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Tuesday Poll: How Important is It That Your Phone has a Great Camera?

The camera in your phone, oh how it has changed over the years. Cameras in phones used to be there as a last minute, only-shooter-you-had-on-you option for snapping a rare picture. The quality of that picture was never any good, until recent years. Now, we test the heck out of phone cameras, compare them from one phone to the next, and often times find ourselves considering passing on phones if their cameras aren’t up to par with the competition.

Samsung, LG, and Apple seem to have taken a sizable lead in terms of quality smartphone cameras, while Sony is hanging around, trying from phone-to-phone to join them. HTC is there as well, but they decided two years ago to ditch a traditional camera setup in favor of the ultimate gimmick that can’t really be taken seriously. Then you have Motorola, a company that continues to innovate with software and hardware, yet hasn’t put a good camera in a phone since, well, we can’t even remember the last time.

We know that DL readers buy phones from all of the manufacturers just mentioned, so it’s clear that some of you are fine buying phones that don’t offer the best camera experience. And that leads us to today’s poll question – how important is it that your phone has a great camera?

How important is it that your phone has a great camera?

View Results

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  • Vanquishgc

    I’m going to catch some heat here I realize, but I’ve so far found that my M8 has done a perfectly good job at picture taking. Certainly better than my moto X, which wasn’t horrible, but even after updates was disappointing. The biggest difference was shutter speed. Click, boom, there. I do have a kid like many of us on here, so I get the need for bigger and better cameras. No doubt the S4 and 5 have great cameras, can’t deny that. But for me, the rest of those phones did themselves in, in my opinion. My thought process was “OK, the rest of this phone rocks in every way. The camera lacks in zoom quality, and such but is great in low light. And shutter speed is stupid fast. I know I’m going to be happy with everything else with this thing, and I’m sure the camera can at least do what I want for the most part”. Well I’ve had it for almost 3 months, have yet to be proven wrong yet. It came down to pros and cons, and while the camera was a bit of a con, it wasn’t nearly enough to outweigh all the pros. I do wish I could zoom in farther than 2x on the thing before it turned to crap though.

  • Nick Klenchik

    Battery Life > Screen > Camera


  • bob

    Just bought last year’s Moto X to hold me over. Hoping my next phone will have:

    *Some degree of aperture variability
    *Decent sensor
    *Decent processor (or better yet, just let me keep the RAW, I’ll do a better job of lightrooming it)
    *Could care less about optical/digital zoom (having the most fun with fixed lenses)

    Yes, I know the MotoX camera sucks, but compared to my previous (GNex) is a Lycra.

    Yes, yes, carry the dSLR around 100% yada yada. I’d like to; heck I’ve got a 40 mm pancake (which is capable of taking freakin awesome pics for 80% of the circumstances) and it is about as portable as a large camera can get, but get real.

    Everyone saying you should carry around an SLR, let me ask you: is your SLR within reach right now? Mine is 18 miles away, but my phone is right here.

  • OneForTheGoodDays

    My job and having two little ones requires me to have a capable camera at all times…. that’s the main reason I love my G2. The OIS and the large aperture lend themselves to quality shots most of the time. This one I took and is straight out of the camera. My only issue usually is that the G2 camera takes “cool” pictures and is a bit over-saturated. I use Snapseed to add back some warmth and use the ambiance and saturation settings to balance out the field.

  • A major reason for my choosing the S5. Wherever I go, I have a camera with me. I can’t say that about my DSLR.

  • I used to say it wasn’t that important, but then I suffered through nearly 3 years of absolutely terrible camera performance with the GNex. Replaced it with an S5 and haven’t looked back.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I switch phones so often that it doesn’t really matter, but going from moto x to Note 3 was eye opening. Like many are saying, it doesn’t need to be DSLR quality but sharp, vibrant results are expected.

  • thunder

    Water proof>camera

  • cornflahkes

    Camera is one of the top decision makers for me. Selling off the G3 I used my upgrade on before Verizon nipped that loophole shut, ended up with another Nokia. 😛

  • interstellarmind

    My top priorities: battery, GPU, and camera.

  • Reed Kerr

    I’m really hoping the X+1 has a great camera. The quality and speed of the camera is very important to me, and that’s probably my only real complaint with my Moto X. The camera is very fast to launch, which I love, and it takes very good pictures in good lighting, but indoors in lower lighting, or when the subject is a fast moving 4 year old, the output is rather weak.

    I don’t need a 20 MP camera (why, Sony, why?), just something with quick and accurate autofocus, and a good sensor that gets color and white balance right. I’d love it if I can get it with Motorola’s twist to launch feature, which is fantastic.

  • renGek

    Is very much a personal taste topic. Some people want to just snap a “at that moment” event and if someone’s head is cropped or the lighting is totally jacked, who cares. And there are those who enjoys taking a beautifully crafted photo because to them is art and inspirational. Neither is more or less important. That said, I like taking my time and shooting beautiful pictures. While not impossible its very difficult to do well on a phone.

  • Ks Montoya

    I guess it should be more in line with top of the line Point and Shoot, DSLR is pushing it. On that note I would pay $1500 for a phone that was top of the line w/DSLR quality.

  • I picked, “It just needs to be decent.”

    For me there are things that are more important such as:
    Battery life.
    What time of day will I be looking to charge it back up.


    How much usable space will I have after disabling or uninstalling bloatware (if no MicroSD expansion).
    How accessible is the MicroSD port.

    Until my last VZW line is off contract I’m buying my phone(s) at retail. That’s why I’m still rocking my DNA.
    Once I switch over I still have to weight price versus total value.
    Come middle of October I will have to decide. Part of me wants to buy a Galaxy Note, but my wallet says Nexus(2014)>OnePlus>Moto X(2014)

    Three factors & I’m still not at the camera.
    So when I do get around to it there needs to be decent night-time or low-light capture ability. Minimum shutter lag. Intuitive UI/UX.

    So which does the best at capturing a picture the faster & in focus once I hit the shutter?

  • paul_cus

    The camera on a phone doesn’t even need to have a flash, in my opinion.

  • Jprime

    The question is not asking if dedicated cameras are better than a phone’s, its asking if having a phone capable of getting god shots is important. Having a camera on you all the time is amazing, i don’t see how people can turn it into a negative.

  • sirmeili

    A bit off topic, but why is it some polls it will let me vote multiple times (I don’t), and others I can’t even vote at all? Some it seems I can vote the next day and some an hour after it is put up I can’t? I didn’t get to vote, so I’ll say this:

    A great camera is a “nice have”
    An Ok camera is “OK, so my facebook/g+ pictures look that much better”
    A camera in general is probably necessary, but just because I’ve become accustomed to it. I was ok with the Gnex camera and apparently it was horrible.

  • Bryan

    I’ve found my Moto X can take great photos, but I need to disable HDR mode. I think it’s too aggressive in trying to take HDR pictures for things that it shouldn’t, and therefore produces soft/blurry/grainy photos. That and holding the phone steady when taking a pic seem to give me very good shots.

    • sirmeili

      I find it sometimes has it uses (HDR). but you have to really hold the camera still.

  • Gregory Martinez


    • gm

      I’d add screen quality to that list. (Brightness, vibrancy, contrast, viewing angles, reflectivity, etc). After all, it’s the most used piece of hardware when interacting with your device, even before software.

  • No option for “Insanely Important” ? Astonished at the apathy towards this.

    • sirmeili

      But why? If you have to have a great camera, why not buy a great camera instead? I’ve seen some people say they would like their phone’s camera to be as good as their $1k DSLR, which I just think is insane. It’s a phone with a small sensor. Sure you can get pretty good pictures, but it will never replace a great dedicated camera, IMHO.

      • Because I don’t “have to have a great camera”. I take a compact superzoom on occasions where I know I’ll be taking a range of pictures and want more quality, but that doesn’t preclude me from wanting the pictures I take on a daily basis to be the best they can be. Its one of the big 5 things most people do with their phone and I hate dealing with crappy cameras. I have no intention of spending 4 figures on a semi-pro rig I’ll use twice a year.

        • jimt

          The guy really wants a fire phone./s He is serious about carrying two separate things and probably doesn’t know you need extra lenses and covers and a bag for a dslr. He thinks software will make the moto x even better than it is, which is great in his opinion.

          • sirmeili

            If I know I’m going to be in a situation where I need a DSLR, I will bring one. It doesn’t happen often. For day to day pictures, most of the phone’s cameras are adequate. Is it nice if a phone has a great camera? Sure, but I personally put other things in higher priority than a great camera in a phone. I don’t have such high expectations to think that a $600-700 multipurpose device with a small sensor and small lens will ever compare to a $1k DSLR (or even some point and shoots with the better sensors). I live in a world of reality.

            You seem to be really butt hurt over the motoX. Have you used one? Have you used one long term? If not, STFU about it. Seriously, the user experience OVERALL is great. Its the first phone I’ve had that’s had fast updates and no lag even after updates and over 9 months of use with not factory resets or using ROMS. I’m sorry you seem to think that an optimized phone is such a horrible thing. I mean, it’s only what has made Apple (across all their platforms) so successful. Optimized software to hardware will pretty much ALWAYS beat out just throwing more hardware at it (understand, that I don’t think software will make up for a bad camera, I’m talking over all hardware to software optimization to get the best performance from the hardware that you can.

            That being said, I don’t get to pick and choose what camera hardware Motorola puts in their phones. Could I buy another phone to send a message to Motorola saying “I would have bought your awesome phone, but it’s camera is lacking…fix that in the next version and i’ll but it”? I sure could, but then I would be ignoring all the other important things that Motorola is doing that I don’t feel many other manufacturers are doing. So in my case, Yes, the software makes the PHONE a better device, lackluster camera or not. Because Motorola is doing TONS of other things that I think are a hell of a lot more important (IMHO):

            Over all user experience
            Light to no skin
            Adding features that actually matter and are useful
            Fast updates

  • Fernando Gonzalez

    Really important… Not the first point but one of the firsts ones… Speed, Design, Size, Camera, Battery… Not in that precise order…

  • MKader17

    I said I make buying decisions based on the phone’s camera capabilities, but I seem to be one of the few that find the Moto X camera to be very good.

    • jimt

      Maybe nothing to compare it with is your problem. Just find someone that has a phone with a good camera and take pictures of the same thing. Compare the results.

      • Captain Spaulding

        Agreed. I have a Moto X and a G2. The G2 camera is far superior to the Moto X, although it has improved since initial release.

      • MKader17

        My wife has a Canon camera. It’s not a point and shoot but also not a DSLR. It will take great pictures if you can stay still and give the shutter some time. That being said I’ll take a picture with it, then my phone because the quality of the phone is plenty good for sharing and is much easier to share.

    • sirmeili

      I’m not gonna say it’s “very good”, I wouldn’t say it was “bad” or “average” or anything…. I would say that it’s adequate for what I need it for: quick pictures of stuff to post on facebook and g+. It was better than my Gnex, which I also didn’t have issues with.

  • wtd2009

    After coming from the worst camera ever aka the Droid razr and switching to a S5 I’ve realized how fun it is to have a nice camera. Since most everything else has been improved to the point that I don’t find myself complaining at all, I’d say a camera is a really high priority if I’m going to lock into a contract (which I do)

  • jb

    I see a LOT of comments about low light performance… It’s obvious to me that most saying that have NO IDEA where the bulk of low light performance comes from. It’s from the SIZE OF THE SENSOR! And guess what, the sensor in a phone is TINY (smaller than the head of a pencil eraser). A DSLR on the other hand has a sensor a little larger than a postage stamp (Full Frame DSLR’S are twice that size). If low light performance is so important that you’re deciding whether or not to buy a phone based on it, don’t even bother with a phone’s camera, you need a large sensor camera. Get a DSLR, MILC, or even a large sensor compact camera. Especially one with wifi so you can transfer the images to your phone easily.

    • DanielMena9

      However, there are some phones relative to others that fair much better in low light. i.e. iPhone 5s vs my Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.

      • jb

        Of course. And you can thank sensor performance, wide aperture lenses, and software for that. But they still can’t match or even come close to a DSLR.

        • Droidzilla

          You’re like someone on a car forum talking about hot hatchbacks which blend performance, affordability and utility and you keep saying, “Nothing beats a sportbike for performance!” It’s ridiculous.

          • jb

            No. Not really. To use your analogy, I’d be that guy refuting people saying that a hatchback is the fastest way to get somewhere. Or that it had the best performance in a turn. Or that it was the best solution to move with. And people would respond “but my hatchback is always with me”. That might be the case, but there are alternatives and owning one doesn’t preclude you from owning others.

          • Droidzilla

            I haven’t seen a single person say that a phone camera is as good or better than a DSLR, so no (and if anyone does say that, they’re ridiculous). People are saying they want a decent camera on their phones, even though they know it won’t ever be DSLR quality. My analogy is spot on. Your analogy nicely highlights your misinterpretation of what others on this thread are saying. I drive a hopped up WRX, and I love it because it’s pretty darned fast but I can still drive my family around in it, get groceries, go over speed bumps, drive it in the snow, etc. I used to have a litrebike, and that was stupid fast, but it wasn’t practical so I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to ride it. I wanted to have fun in the car I used as opposed to only having a fun driving experience when I had the specialised tool with me. Is my WRX as fast as my old 1000cc bike? Not hardly. Is it still pretty fast and I get to get on it during my normal driving around time? Absolutely.

            Camera quality is a big deal for me on a cell phone because I always carry it with me, like everyone else. I used to have a DSLR but it just sat collecting dust, so I hocked it. I don’t need DSLR quality for the shots I’m taking, but there is a significant difference between the high and low end of the phone camera spectrum in both usability and overall photo fidelity. It’s really not an esoteric or invalid point, and it makes perfect sense that a lot of consumers would want and value the feature.

          • jb

            I think you and I would agree on one thing for sure. If you’re not using your DSLR, sell it. There’s no point in keeping it. I would also venture a guess that if a person isn’t using a DSLR and is instead using a camera phone, it’s quite likely that they really don’t know what they’re doing with their DSLR anyway. They likely shoot in full auto mode including exposure settings and autofocus point selection. If that’s the case, they’re going to get shi**y pictures, probably not even as good as a cell phone.
            A DSLR, like any complex tool, requires that the user knows what they’re doing to use it even halfway correctly. They need to understand exposure, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, all the lens verbiage, autofocus modes, and most importantly, WHEN and WHY they should change all those things! And LIGHT! ALLLLLL about light! Most people with a DSLR and 1 or 2 lenses know very little of that stuff.
            As for photo quality from a camera. I agree there’s definitely a difference in the low, medium, and high end. And for SOME images, a camera phone will do an admirable job. But as I said before, if I’m going to bother taking a picture, it’s going to be a picture I want to keep for a LONG time because it matters. And if it matters, I might as well use the right tool for the job.
            I do use my camera phone. But I use it for things like taking a picture of a product in a store and sending it to my wife to see if she wants it (can’t eat gluten or dairy and there are new foods coming out all the time she can try), or a quick picture of my daughter in the car seat to send to her grandmothers. Things like that. Pictures that don’t matter if I immediately trashcan them.

          • Matt Isaacs

            You have clearly missed the point of this article and what others are saying… You are buried so deep in arguing with others you completely missed the point. Too bad you argue without reading first… What does your boss say about you carrying an slr to work everyday? What do girls or boys (no judgement) say about you wearing your slr in bed, have you ever damaged it in the rain, pool, shower, lake. I could go on forever but I know your response will be “SLR BETTER, SLR BETTER, SLR BETTER”. I’m off to the real world. Please read before commenting in the future. p.s. no one actually said a cell phone was better

  • DanielMena9

    I went to watch Ringling Bros and Barnum circus this past weekend, and I was thoroughly SHAMED on how bad the camera on my Sony Xperia Z1 Compact was relative to my guest with an iPhone 5s in low light. In sun, my phone can take gorgeous shots, but from my seats in a dimly lit arena … wow just embarrassing.

    With all the specs almost reaching a plateau my next phone will be based ONLY on camera, battery, and size.

  • Maryncland

    Don’t really care about the camera. Rarely take pictures and I don’t like being in them

  • Chris M

    Could care less about the camera

  • archercc

    I want decent, big thing is low light. All of the bells and whistles (filters and that crap) I never use. I have an SLR for studio quality stuff, so its only really got to have a resolution to support mobile sharing.

  • ROR1997

    It stopped me from getting a GNex.

  • Champion1229

    Everyone is picking on the Moto X…

  • Trysta

    I will simply never be the kind of person to buy a dedicated point and shoot so the camera is pretty important to me. I don’t think I have very high standards for photography but it is nice to be able to capture vacations, special events etc. with a camera phone that gives good results. I’m ok with the camera in my nexus 5. I just wish that sometimes it was easier to use the camera (anything that isn’t HDR+ looks not so good and I have to be careful to get proper focus). I will definitely be looking for a phone with a better camera (and radio!) for my next phone. (otherwise the Nexus 5 is perfect for me)

  • droidrazredge

    Camera is way low on my list of priorities with phones as far as features and specs go, as long as the camera is adequate or decent I’m satisfied. I don’t take pictures of things I don’t care about and if I’m going to take a picture, I’m using a real camera capable of producing results I want. Therefore, the camera in my phone is just there as a feature and bonus.

  • TheRobotCow

    Well if you’re spening a bit of money of “upgrading” to a new phone you would want it to have a better camera right?

    • jimt

      Some of the Moto X people are so caught up in the “experience” that they think the camera is good. I say if the software can make the camera better than it is, why upgrade the hardware for a better camera. They don’t need a new phone, therefore. The new Moto X phone will have a better camera.

      • sirmeili

        No, some of of Moto X users think the camera is more than adequate for what we use it for and we find the OVERALL user experience of the device to be so great that even those that might want a better camera are more than willing to give it up for that overall user experience.

        And Yes, I will get the Moto X+1, not because my MotoX is outdated (it still performs great), but because I sometimes like to get the newest stuff. I actually think that most people who visit this site regularly update their phones regardless of whether or not the really “need” to.

  • Major517

    It’s not the most important feature but it is definitely in my top 3. I recently ditched my HTC One M7 for the G3 and the camera was the deciding factor.

  • Josh Clarence

    I always tell myself that the next phone I buy will have a great camera, but when it comes down to it it’s never a deciding factor for me.

    • bacchus71

      Same here!

  • Inquizitor

    I care about having a camera, but I also think pretty much every tech reviewer has FAR too high standards when it comes to phone cameras these days. I still have no idea why they used such extreme language like “garbage” and “unusable” to describe my GNex’s camera. It’s not great but it’s definitely decent and usable. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even read the camera section of reviews anymore, I just need to try it for myself in-store in order to get any kind of reasonable sense of quality.

    • staticx57

      That’s because you still haven’t tried something newer. The gnex is horrible. It is useless in low light. The phone itself is leggy as heck and the battery doesn’t work as a battery but as a teaser for when you unplug it.

      • Inquizitor

        See, your comment is a perfect example of hyperbole in discussing smartphone cameras. It’s not horrible, and it’s definitely not useless in low light. It’s not great but you’re way too extreme with your language. I’ve used plenty of phones since then, my friends and family have newer phones like GS4 and the HTC One and iPhones for comparison. My GNex is still acceptable, the poor quality is only noticeable in comparisons.

  • Ks Montoya

    If i’m paying over $700 for a smart device, it better have one hell of a camera. I’m not expecting DSLR (not yet atleast) quality, but damn near close. Gone are the days of needing multiple devices.

    • sirmeili

      But why would you expect a $700 smart device that is multifunctional to have a camera close to a DSLR that costs upwards of $1k for a single purpose device.

      Jack of all trades, master of none.

  • Bryan Mills

    With Sony releasing attachable bluetooth lenses, it will only get better.

  • Rodeojones000

    As evidenced by the poll thus far, in clearly in the minority. Camera is way low on my list of priories with phones. Maybe even the bottom.

  • I chose very important, if I’m paying top dollar for a “flagship device” I want top notch specs and that includes the camera. I have a Nikon 5100 (which I’m going to trade up to something better) and I hardly feel like carrying that bulky thing around. So a top notch camera is very important, or should I say a Samsung camera is very important

    • Bryan Mills

      Samsung doesn’t even have the common courtesy to include OIS.

      • I didn’t even care about OIS until I heard about it and it still doesn’t really matter. I don’t even know what difference it makes in photos. So to me OIS is irrelevant

        • staticx57

          OIS matters greatly. When you take video it smoothes all the motion when you move the camera. For still photography it allows faster shutters to reduce motion blur and reduce noise by having a lower iso. It is most definitely not useless.

          • I definitely don’t notice a difference now that I have it versus before when I didn’t have it so I think I can live without it. Its not like I have Parkinson’s or Arthritis, I take still shots/video either way.

          • staticx57

            If you do not notice a difference then you are probably not pushing the camera very hard. If you take still stabilized videos then you probably only stand there and slowly pan. Go get your old phone and walk down the street side by side. Without OIS it is nauseating. Even with OIS it isn’t perfect but it is much better. If you take still photos in the dark without motion blur I bet the iso through the roof and it is either noisy as get all or it is a smeared mess.

  • i would love a camera with a nice big sensor so i can push the iso up in low light.
    and let me shoot in RAW so I can reduce noise and adjust exposure and white balance myself!

  • OMJ

    It needs to be decent. If Im looking to take great pictures I wouldnt be using my phone anyway.

  • Jeremy Gross

    if its not horrible then it doesnt matter, if i really wanted to take better photos id use my dslr

    • jimt

      But it could be good for a couple of bucks more, why not?

      • sirmeili

        yes, very true, but I don’t get to “build” my phone and choose my components like a custom built computer. So basically I get to choose from what it put out there and sometimes the camera just doesn’t matter when compare to other things.

        I really do get what you’re trying to say, but in the end, I don’t have control over what camera the manufacturer puts in the phone and there are other things I would rather “support” that a manufacturer do than put in a better camera.

  • technobri

    Pretty important. But I have nothing to complain about with the camera on my s5.

    • jimt

      They should all me that good or better.

  • Joe J

    Need another choice. Important top 3. Not just decent for a flagship. Our cells have taken over point and shoot digicams. We need new revisions of the galaxy k optical zoom. So close

    • Trysta

      Agreed. I want better than decent. I won’t pick a crap phone just because it has a great camera but I still want a GOOD camera on my phone. No I am not spending $100s of additional dollars on a dedicated camera for the 3 times a year I want good photos.

  • jb

    I don’t take pictures of things I don’t care about and if I’m going to take a picture, I’m using a real camera capable of producing results I want. Therefore, the camera in my phone might as well not even be there. Especially now that my DSLR has wifi and I can just import my images to my phone

    • jimt

      My dslr is kind of heavy to carry around always. The extra lenses add weight. Do you take your dslr to the pool and to restaurants and the park all the time?

      • jb

        Yup. All the time. I’m 35 and not feeble. The image quality is worth it!

  • itsgonnalast

    I still carry a real camera when I want great results.

  • jbegs

    I have 3 kids (including a newborn). I just bought a DSLR but having a “great” smartphone camera would be nice as it’s quicker to get shots that way.

  • Neil Fujiwara

    I have a SLR when I want to capture the shot and my Moto Maxx is decent enough to capture the moment. It struggles with low light, but with good lighting and right angles, it is just fine.

  • HarvesterX

    Nice I guess Disqus decided to vote for me.

    • cns2007

      Vote from the main page, not within the article. I know, it’s weird that way sometimes.

  • BSweetness

    “The best camera is the one you have with you.”

    You don’t always know when you’re going to be in a situation where you’d like to take a good quality picture. Since most people aren’t able to carry a dedicated camera around with them all the time (nor do they want to) just in case they might want to take a good picture, the quality of the camera in a smartphone can be an extremely important consideration to many.

    For me, camera quality is one of my top considerations. I carry around a dedicated camera quite often, but it’s nice to know that when I don’t have a dedicated camera with me I’ll still be able to grab a decent shot with my phone if I need/want to.

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    I need a great camera. I won’t always have a proper camera and I love snapping unique shots and videos at a moments notice. Its really important to me to have a great camera in my phone.

  • Kane Desousa

    I have an m8 so… Yeah lol the camera on it is mediocre. But I also have a 6d and like 4 lenses. So if I want a real pic that will do the job.

  • BoFiS

    Overall SIZE and specs are most important to me. The phone needs a good battery, microSD slot, decent screen, and to fit in my hand for single-handed use…someone will hopefully fill this void :-

  • JP

    It’s usually the only real reason why motorola phones end up sucking so I’d say it’s pretty important. I hope they get it right with the x+1

  • mcdonsco

    Not a selection for me…I don’t make my buying decisions based on it but it has to be better than decent (assuming, by decent DL considers the moto x one decent).

  • mike

    Coming from the GNEX, camera capability was very important to me. I feel like most flagships are very capable today, G3 and S5 were at the top of my list with great cameras and great battery life. I often carry a DSLR or point&shoot, so when I don’t have those the G3 handles things admirably.

  • Michael Sahaid

    It depends on the person. I’m a big with picture quality because I take a lot of pictures, mainly outdoors. So I got the Galaxy S5. But if I weren’t I would have gotten the M8 in a heartbeat.

    • Not Sarge

      Main reason I got rid of the M8 after couple of months. Great device, minus the camera. I tried my best to defend the ultrapixels against haters but in the end I just couldn’t any longer

      • Michael Sahaid

        Exactly. I was worried I made the wrong choice when I chose the S5. But then I compared outdoor shots between the 2. Couldn’t be more satisfied with the S5.

  • 213ninja

    “I make buying decisions based off a phone’s camera capabilities”

    it’s funny to me that if the moto x fans on this site were Samsung fans this would barely be a legit poll…just an observation.

    • flosserelli

      Dude, give it a rest. You are a Samsung and VZW fanboy. We get it. You don’t have to remind everyone each time DL posts a new article.

      • Kevin

        He’s the Samsung white knight.

        • 213ninja

          that’s the nicest comeback i’ve heard, i’ll take it.

          not directing this at you whatsoever but anyone that thinks i’m anything but fair doesn’t read me right. and that’s fine. but i’ve owned phones from all the top dogs and would buy from moto, htc, and LG again if it met my current expectations and needs. i was looking forward to the G3 Stylus until the specs leaked last night. and anyone reading my comments knows i’d jump to tmo in a second if they had coverage in my area. bottom line, i’m just trying to read about stuff that i care about without getting made fun of. if i can have a little laugh at the expense of the opposition, i say it’s all in good fun. if you get butthurt from me being fair, you’re soft. ain’t a whole lot ta dat buzzy…

      • 213ninja

        someone’s gotta represent son.

  • Moto X+1, give me GS4 quality and I’m (more than) happy. Love my GS4, love the camera, but ready for near stock experience.

    I don’t buy a phone because it has a good camera, but that can def be a reason I don’t buy a phone. if that makes sense.

  • JSo

    I hardly take pictures. And when I do, it’s just random pictures when I go out with friends or with the girlfriend or special occasions. I don’t care how good the camera is, just as long as I can get a picture out of it.

  • Patrick Crumpler

    After getting the G3 I can’t go for anything less.

    • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

      Agreed. Although I still think as far as over all picture quality the G3 is just behind the S5 and the 5S the total experience I’ve had with taking pictures and videos with the G3 is second to none.

  • Maxim∑

    I don’t know why it so hard for them to go with the Sony Exymor sensors.

  • Nick

    For my wife and I, our smartphones are our primary source of photos of our crazy toddler. We settled on the LG G2 because it was the best smartphone/camera pairing from 2013. I was fortunate to be able to test drive the other flagships and none of them came close to the consistent quality of the G2. Our situation isn’t typical and I still miss my Nexus 5 🙁

  • creed

    According to the poll thus far… 10% own motorola phones.

    • flosserelli

      And/or Nexus.

    • Well done, sir. I LOL’d.

  • turdbogls

    since having a kid, it is a MUST to have a great camera.

    for anyone that says “well you should have a real camera with you”
    umm, no, just live with a kid and a full on camera 24/7 and see how you like it.

    • Allen Yates

      This is very true! Most importantly, it needs to be quick, because kids sure are.

      • jb

        There’s no camera phone that’s even close to being able to capture action like a DSLR. That’s why you don’t see pro photographers on the sidelines of professional sporting events with cell phones snapping away. So if you really want to capture a quick kid, use a DSLR. If you’re happy with your cell phones version of “quick”, that’s fine too. Just know the differences.

        • The best camera is the one you have with you. No one is saying they are using a smartphone when they are going on a photo shoot.

          Yes a DSLR is much better, but lets say you are bringing your child to a park. You go there all the time, so it’s nothing new, how likely is it that someone will want to bring a DSLR with them every time they go out? Cell phones let you capture those unexpected moments.

          • MKader17

            I hate the catch 22 of it. I want to bring a good camera to capture the moments, but I don’t want to deal with carrying a camera and take away from the moment I’m trying to capture

          • jb

            That’s realistic. You basically have to decide if the inconvenience is worth the quality difference over the course of a long-term memory. For some, yes. For others, no. For still others, “sometimes”.

          • renGek

            In the good old days of film, I carried 2 cameras. One for color film and one for b&w. Sooooo annoyingly heavy.

        • Edwin M

          I think he meant quick to open from the lock screen.

          • jb

            Leave the DSLR on, take off the lens cap. It’ll go to sleep and can be awakened with a half-press of the shutter. Still faster than a cell phone.

    • jbegs

      Correct, Sir. I have 3 and the smartphone camera is going to always be with me and usually quicker to get the “action” shot. I did just purchase a DSLR so I can also capture those “set” moments.

      • jb

        You’ve got it backwards my friend.

        • Matt Isaacs

          No he doesn’t. I have a 3 year old and my phone is the main thing I use to get that quick pic, I also have a nice dslr and I do take it with me for most things but I find the phone is the only thing I have on me when she does something really funny or random.. those are the pictures a parent really wants. When you have a kid you will understand that they do the funniest things when you arent standing there with an slr waiting for them to do something funny. Cell phone cameras are really important tool for parents, end of story

          • jb

            This is twice now that you’ve assumed I don’t have a kid. I do. She’s 2. And I capture ALL KINDS of fun with my DSLR. Video too. Video on the 70D is absolutely game changing. Puts a camera phone’s video to shame honestly.

    • mattywalnuts

      if i could up vote this a second time, i would. around the time my daughter was born, i had a moto x, which i sold on ebay primarily because of the horrendous photos it took. picked up an s4 and haven’t looked back. my wife and i also have a canon dslr which takes incredible photos, but i’m not carrying that thing in a diaper bag everywhere we go.

      • vitriolix

        Seriously look into getting the Galaxy Zoom, my wife has the S4 Zoom and they are amazing for parents.

    • jb

      I do and like it very much!

    • WAldenIV

      Not really true at all. My parents didn’t take 1000 pictures of their children to post online daily. We live in a “me first” world where people elevate their own personal experiences over others.

      • Allen Yates

        He never said he wanted the pictures to post on Facebook. Your parents didn’t have 1,000 pictures of you because developing film was expensive and half the pictures you took with it were crap.

        We live in a time where having a lot of photos is possible…if you have a camera that doesn’t suck. Hence his comment.

      • 1000 photos is really an exaggeration.

        Even with taking many photos with my phone in addition to my DSLR, there are certain events such as the last vacation I had with my family where I only had a few photos on my phone and camera, looking back I wish I took more. There is no such thing as taking too many good photos (read good, not hundreds of duplicates), because one day you will look back and always wish you had more.

    • Tom Luley

      When I was a kid, my parents didn’t have that convenience yet they had no trouble using a stand alone camera and getting great pictures of me and my siblings. Videos too, with that big honkin’ VHS recorder you threw on your shoulder. To me, as long as it HAS a camera and can take pictures quickly, then its fine for me. If I want something to look great, I use an actual camera for it.

      • Guest


      • turdbogls

        serious question…do you have kids?

        • Tom Luley

          No, but I love my nephew as if he was my own child and have hundreds of photos. Anywhere we go where I want very good photo, I would bring a camera, otherwise for those “spur of the moment” photos, the moto x is awesome. It launches the camera faster than any other phone and takes pictures, that’s all I need. I don’t need my phone camera to have 25 settings and for the colors to be exact. It auto focus’ great and snaps a picture in 3 seconds from standby state. Worrying about how good the pictures are on my phone is just silly. That’s what a DSLR is for.

          • turdbogls

            live with a kid 24/7 and you will see that some of those “spur of the moment”…moments, are the ones you really want to keep around.

            for instance, last night was bath nigh, little girl was splashing in the bubbles and gave herself a bubble beard, thankfully I had my phone on me(G2, hold the volume down button to launch camera, its up before I get the shot framed, super fast from pocket to camera, and its a good camera to boot), took it out and got a really good pic before she started splashing again. having my SLR wasn’t even on my radar.

            these moments happen more often that I though they would.

      • Same with me and my family growing up. We used film cameras and full VHS camcorders for special events, every family gathering we had photos printed and tapes made.

        Do you really think that your parents and family brought those things around with them on weekly trips to the park, out to get ice cream, a bicycle ride, etc.? Just think of all the spur of the moment photo opportunities that were missed because they did not have their camera with them. I have no doubt in my mind they captured lots of great moments, but some of the best photo of friends, family, landscapes, etc. have been unexpected and spur of the moment photos where I only had my phone on me.

        • RiceCake

          Yeah and just look back through those old albums……are they really of any good quality? Hahaha

    • Andrew Osborn

      Exactly. I went to the State Fair yesterday. Having a camera on me would have been impossible. I have an s4 and got a lot of good shots. My wife has the Moto X and got blurry shots and decent shots. We will never get those shots she missed with the X back.
      I want stock android but not at the expense of missing once in a lifetime shots of my daughter.

    • AndTheWorldMayNeverKnow

      This is what made me choose the S5 over the M8, I’m not trying to carry around a camera all day.

    • r0l

      I agree-ish. With kids it needs to be a good camera (not necessarily great), at least a solid B. Last year’s Moto X was a B-/C+. If they can delivery a 12 MP shooter that loads and shoots quick and does decent in low light then that sounds like a B or better to me and I’ll be happy.
      While MP aren’t everything for overall quality it is everything for zoom/crop of photos which comes in handy with moving kids that you can’t always frame properly.

  • Kevin B

    Did Ron put you up to this?

  • WAldenIV

    Most people don’t know the first thing about taking a decent picture but they will complain about the camera in their phone.

    • Bryan Mills

      Yeah you just push a button and it does everything else. Throw a filter from instagram and you’re good to go.

    • mcdonsco

      If the picture doesn’t look good straight out of the box on auto then the camera sucks.

      Sorry, but this is an m8 owners argument. I’ve done the “tweaking” on many a camera only to get it good enough to be similar to cameras that out of the box on auto blow it away, then tweak THOSE and you get some awesome pics.

      Tweaking settings doesn’t make it a good camera, its either a good camera, or its not.

      • Bryan Mills

        For some reason the G2 was on 10mp out of the box. Weird.

        • mcdonsco

          And still took great pics (that’s my current phone)

        • 16:9 photos are better IMO than 4:3 for a phone.

      • WAldenIV

        As I commented below, I’m talking gross consumer negligence.

    • Most people shouldn’t have to have a degree in photography to take a decent photo, phone companies are selling to the average Joe blow. Given the technology we have now its safe to say that the average customer can have standards set when it comes to picture taking. If the camera sucks the phones suck. That’s just the mentality.

      • WAldenIV

        I’m talking about shadows in your face, camera held vertically, selfie level of incompetence.

        • oh my bad then yeah i completely agree with you on that then.

      • staticx57

        Most phonesbtake technically perfect pictures. Good focus, lighting etc but the photos are very uninspired .

  • Bruce

    It is one of several deciding factors for me, and an important one. I’d get pissed off when I find out other phones take better photos than my phone.

  • Kevintw

    It’s probably fourth on my list of must haves. Specs, SD slot, and removable battery are way more important.

    • Ks Montoya

      My list is a 4 way tie, specs, sd, battery, and camera. If one is lacking, I’m not interested. Pay way too much money for something that isn’t great.

  • alberteezy

    At first I wasn’t bothered with my moto x camera because it was my first smartphone, but checking out all the other competition I see how bad the camera is compared to others. Moto better step it up on the x+1

  • Mark Snider

    Not the only thing i look at but I definitely consider the camera quality when making the purchase. I love my Moto X but the camera is pretty cringe worthy most of the time. Camera will likely factor heavily into my next purchase

  • Tony Byatt

    After getting the OPO I realized what I was missing with a good camera on a phone but it’s still not the most important thing to me…

  • Tom Luley

    I voted that it needs to be decent…Which it does. If you want amazing pictures, you should have an actual CAMERA if it is that important to you. The Moto X camera is sub par, yes…But it takes pictures after a shake of your wrist and a push of the screen in about 3 seconds. That is awesome to me. The Moto X+1 can’t get worse, so I am looking forward to it

    • Tom Luley

      This too.

      • Bryan Mills

        This is true too. There’s a reason why the M7 and M8 suck.

    • Andrew Osborn

      We are talking flagship phones here. There is no reason for a manufacturer to produce their flagship with a sub par camera in 2014.

    • Nish Junankar

      Thats not true at all. If I want relatively great pictures my cellphone should be able to do it. The iPhone can, the S4/S5 can, the G3 can and thats about it. Pictures are often all or none. Either you get them in focus, on time, and in good lighting or you get nothing, the event/moment has passed. Its not practical to carry around a point and shoot or DSLR.

      • jb

        There are SOOOO many situations a DSLR can easily get the picture when a cell phone can’t. Just because your imagination and skills aren’t limited by a cell phone doesn’t mean everyone else’s are too.

        • Nish Junankar

          I’m not taking a DSLR to the bar, to my friends, to work, etc.

          • Bryan Mills

            Get sh!tfaced, break phone, use insurance on my phone.

            Get sh!tfaced…out a $500+ camera

          • Or you use insurance on your camera, and by the way $500 must be some extremely old or cheap DSLR.

          • jimt

            I have lenses that cost more than that.

          • Same here, two of my lenses are over $2k each

          • jb

            It’s cheaper to insure a DSLR and lenses for a year than it is a phone.

          • jb

            How many of those places do you actually take pictures of? And why bother?

          • Bryan Mills

            So wait, we’re NOT supposed to document our lives and memories? We should just not own phones or cameras or anything.

          • jb

            EXACTLY my point. My god you’re smart!

          • There are many times memorable photos have been taken at restaurants, out with friends, etc. where I would never think to haul around my DSLR to. I like capturing photos of friends and family in their natural element, not staged portrait shoots that are lifeless.

          • jb

            If your DSLR images are lifeless, it’s your fault. That’s like blaming the frying pan for burning the bacon.

          • I’m not talking about the quality of the photograph, you can be the best photographer but you can’t change the subject your shooting. Shooting someone in a studio is completely different than capturing someone reacting to an experience naturally. My point isn’t that a cell phone is better, a DSLR would be much better in this scenario as well, my point is that many of these scenarios are unexpected and happen quickly where you may not have brought your DSLR or have time to properly set your exposure settings and compose a shot.

          • jb

            I generally shoot in M, Aperture priority, or Shutter priority. However for those moments that something is happening in front of me and I don’t feel confident enough to set everything right the first time, I always have “green box mode” which is exactly what a camera phone is. So I’m at no disadvantage. However my normal routine is to set my parameters whenever I arrive somewhere. Out to eat? Sit down, snag the camera, set it, and put it down with the power in and lens cap off. It’s ready to go! At a friends? Same thing. At a park? Same thing. And a DSLR is WAAAAAY faster than a phone when it’s all setup. And again, spin the dial and I’m in full auto. Still faster than turning on my phone. Same for video, flip a switch and press a button and I’m recording.
            Yeah, it’s heavier, and bulkier. But the results are far superior and if there’s REALLY a moment to be captured, I won’t remember that I had to carry my DSLR from the car to the restaurant table, I’ll remember that the picture is AWESOME instead of noisy as hell and blurry from too slow of a shutter speed like it would be from a phone.
            When I go out, it’s usually my 70D, 35mm f/2 IS USM, and 50/1.4. If I’m going to be outdoors, I’ll usually add my 85/1.8 and maybe the 15-85 zoom.

          • jb

            I also have an EOS M + 22mm f/2 that I’ll bring if I want something small but with fantastic image quality instead. The adapter works great too meaning I can bring any of my other lenses too.

          • I admire your spirits, I just can’t find myself wanting to haul around a DSLR every place I go. Some events where I know there will be photo opportunities, I’ll bring it, but going out to dinner with friends? Going on a bike ride? Even going to the mall, there are many times I never would have even thought to bring a DSLR, which is why a cell phone needs to be able to take adequate photos. Even when I have my DSLR, I often find myself snapping a couple photos on my phone. Why? It’s easy and convenient to be out with friends and family and simply scroll through my photos on my phone to show them, or even just scroll through myself when I’m out.

          • jb

            I don’t disagree Geoff. One of the nicer features that I underestimated about my 70D is the wifi connectivity. With the Canon EOS Remote app, I can browse the photos on my cameras SD card and save a 1920×1280 sized copy to my phone. That’s the perfect size for posting to FB, texting, emailing, showing friends, etc.
            In fact I just used this tech at a birthday party for a friends daughter this past weekend. The kids were all eating cupcakes and one had icing ALL OVER his face. His dad was having a hard time getting a decent shot with his iPhone because the light levels were forcing a slow shutter speed and his ISO was off the charts so the pics were noisy and blurry. I grabbed my camera and caught a GREAT picture of that guy’s son. I showed it to him on the back of my camera and he gasped – literally. I downloaded it to my phone and text it to him – it took less than a minute. He couldn’t be happier and went around showing the picture to others. So, iPhone = 0, DSLR = 1.
            Like I’ve said elsewhere here, I don’t mind carrying the camera with me. It’s worth the very minuscule inconvenience to be able to capture images I wouldn’t be able to capture otherwise. Like others here, the memories of my daily life are REALLY important to me and my whole point in these numerous threads and offshoots is that if the memories are TRULY important, then a very minor inconvenience means nothing. If carrying a DSLR around with you (not YOU, just anyone) is wrecking your life, then the pictures just aren’t as important as you (again, not YOU) insist.

            Another benefit of the DSLR is the depth of field control. This shots with his iPhone had EVERYTHING in focus in the foreground and background. With my DSLR, I was able to adequately blur the background to make it less distracting. Yes, there’s still a woman in the background in a striped dress but I assure you, it was the least distracting background possible – given the fact that it was a birthday party with over a dozen kids and 25+ adults, and toys EVERYWHERE.
            Image taken with my 70D + 35mm f/2 IS USM and mixed lighting.

          • Matt Isaacs

            I can’t bring myself to take a slr to dinner and put in on the table when I am out with friends, sounds like a strange thing to do. If you are using auto modes like aperture or shutter priority and even full auto mode you aren’t getting great shots anyways. I don’t know what phone you have, but try a camera app that lets you use auto or full manual controls.. I have gotten some really impressive shots off my phone by just kick the software out of the way. You cant have an slr everywhere no matter how much you want to believe that. Camera phones are important to most people and that will never change, soon they will full replace p&s. More power to you if you carry an backpack with you for all your gear, but I also want to experience what I am doing not just document it and for that a phone is perfect. Have a kid as well and get back to me, diaper bag, strollers, a couple toys, snacks and then throw a slr bag into the mix.. lol I can see it now

          • jb

            I’ve got a 2 year old little girl and just found out we’re expecting again. So, I live what I’m talking about. I have a GS4 too.

          • jb

            Here’s a shot I got by just having the camera with me. IMO, it’s MUCH better than I would have gotten with my phone. Mixed lighting with diffused ambient sunlight (diffused by cloud cover and tinted windows on the building – we’re in Florida where tint is a necessity – lol). We were out eating ice cream on a hot summer day. Only the diaper bag and I just dropped the camera inside it with 1 lens. Talk about catching a moment. My daughter spied my ice cream as I sat down and made an “oooooooooo” face for a second or two as she was excited to eat some. I grabbed the camera, put it up to my eye, moved the focus point to her eye, acquired focus (instantaneous – camera phones are NOT), and snap. As soon as the image was taken, the moment was gone. I would have missed this with a camera phone. They’re just not as fast as DSLR’s. I also would have had most of the background in focus – distracting from my daughter as the subject.

          • Matt Isaacs

            No problem here, just find your whole argument amusing.. thats all. We are active people, not everyone is so for me carrying a slr isnt always an option but you seem to think its for anyone. Can you share a pic of you using a slr on a family bike ride, that would be funny. or using a slr while in the pool, lake or hiking several miles. I have the slr with me maybe half the time which is alot and the phone is a great backup, there is no arguing to that which is my whole point. you seem very determined to prove cameraphones are worthless, not sure why. To each their own I assume, but its worth trying to respect other people opinions. SLR’s have their place and so do camera phones, I prefer to document anything I want to and as an adult I cant just walk around everyday with a slr around my neck. There is a thing called living in the moment and on a few occasions I found I spent so much time taking pictures I wasnt really involved in the moment with my kid, its nice to have that picture or video forever but losing out on the real memoryexperience hurts. The cell phone is a great p&s while you keeping you in the event, I dont want to miss the real thing. Again.. to each their own.

    • Bryan Mills

      Yes it can, because it’s still running stock androids pos software.

    • Droid Ultra camera was a night and day difference from the Moto X line. Absolutely better all around. So I have complete faith in the X+1 improving in that department.

      • Champion1229

        I’ve had the Moto X for over 6 months now and I’ve honestly never had an issue with the pictures taken. There’s only been a few times (mostly when trying to focus on text extremely close up) where the camera hasn’t taken the picture exactly how I wanted it, but a quick change of the HDR setting usually fixes any issues. I’ve actually gotten some pretty amazing shots with the X’s camera.


      iphone 5 has a better camera

      • Vanquishgc

        Better than what? ANY Android phone? Because if that’s what you’re saying, you’re foolish and ignorant by saying such a thing. Please don’t troll here. Thanks.

  • TheDave1022

    A reason I would never own an HTC One m7/m8. 4mp and not being able to crop is a deal breaker for me

    • Dale

      I bought the M8 and love it, except for the camera. In my opinion, the M8 is the absolute, hands down best phone on the market if you subtract the camera. But unless the camera is at least on par with LG and Samsung, I won’t be buying HTC’s next flagship.

      • But you can’t subtract the camera so that makes it worthless and not even close to the best.

  • Ezio 007 Shepard

    Frankly, I did not realize how much a good camera meant until I shot with a bad one and a good one on the same trip. Being able to snap good, crisp, shots on the go is a must, and will always look at camera ability when buying a new phone.

  • NickA

    Great poll. It seems people buy phones for the camera now, not understanding their limitations. While there have been many phone camera advances, nothing comes close to DSL quality.

    • Allyn K C

      Agreed. Having a decent cell phone camera is fine for quick snaps of friends; but I greatly prefer having my DSLR (even a modest bridge camera) with me for vacations, family sports activities, special events, etc.

    • Raven

      Just picking nits, but it is SLR or DSLR. DSL is a type of modem.

      • droidrazredge

        He’s referring to another type of DSL that involves other type of equipment that phones don’t have!

    • Jeff C

      DSL quality cannot be understated when choosing a woman.

      • Ks Montoya

        lmao Nothing like top quality DSL

  • Matthew DiGiacomo

    “If the camera is a Samsung, it’s sh*t. Anyone else, it doesn’t matter.” – Bryan Mills

    • Bryan Mills

      Yeah basically. Having OIS is key.

      • maysider

        sorry, but iPhone sucks, far behind the competitors:

        goo (dot) gl/q41E05

    • maysider

      according to objective comparison SGS5 has the best camera in the world
      Note 4 will be even better
      do not lie here, please

  • Pierito

    To me, having a great camera is nowhere near the top of my “MUST-HAVES” list when making a purchase, but it is important enough to decide a tie breaker between to very evenly matched phones…..I have a Nexus 5.

  • Alan Paone

    I cannot wait for android L to unleash the camera in my m8.

    • Matthew DiGiacomo


      • Alan Paone

        The m8 has a solid sensor & lens but htc process it exactly like the Sensation’s files and then save it at 1/4 the filesize they should. Android L has raw capture, so I’ll never need to see HTC’s jpgs again. L is going to be the best thing that happens to phone photography since phones first got cameras.

        • Suicide_Note

          The sensor is still a measly 4 megapixels. RAW or not, you won’t be able to crop worth a damn, or have the same level of detail that other cameras produce.

          • Alan Paone

            That’s enough to print a billboard. The reason it seems low is because its blurred down to about 1Mpx. A ton of magazine photographers used the 4Mpx nikon D2H for years. A 1080p screen is 2Mpx, and youre insane if you think a 4mm thick plastic lens can resolve 16Mpx anyway. I’ll take punchier colours and the extra dynamic range any day.