Over the last few days, and maybe a few days before that I have uploaded camera samples from both the above phones. They are totally different animals, but here are my thoughts. The good news with both of these phones is that they can both be used with the quirky Sony QX10 hub lens.
Sony Xperia Z1 –
This is a newly released phone for Sony. It has software bugs. The phone has rebooted for no apparent reason about once a day and the camera frozen once too. The photos are focused in the centre of a shot, but out of focus around the edges. Bright days, the photos seems over processed. Low light can be dreadful. It just depends on the type of low light. However, the camera options are extensive. 61 shots in a second and 20.7mp photos too. I am keeping the Z1 because I really like it and I reckon after at least 2 software updates from Sony will be once amazing phone and camera. That probably will take 3 months at a guess. Panoramic photos seem to be low resolution affairs. I don’t understand why that it. I also believe if Sony had included Optical Image Stabilisation, this phone would be unbeatable in the camera department. The photos I have taken show incredible depth as well.
iPhone 5S –
Less is more is the moto here. High quality shots every time practically with no effort. It is just auto mode. Apple offer a square box option and very high quality panoramic photos. The photos show more natural colours too. I have taken some amazing photos of my dogs. There are other options, but not that many. I would call the 5S camera gimmick free just fast quality photos. Currently, in terms of quality I would pip the 5S ahead of the Z1. But I am keeping both phones, so will revisit the camera test as Sony updates the firmware.
In summary, don’t buy the Z1 for its camera