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The best in smartphone photography 2013

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We handled an awful lot of devices in 2013 and were impressed with the innovative imaging features and technologies we saw. But some smartphones truly stood out from the rest.

2013 has been an exciting year for mobile imaging with lots of new features and technologies, as we've been covering here on DPReview Connect. We've seen innovations in sensors, new software features and a general tendency to focus on the imaging capabilities of mobile devices. As we reflect back on the past year and look forward to even more interesting advances in 2014, we're sharing our thoughts on the most important trends in smartphone imaging in 2013. 

Bigger sensors

Despite the fact that these days far more images are captured with mobile devices than dedicated digital cameras, for a very long time smartphone users have had to make do with the smallest image sensors on offer. The tiny 1/3-inch or even 1/3.2-inch sensors that have been the standard in smartphones for many years are smaller than the chips in even basic compact cameras and in general produce inferior image quality.

Launched in February 2012 the Nokia 808 PureView was the first smartphone with a larger sensor. Its 1/1.2-inch sensor is almost the same size as the 1-inch chips you would find in a Sony RX100II enthusiast compact or Nikon's 1 system cameras. But the device launched running the already outdated Symbian operating system and the 808 never stood a chance in the marketplace, despite the outstanding image quality of its camera.

This diagram illustrates different sensor sizes. The Sony Xperia Z1's is quite a bit larger than the standard 1/3-inch smartphone sensors but not anywhere near the Nokia Lumia 1020's 1/1.5-inch sensor. 

In 2013 Nokia finally combined the 808's innovative imaging concept with a modern OS and launched the Lumia 1020 Windows Phone. Its 1/1.5-inch sensor is not quite as large as the 808's, but the camera applies the same concept. The sensor captures very high resolution images that are then downsampled to output a high-quality 5MP image. The same technology also allows for a much better than usual digital zoom. The full 41MP files remain accessible to those who want to use them.

The Sony Xperia Z1 is the second smartphone with a larger than usual imaging sensor that was launched in 2013. Its 1/2.3-inch sensor is nowhere as extreme as the Nokia's, but it is the same size as sensors found in consumer level compact cameras. The improvement in image quality over the typical smaller sensors is much less noticeable on the Sony than it is on the Lumia 1020 but nevertheless it's good to see that manufacturers are working to make larger sensors fit and work in thin smartphone bodies. 

Nokia's brand new 6-inch "phablet" Lumia 1520 which combines a 1/2.5-inch 20MP sensor with PureView technology is the latest model to implement a sensor that is larger than what has been the standard so far. We'll have to see what sensor sizes manufacturers will pull out of their sleeves in 2014 but there is no doubt that we can expect more larger sensors in the next generation of devices.  

Optical Image Stabilization

Optical Image Stabilization systems have been around in digital cameras for a long time and have helped photographers capture blur-free images at slow shutter speeds and smooth video footage, either by moving the image sensor or an optical element of the lens in order to counteract camera shake. 

However, it's taken a while for this feature to trickle through to smartphone cameras. With the Lumia 920 Nokia was the first manufacturer to offer OIS in a smartphone in late 2012 and since then all high-end Nokias have come with the feature, including the latest flagship Lumia 1020. 

Moving lens elements in Nokia's Lumia phones, the HTC One, LG G2 and Google Nexus 5 keep things steady when the shutter speeds get slow or when shooting video.

In 2013 OIS has become something of a mainstream feature, with several top-end Android phones, such as the HTC One, LG G2 and Google Nexus 5, jumping on the bandwagon. Apple users currently still have to make do without OIS, but there is not doubt that it's a useful feature that can help improve your images in certain situations and we would not be surprised if it was implemented into the next generation iPhone. 

Bigger screens with more pixels

It started with the Sony Xperia Z, revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada at the beginning of January, which was the first mainstream phone to be launched with a 5-inch screen and 1920 x 1080 pixel full-HD resolution. After the Sony's debut, other top-of-the-line Android smartphones, such as the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Google Nexus 5, have all been launched with the same display specs. LG's G2 comes with the same resolution but a slightly larger 5.2-inch display.

The thinner bezels on those latest generation devices mean that the overall dimensions of the phones aren't any larger than the 2012 models with their 4.7 or 4.8-inch screens and 720p resolutions.

The Sony Xperia Z was announced at CES 2013 and the first device by a large manufacturer to come with a 5-inch 1080p screen. Virtually every top-end phone announced after the Sony offered the same size specs.

Outside the Android world things look a little different though. Apple didn't adjust the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen size or 1136 x 640 screen resolution when it launched the 5s and Nokia has stuck with 4.5-inch 720p screens on its smartphones for a while now.

That said, there are never-ending rumors that Apple will launch an iPhone with a larger screen and Nokia just came through with the Lumia 1520 "phablet" with a 6-inch 1080p screen. Realistically though it is hard to see how even higher resolutions on 4 -or 5-inch screen make ergonomic sense. There is no doubt we will see more innovation in the screen department in 2014, but we would expect the focus not to be only on pixels but also viewing angles and color reproduction. And of course there will be more curved screens

Phablets 

Phablets, as smartphones with screens larger than 5-inches are commonly called, are definitely here to stay. When Samsung launched the original Galaxy Note in 2012 there was some doubt about whether the unusual dimensions would catch on with consumers, but in 2013 these devices carved out a fairly large niche for themselves.

Samsung's Galaxy Note III on the left is one of the most popular "phablets" around and replaces the Note II on the right. 

The third and current generation of the Note has been one of the hottest devices of the year and virtually every manufacturer offers at least one 5-inch-plus device in their line-up. HTC launched an oversized version of its flagship model One, the One Max, and Nokia's brand new 6-inch 1520 comes with a 20MP 1/2.5-inch sensor that we are keen to get our hands on. 

Camera App Features

Smartphone manufacturers not only showed us some innovative camera hardware in 2013 but also released a slew of software features. New functions included 360 degree panoramas, composite images, picture-in-picture effects using the front and rear cameras at the same time, the removal of unwanted subjects in your frame, animated GIFs and the ability to refocus images after they've been taken.

New software features reach from fairly useful like the Samsung Galaxy S4's Eraser mode ...
... to gimmicky, like the Sony Xperia Z1's Virtual Reality mode.

In addition to those new features existing ones were improved, with panorama modes capturing much bigger images and HDR functions producing more balanced results and dealing better with moving subjects in the frame. While some of those features are genuinely useful others are firmly based in the gimmick camp.

We have no doubt that device manufacturers will surprise us with all sorts of useful and not-so-useful new functions in their camera apps in 2014, but the beauty of using a smartphone for taking pictures is that you've got access to an abundance of apps. So, if you are contemplating a device that does not offer one or another software feature there is a good chance you'll find a third-party solution in the app store of your choice. 

4K video

4K TV sets are the latest big thing in display technology. The high-resolution screens were omni-present at this year's consumer electronics trade shows and are by now widely available in retail stores too. Unfortunately there is not a whole lot of 4K content available at this point in time which is why it only makes sense that manufacturers are starting to implement 4K capturing capabilities into their devices.

The Acer Liquid S2 and the Galaxy Note III were both launched at IFA in Berlin and are the first smartphones to offer 4K video recording.
This frame grab from a Galaxy Note III 4K video shows noticeably more detail than a 1080p equivalent.

The Acer Liquid S2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note III were the first two smartphones launched in 2013 that can capture 4K video footage but as the displays become more affordable there is no doubt that 4K capturing will catch on in both digital cameras and smartphones. Expect to see many more 4K-capable devices in 2014.

RAW Capture

A lack of RAW capturing capability is an often-cited reason enthusiast photographers say they won't shoot with smartphones. However, there are a lot of signs on the horizon that this is about to change. Nokia's 1520 "phablet" was the first smart device that is capable of saving DNG RAW files from its 20MP CMOS sensor and a firmware update recently added this feature to Nokia's flagship smartphone, the Lumia 1020, too.

You can now edit DNG files from both the Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1020 in Adobe ACR.  We should also see the first Android phones with RAW capturing in 2014.

But soon it won't only be Windows Phone users who can play with their images in Adobe ACR or other Raw editors — Google also announced the implementation of RAW capturing capabilities in future versions of Android. We'll be interested to see how that pans out with so much variation in Android hardware but nonetheless it seems RAW capture is about to become a standard feature, at least on high-end devices, and we are looking forward to modifying the white balance or reducing noise reduction on some of our smartphone pictures in the near future.

Comments

Total comments: 54
baldricP
By baldricP (7 months ago)

It may be that I'm in a minority, but I find large screen phones too big for my trouser pocket. A 3.5 screen is perfectly adequate for checking a shot. What I would like to find is a good quality camera, the size of the Galaxy Ace, that can do texts, calls and a few apps, play music and fm radio, but with emphasis on the camera quality. Maybe Nikon could fit some phone extras into a small compact VR camera, i.e. think camera-phone not phone-camera

0 upvotes
jmanzar
By jmanzar (7 months ago)

I am really looking forward to shooting raw on my phone, it will make post-editing much more flexible.

0 upvotes
Udayk
By Udayk (7 months ago)

Hi
Is there any app that can bypass the compression and save raw video files. I am working on a project to enable consumer generated videos to be processed via the cloud.

0 upvotes
Paul Callahan
By Paul Callahan (8 months ago)

wow, this article left me wanting...

no discussion of the different cameras' aperture sizes, iso, low light noise, etc.

0 upvotes
vv50
By vv50 (8 months ago)

what's wrong with going to the articles dedicated to each camera?

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

well, in this article I've focused on the new trends in 2013. We already had apertures and ISO in 2012 :) But seriously, go to the individual reviews that are linked in the article and you'll find more info on low light and noise than you would ever want to read :)

0 upvotes
confusedSlrOrSltOrMilc
By confusedSlrOrSltOrMilc (8 months ago)

First bigger sensor phone is not definetely 808. I had a nokia N8 which had a 1/1.8" sensor. I am sure even before Nokia N8, there were other phone which had bigger sensors (N86??)

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

You are right, the N8 had a 1/1.83-inch sensor. In the article I've focused on models that were released in more recent history :)

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (8 months ago)

The S4 zoom is the only modestly interesting development in phones with cameras and it didn't even get a mention that I saw. A fixed lens with a fixed focal length makes a cell phone a nearly useless device for photography for me and, in fact, I don't use my S3 for photography at all. I'd like to see a pureview style approach with a short fast zoom like the one in the S120. Then cell phones might begin to be useful for photography. Until then, I'll continue to carry a small but vastly superior compact camera.

2 upvotes
lecoupdejarnac
By lecoupdejarnac (8 months ago)

I'm also disappointed it didn't get a mention. Even though it's a bit chunky (not much more than the 808 though) and the sensor is underwhelming.

I'd love an S4-zoom style phone with a better sensor.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

I've limited this article to actual phones rather than hybrid devices such as the S4 Zoom. We've used it in a shootout though this year: http://connect.dpreview.com/post/4485507296/shootout-sonyxperiaz1-vs-nokia1020-vs-lgg2-vs-samsunggalaxys4zoom

1 upvote
randalusa
By randalusa (8 months ago)

#Lars, The S4 is an actual phone by any measure known to me at this time, but then goes a step further by adding a really cool amazingly long zoom of 10x. I can see no reason why it should be forbidden from competing in the group on this page dedicated to smartphone photography and informing readers of the choices.

If there is a reason, I guess including that verbiage in the article would sort of make up for the oversight, a little anyway. For example: "While a 10x zoom creates a category of its own, this piece will examine phones continuing to rely on the traditional non-zoom camera design.

Still a useful piece, though slightly misleading by neglecting to provide the full shelf of items available. Well, one can always count on the comments area for missing stuff. And by the way, I realize no feature can cover every possible contingency. Leaving out the king of phone cameras though, not the road I would have taken.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (8 months ago)

How is the S4 an actual phone and the S4 zoom, which is basically identical except for the lens, not an actual phone? You can place calls, with it. I would argue they're all hybrid devices - phones, computers, cameras, though all the ones mentioned in the article are really weak cameras since they are permanently stuck at one focal length.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

well, I think the definition of a phone is not quite as clear to me as it is to you. For starters the S4 Zoom is much thicker than any phone that I've used in recent years. It's the only one I've ever used with a zoom lens and it's got a smaller screen than any other recent high-end phone. All those are reasons for me to put it in its own category. The question really is where you draw the line, is it the S4 zoom, the Galaxy Camera or the Galaxy NX?

In any case, this article is not meant to be for mobile devices to "compete". We simply presented the devices we liked most this year and the S4 Zoom wasn't one of them, otherwise it would have had an appearance :)

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

@leejay the S4 and S4 Zoom are not identical at all I am afraid, have a look at the specs and you'll see what I mean :) The only thing that s that are almost identical are the model names, a slightly confusing move by Samsung, no doubt.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (8 months ago)

" it's got a smaller screen than any other recent high-end phone."

The iPhone 5S has a 4" screen, while the S4 zoom has a 4.3" screen.

Of course, I agree that an iPhone isn't a high-end phone, but some people seem to think so.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

ok, you got me! You do realize that the 5s is an absolute exception though? Any Android phone out there has a much bigger screen. Basically any phone other than the iPhone.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (8 months ago)

Well, I'll tell you this. For me to use a cell phone for photography, it's camera is going to have to be no worse than my pocket compact which is a Canon Elph 500 HS. With a zoom range of 24-105mm, f/2 at the wide end, a great BSI sensor, great processing, and features (like 120 and 240 fps video modes) and a tripod mount, no cell phone even comes close, but the S4 zoom is the closest since it's at least not stuck at one focal length. I keep my Elph in the same pocket as my S3. If someone releases a phone that has as good a camera as my little Elph, I could combine them and probably be happy carrying it even if it were as thick as my Elph and as large as my wife's Note 2. Until then, cell phone cameras area non-starter. They're useless to me and I didn't buy my S3 for its camera.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

well, yeah, people have different requirements. Some people never use their cellphone camera, other use it a lot. I use mine all the time but I make sure I carry my cameras when I want the best possible image quality.

0 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (8 months ago)

I want bigger sensors, more dynamic range, raw for photo. higher bitrate, color gradability with more dynamic range for video. Manual controls, optical stabilization would be next. More megapixels is not even in my top 10, or even top 100. In fact, I'm willing to trade my 13 megapixels and go sub 10megapixels for better noise performance. Am I in the minority? I own a Galaxy Note 3, and every time I attempt to use it for even semi professional work, it just is not good enough. It's always, "what was I thinking, I should have brought my Canon", or "I should have brought the GH3". There must be not one honest professional photographer/videographer in the world of smartphone engineering. But plenty of engineers who understand the engineering of image capture, but have no sense of what the real world requires.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
siejones
By siejones (8 months ago)

Well of coarse you want what you mentioned. We all would like the features you mentioned in a super small package but as you should know physics doesn't allow it and MP sell. The bigger the sensor gets the bigger the lens gets and starts to defeat the object of a camera phone as it become the size of a decent camera. Given your apparent knowledge in the technical aspect of photography this is something you should already know.

2 upvotes
12345ccr
By 12345ccr (8 months ago)

and a Canon EOS mount too!

3 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

Buy the Lumia 1020

0 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (8 months ago)

Don't forget an external flash-mount for the Canon Speedlite.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (8 months ago)

There is a real problem when you try to treat cell phones like cameras.

You can always replace a camera with a better one, but you can't upgrade your cell phone unless your contract is up or you are willing to pay a huge penalty.

At least, that's the way it works in the USA, We are pretty much locked into a phone for two years.

6 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

Well, you choose to be locked in. Of course you can always opt to buy an off-contract phone. You don't pay a penalty in that case, you pay the market-price. On the up-side you have lower monthly bills and the freedom to change provider and upgrade your phone anytime you want. I used T-Mobile's monthly plans when I was still in the US and found them ideal for my needs.

7 upvotes
Vladik
By Vladik (8 months ago)

I have a perfect solution. Get a 3rd line, with Share everything plan :)

Now I can upgrade every 12 months. Got my Lumia 1520 and next October I can get whatever gem will be out at that time :). Also, this extra line doesn't have to go to waste, you can put your child or a parent on it. Someone who doesn't need a fancy phone. Get them a flip phone or a cheap smart phone like $50 dollar Lumia 520

0 upvotes
hydrospanner
By hydrospanner (8 months ago)

Dismissing the contract system with a comment like "You choose to be locked in." seems more like a head-in-the-sand view than a true response to a valid concern. In many areas coverage and performance dictate provider choices (in my area, Verizon is the only game in town that offers complete coverage over the entire area with acceptably consistent performance), and it's important to keep in mind that, regardless of this site's focus, people use their phones for far more than just photography.

It's often a matter of finding the phone that fits one's needs overall better than another model, and for the vast majority, a big part of that concern is when their contract expires, what sort of incentives they get in terms of upgrades through their provider, as well as what phones their provider offers.

2 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (8 months ago)

I bet most photographers keep their main camera longer than smartphones (2 years). Do you upgrade your main camera more often than every two years ?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (8 months ago)

I think the upgrade cycle for most people's stand-alone camera is two years too (but it's probably even longer than that), so I don't think it's a big deal. In other words, it's not a "real problem" at all.

2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

then pay the penalty!
I have got to myself one cheap Android and a top model in 2013 alone with a then (early summer) current top model Lumia and a cheap Lumia just now.
I did sell the Lumia away (no FullHD), but kept the rest.
Oh, and I also bought an Android TV-"tablet" and a remote mouse for it and a dozen 32GB uSD and other phone related stuff.
I could get a new phone whenever an interesting model comes up either getting them off-contract, paying an penalties involved or having multiple contracts. NO PROBLEMS !!

0 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (8 months ago)

I have another idea: Take out a two-year $400 consumer loan and buy the phone outright. You'll have lower monthly charges even after adding the monthly rates on the loan. If you want to get a new phone but don't want to increase your monthly rates, you have to re-pay the loan at once (with some extra fees). All-in-all, this is still cheaper than the early termination fees.
Now, if the carrier that covers your region (well enough) doesn't offer cheaper rates if you don't get a subsidised phone, there might a MVNO using the same network that does and if not just account the subsidy as a loan in your personal accounting and treat the early termination fee as an early loan repayment.
You don't have to change anything, you just have to give the various elements different names. The notion of being locked in is just a psychological one, not a real one.
The only problem is the lack of a resale value because nobody needs a used phone because they are forced to get one with their contract.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (8 months ago)

Cannot wait to see which company will add the "useful" feature of 4K resolution on a 4.7" screen. Might be the same month 64-core 1024-bit processor is out.

1 upvote
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (8 months ago)

I want a Sony Xperia Z Ultra LTE with 4K UHD video and lens with OSS from Verizon.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

this sounds quite achievable, not sure about Verizon though. If we throw carriers into the mix, it probably gets too complicated :)

1 upvote
Juraj Lacko
By Juraj Lacko (8 months ago)

I would like to have in my next android smartphone bigger 20mpx sensor (like in sony rx100), the bright and sharp f2 35mm eqv. lens and Raw file recording. I also wouldnt mind phone to be thicker and heavier in exchange for longer battery life. I wouldn't mind to pay extra money for such device.

3 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

Sounds like a dream combo but also quite a design challenge to get all the necessary components into a case that resembles a smartphone. I am currently using something similar to this by using the WiFi-connectivity of my RX100II with my Android Phone, it gives you the best of both worlds :)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Juraj Lacko
By Juraj Lacko (8 months ago)

Lars Rehm for such a device i would give up my phone and CSC camera.
I know it would be a chalenge but it is possible. Sony has made small cameras even with ff sensor this year. I wouldn't mind if the phone would be as thick as 1" or so while the other things would be there. Even sony rx100 is around 36mm thick but that has got a zoom lens and lots of manual controls. The fixed prime lens would be smaller and lighter and cheaper to make. The cherry on a cake would be zeiss lens :) Dream on me! :)

0 upvotes
lecoupdejarnac
By lecoupdejarnac (8 months ago)

I wonder if part of the hesitation is that manufacturers are afraid to cannibalize their CSC sales. Now that the compact camera market has been decimated, with much better camera phones the cameras higher up in the market would be threatened.

Nokia doesn't make cameras, so that's why they are free to push the camera-phone industry.

Although the market for phones is much bigger than for cameras, so maybe I've got this wrong...

0 upvotes
Ivan Lietaert
By Ivan Lietaert (8 months ago)

I think the Lumina 1020 crop images have been swapped by mistake. Right?

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

mhh, no. Why do you think?

2 upvotes
GML57
By GML57 (8 months ago)

I thought the same thing... Somehow the larger file is showing much less detail. We've looked at it on several different monitors here.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (8 months ago)

The 5MP has a lot of sharpening applied which makes it look crisper than the crop from the 41MP file. But you need to keep in mind that the latter shows a much smaller portion of the original image.

0 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (8 months ago)

After drowning my last smartfone I chose the Xperia Z1 because of the sensor size (and because it is waterproof). However I was a bit dissappointed by the outcome. It´s better than my wife´s iPhone 4s, but not that better as I expected from 1/2,3" sensor and f2 lens. I blame Sony for putting 20 MPx and for aggressive noise reduction. Maybe future possibility to shoot RAW may change things a little, we will see.

0 upvotes
Peter Lacus
By Peter Lacus (8 months ago)

about the only thing Apple really needs to do, is to enable RAW, everything else is first class already...

3 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (8 months ago)

Problem is, the sensor is Sony's, I doubt they would like to license the raw format for a competitor's product... a compromise where you got DNG out, though...

0 upvotes
RFC1925
By RFC1925 (8 months ago)

Don't think the sensor dictates the raw file format.

1 upvote
noirdesir
By noirdesir (8 months ago)

Nikon uses Sony sensors in several of its DSLRs which are direct competitors of Sony DSLRs. Same sensor but different raw formats for each brand.

0 upvotes
undergrounddigga
By undergrounddigga (8 months ago)

Will be interesting to see how will Apple cope with the competition. The others are much more open to collaboration (e.g. Sony-Zeiss, Nokia-Nikon?). Apple has a huge ego, and probably would be time to put that aside and build some lenses with Leica or Olympus.
At the moment, they are kind of falling in the same mistake Nokia has, when they didn't realise the power of smartphones. Lots of people will buy certain phones, just because of their better photo capabilities.
Not that I really care, I buy phones every 8 years, and I really hope I won't have to change mine for another 6 years.. :) From a business perspective however, will be interesting to see where is Apple going to be in 5-10 years time. I do use apple products, such as their personal computers.. absolutely love them. Maybe they have built such a strong computer and music (iTunes, iPod) market that until someone major challenged those, they will always be ok

1 upvote
SLove
By SLove (8 months ago)

"didn't realise the power of smartphones" about Nokia... That's like saying that Ford didn't realize the power of mass production. Where Nokia failed at was to produce an adequate response to the user interface revolution that the iPhone brought. The first iPhone wasn't even a proper smartphone feature-wise, since it couldn't run third party apps AT ALL with the original version of the iOS that came installed with it.

3 upvotes
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (8 months ago)

Apple knows their target audience very well. They don't need the *best* camera, they just need a *very good* camera, and they have it. Camera is just one part of the phone, here in this site we tend to overestimate it, but most users do not buy a phone for the camera alone. Otherwise, the 1020 would be the top-seller around the world, but most people just want a "good enough" camera. That's why the GS4 is the best selling Android smartphone even if it doesn't have the best camera. It has a "good enough" camera.
Users that value the camera more than the other functions of the smartphone are a niche. Nokia has been luring those users, but we're taliking about small numbers. What people want is an overall balanced and high quality phone.
That's why the Z1 is probably the only one that can compete with the iphone: it has exceptional build quality, top specs, very good camera, good design, and that's why it will sell much more than the 1020.
So Apple just has to keep a good balance!

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
T3
By T3 (8 months ago)

I don't use an iPhone, I use an Android phone. But I still think iPhones produce the best, most pleasing photos, regardless of what the specs might say. I think it's in how their chips process the images. I'll stick to my Android for now, but I'll likely switch over to the iPhone 6 when it comes out. I want the iPhone's camera, but I want a bigger screen than the current 4". Going from a larger Android phone's screen to an iPhone 4" screen is no good for me. I'll wait for iPhone 6.

1 upvote
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (8 months ago)

Well, with Android 5 Google will probably open the entire image processing pipeline to OEMs and developers, so I guess that camera apps will be able to implement their own algorithms. I don't understand why it took so long for Google to realize that this step is absolutely necessary, anyway if they really do it Android will offer someting that the even the iphone or WP do not offer, that is, every camera app will be really different and won't just be a different interface like it is now. Then, Android users will have an incredible choice.
And if you have a Nexus 4, Nexus 5 or another high-end smartphone that will be updated to Android 5, you might be able to use those new features, though of course it's simple speculation at this stage (we don't even know if Google will really open the camera API yet).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Lewis Romane
By Lewis Romane (8 months ago)

i dont think us photographers have to worry just yet about losing business to mobie snappers, http://www.lewisromane.com

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 54
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