Cameras Compared: Sony Xperia Z vs Galaxy Note II

Posted:  February 13, 2013   By:    23 comments   

Click for larger image

UPDATE: Check out our Sony Xperia Z vs HTC Butterfly shoot out as well.

Despite being called smartphones, a good camera is always one of the main things customers look for when choosing a new device, and it is precisely because of that we compare the 13MP camera of one of the latest Android smartphones to hit Malaysia — the Sony Xperia Z — with one of the best cameras on a smartphone currently available in the market — the 8MP shooter in the Galaxy Note II.

There’s only one picture from each device for comparison in this post but we will add more as we go along. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Which one do you think is the better camera? The Xperia Z or the Note II? We’re inclined to say that the Galaxy Note II performs better in this shot but what do you think?

Full resolution image available for your scrutiny and analysis after the jump.

Click on images for full resolution.

Sample from Sony Xperia Z


Sample from Samsung Galaxy Note II


Mobile Devices, Sony
, , , , , , ,
Wanna say something?


23 Comments for Cameras Compared: Sony Xperia Z vs Galaxy Note II

Rahman Sallehin

Best smartphone with camera Samsung Note?
Oh, you never heard of Nokia 808 Pureview?


    Writing Symbian and smartphone in one line should be illegal


      You should try Symbian Belle, it is actually pretty good and quite functional for the most part. Not top notch, but way smarter than anyone who never used it before can imagine. However, the camera is indisputably top notch.


    Rahman Sallehin,

    I agree with you that the Nokia 808 Pureview has the best camera on a smartphone. Period.

    I'm not saying this because I am MistyFog. I am saying this because I read DPReview, which is a website that I trust for high quality camera reviews. I shall now leave you with the closing words by DPReview, where the 808 was given the DPReview Gold Award.

    "There are inexpensive compact cameras that offer more photographer-friendly features than the 808, but as a cameraphone, the Nokia blows its competition out of the water, and significantly narrows the gap between dedicated cameras and portable communications devices to the point where ultimate convergence seems all but inevitable (and probably sooner than some commentators had realised).

    The 808 proves that Nokia can innovate, and its PureView technology has piqued the interest of serious photographers, being one of the most important innovations – arguable the most important – in mobile photography since the smarphone era dawned five or so years ago. As such, the 808 is intriguing not just in itself, but because of what it represents. Things could be about to get interesting…"


It's tricky as the images are ever-so-slightly different – the cars are at a slightly different angle and the focal length both phones use is different. At the nose of the car, the Note seems to have more detail but look at the tail fin and the situation is reversed.

Whichever, the Sony is showing less noise in dark areas (see the table behind the car). There could be an argument that the Xpreria is slightly softer – a touch too much post-processing? Hard to see about the colours without a "true" shot from a DSLR – CCsoya, which is truer to life?

michael chin

note 2 sucks when it comes to dark scenes…


Editor, please recheck your sources. Lumia 920 camera is the best camera on a smartphone right now by a mile! Pureview 808 is 2nd.


    we're talking about cameras of smartphones that come with various apps here i.e. android OR ios devices ONLY, not cameraphones with negligible apps like the 920.


      Robinho13, are you the person in charge of defining the criteria to be used in this comparison? If so, an errata is required to amend "with one of the best cameras on a smartphone currently available in the market" to more accurately state "with one of the best cameras on a smartphone currently available in the market where the OS has at least 150,000 apps".


    The 808 Pureview excels in daytime shots and also very good at low light shots. The Lumia 920 has outstanding low light performance, but the daytime shot is quite normal. So even though Lumia 920 wins in low-light situations, the 808 is still a more well-rounded camera. However, the Lumia 920 takes the best video due to its powerful OIS, where the effects of hand movements can be negated. Seeing so many shaky videos uploaded to Youtube from the Penang Psy concert, I wish someone there had a Lumia 920 🙂

    If I were to rank the cameras, the order would be as follows:
    1. 808 Pureview
    2. Lumia 920
    3. iPhone 5
    4. HTC OneX
    5. Samsung Galaxy S 3 / Note 2

    Of course this is not a popularity ranking nor is this the "best OS" ranking. This is only a camera ranking.


How about a comparison between the Xperia Z, Nokia N8, and older sony 12mpx toting smartphones?


I am in favour of the picture taken with the Xperia Z. For the above shots, in my opinion, the image looks "livelier" on the Xperia Z. Is this the Z's HDR in action?

Idderes Mh

I prefer Sony Xperia Z with their quality picture. The red colour is life.


8MP VS 13MP??
This is not a good comparison….
maybe with nexus 4 or with other phones with the same megapixel it should be ok 🙂


is it only me that feel Note 2 shot is better than Xperia Z?

Note 2 picture looks more clearer


    I agree with you Ash. Note 2 much better in 100% zoom in. But, the color look nice and better then Note 2.


      I agree with you Ash. Note 2 much better in 100% zoom in. But, the Xperia Z's look nice and better in color than Note 2.


i'm surprised to see the comparison of the image quality with a note 2 instead of iphone.. hahaha…


Note 2 is sharper – but IMHO you can not judge which one is the bette camerar, when you compare only one motive. Btw Xperia Z was made with an higher ISO ( 640 vs 400 ), this may explain this difference. Additional, Sony photo is much more compressed ( 1.92 MB for 13 Megapixel, vs 2.23 MB for 8 Megapixel ). I read somewhere the claim, that you can save uncompressed photos with the Xperia Z – is this true?

lol !

At first glance, the Note 2 pix is sharper and therefore better.

Android Fan

Too much compression on Z's photo, although noise level is much better than the older generation.
This 13mp looks like a strecthed photo which does not bring any more details than a 8mp.


I looked at this comparison and I have to say this article is largely disappointing in terms of the comparison being done.The images being compared are not taken with the same properties.

One is of a higher ISO (the Sony 640 vs 400)
ISO 640 is definitely going to produce more noise. Is there any surprise there?
Anyway this can be fixed in Lightroom or any other software.

One is set to a wider f/stop value (the Sony 2.4 vs 2.6)
The Sony image would be less sharper at f2.4, This is a known fact. Of course you can find lens that perform poorly even at f/4 but generally f2.4 would produce less sharp images than f2.6. Corners in the Sony seem pretty soft, pretty true of the Samsung as well.

One has the shutter speed set slower (the Sony 1/40th vs 1/15th of a second)
Ok this is bizarre. I'm not sure what caused the camera in the Sony to select 1/40th of a second but that can possibly introduce camera shake, though I don't notice much. Maybe someone turned on a few lights when the Samsung photo was taken?

One photo is being shot at a higher resolution (the Sony 4128×3096 vs 3264×2448)
At high resolutions every single crappy detail, defects in the lens, dust will be visible for all to see. This is true in DSLR as well. So take it as what you will when you compare the images.

My notes to the writer:
1. Try and make a reproducible set up between shots (the same subject doesn't constitute reproducible).
2. Use a tripod/clamp for the phone. Understand that phone cameras sometimes have very basic controls (yes they suck in that manner). This lets you rule out things like camera shake.
3. Whatever you can set in both phones, set. it to be the same. If possible list out what you couldn't do.

Finally, I think both phones do very well given the settings they were took with. Props to both phones. The Samsung seemed to lack detail and micro contrast in the image while the Sony seemed to do better. Given the level of noise in 640, it isn't too bad (and this is what you have to keep in mind when comparing). It's miles better than my HTC One X+.


Note II is ‘one of the best camera on smartphone’? This is really surprise. I own a Note II and N8, I’m glad that I still keep my N8 when buying the Note II. Nokia 808 and 920 far superior than my age N8 in term of camera and hardware but my N8 still can beat Note II camera any time.