Galaxy S6 outshines iPhone 6 on DXO's camera benchmarks

Based on its latest mobile camera tests, camera-testing outfit DXO says the new Samsung ekes out a higher score than Apple's former top-ranker.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin

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More pixels means more detail at 100 percent. Lynn La/CNET

Camera testing specialist DXO ran the new Samsung Galaxy S6's camera through its battery of tests and its results are in: the S6 has a better ability to resolve detail than the iPhone 6's camera, and its video is as good or better in almost every way. Except image stabilization, that is, where they're both awful.

Given the specs of the two cameras, the photo results are unsurprising. Detail and artifacts both depend heavily on sensor size and resolution, and the S6 is bigger on both counts.

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On the other hand, the iPhone fares better when it comes to artifacts, a category that seems to lump in everything that's wrong with a photo except noise. I suspect that's partly because the S6's native shooting mode has an aspect ratio of 16:9 ("normal" photo aspect ratio is 4:3 or 3:2) and its lens really distorts toward the edges of that wide angle of view.

Of course, there are tons of tradeoffs that I see between the two just by looking at the samples in our three-way comparison among the Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and iPhone 6. For instance, the S6 gets pale caucasian and olive skin tones better in daylight, but the iPhone does better under indoor lighting.

I wish the S6 supported

5's latest camera API; then we'd be able to shoot raw and really see what the camera is capable of.

Watch this: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. S6 Edge vs. Apple iPhone 6