Huawei P9 lens vs LG G5 vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

When Oppo launched the 'selfie expert' F1 Plus phone yesterday, we were reminded of how cameras lenses can define the fortunes of modern day smartphones that are vying for space at a time when smartphone adoption across the world has reached its zenith.

Having witnessed the launch of several premium phones with terrific cameras this year like the just-launched Huawei P9 Plus, Sony's Xperia Z5 Premium, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G5, we decided to pit their camera lenses against each other to see which amongst them trumped the rest to offer the best end-user experience in the world.

Low light photography

A lot of smartphone cameras fail to match up to our expectations when it comes down to low light photography. Each of the smartphone cameras that we reviewed offer various solutions to curb this trend.

The Galaxy S7 Edge, the costliest phone in Samsung's inventory of 180 devices, comes with a Dual Pixel camera which performs exceptionally well in low light conditions. The 12MP rear cam uses each pixel for phase detection and quick autofocus to ensure that pixels do not interfere with each other. The camera also sports a wide f/1.7 aperture  as well as larger 1.4 micron pixels to ensure that the lens makes the most of the available light.

To build the P9 Plus' camera, Huawei roped in German camera lens maker Leica Camera AG to construct 12MP dual-camera lenses that can offer a performance as close to DSLR levels as possible. The RGB and monochrome cameras concentrate separately on colours and black and white shades, offering the best of both. To capture photos in low light, not only will you be able to choose from Standard, Vivid and Smooth Colour options, but also adjust the camera aperture to let in more light and create greater depth and contrasts.

The 23MP Hybrid AF camera in the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium comes with Sony's own wide-angle G lens to capture as much light as possible. The Sony Exmor RS™ CMOS sensor in the camera offers back illumination technology as well as advanced Bionz image processing to capture crisp photos in low light.

LG G5 offers a fine f/1.8 aperture but its pixels aren't large enough to absorb more light, forcing LG to depend on noise reduction technology to contain the scattering. While Galaxy S7 Edge absorbs 95 per cent more light than the S6 Edge, the G5 camera isn't much different compared to the one in G4.

Wide-angle photography

The ultimate test of a smartphone camera is in capturing as much of the subject as possible. In this front, modern phone cameras have made great strides in the past couple of years.

While phone cameras could only cover around 100-degrees a couple of years ago, the LG G5 now offers 135 degrees of coverage and stands out among the rest in this area. The Galaxy S7 Edge also claims to offer a wide-angle and the Xperia Z5 Premium comes with the largest 24mm wide-angle lens that'll certainly save you the effort of looking for a panorama mode.

Still images

The best part of Xperia Z5 Premium's camera is that apart from letting you capture videos in 4K, it also lets you take stills in between with an unprecedented resolution of 8MP. This means that such stills will be almost as clear and crisp as the ones taken on standard mode in most advanced phones. The phone's camera can also achieve auto-focus in as low as a mere 0.3 seconds which means you won't ever miss out on capturing a shooting star if you own one.

Xperia Z5 Premium's 23-MP camera with a pulse LED flash and an ISO that goes upto 3200 also makes it one of the best cameras around.

The G5's camera is almost as good for taking stills in bright light conditions. It lets you zoom out and zoom in images to the tune of 0.5X and 8.0X which is unrivalled in the phone camera industry, not to mention the 135° camera angle.

The Galaxy S7 Edge is probably the best option if you look at all-round capabilities. The features like larger pixels, Dual Pixel technology and larger aperture which lets the lens capture images in great detail in low light, works equally well while capturing stills in bright light conditions.

Verdict

While most phone-makers will try their best to make you believe that their camera lenses are the best in business, the true test of such lenses can only be measured in real life conditions. In such a scenario, what can make these phone cameras stand out on paper are the features and specifications they come with.

While Huawei P9 Plus offer two different cameras and three different image-capturing modes, LG G5 offers great zooming abilities along with a wide-angle lens and both Galaxy S7 Edge and Z5 Premium cameras carry large pixels and brilliant sensors to make your work a lot easier, no matter how bright or dark it is outside. In such a scenario, choosing a winner is as tough as choosing the sweetest scent between four varieties of roses.

So if the quality of the phone camera is your greatest concern while going for a new phone, it's better to consider one that offers all-round performance in all conditions.

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