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Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. #5280260 11/29/19 09:10 AM
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mrsilv04 Offline OP
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My current cell phone, which is nearly 5 years old and is dying a slow death, has a 21MP camera which I very much like, and is one of the reasons that I've continued to carry this phone for this long. It is a Motorola Droid Turbo, and I'm on Verizon The problem is, I keep running out of memory, the speaker has quit, the battery is fading....

This is the time of year to buy a new phone.

How does one accurately compare cameras in cell phones, other than megapixel rating. My old phone has a single 21MP camera. The one I'm considering is the Motorola One Action, and it has a 12MP camera with a 5MP depth camera. How does one figure out how these compare up? How much of an advance has there been in the software in the past 5 years?

The phone that I'd really love to have and it wouldn't require a decision at all, the Motorola One Vision, but is not available in the US... of course it isn't. I really want to stay with Motorola, but some of the corporate decisions that they make are challenging my loyalty.


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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280267 11/29/19 09:18 AM
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dishdude Offline
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What's your price point? Costco has an unlocked LG V40 for $399 right now and the camera setup is supposed to be really good on that phone. At that price, I snagged one.


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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280269 11/29/19 09:21 AM
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JohnnyJohnson Offline
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Lots of the newer phones only have 12 MP or less as you know yes and they cost a whole lot more than the phone you bought 5 years ago twice as much if you lucky. My cell is five and half now all I've had to do is replace the battery. Its staying in use until I find one at a decent price with a decent camera. The Samsung A50 and A70 have my interest. But not all carriers seem to have that phone available. So I'm in no hurry. They are making outrageous profits on these phone. I saw a Samsung S10 Note for $459 dollars the other day and frankly they weren't selling it at a loss.


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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280280 11/29/19 09:44 AM
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Cujet Offline
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Wow 21 mp. That’s impressive.

I can honestly say the 2ea 12mp camera in my iPhone XS Max are no better than my 5 year old iPhone 6’s 8 Mp camera.

Try as I might to tell a difference, the picture quality seems identical.

Last edited by Cujet; 11/29/19 09:47 AM.

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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: Cujet] #5280285 11/29/19 09:50 AM
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Rmay635703 Offline
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Wow 21 mp. That’s impressive.

I can honestly say the 2ea 12mp camera in my iPhone XS Max are no better than my 5 year old iPhone 6’s 8 Mp camera.

Try as I might to tell a difference, the picture quality seems identical.


Focal point, optics and sensor size drive photo quality
MPs doesn’t mean as much today as it did 25 years ago

Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280289 11/29/19 09:57 AM
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Quattro Pete Offline
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Originally Posted by mrsilv04
How does one accurately compare cameras in cell phones, other than megapixel rating.

One way to do it is by using photo samples comparator under different lighting conditions, for example the one from gsmarena:
https://www.gsmarena.com/piccmp.php3?idType=1&idPhone1=9647&idPhone2=9739

Most phone cameras these days will take decent photos in good lighting, but many/most will struggle in poor lighting due to sensor size limitations.


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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280310 11/29/19 10:14 AM
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NO2 Offline
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The mp rating isn't all that useful. Most have 12mp. It's the quality of the lens and image sensors, especially for low light, that matter. The current champs are the Google Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 triple lens models, but that changes every week. Multiple lenses let you create more effects, and have higher resolution at different distances. But the pricing is steep on those phones.

Next year 5G phones start rolling out, so you might want to set something less expensive and use it for a few years instead.

Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280336 11/29/19 10:45 AM
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Since you tend to keep your phone for a long time, if I were you I would hold-out for a true 5G phone (not one of the "pseudo" 5G phones available now). I predict that within the next couple of years 4g/LTE will become an obsolete back-up service (like 3G is now). If your current phone has become impossible to live with, purchase a cheap phone to hold you over for the time being.
Something else to consider, since AT&T has recently won the Federal Government cell phone provider contract (Verizon has lost it), IMO they are going to become the go-to cell phone service in the near future with the superior geographical area coverage and signal strength that Verizon has now.
Also, since they have the 600mhz band, the combined T-Mobile/Sprint may also become a force to be reckoned with, but their geographical area coverage and signal strength will likely not be as good as AT&T. Even so, purchasing a phone that includes the 600mhz band would be advantageous IMO.

Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: Cujet] #5280421 11/29/19 12:35 PM
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madRiver Offline
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Wow 21 mp. That’s impressive.

I can honestly say the 2ea 12mp camera in my iPhone XS Max are no better than my 5 year old iPhone 6’s 8 Mp camera.

Try as I might to tell a difference, the picture quality seems identical.


In optimal lighting conditions older phones vs newer phones seem close agreed!

Once you throw in low light or interior conditions the picture turns to garbage on <=iPhone 7. I was floored the difference between iPhone 6->7 and now currently the iPhone 11 is whole new world snapping photos when conditions are not perfect.

Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280479 11/29/19 01:58 PM
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I have an LG G4 phone and the camera and video is outstanding. It is 16MP and really does better than any of my relatives that all have Samsung. Recording a video of a performance in Branson was just like being there again. The Samsungs can't keep up with the iris or focus as the people move around that image gets all flared on theirs. Really like that camera and colors and all exposures are great. Never expected it to do so well.


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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280825 11/30/19 02:12 AM
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Skippy722 Offline
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The number of megapixels doesn’t really matter... a 12MP camera can equal or beat a 16MP camera in terms of quality.

That being said... I went from an iPhone 8 to an 11, the low light mode is AMAZING!


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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5280940 11/30/19 08:39 AM
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RTexasF Offline
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The Pixel 3a takes incredibly good photos. This was taken in near total darkness with no flash. The camera has a setting specific to low light pics.

[Linked Image]



Last edited by RTexasF; 11/30/19 08:40 AM.
Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: Skippy722] #5281151 11/30/19 01:36 PM
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alarmguy Online Content
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Originally Posted by Skippy722
The number of megapixels doesn’t really matter... a 12MP camera can equal or beat a 16MP camera in terms of quality.

That being said... I went from an iPhone 8 to an 11, the low light mode is AMAZING!


Yes, easy, with the tiny sensors in cameras, 12,16,24 is about marketing, not quality.

“The tiny camera sensors on smartphones are about 8-20 times smaller than most DSLRs and higher-end mirrorless cameras, and generally produce quite a bit of visual noise (digital grain) when megapixel counts exceed about 10-15 megapixels, especially in low-light situations,”


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Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: dishdude] #5281597 12/01/19 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dishdude
What's your price point? Costco has an unlocked LG V40 for $399 right now and the camera setup is supposed to be really good on that phone. At that price, I snagged one.

Good recommendation. I have the LG V30... Had it since September 2018. Best phone and best phone camera I've ever had and I've had many. I spent $20 for a SUPCase and the phone still looks and works like new. Photos in almost all light settings are great. $400 is a lot of money, but that V40 is a lot of phone. The V series LG phones are top notch.

Re: Comparing camera specs/quality on cell phones. [Re: mrsilv04] #5281707 12/01/19 07:53 AM
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madRiver Offline
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I believe smartphones is less about optics and way more about programming and processor to build the optimal image. Apple can clearly afford the effort and Samsung on top tier phones. I am unclear how other phone makers are able to put into programming to the optimal image.

I love the image quality on my iPhone 11 for something I carry around daily and can just snap photo or video of real life adhoc. Not an effort and contrived like my prior DSLR

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