Apple has long been known to be the undisputed leader in smartphone cameras, as its iPhones have taken a reputation for being the awesome point-and-shoot alternatives that they are.
But the latest results from DxOMark, arguably the gold standard in testing smartphone cameras, show that the era of Apple's dominance over the smartphone camera may be nearing its end.
After taking Apple's iPhone 6s out for an extensive series of tests, DxOMark gives Apple's new flagship a score of 82, the same score that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus received despite Apple outfitting the iPhone 6s' camera with a new 12-megapixel BSI 1/3-inch sensor which the company says improves noise reduction. Interestingly, DxOMark says the older iPhone 6 actually fares better in some departments, such as touch to focus, which explains why the iPhone 6s ranked lower than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
However, just because the iPhone 6s barely makes it to DxOMark's inner circle of high-end smartphone cameras does not mean the camera is a flop. In fact, the iPhone 6s sports a generally solid camera that reaps praise for very good overall exposure, fast and accurate autofocus in both bright and low-light conditions, and pleasant white balance in most instances. DxOMark also notes that the camera preserves details well in bright light.
However, the iPhone 6s also generates some noise in low-light conditions, contrary to Apple's claim that the new sensor reduces noise. Some color shading is also visible indoors and a warm, yellow cast can be seen in outdoor photos. There is also a bit of occasional ghosting and other artifacts.
This bodes well for Android OEMs, who have been working hard to catch up to Apple's superiority in smartphone cameras. Sitting on top of the list is still the Xperia Z5 by Sony with a score of 87, which shouldn't be surprising, since Sony has several years of making high-quality. This is followed by the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Huawei Nexus 6P, LG G4, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Motorola Moto X Style and the Sony Xperia Z3 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s land in the eighth, ninth and 10th spots respectively.
The full list of top 10 best smartphone cameras and their scores by DxOMark is below.
1. Sony Xperia Z5 - 87
2. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - 86
3. Google Nexus 6P by Huawei - 84
4. LG G4 - 83
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - 83
6. Motorola Moto X Style - 83
7. Sony Xperia Z3+ - 83
8. iPhone 6 Plus - 82
9. iPhone 6 - 82
10. iPhone 6s - 82
It should be noted that the iPhone 6s Plus has not yet been tested, and it's likely that the presence of optical image stabilization should give Apple a leg up when DxOMark puts the larger iPhone to the test, as the results of a real-life shootout between the iPhone 6s Plus and the list-topping Xperia Z5 show. We can therefore expect some moving around to happen in the list once DxOMark puts the iPhone 6s Plus as well as the Galaxy Note 5 to the test.