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Experts declare the iPhone 6 camera the best ever on a smartphone

iPhone 6
Apple's tweaks to the iPhone 6's camera look to have paid off

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have already broken records, and they can now boast a new accolade: their cameras have been named best of any smartphone on the market today by camera specialists DxO Labs, though that doesn't mean they were perfect.

Using a combination of industry-standard benchmark tests, known as DxOMark, as well as real world use, the experts at DxO Labs have awarded both iPhone 6 variants the highest mobile scores ever, with both scoring 82.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z3 come in slightly below the two iPhone 6 models with scores of 79. For reference, the iPhone 4 manages a score of just 50.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus' triumph over the Sony Xperia Z3 goes to show that image quality isn't all about the number of megapixels you can cram in. Whilst both iPhone 6 variants have an 8 megapixel camera, the Xperia Z3 comes with 20.7 megapixels, yet still falls short of Apple's snappers.

Comparing Apples with Apples

As expected, DxO found very little difference between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, with the latter benefiting from faster autofocus thanks to on-chip phase detection pixels and optical image stabilisation.

Overall the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cameras were commended for having very good overall exposure, impressive autofocus in both low and bright light conditions, good colour rendering, good detail preservation both indoors and out and good performance with flash.

The cameras weren't perfect, however, with the iPhone 6 suffering from luminance noise that's visible in low light conditions, as well as some ghosting and fringing.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus' cameras also had colour quantification and moiré visible on some photos.

Video star

However, the video recording features of the cameras were also tested and the variants performed very well, with DxO Labs noting that autofocus was very fast, accurate and repeatable, and was in fact the best ever tested by the DxOMark Mobile team.

Stabilisation, colour reproduction and fine-grained noise were also impressive when filming. However, DxO Labs noted that some stabilisation artefacts were visible during video capture with the iPhone 6 Plus, perhaps due to the larger iPhone's optical image stabilisation.

For more information about the results and the methods used to test the cameras, check out the full report from DxO Labs.

  • Read our review of the iPhone 6 to see what we thought
Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of magazines and websites, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.