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Samsung vs Google: Comparing the Camera Quality of Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5

Last updated: October 2, 2018.

Comparing the Camera Quality of Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5

The Nexus 5, released about six months ago, has achieved the respect of users with its amazing camera. Here is a quick comparison of Google’s Nexus 5 with the latest flagship phone from Samsung, the Galaxy S5.

Knowing the camera of the Galaxy S5 and the Nexus 5

  • The Galaxy S5 has a 16mp rear camera. It has a default aspect ratio of 16 to 9. For comparative purposes, the device is set to shoot photos at 12mp and at an aspect ratio of 4 to 3.
  • Meanwhile, the Nexus 5 has a default aspect ratio of 4 to 3.
  • The Galaxy S5 has a longer focal length than the Nexus 5.

The cameras of the two phones are tested with the following methods / conditions:

 

A1

 

  • The Galaxy S5 and the Nexus 5 are both placed on mounts such that the two devices are level with each other and the sensors of their cameras are only a few inches away from each other.
  • Photos are taken with the devices on the tripod and from their cameras on different conditions, including an auto mode, HDR mode, and the use of tap-to-focus whenever applicable.
  • The photos are also taken through freehand to give a realistic comparison, as people would usually use their camera phones on freehand, and without the assistance of tripods, etc.

 

Condition 1: Daylight Shooting, Tripod

This first condition provides the best lighting conditions for both devices.

  • Photos produced by the Galaxy S5 are bright regardless of the mode used (auto or HDR). Meanwhile, the Nexus 5 relies on the HDR mode to produce photos that look normal.
  • The Galaxy S5 has better white balance and color reproduction. Photos are sharper and look more attractive. In comparison, the Nexus 5 has images that are warmer compared to how it looks in real life
  • Some images of the Galaxy S5 are a bit too bright, but this is a better alternative to the Nexus 5 which sometimes gives photos that are a bit too dark. This gives photos from the Galaxy S5 better appeal.

Galaxy S5:

 

A2

 

Nexus 5:

 

A3

Galaxy S5:

 

A4

 

Nexus 5:

 

A5

 

The verdict:

  • The camera of the Galaxy S5 provides better photos under good lighting conditions. A huge factor for this is that the rear camera of the Galaxy S5 has more megapixels.

 

Condition 2: Daylight shooting, Freehand

The observations:

  • The Galaxy S5 still has brighter photos, but the colors and contrast are not so great. The automatic mode seems to be better option than the HDR mode because it produces photos that are sharper. In contrast, the Nexus 5 still has darker photos but these look a lot closer to reality. This kind of quality can be attributed to the device camera’s Optical Image Stabilization.
  • Photos of the Nexus 5 are still very warm even on freehand shooting. This can be remedied by using the tap to focus feature and adjusting the exposure to +1. Similar to the Galaxy S5, it is also better to use the Nexus 5 on auto mode than on HDR mode.

 

Galaxy S5:

 

A6

 

Nexus 5:

 

A7

 

Galaxy S5:

 

A8

 

Nexus 5:

 

A9

 

The verdict:

  • The Nexus 5 and the Galaxy S5 are tied in freehand daylight shooting. This is because photos from the Galaxy S5 are too vibrant, too bright, too exposed to look real, whereas photos from the Nexus 5 are too dark and too warm.

Condition 3: Low light, Tripod

People do not always use their camera phones in perfect lighting conditions. More often than not, users would be faced with a low light situation, and this is where the real test of the cameras’ brilliance would kick in.

 

The observations:

  • The photos from the Galaxy S5 produce too much noise even when mounted on a tripod. There is also blurriness. In comparison, the Nexus 5 had photos with significantly less noise and are generally smoother, overall. It is more consistent with the shots in low lighting. The Nexus 5 has accurate low light shots and the photos don’t have blurriness.
  • Photos look better in automatic mode than on HDR mode in the Galaxy S5. The use of HDR mode created photos that have more noise and a discoloration on really dark areas.
  • In very dark areas, the Nexus 5 obviously took better photos.

 

Galaxy S5:

 

A10

 

Nexus 5:

 

A11

 

Galaxy S5:

 

A12

 

Nexus 5:

 

A13

 

The verdict:

  • The Nexus 5 is the clear winner for tripod-mounted low light photos. The quality of photos produced by the Galaxy S5 in this kind of condition seemed too poor and looks like something from a camera released more than a decade ago.

 

Condition 4: Low light, Freehand

The Galaxy S5 is a loser when it comes to low light pictures, be it outdoors or indoors.

 

The observations:

  • The Galaxy S5 incorrectly photos on each shot. Otherwise, the shutter is left open inappropriately long as it tries to make the photo brighter, but in reality, it really just causes the photo to have a lot of blur. The photos have too much noise on both automatic and HDR mode. Picture Stabilization (a poor, rather crappy version of Optical Image Stabilization) seemed to have no effect here whatsoever, and its usefulness is based on luck: on some cases it helps make the photo look better, but on some cases, it makes the photo look worse.
  • The Nexus 5 has better photos than the Galaxy S5 in low lighting conditions, even when the shots are taken indoors. However, under this kind of condition, the user has to make sure to use HDR+ mode in order to have photos that are not noisy and has good brightness. The device also has Optical Image Stabilization (an obvious advantage, at this point) so the photos taken are generally better.

 

Galaxy S5:

 

A14

 

Nexus 5:

 

A15

 

Galaxy S5:

 

A16

 

Nexus 5:

 

Galaxy S5

The verdict:

  • The photos taken by both devices are not great, but when compared with each other, the Nexus 5 is once again the winner.

 

Comparison of Camera Software

  • The camera software of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is still a complicated mess of things that provides users with a lot of options which they don’t really know the use for. The settings of the camera are very customizable. Also, the software itself is smooth and sensitive, particularly the capture and autofocus.
  • In comparison, the camera software of the Nexus 5 is a very simple one. Unlike the Galaxy S5 which offers so many options and features, the Nexus 5 has limited options for shooting. There is a notable improvement in the speed of the camera software’s autofocus and capture. For people who are not too tweak-y with their camera and for those who are not too particularly when it comes to their camera’s capture speed, then the Nexus 5 would suit them just fine.
  • Using the Google Camera app on Samsung’s flagship phone is similarly great – it still takes the same quality of the photos and the shooting options work fine.

 

The verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S5 wins when it comes to perfect lighting conditions and in daylight, presenting users with high-quality photos that have bright and vivid colors. The photos taken from the Nexus 5 under these conditions are just too dark to be likeable. However, the advantage of the Galaxy S5 is lost when the light starts to dim and the conditions are poorer. In this regard, Google’s Nexus 5 wins in all respects, attributed to the presence of the Optical Image Stabilization and an amazing HDR+ mode. The Nexus 5 was able to present quality and smooth photos, as compared with the Galaxy S5’s noisy, blurry low-light photos.

 

In terms of camera software, Samsung has a great presentation of options and features for the camera lovers, but if you prefer a simpler interface, then the Nexus 5 would be great for you.

 

Which of the two camera phones do you prefer?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

 

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