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Which smartphone camera do YOU think is the best?

There are a lot of great smartphone cameras out there these days, no matter your preference of operating system. As is our custom, we've put together an extensive photo comparison of each of the major players, but we're doing it a little differently this year.

Instead of us snapping photos, comparing them, and telling you which we prefer, I want you to tell us which photo you like best. Below, we've snapped images with four recently-released smartphones with high-end cameras — but we're not telling you which pictures came from which phone.

The images below have been randomized for every question — and we've stripped their EXIF data, too, so no cheating. We took every picture with the phone's primary camera app and automatic settings, shooting hand-held, just like most users snap photos today.

Which smartphone takes the best photos? We want your help: Pick your favorite for each section by selecting the radio button above each image, then hit the Submit Survey button. (You can also blow up the photos to full resolution by clicking on them directly.)

Next week, we'll compile our results and announce the smartphone champion as picked by our readers — so stay tuned!

Update: We're done collecting votes — you should definitely check out the results, but we want you to know what you voted for! So now when you select an image you'll be told which phone it came from. {update}

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

152 Comments
  • Lumia 950/950xl
  • OK, so which photos are from that phone then?
  • The ones where the tooltip begins with "WP". Edit: oh, after refreshing I see they've fixed it. I do have the poll open in another tab with the revealing tooltips, but I won't spoil it for others ;) Edit2: no wait, it's only been fixed in some photos. So if you want to cast an objective vote, don't hover over the images too long. Edit3: okay, looks like they're all fixed now.
  • They've all been fixed, thanks for pointing that out.
  • Well there is other way it's by checking the resolution ,if it matches your 950/xl photos ....u know it
  • another thing Derek has made a mistake is the paranorma of outdoor, as the first three category I already was suspending which one could be from an Lumia, but not until the paranorma error that he made confirm my suspension
  • Hopefully the photo positions are randomized, so that phone A isn't always top left, phone B in top right, etc... so just because you identified the lumia pano as position X, not all lumia photos are in position X.
    also hopefully randomized so that they appear in different order every time you load the page. I know its not really a "scientific" study, but order affects how people vote, so if the order is the same for everyone, it'll introduce a bias.
  • Here is the actual comparison you borrowed photos from. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwfVpWz5h-0
  • Oh, nice, somebody stole my photos from my last camera comparison and made a shitty video of it. That's fun. /s http://www.windowscentral.com/camera-showdown-s7-vs-6s-vs-6p-vs-950 p.s. Kind of a bullshit move to accuse me of stealing my own photos
  • Its a bullshit move to create a survey base don already public info.
  • You're ruining it.
  • The ones with greater dynamic range and slightly warmer colours :)
  • It's easy, 950/XL have largest sensor :)
  • Add me - L1020
  • I think in the quarter test the more orange one is the lumia 950.  The quality seems better when zoomed no doubt.  But the colour is definitely off so i didn't pick it.
  • this is supposedly to be a blind test, however as a owner of Lumia 950 I can tell which one is from 950/xl, so I just can't do the blind test on further .  
  • Lumia 1520
  • Galaxy s7 leads currently imo
  • Test here: Lumia 950XL vs Galaxy S7 Video Camera Test - Side by Side - YouTube 950XL trounces the Galaxy S7 except sounds seems strangely mute on 950XL and it has a problem focusing on some scenes. A software issue as this doesn't seem to happen on my 950XL.  
  • 1440 vs 1080? Of course the S7 isn't going to perform the same. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I've seen a lot of camera test videos. IMO, iPhones are dull, Samsung is too colorful, flagship Lumia cameras are just right.
  • Galaxy S7 Edge
  • S7 is ****! I have one right now as a loan device, its miles behind the 950xl i have as far as camera goes! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It all subjective. For me, it's the 950. Haven't tried the iPhone7 or S7 so I can't compare. Will say that the images produced by the 950 are far superior to anything I've owned prior, well, expect maybe the 1020. Although any gains the 1020 may have over the 950 are lost in the time it takes to get out the phone and actually snap a picture.
  • Lumia 950/950XL
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is the best right now. Next to that it would be the LG G5 and then the Lumia 950 and iPhone 7.
  • The Note 7 is great... if it doesn't explode while you're holding it :P :D
  • so you can tell which one is which? I know which one is Lumia as I own the phone and pretty familar with its photograph tech. never saw other ones so I just guess the first one is iphone, second one(right top) which is the one I think could be one of top2 is a LG. as I am sure thich one should be Lumia, so my personal favorite would be between LG (top right/ second) and Lumia, IPhone (top left /first) is the least. Samsung would win in certain category , but not all.
  • Which test scene are you talking about? The order is different in each one.
  • Wrong! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • There wasn't an easy choice for me. Also I couldn't consistently like the different images using the same metric (because subjectiveness) but two cameras seemed to be always competing for the first spot. It would be good figure out what cameras were the two I liked.
  • Galaxy note 7 ? Lol
  • For me, its always been Lumia 720/730/735 ! Nothing comes close ...
  • I do own 720 and 735, I'm with you that Nokia did awesome job with those two, buy W10M kind of screwed the camera software :/
  • This is a great idea. I see so many camera comparison articles but always feel knowing which camera took what photo subconsiously causes bias... Look forward to the results of this. :)
  • Same. Voted.
  • in scientific research, blind test or even sometimes double blind test has been proved to be more reliable . however, this test , due some reason I can almost spot which phone/brand is taking which photo. so to people who knows phones, especially phone cameras, it became almost useless to have blind testing.
  • They haven't even named the phones used in the test, so you must be very clever. Which was the best then?
  • Motorola V3?
  • LG v20 is looking great in the camera dept
  • Yup Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You should have compressed all the images to the same resolution. You can clearly notice which one is the iphone one based on the image size!
  • There are several phones with 12MP resolution. GS7, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 are all 12MP, for example.
  • Lumia 950/XL as hardware, WP8.1 Denim as software
  • ^this! When it comes to hardware Lumia 950/xl is the best but as for the software W10M is behind and when I say software im not referring to features but to the algorithm that saves the final form of the image captured
  • I personally think it is the LGV10, but the Galaxy Series are also great along with the Lumia 950/XLs. Unfortunately people can cheat because if you hold your mouse over the pictures before enlarging them, one is a clear giveaway. You did all the complex stuff with exif data but filenames gave it away instantly.
  • What a great idea! This will be interesting.
  • Love this! Best way to objectively see which camera is the best
  • Some of these are so close it's really hard. You can tell that some of these due to software enhancements in the cameras are coming out with totally different colors than one another due to optimizations each has made for different scenerios it detects. The grass being a more bright green for instance.
  • "Some of these are so close it's really hard."
    Which in and of itself is a lesson. They've all become so good that is just (a) personal preference (b) nitpicking over things that most people won't notice. I think some of it will also be how some cameras are better at some things over others. For example, the Lumia 950 may be best for low light shots using the rear, but if you do selfies a lot, well....
  • Nothing beats my Lumia 720 and 735 !
  • night pics are really bad in all the samples....
  • Completed the survey!
    Pretty cool thanx for doing this.
    Had some difficulty choosing so the wife chimed in also...
  • Yeah, it was hard to choose some, I have to agree.
  • I really wish it told me which ones were which and which ones I picked after I completed the survey. I don't know if I'm going to remember in a week! I've been contemplating getting a Galaxy S7 Edge as my everyday and only using my 950XL on occasion due to apps, so I'm very interested in the blind comparisons.
  • I wrote my choices down precisely because I knew I would forget by the time they reveal the contestants.
  • Yea, it would have been nice to see which phone was what after submitting the survey. Now I don't know which ones I picked and which phones they were from.
  • I got a note 7 for a change of pace, its camera was passable but not as good as my 950xl then it got recalled and i was given a S7 edge as a loan phone while i wait for my replacement note 7... and its camera is even worse for some reason? (The cameras are supposed to be the same but they definitely aren't) The photos don't look too bad at first, but when you go to crop or zoom they completely turn to ****! If you like your photos, you can get by without Pokémon Go ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Everyone has their bias. And Photography is extremely subjective. Also camera's each have their own strengths. I answered honestly and look forward to seeing the results.
  • Some Pictures aren't in the same conditions, even slightest change in the dircetion of mobile, changes the amount of light reflection into the camera & Compairson with different angles of the same Object will not be as fair as it should be!
  • Exactly. They should of rigged something up to take a photo at the same time on all phones.
  • THIS! Some much this :) I compare photos of the same object as part of my work, and in this test, the objects I compared with was not even in all the pictures. The best case of how this could tip the scale was with the water shots. I ended up choosing the one with the water "ball" flowing mid-air simply because it's an interesting picture - not because it was the ultimate best when it comes to quality - But maybe that in itself is also part of the test - who knows what the Mobile Nation was thinking up of devious distractions while composing this survey ;)
  • I thought the survey will tell us what our favorite is based on our picks :D Not just collectively, but also individually as well. Anyway, I still prefer the camera of the 950 and XL, but the new Xperia XA seems to be a competitor in this, and the iPhone camera improved much as well with the new generation.
  • I got tripped up on that, too. I'm all for contributing to the greater good, but how do I know which one was right for me?  Still a very interesting survey and I look forward to seeing the total results.
  • L1020
  • You're an avid L1020 fan, aren't you?
  • I own one too ;)
  • I wish it told me what phones they were from after I was done and what phone I picked for each.
  • I answered based on first glance, I did open a couple full size if I coudln't really decide...  Wish I knew what ones I picked!  Good survey!
  • When will we see the results Daniel?
  • Next week, as the article says.
  • 1520
  • No contest...still... Camera phone head to head: Lumia 950 vs Apple iPhone 7 http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/features/item/21722_Camera_phone_head_to...
  • L1520
  • From a personal Stand point, I've always been a little disappointed in the camara's on my phone. Well, until the 950XL. This one I really love. The last phone I had was the HTC One. Great for close pictures but anything more then a few feet was not good. Love the survey, but would have loved to known what I picked, even if they emailed the results after the survey was finished.
  • Between my LG G3 and Lumia 1520, I'll always pick the G3 when need fast autofocus and fast shoot-to-shoot response. it's faster than my Lumia because of phase detection and other amenities missing on the WP8.1 version of Microsoft camera. But Android photo management is a TOTAL MESS since forever!
  • I picked the Lumia 950/XL on all the pictures except panoramas (which are pretty much irrelevant as far as I'm concerned).
    Some dark scenes photos were pretty badly made so I chose the ones with the least noise reduction and detail destruction on those (again, 950/XL).
  • Wow, took quite a while to go through all of those, looking at pixel-level detail. Curiously, I only chose the phone I myself have in 3 cases out of 16. Will be interesting to see what the other phones included were (I have a few hunches but no concrete evidence). One minor complaint, though - coins on a table make for lousy macro shots because everything's on the same focal plane so you don't see what sort of bokeh effect the phones produce.
  • How did you determine that you picked a specific phone in 3 cases? I know the 950 can have a redish hue sometimes and the Galaxy can be a little bluer sometimes, is that what you determined? I agree on the macro shot. It should've been and object on a surface (like a shot glass at the bar or something).
  • I have a Lumia 950. The tooltips for each photo used to show the filename, which for Windows devices always begins with "WP", so that made it easy ;) It was fixed pretty quickly, though. One could still make educated guesses based on things like image resolution, however.
  • Shame cant have 1020 raw post lightroom :P
  • did you all forget Lumia 1520?
  • No, I just remember that it's not 2013.
  • My Lumia 950 is unmatched. I've tested it against other high profile phones and it crushed the competition.
  • I wish author used some sort of stabilizer and did same angle shots
  • I can understand that, but the idea was to use it as an average user would, who typically wouldn't have a stabilizer. Even if you and I stood in the same spot and tried to get the same angle, we'd be off enough. The night panorama comparison was disappointing though due to differing wideness of the shots.
  • That's due to the cameras themselves — I went as wide as their panorama software let me. Some go more than others.
  • 950xl
  • Many of those were really, really close. I dont think you could go wrong with any of these four. Having intuitive manual controls to tweak your shots and ease of use start to become the separators when quality is all comparable.
  • Agreed. But it seems like I'm the only one who takes the effort of using manual controls on Lumias, most people (despite "owning" dslr cameras) don't understand and don't care much about manual controls
  • Manual mode is the reason I've never been tempted to buy a DSLR, I can get better pictures with my PureView manual controls than most people ever will with a DSLR.
  • lol no, one of the 4 was BEYOND terrible for panorama and one of those 4 was barely usable in very low light, choose any but that one.
  • very difficult to compare most images in this survey. not all scenes are exactly alike. this leads tomdifferences in focus and color balance of the same scene. one scene makes one image look clearly better than the other, putting the other three images at an unfair disadvantage both from a distance and at closer scrutiny. I have made choices, many for obvious reasons (!), but I do believe some more attention to composition could have lead to better comparability and perhaps even different results in the survey! was a tornado caught in one of the panorama's? If so, wow!  
  • C'mon no pictures of craft beers? I always take pictures of my beer. Looks better on Untappd!
  • The Lumia in these pics is kinda obvious and it could have been the best but it misses focus way too often and the white balance is off rather oftenas well. The GS7 is here, just look at the most saturated pics. I'd rather have more down to earth photos all the time and use photoshop express later to increase the saturation but Samsung gets other things really well.At full res the grain of the Lumia is the best looking of them all which speaks about the quality of the lens. For auto (which is the mode most people will use the most anyways) the Galaxy is king but if you like to use manual mode then the Lumia is second to none.
  • Shot on a Lumia. .. oh right that's been done by someone. Anyways awesome. Looking forward to the results. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android.. But waiting for the HP Elite so I can get rid of this junkie Galaxy S5...
  • I have the Lumia 950 and my wife has the Galaxy S7. She hasn't beat me once yet :)
  • Nexus 6p, s7 edge, xepria performance
  • Lumia 1020 is still the best.
  • Hello,
    I think that this is the best way to determine which camera is the "best" or the simply look the best to us. It's subjective, yes it's the point. It's a vote.
    I just want to say to those who are checking the name, the size, the resolution to find some information about the camera. I hope you dont submit your form... That's the only point of this article, to do this blindly.
  • hi there, is there a difference between Lumia 930 and 950 ?
  • I used to think it was my 950XL until my front camera inexplicably stopped working about two months ago. I can't recommend a phone camera that doesn't also have a functional front camera. Still waiting for a fix, I've upvoted the feedback in the hub but so far it's only gotten like 19 upvotes, either the majority of people are not having this problem or don't know how to report it. All I really want to know is if it's a hardware issue, in which case I can go get the camera module replaced or get a new phone, since mine doesn't have a warranty, or if it's a software issue, I'm toying with getting an Android for the time being because this is just plain ridiculous. Anyways, kinda related to this article, and kinda not, take your pic.
  • The Galaxy 7 does a bang up job but the best camera even three years after its release is the 1020. Still waiting for a successor to that model. I have a 950xl and its detail and post-zoom is laughable compared to the 1020.
  • After looking at all details especially lighting and details of signs and trees not being washed out in window and color detail, hands down (I THINK) I picked mostly the 950 photos, even the macro shot of quarter because the detail of the grain in the wood it was set on. Lumia still rules for now. Do to the fact that It's being discontinued (unfortunately) Nokia Android will probably have the next best camera in future. That's where the chief camera of Lumia went to if he is not to busy with OZO. Shoot might just put a miniature ozo cam on the darn smartphone. 950 rules for now, but not for long.
  • Nothing comes closer to the Lumia 1020 and 925.
  • 1020 was best at one time but no longer in production so cannot include it. Even though it's probably still best (except for lag)
  • The thing is pretty clear to see, in the end they are all very close. So it's a matter of personal preference. Or for some cases you'd need to be there taking it to see whether it reproduces the colors or the light conditions accurately. Still it's a nice test, I guess. But my hunch is that results are going to be too fragmented or randomized to make anything out of them. Today's big cameras are that close. BTW, if you're into these camera comparison articles, I recommend reading All About Windows Phone which has very thorough articles in the vein of this one, but with really in depth commentary.
  • Exactly, camera tech has really peaked. Maybe 3d photographs are the future. Fully colored immersive holographs even better.
  • Many photos do look like garbage, especially in low light. I guess they are iPhone's one...
  • I know this is blind test, but after view the first three, category I already knew the forth phone would be , so it will affect my judgment on further category.
  • Great idea and fun. Curious to see the results!
  • Is one of them Lumia 640? Of not wish had that too.
  • Well I know which photos are from the iPhone.... The photos shot tighter around the object. The 6 did this a lot in comparisons I saw between it and the 930 a while back. I doubt Apple fixed that in the 7.... In fact, they probably tightened the viewing angle even more because we don't need the extra viewing area. Owning a 950XL, I got a good understanding which photos were from the XL.
  • Op3
  • Lumia 640 has very good camera for its range
  • Lumia 1020 no other phone got even close
  • Nokia 808 ...
  • I still keep my ol' 1020 around just as a camera!
  • It doesn't do much else anyway s,what with 12 MB of RAM ! Lol
  • The future Surface phone!
  • Okay, so I'm a regular on Windows Central, Android Central, -AND- iMore. I'm tech-promiscuous like that. ;-) Anyway, I discovered this on Windows Central, and quickly discovered its analog on the other two sites - and participated in all three. This comment was written on the comments section of the iMore article and then copy/pasted to the comments section on the other two sites: First, let me say that -----I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVE THIS!----- This was soooo brilliant! What a wonderful idea! As you can tell by the first comment on 2/3rds of these articles, fanboyism rules, and even with these photos being anonymous, the fanboys are still declaring their horse the winner. I think they will all be in for rude awakenings on at least a few of these pictures, won't they? ;-) Not that I don't have my own biases, geez - even being one who is multiplatform on purpose and has at least some purchase in all three major platforms. I still "like" Android more than Apple, and "trust" Apple more than Android. And I still am more enamored with and long-term optimistic/"cheerleaderly" of Microsoft's long-term vision with the Win10 ecosystem (-INCLUDING- Phone) than I am about anything else in tech - PERIOD-. I am least so with Apple's stuff - HOWEVER - I am more deeply immersed in Apple than in any other ecosystem, typing this on an iPad, with an iPhone right next to me, and a Mac downstairs (and with a DIY Win10 gaming PC in the living room, and a cheapie Win10 2-in-1 in my backpack, I am least deeply immersed in Android at the moment with only a hacked 2011 HP Touchpad running CM12 Lollipop at the moment). But even with my biases, and with your biases, and with all of our biases, for most of us, for all but the most fanboy lunatic fringe of us (which means....um.....flippin shame on you, the first posters in the comments on the Windows and Android articles) this anonymous "blind taste test" approach to judging these photos nullifies these biases and forces us to not pick sides, as we're all want to do (including me), but do what we've actually supposed to have been doing this whole time, and pick ACTUAL PICTURES. With the exception of the disgustingly ultra-biased incurable fanboys (and I ----REALLY, TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY--- hope I am making those of you this applies to feel real shame - no matter who your horse is), this test comes as close as we can get from "We the pleb" to an objective, unbiased test - and for that, I LOVE IT! A+, Mobile Nations!!! Well played! Very well played indeed! I can't wait to see the results, and man how I wish I could be there to see the look on the faces of the idiots who generated the "samsung" or "lumia 950/950XL" posts on the Android Central and Windows Central comments section respectively when the results and reveals completely blow their perceptions totally out of the water. Cheers - to the authors, editors, and readers of all three sites!
  • This was a great idea.  I look forward to seeing the results.  The competitors have closed the gap on Lumia PureView, so you really can't go wrong with any flagship level phone these days when it comes to photography.  I do miss the days when Lumia 920 / 1020 / 1520 were a cut above the competition in the imaging department. Ideally, I should have loaded up all the full size images and flipped between them, but I judged based on the webpage non-full size view, so subtle things like sharpness and grain were not carefully examined by me other than the water fountain photos.
  • Who are the contestants? Merely Windows phones? If so, couldn't give a rats ass which windows phone has the best camera...
  • This was also posted on Android Central and iMore, so... the latest Lumia, iPhone and Galaxy, with probably LG being the fourth.
  • Honestly, no one could give a rats ass about your opinion. Although, just a tiny bit of reading of the article, and a little bit of logic would tell you it's absolutely not all Windows phones. I honestly don't understand why you would even come to an article to be a complete moron.
  • Lumia 950
  • Why is every single person here trying to cheat?
  • Lumia 950 XL
  • One of these phones was just BAD compared to the rest of them. Every time one of the phones just SUCKED!!! On the other hand, one phone was HANDS DOWN BEST low light. Every low light there was one phone that was better. The low light was the easiest section to pick from. Some of them had two pictures that were ties. There were some hard choices at times. Because the phones do things in different ways it was sometimes hard to pick which one was best. On the three good phones the colors were the same every time. One had more cool colors, another warm, and the third was more even. But the even one didn't always have the best colors though or best picture. You can tell which photos are from the same camera. It's just not knowing which camera was which though. Trying to pick between colors, lighting, resolution and other aspects got tuff in a couple pictures. This was really fun.
  • There going on about this new iPhone 7 it has the best camera wot about my 950,xl we have a 20 megapixel camera?
  • Megapixels aren't everything, infact they are one of the least important things needed to take a great photograph with a phone.
  • Great idea! I am curious how it plays out. Just want to make a note without downplaying the value of this comparison or the choices made here for the vast majority of users.. But... the title should maybe say 'the best camera for casual everyday use' or something, as the camera's are only compared in fully automatic jpg producing mode. This to emphasize that another camera will be turn out best for those photo enthousiasts who are willing to spend time in post processing and assuming they do have the skills to improve the pictures doing so.  In the latter case the camera's providing the raw image data have a huge advantage.  The same applies for the possibilities to use manual recording settings e.g. supported by histograms and similar info.
  • I didn't read the comments because I didn't want to influence my choices, but I regret it now. I thought we'd be told which cameras we tended to pick at the end of the survey. TBH, it did seem like there were two cameras that were clearly the best, one that was kinda good, and one that was just a joke. Sometimes though, it was difficult to make a decision because I wasn't sure if I liked a photo better because the composition would change from photo to photo and it was hard to tell how much the camera was contributing to how the photo looked.
  • Lumia
  • Lumia 640 anyday. I moved to Moto G4 Plus. But still one thing I can say for sure. The macros were far better than G4. Best for its price.
  • Infinix Note3
  • They're all good.  And sometimes very hard to tell apart.  I think we've reached a point where comparing camera quality among high end phones is a waste of time.  They're all good.
  • Lumia 950XL
  • I would be a very unpatriotic if i dont say that Lumia 950 XL has the best camera by far !
  • Lumia 1020
  • Love my 950xl but it still cant hold a candle to the image quality of my old (slow) Lumia 1020 which--apparently--still holds on to the title of best image quality phone camera of all time.
  • I think Lumia 950 & 950XL boast the best smartphone cameras.
  • Man, it was so difficult. Next time, kindly limit the number of smartphones to 2.
    Also, it depends on the priorities. I prefer sharpness and rich colors (rather than natural).
  • I like
  • i have a s7 edge now and on automatic shoots just point and clicking itsa amazing.  Yeh if you zoom into those same shots youll notice alot of missing details. But i swear  my lumia 930 when doing manual photographs is still better. I love my edge and use it daily but as far as photos go auto no thinking shots is edge 7 all the way but manual is by far the 930 for me.
  • We have to wait a week to find out? Or is this a on going test?
  • Galaxy Nort 7 or Galaxy Samsung 7
  • Really great blind test Derek.
  • Cincinnati is by far the most beautiful city on this planet. Oh, I wish I was living there right now. And I live in New York! Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • I still wonder how Nokia 808 would do. Apparently there is no photos taken with it in this contest?
  • I kind of don't care what the consensus winner is. I just want to know which ones I voted for, after I clicked submit of course.
  • Have you published the results?