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LG G3 vs. Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. HTC One M8 vs. Sony Xperia Z3 – Camera Showdown of 2014 Flagships

We must say, 2014 was a fruitful year for the flagship market.

All of the manufacturers produced a new handset, with every phone having its own strengths and weaknesses. While in the past years, the emphasis has been on speed and performances, in 2014, it was all about the camera. High end phones in 2014 tended to replace our digital cameras and we must admit, some of them got pretty close. Here is a breakdown of the camera of all the Android flagships of 2014.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Out of all the Android flagships, the Galaxy S5 had the second most powerful rear camera. With a 16-MP sensor on the back, the Galaxy S5 was able to capture every single detail in the picture. The Galaxy S5 is also the first smartphone to use phase detection focus, a feature that is usually found in digital DSLR cameras. For the S5, Samsung used its own sensor, which delivered higher ISO settings without sacrifice to the noise. In manual settings, users can set the ISO up to 800, while in Auto it is up to 2000. The S5 can record HD and 4K videos at 60fps, as well as 4K videos at 30fps. The downside of the camera is it lacks optical image stabilization. But Samsung compensates by stabilizing the camera via software. The front camera is nothing to get excited about, as it is a mere 2-MP shooter.

Sony Xperia Z3

On paper, Sony has the best camera, as the Z3 packs a 20-MP sensor on the back that can go up to ISO 12800 for extremely low light conditions. The phone can also record 1080p videos at 60fps and 4K videos at 30fps. A huge advantage of the rear camera is the 25mm wide angle lens that makes it easier to catch group photos. As with Samsung, Sony uses software to stabilize the photos and videos. Sony has a SteadyShot system. The system works by analyzing multiple frames, and produces the smoothest video or picture in the end. However, it works only for full HD videos. For a 4K video, stabilization is a problem. It is a shame since Sony has great optical image stabilization, but the company opted not to use it. The Xperia Z3 also has a lowly front facing camera, just a 2.2-MP sensor.

LG G3

The LG G3 has arguably the best camera of all the flagships. On paper, it doesn’t look that way, as the G3 has only 13-MP shooter on the rear. But the company has accessorized the camera with dual LED flash and optical image stabilization, vastly improving the quality of the picture in any condition. LG also uses laser autofocus, which is the fastest focus of all other flagships on the market. This allows the LG G3 to snap pictures faster than rival phones. The downside is that there is no option to customize ISO settings or exposure in manual mode. The LG G3 can also record 4K videos, but only in 30fps.

HTC One M8

HTC’s flagship uses a completely different technology than other flagships on the market. The rear camera of the One M8 is a 4-MP ultrapixel sensor. The trick here is that users can edit the photo after it is taken, meaning they can change the focus, background and anything else they like. The ultrapixel sensor also allows for the most light when compared to rival phones. But the downside is, the quality of the pictures is just not on the same level as pictures taken with a 13-MP or higher sensor. HTC has one advantage though. Unlike other flagships, it has a great front facing camera for selfie photos. The 5-MP sensor with wide angles can take great selfies, be it individually, or in a group.

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