Samsung Galaxy S III camera versus HTC One X, iPhone 4S

Where there's a great new camera, there will be a showdown. Here, the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) takes on top photo contenders.

Samsung Galaxy S III
The Samsung Galaxy S III has a terrific 8-megapixel camera. Josh Miller/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) and its 8-megapixel camera is coming out soon on five U.S. carriers , and you know what that means. That's right, boys and girls, it's time for another photo shoot-out! This time, the S3 takes on the HTC One X, and iPhone 4S for a test of the best.

This shootout is all about the basics: how well the cameras did in various outdoor and indoor situations, and without any fancy modes, filters, or effects. All photos were shot on automatic mode, from the same position, and focusing on the same object. I have resized and cropped the pictures, but left them otherwise untouched. I placed the S3 shots in the center of each trio to make it easier to compare to the camera shots above and below.

Flowers

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Blacks are blackest on the One X, but the S3 and iPhone 4S are the clear winners in terms of sharpness. The iPhone captured more of the yellow flower's crinkly detail -- just look at the top middle portion of the bloom, and the shadowed bottom left.

Hippie mural

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

While I prefer the more saturated blue on the One X, the phone also blued-out the green sea layer between sky and land. The S3 shot has the least contrast of the three in both the leaf shadows and the characters' silhouettes.

Beach

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

My eyes like the S3's deeper greens in the two umbrellas. The iPhone produced the brightest shot, but also the most detail under the main umbrella. The One X has the sharper front-right corner.

Who likes strawberries? This girl

HTC One X
HTC One X CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S CNET

The Galaxy S III is the brightest of the three by far, and with the juiciest red color. However, it also has the least realistic shadow.

Deep fried

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Samsung clearly prizes deep-fried Oreos above Apple and HTC. Its camera took the cleanest shot of the heart-healthy boardwalk food stall.

Tomatoes

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The One X wins this round with both antennas tied behind its back. While the least bright of the bunch, more detail is apparent in more of the tomatoes than both the iPhone 4S and the S3. In general, they're all very good shots.

Cable car

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

This one is more of a toss-up. The Galaxy S III is once again the brightest, but the phone also blew out the text on the back of the cable car(all the way to the left.)

Variety is the spice of life

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I took this indoor shot without flash. I award Samsung first place for its warm colors and most legible text.

Sangria x2

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Here's another indoor photo taken without flash to intentionally stress the camera. Overall, the One X shot looks the sharpest.

Swanky statue

HTC One X
HTC One X Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The iPhone 4S took the best low-light picture of this indoor statue. The yellows are more golden and the details pop. The Galaxy S III came in second, followed by the much flatter, blurrier One X.

 

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