Six-way camera shootout: Smartphone roulette

GSMArena team, 11 October 2013.

Low light video recording

While things may be fine and dandy when it comes to shooting in well-lit conditions, under low light things can change drastically. Let's take a look at how things stand when the lighting is not ideal.

All our low-light samples can be found in our dedicated video compare test. Because you can only compare three at a time, we've ordered the top three and the bottom three devices in the two links below. The tools' page will tell you how to switch between devices as needed.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
The Lumia 1020, HTC One and Xperia Z1 iPhone 5s, LG G2, and Note 3 in our Video compare tool

In a very drastic twist, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 came in dead last due to its inability to find the proper exposure and contrast under low lighting. Even its 2160p 4K resolution was not enough to salvage the lost detail. The Lumia 1020 does very well here, and is able to get the highest amount of detail as can be seen in the blue background texture that really only shows up here and to a smaller extent in the HTC One's samples. The Sony Xperia Z1 also has traces of detail in the background, but the noise reduction has smeared most of it.


The Lumia 1020 provides unmatched detail

The Nokia Lumia 1020 does have some issues with compression in its shadows, however, but we'd gladly sacrifice having some shadow artifacts for the excellent level of detail and low noise.

The HTC One makes a strong comeback when the lights go off. Despite the slightly underexposed videos and occasional noise patches, the One is able to provide very good detail and very decent contrast in these tricky conditions.


Despite its low exposure, the HTC One provides good image quality

The Xperia Z1 and iPhone 5s are very close this time around. The Sony offering just edged out the iPhone with better colors, less noise, and better contrast, despite the higher amount of detail found on the Apple smartphone.

The LG G2 is once again an exposure nightmare, with some badly overblown colors to boot. We lose most of the detail thanks to the camera's inability to properly expose the image under low light.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020
Runner up: HTC One
Third place: Sony Xperia Z1
Fourth place: Apple iPhone 5s Fifth place: LG G2 Sixth place: Samsung Galaxy Note 3