HWM (Singapore) - - Multi- test -

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.

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