May 04 AT 2:23 PM Clark Wimberly 167 Comments

The Incredible Camera Showdown: Droid Incredible VS Nexus One

Before we get started, let me begin by saying I’m not a photographer. I’ve owned half a dozen cameras over the years, along with another half a dozen cell phone cameras, but I’m no photographer. I’m a hobbyist, I’ve filled my share of Flickr pages, and I love taking pictures.

In the latest wave of the good enough revolution, however, I’ve almost given up on carrying my Canon DSLR in exchange for the camera phone in my pocket. Sure, when I need a real camera, I’ll use one. But lately, my camera phone has been good enough.

Ironically, even when something is good enough, we still want something just a little bit better. Enter the HTC Droid Incredible, packing an 8MP camera with auto-focus and a dual LED flash. Its specs suggest The Incredible is the absolute top of the line when it comes to camera phones, but is that really the case? We took our Incredible demo unit and took shot by shot comparison photos with the Nexus One, the current reigning Android camera king. The results? Surprising to say the least…

Sample Photos

To try to compare the two cameras fairly, I took pictures in quick succession, with the same settings (auto), and of the same subject. If a picture came out poorly, I’d try to shoot it again. All the pictures in this test represent the most satisfactory shot I could manage with the current surroundings.

These photos weren’t edited in any way, just downloaded, watermarked with a label, and saved. You can see the complete, full-resolution originals in our Test Shots collection on Flickr.

Also, please pardon my non-photographer ways. I’m sure a pro would be comparing the white balance and aperture of each shot, while I’ll be using words like crisp or dark. Instead of delving into why each picture looks like it does, I’ll simply post the comparison and respond with my observations. This review is less about hardware and settings and more focused on image quality and end result. Maybe some of you camera nuts out there can help me fill in the gaps.

Note: after I completed my test, I noticed the Incredible was taking pictures in a wider format (5:3) than the Nexus. I would’ve preferred to shoot them all to match but overall I doubt the ratio has any affect on image quality.

Indoors, without flash

These coins were shot on my desk, without flash, using just sunlight through the window across the room. It wasn’t perfect lighting, but the room was well lit. The Nexus shot looks brighter and sharper and was achieved on my first attempt (took three Incredible shots to get one I was satisfied with). The Incredible seemed to be much more susceptible to noise and blurriness in less-than-full-sunlight situations.

This is the Incredible instruction book, shot on a footstool right next to the window. At this point the sun had shifted above my building and while I didn’t have direct sunlight, the entire area was very well lit (had my lights on as well). The Incredible shot has a slight blue tint, something you’ll be seeing a lot in the upcoming photos. Both cameras did a pretty respectable job of capturing the text crisply at such a close distance but the Nexus shot just feels more natural.

Edge: Nexus One

Indoors, with flash

To test the flash, I took these shots later in the evening, without the assistance of sunlight. The Incredible is sporting a dual LED flash, which I assumed would be much (twice?) brighter as the Nexus One flash. I didn’t find that to be the case though, at all. The Nexus One flash is easily brighter and produces a better low-light photo.

This ketchup example is almost a toss-up. They are clearly different results but I think this one could fall to personal preference. I find the Nexus shot to be a bit more full and natural looking, even though the flash created a sort of vignette effect around the edges. The Incredible photo, while decently lit, again just looks flat. The flash wasn’t nearly as bright and seemed to throw a less-natural looking light. To test, I took two Incredible photos for comparison, one with and one without the flash:

The photo with flash is on top (the one with the blue and purple tints) and the non-flash photo is on the bottom. Without flash, the camera captured a natural-looking, detailed image. With the flash active, the photo is still crisp but the lighting is wildly inconsistent from the top to bottom of the image.

Edge: Nexus One

Outdoors, indirect light

These shots were taken outdoors on a patio at Carmelo’s (as I enjoyed one of the finest steaks in recent memory). We were outdoors but it was the early evening. It wasn’t dark by any means, but we weren’t exactly in the sun. Again, the Incredible shot came out extremely blue. Along with the blue tint, the photo is darker as a whole, which makes some of the details in the center of the photo hard to make out. The Incredible photo is still sharp, it just doesn’t look natural.

These photos were shot in basically the same settings as above, probably about 20 minutes prior. I’m just including them so you can see again how blue the Incredible gets in natural light situations. I know these photos weren’t shot in totally ideal situations, but they were loads better than the dark bars and late night concerts camera phones usually make an appearance at.

Edge: Nexus One

Outdoors, direct light

These photos were taken around noon, in full sunlight. Distance shots with full light are really where the Incredible shines. It was the one area of the test where I was consistently satisfied with the image quality and tone. That being said, the Nexus was right there, holding its own.

Again, the shots with good light and a wide angle are both completely satisfactory on both phones. But honestly, if you can’t take a good picture in perfect light you might as well just pack up shop.

One interesting thing I noticed, though, was that the Incredible seems to sharpen its pictures much more than the Nexus. Now I know sharpening is necessary to some degree (happens when a JPG is saved, even when uploading to Flickr) but it seems like the Incredible might be over-sharpening it’s photos for dramatic effect. Check out these full-res close-ups:

Now, neither looks perfect. The Incredible shot looks too sharp and bit jagged in places, the Nexus shot looks a little bit blurry. Neither of these issues is really a deal-breaker, I just thought I’d point out the different approach to sharpening.

Edge: Draw

Camera settings

One area the Incredible fully dominates is settings. It has one of the deepest sets of options I’ve seen on any Android camera. You can control ISO, white balance, multiple effects- all in a slick and useful UI. Perhaps if I had fully tinkered with the settings and adjusted them for every shot I could’ve yielded better results.

But for me, fiddling with settings with each shot sort of defeats the purpose of a camera phone. I use the camera phone because I can get it ready quickly, shoot quickly, and repeat. If I’m willing to trade convenience for image quality I might as well carry my DSLR.

For those of you without a real camera, the settings might come in much more handy. If you’d like an in-depth review of the Incredible camera options, Phandroid has a solid video up on YouTube.

Edge: Droid Incredible

Final Verdict

While I’m sure this could draw some heat, I’ll gladly say it based on my time with both phones and all the comparison shots I just posted: The Nexus One takes better pictures than the Droid Incredible.

How is that possible?! you say? The Incredible is 8MP, thats a whole THREE MORE MEGAPIXELS you say. Well, I think it boils down to the megapixel myth: the common belief that more megapixels equals a better camera, which isn’t always the case. There are a wealth of other factors in play here, the lens, the flash, the CMOS sensor- all of which can contribute to better overall image quality.

Oddly enough, while writing this post I tried to hunt down the specific sensors in each of these phones but couldn’t find any hard information. Do any of our readers happen to know specifically which sensor is in either of these phones?

I’ll leave the post with another disclaimer that in no way am I a skilled photographer. I’m just some guy who likes to snap photos. As are most other users relying on a camera phone. As a point-and-shoot option, either of these cameras is more than capable of capturing quick moments you want to remember. One is just a bit more capable than the other.


What do you think? Does the Nexus take better and more natural-looking photos?

Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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  • justinhub2003

    yea.. I’m no professional photographer either however my hobby is to take amazing pictures with cell phones and the nexus one has been the best camera on a phone i’ve ever owned.. I did love the touch pro camera because it had tap to focus but nexus is amazing even in close up.. Check out these I took with the Nexus One in Downtown Cincinnati..

    I’m not great photographer but I was mighty proud to pull these off with no cropping editing or anything…

    • http://Website Usman

      Outstanding pics man! Especially the ones outside of the P&G buildings! I’m a Cincy native, now attending law school in Toledo. :( Good to see other natives taking advantage of the city that I took for granted for so many years. :)

    • http://Website Usman

      Left a comment on one of your pics… really interested to find out where that image was taken at, cuz I’ve never seen it in the city…

    • http://Website guy

      I don’t know if any one has posted this yet but both of the pictures of the shoes say droid. Just thought you should know.

      • http://Website dave

        guy: I assume reading before commenting isn’t common practice for you. The point of that shot was to show the difference w/flash and w/o flash. If you read the caption below that pair of photos it will clear that up

        • http://Website Aaron

          No need to sound so condescending. Some people have a life and cherish there time. They don’t want to read every single detail. “Guy” was just letting the author know just in case he made a mistake. So chill out a little Dave!

          • http://Website Mike

            Perhaps it gets a little annoying that someone takes the time to leave a comment but not read the text properly.

            “Some people have a life and cherish there time. ”


  • http://Website ROb

    I’m almost sure the hardware is a leading factor in the end result quality of each photo. Wonder what changes were made by HTC. I own a N1 and I NEVER EVER have to retake photos because the quality is bad. I remember I would almost always take a few piics with all my other handsets because the piic just wouldn’t come out right. I mean viisiibility itself was a damn issue. N3XU5 0N3 FTW!!!!!!. xD

    • http://Website rina

      I don’t know if it’s just me, but the camera of the Nexus One owns the Incredible — in every screenshot clark posted — Perhaps, because of focus of Nexus One? Would be great if we’ll have another comparison of the superphones. (Evo 4g!)*

  • http://Website Kenji O.

    Wow, surprised by this one. Nice side-by-side comparison. Wonder if the EVO’s camera will be more like the Nexus One or the Incredible.

  • http://Website Dylan Andersen

    Great stuff, Clark. However, like you said, tweaking the settings will yield better results than the Nexus. Tnkgrl on Twitter ( did a full test and the results were nothing short of breathtaking.

  • http://Website Todd

    Nexus One uses the LG Innotek CMOS sensor

    Don’t know ( or care ) what Incredible uses, but assume it same manufacturer.

  • Jeff

    Yes, megapixels doesn’t matter much when lenses are 2mm in diameter. You can compare photos from Nexus One, Motorola Milestone, Samsung Galaxy and Canon 40D here:

  • Taylor Wimberly

    The Nexus One takes the best photos and videos from any phone I have ever owned.

  • jetblast_7

    there is another factor that contributes. how the software interprets the information from the sensor makes a big difference. rooting the N1 and using a different ROM can change the way the camera performs because the software in different ROMs handle the info differently. one big thing is how they deal with white balance and all of that good stuff. I have the N1 and at times have been VERY disappointed in the quality. In incandescent light the images turn out green. there seriously needs to be an update to the N1 to better deal with color balance. Side Note: outdoors and in good lighting the N1 is great though.

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  • Jesse

    I’ve been very happy with my Nexus One’s camera. I’ve moved from a G1 about 3 weeks ago and have been taking more photos and shooting alot more video because of how nice the quality is.


  • http://Website guardianali

    One thing no one ever mentions and I am interested in is shutter speed.
    When im at a sports event or my friends are being goofs and i want to take a shot before the moment is over or multiple shots in quick succession, I dont want to have to wait 3-4 seconds between shots…can someone tell me which of the two has the fastest shot to next shot speed?( given the same setting)

  • Zacqary Adam Green

    Check to see if the Incredible’s Auto White Balance function got turned off somehow. A blue (or red) tint is caused by improper white balancing, so the fact that you were getting it means either Auto White Balance was off, or Auto White Balance on the Incredible sucks.

    • Clark Wimberly

      It was on auto the whole time. I kept checking thinking maybe it was set to TOTALLY BLUE but I always found ‘auto’

      • http://Website Franklin van Velthuizen

        Same thing happens with my HTC Desire. I leave white balance on auto most of the time but that often yields blueish pictures just like in the review. So, in the end … I often have to set white balance manually to get more natural pictures.

  • http://Website Matt R

    “But for me, fiddling with settings with each shot sort of defeats the purpose of a camera phone. I use the camera phone because I can get it ready quickly, shoot quickly, and repeat. If I’m willing to trade convenience for image quality I might as well carry my DSLR”

    What kinda reasoning is that? Lame.

    • nathan118

      I agree with him.

    • Brent Newbury

      I also agree. A camera phone is usually for quick snaps.

    • http://Website Matt R

      Right, so if a phone has more options to give a user more control over photos, that they may or may not care to adjust, this makes that phone less convenient then a DSLR?

      • Clark Wimberly

        I agree more control is a good thing but not when it comes at the expense of something that should be able to be automated. If a camera phone can’t snap a quick, accurate photo, I’d prefer to shoot it with a real camera. Personal opinion, yes, but when a point-and-shoot is no longer point-and-shoot I feel they’ve lost track of the goal.

    • http://Website Matt R

      Fair enough.

  • Brent Newbury

    You’ve labelled both photo’s of the shoes as being taken by the Droid.

    • Clark Wimberly

      They were both taken by the Droid Incredible. That was to show how the flash can ‘ruin’ an otherwise perfect photo.

      • Brent Newbury

        That’ll teach me to skim read :)

  • http://Website thom

    the only problem that i have found with my nexus one camera is that when i use the flash the picture comes out really blue tinted looking

    • http://Website Kenny

      There is a perfectly good explanation for that. The sun’s light is mainly yellow-green, while an LED gives off more-or-less 100% white light. That means that the blue tint that you are seeing is the actual color of the object, but you are accustomed to seeing more yellow than is really there. The auto white balance on the Incredible seems to reflect his, though it would probably be a better idea to simply give people what they are accustomed to seeing.

  • http://Website geekosphere101

    I haven’t used the N1′s camera, but I do own the Incredible, and I would consider myself a serious photography hobbyist.

    So far I am impressed with the Incredible’s camera, but I have nothing to compare it to as far as cell camera’s go.

    I believe the bigger difference is neither the sensors or the glass either of these are using, but the software.

    Yes, HTC added a ton of features to their camera app. But as you mentioned, they aren’t fully honed in or accurate. I have had decent luck with the stock settings, but have found that some tweaking is needed to get the best quality pictures out of the camera.

    I’ve turned down the sharpness processing, and I use daylight WB most of the time, as it corrects the blue situations and I prefer a warmer tone to my images anyway. I usually boost the saturation on my DSLR or shoot Velvia 50. I find the colors to be satisfactory from the Incred, but I’ll boost the saturation if its a very colorful shot and that’s what I want to emphasize. I’ve also had better luck with the center weighted metering instead of the evaluative in most situations.

    Although I agree that because it requires some tinkering, the Incred may not be as ‘good’ as the N1, I present my argument as such.

    If all you’re after is a quick snap, the N1 will give you a better image out of the box (generally speaking, going off of this comparison). However, if you’re after the best possible image, you shouldn’t be quick snapping, you should be thinking about what in the subject is drawing you and how you can create the best composition with the tools available to you. It is obviously much nicer to have a camera that will ‘get out of your way’ and let you shoot with out tinkering with the settings, but if you desire the best image, changing your WB is no big deal as you frame your composition.

    My 2 cents.

  • http://Website Jake

    Does the Desire have the same camera as the Nexus one?

    • SGB101

      the desire has the same phone as the n1, but has a whole load of options added by htc. but ive never touched them and get very good photos. not in the league as the nokia N95, but sill very good

      • SGB101

        i ment to say same camera as the N1. sorry

    • http://Website Jeff Weber

      > Does the Desire have the same camera as the N1?

      No, it does not. The Desire uses an 8MP CMOS sensor like the Incredible, while the Nexus One uses a 5MP sensor.

      It is very likely that the 5MP sensor in the Nexus One is larger than the 8MP sensor used in the Incredible. This would account for the quality difference. Larger Mega Pixels does not equate to higher quality. The size of the sensor and the optics determine quality.

      • geniusdog254

        Actually the Desire has the same 5MP camera, only different software. The 8MP camera only comes into play with the Incredible & Evo

  • SGB101

    i love this. a proper every day test, not a factory perfect condition shite they try to blag us with.

    well done this is the type of test that actually means somthing. as you said a phone cam is there to catch those every day moments fast. if want exellent photos ill take my dslr to the kids soccer game or plays. but every day things the phone will do.

    the best cameraphone ive owned id the N95, near perfect. the i uppgraded to the G1, very poor camera, brilliant phone. now i have the HTC Desire and it shares the same camera as the N1 so im very impressed with your results.

    keep up the good work. everyday tests are much better than the drivel the producer tells use.

    • http://Website HTC buying-considerer

      like my name says, i’m considering buying the htc desire. you say that the N1 and the desire share the same camera; someware has been pointed out that the N1 shares the same as the HTC incredible.

      now all three should have the same camera but since the desire is a HTC branded, it should have also the HTC cam software as the incredible.

      my question: is this the case that the desire has the same cam software with all the tweaking options as the incredible? this would result in images more similar to the incredible?

  • http://Website Josh

    I think the camera on the Desire is the same as the one on the Nexus one. From the few pictures I have taken with the Desire, I am pretty impressed about the quality. It’s especially noticeable when taking pictures in really dark places. The flash works far better then I ever thought a flash could on a phone. It also snaps pictures very, very quickly. Most digital cameras I have seen are slow to actually snap the picture because they take time to auto focus… this is especially bad on some phones (HTC Dream which took like 8 seconds to actually take a picture), but isn’t the case on the Desire. There are times where it would take the picture as soon as I hit the button. The first few times I wondered if auto focus wasn’t on since it snapped pictures so quickly, but they always came out clear and focused. It seems to auto focus constantly instead of when you hit the button. The longest I think I have seen it to take a picture is probably half a second, it actually snaps pictures faster then my camera and with pretty good quality too. I was really surprised how far the cameras on phones have come when I saw the pictures it takes and how quickly it takes them. Yes, there have been a few blurred ones, but that happens on any camera, but it doesn’t happen that much. If the Nexus One has the same camera, I am not surprised it’s so good. The Desire though has all the neat camera settings talked about on the Incredible as well. Best of both worlds maybe?

  • Jeremiah

    The on the Nexus One is awesome, but I’m sure this is just up to software. You should compare shots from the N1 using Stock, CM, and Desire ROMs.

    • http://Website Jeff Weber

      Already Done. The Nexus One takes superior pictures regardless of the ROM it is running… (stock, CM or Desire). This points to a better CMOS sensor and/or optics in the Nexus One.

  • http://Website chancy

    C’mon, man! This isn’t even a comparison. HAHA! The Nexus One camera is superior to the Incredible by a long shot!

  • stalker

    man.. I cannot believe that N1 camera captures best shots than incredible. I’ve N1 and its glad to hear that.. :)

  • http://Website Jayziac

    I have some photography experience and while the N1 wins with the auto settings, it doesn’t mean the incredible’s camera is worse. It may just be due to its software, white balance processing (which seems way off), can be corrected with a manual setting or post-processing on a computer. I would also suggest turning down the digital sharpening setting since it destroys actual details. The N1 seems to have better in-camera saturation and gamma boost, which results in better pictures right out of the phone. I’d be interested in more 100% pixel side-by-side comparisons. Since most of the overall comparisons can be equalized if the Incredible’s pictures had some white balancing, gamma & saturation boost, all possible using an image editor on a PC.

    One aspect overlooked is because the Incredible has darker pictures, it could mean that it preserves the bright highlight areas better than the N1. When the N1′s images are brighter, that also means some extreme bright spots may be clipped (usually the skies in outdoor pictures). In digital photos once a bright color is clipped, it’s hard to gain that detail back. Most photographers prefer a slightly darker image that preserves the white highlights than overexposed. The darker areas can always be boosted in an image editor.

    A final note: for camera phones with tiny sensors & accompanying optics, their DOF (depth-of-field) is so large that if there’s a setting for ‘infinity’, that should be used instead of auto-focus most of the time. Because ‘infinity’ will set the focus to the hyperfocal length and anything from infinity to about 2.5 ft will be in focus. Use auto-focus only for subjects closer than 2.5 ft, otherwise it unecessarily slows down the camera when the shutter button is pressed.

    • http://Website Jeff Weber

      It’s not due to a difference in software. The Nexus One still takes better pictures when it’s running the Desire Rom (same Sense UI as the Incredible). So it has to be superior hardware in the Nexus One. Probably a better CMOS sensor is in the Nexus One.

      A larger 5MP sensor in the Nexus One vs a smaller 8MP sensor in the Droid Incredible. Sure you can get 8MP, but you lose quality.

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  • http://Website JVo

    Kudos to A & Me designers/photo editors for adding the little icons of the phones to make clear which phone took which shots. Brilliant! Much better than lame sites that don’t even label shots and then say “one on the left is…”


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  • http://Website wallyson

    The two HTC phones I’ve had take pretty horrid pictures. This is further proof of that.

    • http://Website Cliff

      Are you saying the Nexus 1 takes horrid pictures too? The N1 is made by HTC as well ;)

  • http://Website Ahmed Eltawil

    Now if only Google updates the look-n-feel of the Camera app, then it will be a perfect camera phone :D

  • http://Website Galen20K

    I have ALWAYS been satisfied and delighted in the Quality of my Nexus One Photo’s and I can honestly say that is the very first time I have been with one of the camera’s on the many phones I’ve owned.

    Even tho I know my next phone I eventually get will be marginally better than my Nexus One, if it doesn’t shoot photo’s in as good a quality as my N1 I will sorely be upset.

    Nexus One FTW!

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  • http://Website mando

    You should do an iPhone comparison… I think the iPhone would blow both of them out of the water.

    • SGB101

      my wife has an iphone 3GS and the pic are not in the same league as the desire

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  • http://Website Chico

    Here we go again, everytime a new device comes out you guys begin your bashing. Thats what androidandme is known for. When the Nexus One came out you began trying to find ways to pick the best phone around apart. And now when the Droid Incredible comes out you are finally beginng to say good things about the Nexus One. The only true way to do this test would be to order the photos from a place like snap fish then we can really see the photos for what they are. What your doing now is comparing screens which they are equally as great. But remember when you did the piece about the Nexus Ones having horrible dark screen in their new shipment, well is that screen tested or are you just testing one Nexus One against One Droid Incredible. Don’t get me wrong I love your site but these are two of the best phones around on Android so leave it at that now you go around and people say that the Droid camera sucks but its awesome really. So do us a favor and stop hating ……….Sorry if im an a hole but I had to get that off my chest

    • Clark Wimberly

      The screen isn’t in play here at all. If we were holding the two phones up and comparing the photos on each, then yes, you’d have a point. But these photos have been saved and moved to other devices and the inconsistencies still exists, big time. They show on any screen and they’d show in any print, it’s in the actual image itself.

  • http://Website Shinigami

    Incredible, but I like 5mp of Nexus more than 8mp of Droid…
    Voted for Nexus and was shocked with voting results. I expected 8mp camera to be better than 5mp one.

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  • http://Website Jeff Weber

    It has to be a hardware difference between the two phones. The Nexus One camera’s hardware is superior to the Droid Incredible’s camera. One can prove this by installing the Desire Rom on the Nexus one (with full Sense UI) and taking pictures with the camera using the Sense UI Camera app.

    I run the Desire Rom on my rooted N1, and the pictures on my Nexus One are still superior to my friend’s Incredible even though the two are running identical software.

    It is amazing how clean and crisp the photos on the Nexus One are compared to the Droid Incredible. With my Nexus One, I can actually get rid of my Sony Digicam.

  • http://Website Chris

    The N1 looks so much better than the Incredible… which kinda makes me sad b/c I plan on picking up the EVO 4G, which I gotta assume is running the same camera hardware as the Incredible.

    btw – Are some of those pictures taken at Max & Julies in Houston? B/c I swear I’ve seen those dishes served there.

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  • tnkgrl

    @Clark, I respectfully disagree with your assessment that the Incredible camera is no better (or worse) than the Nexus One camera.

    I have both phones, and my blog is primarily about reviewing cameras in mobiles. In my experience so far both devices have great cameras, but the Incredible is superior to the Nexus One at taking pictures.

    The optics are larger and better, and the sensor is larger and better on the Incredible – low-light performance is much improved over the Nexus One. I’ve not experienced the white balance problems you are showing in your pictures.

    The Incredible generates and incredible (pardon the pun) level of detail. Let me illustrate (click on each picture in the links below then click on “All Sizes” to see them enlarged – it’s difficult to notice differences at lower resolutions).

    Nexus One shots (from my trip to Sydney):

    Incredible shots (here in San Francisco):

    And finally, here’s a picture that’s almost impossible to take with the Nexus One because the camera is too noisy – the Incredible handles it well:

    • http://Website Juri Garden

      Tnkgrl, I beg to differ. Like Clark, I’ve noticed that my wife’s Nexus One takes far superior pictures than my new Incredible. Perhaps I am not adjusting the settings properly; however, we both use ‘auto’ settings, and my pictures come out with a blue tint and washed out colors and appear to be oversharpened; while her Nexus One seems to capture good detail and have a better overall color balance and far superior quality.

      Where are you getting your information that the optics and sensor are larger in the Incredible? Usually, manufacturers will put in a higher mega pixel CMOS sensor and reduce the area of the sensor so the cost remains the same as the lower megapixel sensor. This in turn makes a 5MP sensor superior to an 8MP sensor with a reduced area.

      • tnkgrl

        I think the links of the Nexus One vs. Incredible pictures I posted speak for themselves.

        Just look at the difference in lens size;

        This, combined with the Incredible’s superior low light performance confirms that the sensor and optics are larger than the Nexus One’s…

        It’s not rocket science. The Achilles’ heel of cameraphones is the size of the sensor and the quality of the optics – I’ve been reviewing cameras on phones since 2005, I know what I’m talking about!

        Just read my blog: http://

        I don’t know why you and Clark are experiencing white balance problems (the “blue tint” you mention). I’m not having this problem.

        Most of the time I’m using the automatic settings on both devices, but I’m always using the touch-to-focus feature on the Incredible, not just clicking the optical joystick.

        Ditto with the Nexus one, but instead of touch-to-focus, I always push in the trackball, wait for the camera to focus, the release the trackball.

        Waiting for the auto-focus (which is pretty quick on both phones) also give the camera a chance to properly adjust exposure and white balance.

        I think part of the problem is that the Nexus One camera takes slightly warmer pictures (emphasis on reds) while the Incredible takes slightly colder pictures (emphasis on blues) – and I’m not talking about the “blue tint” here, which is definitely a white balance problem I’m not seeing.

        People are naturally attracted to warmer colors, so the Nexus One pictures could be more appealing by default. But if you start looking at the details and the noise levels, the Incredible comes out ahead.

        I made some more tests during my lunch break, and the results are clearly in favor of the Incredible – trust me, I would love for the Nexus One to be better, since I much prefer GSM devices.

        Not to mention I own the Nexus One while the Incredible is a review unit :)

        • http://Website sharon sharalyke

          tnkgrl .. having a tough time finding your blog … but I do trust your judgement and I have a quick question. I have two little kids and currently use the LG Dare which stinks big time. I’ve had camera phones 5 years ago that took better photos.

          So I’m just about to buy a smartphone and I’m primarily getting it for the point n shoot ease of pulling a cell phone out of my back pocket and capturing pics of my kids.

          For quick n dirty toddler photos, which phone would you recommend? Which snaps the pics with the least amount of delay?

          • tnkgrl

            @Sharon, the first search result for tnkgrl on Google is my blog: http:/

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I think you may have proved Clark’s point. True photographers will be able to achieve better results with the Droid Incredible, but this comparison was for point-and-shoot-out-of-the-box performance.

      Hopefully, a future OTA update is able to improve the Incredible’s default camera settings.

      • tnkgrl

        This might be true if my pictures were taken after changing the settings… Yet most of my pictures were taken with automatic settings on both devices!

        (I don’t count temporarily disabling the flash in night shots – that’s a given).

    • http://Website Wotan

      I agree, tnkgrl. My Droid Incredible shows NONE of the blue tint that the reviewers’ pictures show. I’m talking about straight out-of-the-box, no settings touched. The only setting I mess with is the flash on/off/auto setting. I’m very happy with low-light images, and daylight images, both gorgeous.

      I’ve noticed that I DO have to be careful with flash pictures, though, since the dual-LED flash can easily wash out a photo if the subject is closer than about 3 feet.

      I’m thinking the reviewers’ Incredible was an early production model, which I believe he mentioned, and since then HTC has fixed the White Balance problem to be more appropriate out-of-the-box.

    • tnkgrl
  • http://Website Suck It

    How does anyone know the settings weren’t adjusted to favor the Nexus One. Also some of the pictures, like the ketchup one clearly shows the Nexus One’s shot is a nice close up.. The Incredible is a little further away so this isn’t a shot-for-shot comparison.

  • http://Website Al Sand

    supposedly the main edge that people gave the incredible was the 8mp camera. so that means that the nexus is better than the incredible?

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  • http://Website Andrew Grace

    Hi, as a Nexus one user I am happy to see the phone getting some positive raps. Based on the pictures above, the nexus pics look a lot cleaner and natural. Use my camera everyday and am 100% happy with it. Looking forward to the nexus getting froyo in June!

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  • http://Website mitch

    What a horriblly biased reporting

  • http://Website Luke

    Is there a reason that after you vote, the one you vote for goes to the other phone? Also what about the inconsistency in the distance and angle of all the shots. If you look at the images for the pool and the “band” playing statue the image on the incredible looks better.

    Getting closer with the N1 makes the led flash look white where farther away produces more of a blue color. So of course moving the N1 closer to the object and snapping the picture is going to make it look better.

    Not creditable at all.

  • http://Website Tony

    Sorry but this means absolutely nothing. On one key factor. The shots taken by the Nexus were at a grossly better angle. Now to be honest I do not own either phone and I was hoping on a good review.

    Can we please get a review by someone who doesn’t already own a Nexus? or a droid for that matter?

  • http://Website manly man

    N1 cam>>>Incredible cam!

  • http://Website Chris

    What’s with the conspiracy theory wacko’s?

    There was no pretense that this was some sort of scientific study. He admits that these are his ad hoc findings. There might be something wrong with the “study.” But given that caveat, the N1 clearly seems the better of the two at taking pictures.

  • http://Website Russ

    I agree with Chris above me – what gives with people saying this is some sort of intentionally biased review?

    “Can we please get a review by someone who doesn’t already own a Nexus? or a droid for that matter?” good idea, we’ll get someone who doesn’t know how to use either for THEIR opinion…

    yeah, they have had the N1 longer than the incredible, but i don’t think that they’ve necessarily playing favorites. I get the feeling that all the people who just bought their brand new incredibles are being inappropriately defensive – just because your phone isn’t the best at EVERYTHING doesn’t mean its any less amazing to you, so chill. not everyone can be the best at everything.

    I for one thank the reviewer for his well written and easy-to-read analysis. I could browse this from my phone whilst taking a work-poop and clearly see the results. good job!

    haters, keep hating, you’ll be knocking Froyo in June too, i’m sure…

    • tnkgrl

      I own a Nexus One (it’s currently my primary phone), and I think the Incredible review unit I have takes better pictures than the N1… See my comments above!

      I think this article is a poor test at best, and a biased comparison at worst.

      • http://Website CantStandArtFags


        Take you’re, “I think I’m a professional photographer” babble somewhere else and STFU. People like you irritate the crap out of me.

        • tnkgrl

          Let me check… No, I don’t think I’m professional photographer! I’m just someone who likes to irritate the crap out of you – just you.

          It’s working isn’t it? :)

  • http://Website coolbho3000

    The Nexus One uses a 5MP camera chip called the s5k3e2fx:

    The Droid Incredible appears to use a camera by OmniVision, the ov8810:

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  • http://Website coolbho3000

    Just found this, but the ov8810 data sheet says it can record 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps. Obviously the Incredible cannot encode 1080p in real time, though.

  • http://Website coolbho3000

    Just found out my one of my previous comments was somehow blocked because it had links in it.

    The Incredible’s camera sensor is from OmniVision, and its part number is ov8810.

    The Nexus One’s camera sensor is from Samsung, and its part number is s5k3e2fx.

    Both are 1/3.2″ sensors, but the ov8810 obviously has a lot more pixels packed into there.

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  • http://Website Danno

    While I am no professional either, I can see that the Nexus One is a far superior phone in the camera world. Granted with the options on the Incredible it could possibly be adjusted to take very decent pics. But if you took all those pics without adjusting the settings I’d say Nexus One is the One to own. Of course its a better phone simply due to the face its not on the Verizon/Sprint networks.

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  • http://Website jim bob

    Well, I’d say if your buying the incredible for the camera, then you should definitely get a better camera, might I recommend a Nikon?

    On the other hand, if you buying the Incredible for the wondrous smart phone that it is. Then let the camera mature. As I recall, all of the droid phones cameras have had issues when they were initially released. This was improved on with software updates. I’m hoping the same will happen here. If it doesn’t. It’s no biggie for me. I haven’t taken more than a dozen pictures with my camera phone anyway.

  • Darryl

    Great comparison. It’s nice to see some real examples and not just a big fuss about specs that are provided.

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  • Tony

    I agree the N1 5MP vs the 8MP Incredible images are better quality, however, bump the Incredible’s setting down to 5MP to match the N1 and test again.. 5MP is larger than anyone is ever going to need to upload pictures to facebook and twitter etc. So I’d rather see the sensor on the Incredible matching resolution with the Nexus One to see how the results turn out then, so the sensor isn’t pushed to its max on the Incredible. As mentioned, the megapixel myth, bigger isn’t better.. but the ability to do so can be convenient for some people.

  • Amin Sabet

    Like tnkgrl above, I’ve done a lot of camera testing, and the results above don’t match my experience with the Incredible. There are some definite issues with the test methods here.

    For example, in the very first comparison, there is motion (handshake) blur in the Incredible shot, while the N1 was held steady for its shot.

    In the outside indirect (steak dinner) shot, the Incredible is misfocused (see how the parsley in the foreground is the only sharp bit?) while the N1 focus is bang on. Makes one wonder whether the Incredible has a focus problem, but that hasn’t been my experience with it.

    There’s more, but those are two of the most obvious examples. Basically, I think the Incredible was misrepresented in this comparison.

  • Angus

    Lots of interesting thoughts presented in the comment section re why the Droid Incredible shots seemed less desirable to many. When I researched high end mega zoom point and shoot cameras, I noted some of the exact same issues between those cameras in the professional reviews. And, here we go again:
    -Crisp detailed sharpness auto settings resulting in some jaggedness vs. emphasis on natural softness auto settings at times resulting in less detail.
    -The Incredible’s blue tint does appear excessive. Yet appears to be an explainable and fixable software issue.
    -Some of the above shootout pictures were of different sizes, and a bit hard to really compare. Had they been the same size, perhaps the Incredible would have had more detail and, been more visually appealing (setting aside, for the moment, the blue tint issue).
    All in all, I suspect that the Droid Incredible software program may largely be at issue, not the actual camera. Suspect software tweaks could soften, and correct all or most of the above Droid Intelligible camera shot issues.
    Other reviewers of the Incredible have obtained some amazing shots from the Incredible’s new camera. Maybe tweaking settings really does pay off. Maybe other issues are present. I hope HTC does shortly tweak and update the Incredible’s software program for us, so that the Incredible’s onboard camera will let all of us just simply point & shoot.
    Once software issues are worked out, it will be fun to have another Incredible and Nexus One point and shoot out.

    (P.S.: Can the test cell phones be hooked up to tripods somehow to present us w/same camera stabilization for shots? Just wondering.)

  • http://Website Mike

    I have the nexus one. It’s an awesome phone but u really can’t go wrong with an incredible either.

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  • http://Website Michael

    My guess is that one of the cameras was set to “center weighted” and the other to “average.”


    It would explain the differences.

  • Android Mom

    The EVO looks really neat, but Im glad to see my N1 isnt outdated quite yet. I think the photos clearly shows N1 as the winner there. I have a video on My 5 Reasons the Nexus One is Better Than the iPhone and camera is one of them!

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  • http://Website ty_chill

    How can this be a fair comparison when the white balance is so distorted on the Incredible. Do one adjustment to get the white balance close, and use that for all the other shots. It may not be perfect for every shot, but at least you won’t have to adjust it every time.

    With that aside, the pics on the Nexus do look much sharper.

  • http://Website sean

    I have owned & taken pictures with both phones. The added complexity of the Incredible’s camera and functionality is what is causing the issues in these pictures. Unless you change the setting to sunlight, the pictures come out blue (as in yours above) as it is expecting interior / halogen style lights. Also, many write-ups have already shown that the incredible comes with the sharpening set up WAY too high. I would change both of those settings and re-take some pictures and you might be surprised. I have no doubt that if you just turned on both phones and started shooting that you’ll get the results above, but with the incredible you can set it up and tweak the settings once and it wil yield better photos. And to get less blurry pictures on the incredible, don’t use the optical pad to take the picture. Instead, touch the screen and hold.. you won’t move the phone as much and you get a lot more quality photos.

    • http://Website Thomas

      The only problem with your findings is that other people have thought of the same thing and compared the Incredible with a Nexus One with the Desire rom.
      Sense vs. Sense. Same exact camera software. Nexus One still came out on top.

      It isn’t a software issue.

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  • http://Website Thomas

    Wow the Nexus One is amazing!!!
    The camera is better and it’ll have Android 2.2 months before even the “new” phones? My mind is made up. I am getting one ASAP.

    I’m a bit confused though… What exactly makes the Incredible better than the Nexus One now? I really wanted one but I don’t dig the whole 8 MP not as good as 5 MP deal.

    Ultimately it doesn’t really matter seeing as they’re both Android Superphones.

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  • http://Website Thomas

    I think there must be some differences in individual phones. I compared my Incredible to my best friends Nexus and the incredible overall was much more vibrant and clear. Did you check the settings on the cameras before testing?

  • http://Website T

    Definitely gotta side with the N1 here. Makes me happy to own one too. :D

  • http://Website Evermore

    The best way to get a good trusted review (if you have issues with this one) do it yourself or do more research and then come to your conclusion. Which is what im gonna do since i have trust issues with reviews like these from others. I was just going to get the Incredible for its speed and camera…

  • http://Website Dylan Andersen


    Everyone is calling. They want you to post a EVO / Nexus One comparison. GO GOGO.

  • http://Website Josh

    This is interesting as here (the UK) we dont have the incredible, we have the desire instead which again is very similar and has the same camera as the nexus, but with all the white balance features etc of the incredible, so best of both worlds me thinks. IT also has slightly better viseo resolution than both and can shoot in widescreen which AFAIK these others cant.

    Here the desire is generally seen as the best phone out at the moment and usually beats the iphone and nexus hands down in every way.

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  • atics

    i think nexus one camera is better than incredible, more bright in scene, but for macro photos incredible sharper and more details.

  • http://Website Christin Michaud

    This test doesn’t hold any water. First, it doesn’t appear that the camera settings matched. Second, the distance wasn’t equivalent for each photo. There should have been a measured distance that was exact for each photo. One inch closer or farther away can make such a huge difference.

  • http://Website Joe

    although the nexus seems to have a better outcome on the photos it all comes down to how the camera was positioned. I am a fan on photo taking and it seems that if light is hitting it at an angle and not being moved the photos come out a little dissapointing, the angle does have a lot to do with the photo quality.

  • http://Website david

    I can’t believe u guys the Droid incredible looks better and higher res in every situation

  • http://Yahoo Romel

    Some of the pictures on the Incredible had a blue tint, which suggest someone didn’t either no what they were doing or this test is bias towards the Nexus One. The Incredible has a feature that allows you to create different color tinting in the picture, for affect I guess. This feature shouldn’t be used in a comparison test because it will not yield good results. It appears that the tint feature was used however.

  • http://Website Mandi

    Hmmm….. I don’t know if maybe they updated this or made the camera better somehow, but I have had the incredible for a few months, and I take pictures with it almost every day. Never once have I had a blue tint show up in my pictures when I didn’t want it there, I surely would have noticed if my little boy was blue. Maybe this was just user error, because for me the incredible has delivered crisp clean shots in low light and full light settings.

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  • http://Website Shawn

    I got very similar results comparing the Droid Incredible camera to an HTC Desire CDMA (US Cellular). Out of a dozen shots, the Desire consistently had a sharper image, better color, and better focus. I think in only one shot was the Incredible’s photo slightly sharper than the Desire, but even in that shot, the color was better on the Desire’s photo.
    I’m not biased, as I own both phones.

  • http://Website Jose


    I like how you manage to fck every pic up that you took with the Incredible. I own one alone with a droid 2 and an N1. The Incredible camera dominates all, I will admit the flash is a bit bright, but as far as clarity and sharpness, the Incredible wins. Gtfo here with this bs review.

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