HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7: Camera Shootout

Camera Shootout

GSMArena team, 11 May, 2016.

Outside

We kick things off with a particularly challenging shot - the small dark tiles of the building will be obliterated by poorly tuned noise reduction while the brightly colored squares contrast strongly against the dark background.

The HTC 10 shot at a higher ISO (125 vs. 50 for the other two), which prevented the trees from becoming too dark. The black tiles have the cleanest edges in the HTC photo while the Galaxy and the G5 smudge them in various places.

In terms of color rendering, the brightly colored squares caused a lot of headaches for the cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge had issues in all three color channels, the HTC 10 did too but to a lesser extent and finally, the LG G5 mostly struggled with the blue squares, less with the red ones and did okay with green.

This is most likely from the color saturation that each camera adds, but is not the only issue. Some tiles have a subtle gradient as paint from two colors were speckled on. The LG G5 didn't get some gradients (especially on green tiles) quite right.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

The HTC 10 uses higher ISO even in broad daylight (ISO 100 vs. 50 in this case), which allowed it to better capture shadow areas. This doesn't increase the noise, so the sacrifice comes from the other side of the equation - the darker parts of the image are softer.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge underexposed dark parts of the image, but the rest is rendered with rich detail. The S7 also handled the grassy lawn the best. The LG G5 comes second in terms of detail, and the HTC 10 came in last.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

This next shot is a tricky mix of well-lit and shadow areas. It once again shows how dark areas in HTC 10 photos are softer. Both the Galaxy and G5 maintain even sharpness across the lawn, and tree crowns, the 10 noticeably blurs them.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

We did not include the wide-angle camera on the LG G5 in the quality comparison - the 8MP fixed-focus camera can't compete on quality or dynamic range. But in terms of just how much more of the scene it captures in a single click, it has no equal in the smartphone world. Here's a shot to illustrate how big the difference is. Where with the HTC or Samsung you may be forced to use panorama mode (or just step way back), the G5 makes it as simple as a tap on the "wide" button.

Field of view: 85 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Field of view: 135 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Field of view: 85 135

Winner: Tie. All the phones have their pros and cons in rendering this scene.

Indoors

Fabrics are even harder to photograph than small tiles - the rich detail of fine threads often gets obliterated by the noise reduction algorithms.

The HTC 10 is an example of how to do it right - the fabric of the chair has a lifelike look to it. The Galaxy S7 edge comes close, but some of the camera's strong sharpening creates artefacts. The LG G5 smoothed out too much of the detail and the sharpening could not bring it back.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

In the previous shot, the Samsung didn't quite focus on the same spot as the others. This next photo is of the carpet, guaranteeing the focus point will be in the same place.

The HTC 10 again did the best job of rendering the fabric, followed closely by the LG G5 (which overexposed the shot a bit). Samsung's image processing removed all traces of fibers.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

Moving on to a more complex shot, there's a lot to get right or mess up. The Samsung Galaxy S7 captured the black cabinets the best, including all their imperfections after years of use. In the LG G5 shot the black makes the noise quite visible.

The HTC 10 did the best job of the yellow cabinet - yes, yellow. Someone should probably tell the Galaxy.

A completely different topic are the printed pages on the cabinets. The Samsung rendered the pages black on white, but the boost in contrast necessary eroded the text somewhat. The text is sharpest in the LG G5 shot.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

Brushstrokes are similarly difficult to capture. The HTC 10 once again does the best job of preserving subtle detail.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

Real world objects tend to have a lot detail and imperfections and if strong noise reduction takes those away, they can look unnatural.

Here's yet another shot where the HTC 10 bests its opposition while the LG G5 once again discarded too much detail.

HTC 10 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S7 - HTC 10 vs. LG G5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
HTC 10 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7

Winner: HTC 10. It often rendered its targets in sharp detail, compared to the LG G5, whose photos were often on the soft side. The HTC has its own softness issues when it comes to shadowy areas. The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is a solid, all-around performer, though it had some weaknesses against the G5.

Reader comments

  • amina

HTC is quite brilliant but LG is outstanding.

  • AnonD-654964

Nope. Htc 10 better with update now. Go cry with LG Bootloop. LG customer service is bad. Hahaha

Just do it again in 2017 after these phones camera mature with updates Very interesting to know... I sold my htc 10 few months a go and just bought new one recently And boy, the camera now excell ways better than previous one.