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    214. The OnePlus One can take some great pictures. The N6 should be similar if not equal but I am concerned that the camera app won't take full advantage of what that sensor can do. Hopefully it will.

    The important thing to keep in mind here is that this is a 1/3 sensor, like all other sensors out their in flagship phones these days. There is only so much you can do with a 1/3 sensor. So it will be fine, but nothing special. 1/3 sensors first debuted in phones, in 2006 with the Nokia N93 (at the time an advance over the 1/4 sensors). So this is eight year old tehnology. And yet it is the status quo in today's phones.

    The only notable exception, I know of, is the Galaxy S5 that has a 1/2.5 sensor (and also the Xperia Z3 I think). The S5 takes pretty good photos. Nothing else is going to be as good as the S5. I promise the Nexus 6 will not hold a candle to the S5. The Z3 is not so good as the S5 for somewhat inexplicable reasons; I don't know why Sony can't get their act together, despite being the supplier of sensors to so many other companies, but the cameras in their recent phones have consistently underperformed.

    And of course there is the Nokia 1020 with a huge 1/1.5 sensor and the Nokia 808 with and even huger 1/1.2 sensor, that's phsically five times larger than a 1/3 sensor. Those are great camera phones. But you have to sacrifice thinness to have sensors like that. Then there's the four year old Nokia N8 with a 1/1.8 sensor that still eclipses todays best of the best. And even the five year old Nokia N86 has a 1/2.5 sensor that takes as good photos as any phone today, including the S5.

    Physical sensor size (not megapixels) matters because it allows the camera to take in more light, render colors better, have less noise, and perform better in low light. Everything else is pretty much gimmicks and fiddling around the edges (except OIS is a nice feature, I think--and resolution and frame rates for video has gotten better--though 4K seems like a stupid exercise when no one has a computer screen or television that can render that level of resolution).

    Anyway, so the Nexus 6 has just another medicore 1/3 sensor that will take fine snapshots. Mainly it is an advance over previous Nexus phones that had subpar cameras, but other than that it is just catching up to the mediocre pack of today's flagship pones. If you want the best camera in a normal phone, get an S5. If you want a truly great camera and can stand Windows Phone or the defunct Symbian OS, get a Nokia 1020 or Nokia 808. Everything else is just whatever.
    Isn't the Note 4 better than the S5 in terms of camera performance?

    I'm not into phablets, so I don't know much about the Note 4. It looks like it has a Sony IMX240 sesnor, with a 1/2.6 sensor, so slightly smaller than the 1/2.5 sensor in the S5. It does have OIS though, which should help with longer exposures in low light. The S5 has an "Isocell" sensor, which is supposed to have barriers between pixels that helps improve color accuracy and sharpness (see: http://connect.dpreview.com/post/0315472077/samsung-explains-the-galaxy-s5-isocell-sensor). I know the S5 has atypically good color accuracy for a phone, though part of that is a choice on Samsungs part not to favor in the post-processing the oversaturated colors that many people like (i.e. that many people mistake for better photos--people often find more accurate colors to look washed out). Anyway, since Samsung usually does a good job in their flagships, I would not be surprised if the Note 4 is comparable or slightly better than the S5. But it's going to be minor differences, I think.

    This was very informative. This really relieves me of not being so down about not having the imx214 in the Moto X 2014

    Also, hello again. I've seen you before in the Moto X 2014 forums lol

    Yes, the new Nexus phone and the 2nd Gen. Moto X are the two phones I'm looking at to replace my Nexus 4, so I've been hanging around both forums. For the moment I'm just trying to get over my raging disappointment that the Nexus 6 really is a huge 6" phablet. Sigh. It does have some nice upgrades over the 2nd Gen. Moto X, I think. (Though if it lacks the four microphone noise cancellation in the Moto X, that's a deal killer for me--I haven't been able to confirm anything about this yet.)

    I wouldn't worry about the different sensors in the phones much. They're both fine and more or less in the same ballpark of quality, as 1/3 sensors. OIS on the Nexus 6 is nice and should help with low light photography (and video), that's the biggest difference, depending how important that is to you. In good light, I doubt you'd see much difference between the cameras. For just general snapshots of friends and things like that, I think all these phones are fine.

    As I said above, I think people make way too big a deal of the differences between cameras in current flagships. Handset makers try to make a big deal out of small differences, for the sake of competition, because they can't acknowledge the truth that they've all just decided the eight year old technology of 1/3 sensors is good enough and they'd rather make super thin phones. If you're the sort of person who's really going to get into the small differences between one flagship with a 1/3 sensor and another, then you're probably the sort of person that would appreciate an S5 more, because of it's 1/2.5 sensor, and you're probably the sort of person will to take the Windows Phone plunge so you can get the truly amazing Nokia 1020 with it's 1/1.5 sensor and many other advantages (mechanical shutter, OIS, Xenon flash, pixel binning for over sampling, lossless digital zooming).

    What about this camera compared to the LG G3? My G3 takes the best photos I've ever had from a phone. The megapixel count is the same between the two, but it has a Sony IMX135.. and it has that laser autofocus which is pretty nice for fast shots.

    Also, what about the N6 being f2.0 aperture over the typical 2.2 or 2.4?

    The LG G3 has the same IMX135 sensor as the 2nd Gen Moto X, but also has OIS. It's prefectly good, but still yet another 1/3 sensor. It's the same sensor in the LG G2, the Note 3, the Galaxy S4, and a bazillion other phones, so it shouldn't be meaningfully different from any of them, except for the potential low light advantage of OIS. (Check this out to see just how many phones have Sony sensors in them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exmor).

    That being said OIS is not a miracle cure for smaller sensors. Neither is the f2.0 aperature on the Nexus 6. They're nice features, but you can only do so much with a smaller 1/3 sensor. Again, these are all ways manufacturers are trying to fiddle around to make the best out of mediocre sensors. The S5 and even the five year old Nokia N86 with 1/2.5 sensors will do almost as well in low light as a phone with OIS (I think the f2.0 will make less of a difference than OIS). And, again, the huge 1/1.8, 1/1.5, 1/1.2 sensors in the Nokia N8, 1020, and 808 (respectively) are going to way out perform a 1/3 sensor with OIS in low light (as well as in every other situation)--and of course the 1020 also has OIS, on top of a huge sensor.

    At this point, I don't really know why all flaghips don't have OIS. It has some benefits. And it's stupid to have to choose between a mediocre 1/3 sensor with OIS and a larger 1/2.5 sensor without OIS. It's like two different choices of how to shoot yourself in the foot.

    All that to say, I still think these are all pretty minor differences between phones with more or less similar image making capabilities. I wouldn't choose between the LG G3, Moto X, or Nexus 6 for the camera. I might (might) choose the S5 for the camera, but I hate Samsung phones, so I really wouldn't ever get an S5. If the camera really was the main issue to me, I'd get a Nokia 1020 and enter the wonderful world of Windows Phone (which I think is under rated as an interface anyway). But that's really for the serious photographers.


    A final word to the wise. Take the reviews of phone cameras you see online with a huge grain of salt. There are very few sites that do a good job and know what they are talking about. Most site reviewers are essentially amature photographers, making incredibly subjective judgments about images, with no real knowledge of how to take photos in a way that allow for good comparisons, and overplay the differences between today's phones (since they get the phones for free to review, they also have huge conflicts of interest and will mostly avoid saying anything too negative--like acknowledging that the differences between these phones a relatively minor). Dpreview.com is probably the best site I know of.
    One of the things that Android L brings is DNG (RAW) output, which allows for a huge amount more information from the sensor to be saved. Somebody took a bunch of pictures on the N5 (which isn't known for it's photos), and the results are pretty good I have to say.

    So it's possible that software could save the day, with the right implementation:

    Example picture from N5 with default auto JPG settings: https://i.imgur.com/JGwEGJK.jpg
    Example picture from N5 after DNG is processed: https://i.imgur.com/pwoCmFr.jpg

    Huge difference there.

    Full album here: http://imgur.com/a/qQkkR
    Not sure if it's been mentioned, the Nexus 6 doesn't have phase detection autofocus, just contrast detection. Phase focus makes focusing significantly faster, originally from DSLRs.
    Galaxy S5 and iPhone6 has it, G3 has a laser to achieve the similar result. They are nearly twice as fast as the traditional focus phones to get focus, and more accurate (less hunting). Probably more useful in video where hunting for focus is very noticeable.

    S5 phase detection vs S4 no phase detection – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwiPJNeQOiE#t=27s
    G3 vs S5 (laser vs phase detection) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvq9d9922dY#t=2m16s
    IP6 video (phase detection test) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om0xR-Y4c_E
    Great read dude. I've owned several Samsung's and nexus phones. None could take the quality pics my HTC DNA could. Would that be software related? I loved that damn phone.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using XDA Free mobile app

    I'm not especially familiar with the DNA and can't find any information about its sensor, although it appears to have a decent f2.0 aperature. Seems like it had the same sensor as the HTC One X, which was a 1/3.2 backside illuminated CMOS sensor. Reviews seem to find that the HTC One, with it's ultrapixels, took better (more color accurate) photos.

    Perhaps there was just something about how the DNA did post-processing on the images that you subjectively liked better.

    This is a good example of how sensors have stayed in the 1/3 ballpark for a long time and an older phone can be just as good as today's "flagships," which is basically the point I've been making.

    I think the Nexus 5 that your signature says you have (like the Nexus 4 before it) has as somewhat subpar camera by the current standards. So it's understandable that coming from the DNA you could be having a worse experience--though the Nexus 5 has a similar 1/3.2 sensor and OIS. The Nexus 6, if you're' in the market for one, ought to be a decent improvement over the Nexus 5 and better than the DNA. Especially since the Nexus 6 has OIS, on top of a newer and slightly larger 1/3.06 sensor. But, still, I think they are all in the same general range as cameras.