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Apple iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. HTC One X (pictures)

Take a quick look at how the cameras on these three top smartphones measure up when it comes to shooting your friends, family, and food.

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Joshua Goldman
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1 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Color

Color performance in bright conditions was very good from all of the phones. The detail, exposure, and color seem best from the HTC One X, but the differences are negligible. The Galaxy S3 appears slightly overexposed, but I'm not sure most people would notice.

View larger.

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2 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Full sun

These are 100 percent crops from the inset photos. At small sizes, all of the photos look good, but the iPhone 5 is the clear winner with detail, color, and exposure once you start to enlarge.

View this slide larger.

View full size photos: iPhone 5, One X, Galaxy S3.

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3 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Low light

From left are photos from the iPhone 5, One X, and Galaxy S3. The One X's low-light shots tended to have a magenta hue to them, but sharpness and detail were good. The iPhone produced warmer tones, whereas the Galaxy went whiter. They all have issues, and really what it comes down to is preference.
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4 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Food

While the One X was a bit disappointing in the previous slide, it made up for it when I shot food (middle). There's still slight problem with color, but it's close to what I actually saw and there is a good amount of fine detail, especially considering it used ISO 1000. However, the iPhone 5 (top) edges it out with better color. The Galaxy S3 is good, but the food looks flat in comparison.
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5 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Food at 100 percent

The iPhone 5 also produced better fine details in low light, but part of the reason for that is it used a lower sensitivity of ISO 500, compared with ISO 1000 from the One X and the Galaxy S3's ISO 800.
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6 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 5 in low light

Chalk it up to improved image stabilization, better high ISO processing, or both, the iPhone 5 (bottom) is definitely an improvement on the 4S.
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7 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Macro

All three of the phones were very good at shooting close-ups. These are 100 percent crops of the inset images. The only issue I had was with the focus on the One X (middle), which seems to have focused just above where I tapped. However, that might have just been user error.

View full size: iPhone 5, One X, Galaxy S3.

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