Cameras Compared: Sony Ericsson Xperia arc vs iPhone 4S

Posted:  October 17, 2011   By:    22 comments   

In an earlier shootout, the Xperia arc was pitted against the iPhone 4. Some would argue that that wasn’t a fair fight considering the iPhone 4 had only 5MP against the Xperia arcs 8.1MP camera. But on the other hand, megapixel count is not a real indicator of camera performance.

In any case, with the iPhone 4S things are now leveled. We have two very capable smartphone cameras, both with 8MP and both having a sensor optimised for low-light conditions. Also interesting, both sensors on the iPhone 4S and the Xperia arc are manufactured by Sony. In that case, are the two cameras one of the same? Perhaps, but there’s no way to be sure at this point in time. More importantly, that’s not the point.

The point is, between the iPhone 4S and the Xperia arc, which one takes better pictures? After the jump is a series of pictures taken using the iPhone 4S and the Xperia ray arc.

Take a look and tell us what you think.

Looking at these pictures, we can see that once again the iPhone 4S boosts colours to make pictures appear more vivid but that is where the advantage of the iPhone 4S ends.

Viewed in original resolution, we can see that the Xperia arc takes better details and manages low light conditions much better than the iPhone 4S. Look at the full-sized pictures and you can see how in every shot, the Xperia arc grabs more detail that the iPhone 4S. Lines are sharper and separations are more defined. The arc produces better contrast too but in certain conditions, there is nothing that splits the two phones apart.

In this battle, wed take the Xperia arc over the iPhone 4S, though there will be those who prefer the overboosted colours in the iPhone 4S.

In all pictures: iPhone 4S is on the left. Xperia arc on the right. Click for original size.

Also see: iPhone 4S vs Nokia N9 — Cameras Compared














iPhone, Mobile Devices, Sony Ericsson
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22 Comments for Cameras Compared: Sony Ericsson Xperia arc vs iPhone 4S


From my opinion, i prefer iphone 4s. The first priority for me in photography is detail, and iphone 4s has much more detail then arc. About the extra saturation from 4S, well i dont mind, even when i shot with my N8, i usually boost the color abit to give it more punch and vivid. Now i cant wait for N8 vs Iphone 4S comparison. It will determine my next main hp 😀


    " the Xperia arc grabs more detail that the iPhone 4S" 🙂


      Fixed the typo. Thanks! 🙂


the last pictar, bread on iPs over expose?


    the person holding the phone didn't touch to focus. He focused on the chicken instead. Noobs.


the last pictar, bread on iP4s over expose?


lol they have same camera sensor and still arc wins.


    it seems that the iphone4s software apply aggressive post processing to make picture appear more vivid which unfortunately also take away some details from the picture.


from normal people, without photography knowledge. i see the photos from iphone is more beautiful.


Wish to see 4S vs S2 image quality comparison…


I looked every photo from the post… but the arc s photo inside the shopping mall describes all… I vote for arc s


"After the jump is a series of pictures taken using the iPhone 4S and the Xperia ray." it is xperia ray or arc??


    Xperia arc. Apologies for the confusion.


do u know when will maxis announce the Iphone 4S package?


I'd prefer the iPhone 4S, from my point of view, it has better focus ability. Although the Arc made the shots look brighter, but the colouring is kinda off for me. Not to mention the lighting flare in the shadow pic (table) and the sunlight between the trees and condo pic.

The Yellow flower is over exposed on the other hand, the iPhone got it right. The sky shot of the lamp post had better colour for the iPhone but it's dull-er on the Arc.

Judging overall, I'm still sticking to the iPhone, for its great focus ability. At the end of the day, it's the matter of preference.

Andrew C

it all about matter of preference,as as Jobs said about the carpenter building a chest of drawers–you want the plastic back of arc or ..everyone knows the back of an iPhone and its quality-the carpenter inspired Jobs –we are not looking at the back of a phone if it can bend and still not succumb to flexural stress.

Now all folks wait for our celcos' ROI-then typical- so expensive, rebate so low,then another comparison table.

At the end of the day, whether you wear glasses, your naked vision quality. lighting/nature conditions are ever changing in micro seconds.

Andrew C

are both having same focal length ?
type/make of lens

Sid Acidic

picture by fruit camera looks dark. why eh ? maybe it is only optimized to be viewed in 3.5inch screen .


both suxx…get a slr

Andrew C

Nope, go and get more money to work for you–then get all of these- iPhone4S, arc, SGII, a DSLR, enrol in a photography class, Nokia N8,N9, one of HTC, and ensure there are still monies on you,as there will always be something better round the corner.

John Doe

It will be better if you can swap the phones images. :)Otherwise readers may get confuse.

Harry PJ

wow, awesome, i really like your compare…nice one. thumbs up from review1st!