so I'll start every comparison with what I got from those two. LG G4 first, Samsung Galaxy S6 (Edge) second:


Well, these are extremely close, aren't they? Let's throw in the Xperia Z3+ as well, being another very new smartphone camera - I'm using the highest resolution in this comparison (15.5MP)

Already interesting to see focal length on all three devices is identical, which gives the same wide angle as I've always loved so much on the Nokia 808 PureView.

The only device showing a bit shorter focal length, is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

So far, I think you'll all agree these shots a really similar. So let's have a look at some crops. Its very tempting to focus on the sign "zwemmen op eigen risico", but I won't. I'll look for the detail a bit higher, where the light is less favorable. Here's what I got from the LG G4

And from the Galaxy S6

That looks like a win for the LG G4 to me. How does the Sony Xperia Z3+ do in this case? Here's a crop from the 15.5MP original

Quite a bit of noticable oversharpening in this case, and the details in the background partially disappeared in a kind of smudge. So from the three newest Android smartphones, the LG G4 wins this round. Let's see how the Nokia 808 PureView and Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 compare.

I had to resize the 34MP original from the 808 PureView to about a similar 16MP size. That's where this crop came from, giving a "natural" look but not as much detail in the foreground (nor background).

So I think it's only fair to have a look at the crop from the original shot as well, showing much more detail (no wonder)

And the crop from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 - its sensor size is much smaller, but its focal length is longer, so the crop looks almost the same as from the 808 PureView!

Well, so far the Nokia 808 PureView and Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 win - again, and not very surprising. The surprise comes from the LG G4 which performs about as good, better than the Samsung Galaxy S6 and much better than the Sony Xperia Z3+.

Let's have a look at a much wider view - looking at the the northern part of Amsterdam where cruise ship Aida waits at the passenger terminal. I wrote it before and I'll write it again: I have not way to control the clouds in this country, so the light conditions unfortunately aren't completely identical. Nevertheless I think these capture are interesting enough to share here. I'll share the resized versions of the original shots in the same order:

LG G4

Samsung Galaxy S6

Sony Xperia Z3+

Nokia 808 PureView

Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Again, light conditions weren't completely simliar, but it's remarkable to see I got the brightest result from the LG G4 - and I think that must have something to do with with it f1/8 aperture. Not sure though, so let's have a look at the crops, in the same order, except for the crop coming from the 808 PureView since I won't resize the result coming from it this time.

LG G4

Samsung Galaxy S6

Sony Xperia Z3+

Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Nokia 808 PureView

The crop from the LG G4 is much brighter and I'm really not sure whether it's the sun at work (probably), the larger aperture (maybe) - or both (you tell me). Again, detail is outstanding. Galaxy S6 comes in second, whereas once again the Xperia Z3+ is quite disappointing in it's full resolution.

The Panasonic does a very fine job - you're looking at the orgiinal shot coming from its iA+ result by the way, what I got in Manual settings still is not as clean. I'm not overwhelmed by the detail in this crop from the Nokia 808 PureView I must admit, but it's good enough. Nevertheless, from the new Android devices, the LG G4 wins the second round as well, although it might have gotten some help from the clouds this time. 

Clouds won't be of any influence in the next comparison though, captured in daytime in a pretty dark garage. A funny green car that's been standing there for quite a while it appears. Same order as above, with the 808 last this time. Important to know is that you will see all results captured with ISO 200, except for the Z3+, which chose ISO 400 in high resolution (15.5MP). I'll include the ISO 200 shot at 8MP (manual)

LG G4

Samsung Galaxy S6

Sony Xperia Z3+ (ISO 400, from 15.5MP)

Sony Xperia Z3+ (ISO 200, from 8MP)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Nokia 808 PureView

The only result turning out a bit too dark is the one from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1. That's my bad of course - I should have used a bit longer shutter time. Let's have a look at the crops rightaway...

LG G4

Samsung Galaxy S6

Sony Xperia Z3+ (ISO 400)

Sony Xperia Z3+ (ISO 200, 8MP)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Nokia 808 PureView

Conclusion
Fantastic detail in the crops from the LG G4, which wins the third round as well. Runner up in the new high-end Android contenders is the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The 15.5MP results from the Xperia Z3+ aren't underwhelming, they are quite disappointing I'm. I still don't understand why I'm not allowed to change ISO settings when working in high-resolution on the Z3+ (like on its predecessors).

The Galaxy S6 appears to be on the same level as the .JPG output coming from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, which is an compliment for the first. Detail from the 808 PureView is as good as could be expected under these circumstances I'd say.

Although I'm not completely sure about light conditions in especially the second scene, I think it's safe to state the LG G4 takes the crown. It shows fantastic results under very diverse circumstances, has a remarkably versatile camera UI (including up to 30 seconds exposure time) and of course the possibility to capture .JPG and raw .DNG at the same time.

Moreover, it's relatively affordable if you refrain to get one with the so-called leather cover (although it does look better). I'm seriously impressed: the LG G4 shows a next phase in smartphone photography. You'll find all originals here in a dedicated album on Flickr.

Do you appreciate what I'm doing here? Well, surprise me and make a donation :-) - the button is on the right hand side ot this page! You might also want to check out what Ringcredible does to control the costs of your international calls (please see the add below). You can join the club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.