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Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: Camera Performance Comparison

We carry on with the 'comparison at every step' methodology for the battle between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, by comprehensively testing the cameras onboard the flagships.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: Camera Performance Comparison

Not long ago, we had published the detailed review of the Samsung Galaxy S4, and compared it with the HTC One, at every step. The idea was to give the consumer the clearest possible idea to the consumers of which of the two top-end flagships to buy. To understand how the two compare in terms of build quality and looks, we have the photo gallery with the shots of the two phones side by side.

Carrying on with the same theme, what we have here is the comparison of the two cameras – the 13MP one on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the 4MP UltraPixel one on the HTC One.

The Basis for Comparison
The logic put forwards by certain brilliant minds is that a higher megapixel number means it is a better camera, comparatively. However, that isn’t always actually true in real life, and the pictures they click do often put forward different proof. This neatly brings us to the point of the 13MP camera on the Galaxy S4 and the 4MP UltraPixel camera on the HTC One. While the numbers difference between the two is huge, we would not pay too much attention to that. To compare between the two, we took a series of shots in various scenarios to see where the two stand.

The Tests
First up, we have a series of shots taken in what is known in the circles as a test scene. The shots have been taken in good light and low light, with a full shot and a close up taken in both lighting conditions. To give you a more like for like comparison with the 4MP clicker on the HTC One, we have also taken shots at 6MP from the Galaxy S4 camera.


HTC One (4MP)

Galaxy S4 (6MP)

Galaxy S4 (13MP)

From these shots taken in good light indoors, we feel that the Galaxy S4 has a distinct advantage over the HTC One’s snapper. The S4’s images are richer in terms of colour and have considerably more detailing. The images taken by the One’s camera in comparison feels a tad soft and the contrast isn’t very good as well. Both cameras do very well with clarity, something you can see when you zoom in on the “Can Technology Transform Education” text. In case of the Galaxy S4, the 13MP shot is at par with the 4MP camera on the One, but the 6MP shot is significantly inferior.


HTC One

HTC One Close-up

Galaxy S4 (6MP)

Galaxy S4 (6MP) Close-up

Galaxy S4 (13MP)

Galaxy S4 (13MP) Close-up

In low light shots, the HTC One is much better throughout, be it the full test scene or a close up on that. Clearly, the One’s shot is brighter, and also much cleaner for the most part. Zooming on the test big again is an example of that. The close up of the colourful pencils is another example that proves that the One’s image, while not perfect, is still far superior to that of the Galaxy S4.


HTC One

Galaxy S4 (6MP)

Galaxy S4 (13MP)

Staying indoors, we have taken a shot of a frame that holds within it a map. The idea is to compare the crispness and detailing, both as they are and when zoomed in. Initially, The Galaxy S4’s 13MP and 6MP images looks crisper and richer than the HTC One. But, the slightest of zooming shows a changing scenario – the One’s image remains a lot cleaner throughout, whereas noise creeps into both the S4 images.


HTC One

Galaxy S4 (6MP)

Galaxy S4 (13MP)

The Galaxy S4 has a distinct advantage over the HTC One’s camera in good lighting conditions, irrespective of whether you compare the 13MP image or the 6MP image. Detailing on the S4’s shots is much better, particularly if you look closer to the top of the big tree near where the trucks stand. On the extreme right of the image, the partially captured tree is much better captured by the Galaxy S4, and looks clearly blurred on the One’s picture.


HTC One

Galaxy S4 (6MP)

Galaxy S4 (13MP)

This again takes the entire comparison in the favour of the HTC One’s camera, because when we compare the shots of the flower and the plant, the One’s picture has better colour, more detailing, better contrast, and more accurate white balance. Focus on the flower, and the S4’s shots bring in some bit of noise, while it remains much cleaner on the One.

No clear winner, clearly
All in all, we feel that the HTC One’s camera is a step above the clicker on the Galaxy S4, in most conditions. Equally, it is too close to call with some shots. Surprisingly, there is no clear winner in terms of lighting or scenarios.

However, while that is our deduction of the entire thing, we would like to hear your opinion on the two clickers’ if you have used them in detail, or even on the basis of how you construe the comparison images above.
 

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