NOKIA LUMIA 1020
When picking the best camera in smartphones, it can feel like you’re picking the least worst from among the batch rather than the very best, for the simple reason that while they’ve become quite adequate through the years, smartphone cameras still don’t measure up to a capable digital camera.
We like the easy-to-use iPhone 5s, with its quick response, sharp lens and innovative True Tone flash. However, the camera mushes too much fine detail for our liking, even at lower ISO settings. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom actually turns in a good performance, with good optics, unbeatable 10x zoom and decent, if overly saturated, image quality. But would we recommend anyone carry its bulk around as their everyday phone? Not really. The Sony Xperia Z1 seems like it should be a sure winner, at least in theory. But the camera suffers from destructive image processing and soft glass.
So the winning prize goes to the Nokia Lumia 1020, which delivers unheard of amounts of detail for a smartphone camera, and the best ISO performance thanks to the benefits of downsampling. You will, however, have to suffer through long shotto-shot speeds, some softness in the lens, lens flare, and garish colors as well as confused white balance. It’s not a slam-dunk win by any means, but if you really need fantastic image quality, well, we think you’d be better off with an actual camera.