iPhone 6 beats its biggest rivals in smartphone camera tests

iPhone 6 Plus has Apple's best iSight camera yet. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android.

iPhone 6 Plus has Apple’s best ever iSight camera. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android.

Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus carry the best smartphone cameras you can buy right now, according to the camera and lens experts at DxOMark. Both devices achieve an impressive rating of 82 out of 100, beating the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Sony Xperia Z3, and even the 41-megapixel sensor in the Nokia 808 PureView.

The test proves that megapixel count really doesn’t mean a lot when it comes to camera quality. Sure, more megapixels mean larger images, but who wants a photo the size of a bus if it doesn’t look good? While some criticized Apple for sticking with its trusty 8-megapixel sensor, then, it seems the Cupertino company made the right choice.

With a score of 82, both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus outranked the Galaxy S5, the Xperia Z3, and the Xperia Z2, which all scored 79 points. They also beat the Nokia 808 PureView, which scored 77 points; the Xperia Z1, which scored 76 points, and the Galaxy S4, which scored 75 points.

There are some notable omissions from the test. Graph: DxOMark.

There are some notable omissions from the test. Graph: DxOMark.

“From our industry-standard series of tests both in the lab and real world use, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus perform very similarly,” DxOMark describes.

“They have very good, generally reliable auto-exposure in a wide range of lighting conditions and they have both fast and accurate autofocus. Output from the 8-Mpix stills improves the high level of detail in both outdoor and indoor lighting. In low light, noise reduction is handled well with images revealing fine-grained luminance noise and little of the distracting color (chroma) noise.”

The iPhone 6 Plus does have a slight advantage over its smaller sibling thanks to its built-in optical image stabilization. DxOMark found that this helped to increase exposure time in low light, leading to better noise performance. It also helped to prevent ghosting in HDR images. OIS isn’t all good news, however.

The test discovered a “video stabilization artifact” with the 6 Plus, which is believed to be linked to its OIS feature. As a result, it didn’t score quite as well as it might have in the video stabilization test, and therefore ended up on par with the smaller iPhone 6 overall.

Of course, not every smartphone on sale today could be included in DxOMark’s test, and there are some notable omissions — including the LG G3 and the new Galaxy Note 4. Nevertheless, if you’re an iOS user who loves shooting photos and videos with your smartphone, this indicates you’ll be more than happy with Apple’s latest handsets.