Smartphone camera shootout: how the iPhone 6s Plus takes on the competition (hint: there's no clear winner) ...

LAUREN GOODE, DAN SEIFERT & SEAN O'KANE, THE VERGE:

"Deep trench isolation. Retina flash. 4K video. These aren’t just fancy terms used by Apple to market its new cameras — though, they are that, too. At this point, these are expectations. With smartphone makers offering increasingly advanced cameras to consumers, it’s almost easy to forget that when Apple first launched the iPhone eight years ago, the original smartphone’s 2-megapixel camera was basically … functional. The oft-repeated cliché that the best camera is the one in your pocket wasn’t true yet, because in many ways, the best cameras were still the ones we slung around our necks.

"Given Apple’s dominance in this space, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the cameras in the new iPhone 6S models are as much about Apple’s internal philosophy as they are about technical prowess and manufacturing partners. In other words: Apple’s smartphone cameras are not technically unachievable. Other smartphone makers could launch cameras like these — in fact, some have better technical specs. In the past year we’ve seen great strides from major competitors such as Samsung and LG, both of which have released smartphones with highly capable cameras. But Apple says that it’s the company’s decisions around this camera technology and the sum of the parts, not the parts themselves, that sets their new cameras apart.

"It’s ironic, really, that a company known for its secrecy, clever marketing terms, and at one point in time, its “reality distortion field” has focused squarely (or cinematically, or panoramically) on a key theme when it comes to its phone photos: truth. Apple has said that it wants to give iPhone users a more true-to-life depiction of the things, people, and places being photographed, rather than an unnaturally brightened, oversaturated, or smoothed-out image."

Read more, and see the comparative pictures, here.