Hey Lifehacker, My sister needs a new smartphone. I think the Nexus 5 is the best spec phone for a very reasonable price, but she wants a phone that has a really good camera for taking impromptu photos or videos when she does not have her actual camera with her. How much has the Nexus 5 camera improved since the initial problems and updates? Or should she just switch to the dark side and be ripped off by Apple for the sake of a decent camera? Any thoughts? Thanks, My Camera Never Lies
It largely depends on the type of photos your sis likes to take. The Nexus 5 is capable of capturing decent looking photos, especially in sunny outdoor environments. However, as you'd expect from a sub-$400 phone, the picture quality takes a nosedive in poor lighting situations.
The recent Android 4.4.1 software update brings several noteworthy tweaks on board, including better image colouring, quicker auto focusing and improved exposure settings. The updated camera app also takes less time to launch, which is handy when you need to take a photo in a hurry.
So how does the Nexus 5's camera stack up against its pricier rivals? Below are some comparison shots we've taken using the Nexus 5, Nokia Lumia 1020, iPhone 5c and HTC One in a variety of shooting conditions:
As you can see, the Nexus 5 stacks up pretty well in daylight, but struggles a little in dimmer environments. The real letdown is the inbuilt flash, which has a tendency to blow out images. With that said, this is still an excellent showing when you consider the Nexus 5 is half as expensive as the other phones in the above test.
If your sister just wants to share her snaps on Instagram and Facebook, the Nexus 5 won't disappoint. If she plans to make large prints of her photos or regularly shoots in dim environments like night clubs, she may need to invest in something with a bit more power beneath the lens.
If I was buying, I'd personally go for the Nexus 5. With that in mind, here are some tips for improving your smartphone photos in low-light bars and clubs.
If any readers have additional camera phone recommendations, let MCNL know in the comments section below.
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