We are living exciting times thanks to technology and the internet. Nowadays, we have so much power in our smartphone devices that it might be surprising if we stop for a moment to think that our inexpensive phone is more powerful than the first computers, which occupied entire rooms.
And it’s not just about raw computing power. Having phones that get better on each generation, and being always connected to the internet, have allowed us to enjoy of things that a couple decades ago were just for some, among this, taking photos is one of these.
As smartphones get more and more advance each year, professional cameras and their best makers: Canon, Sony, Pentax, Panasonic and Nikon are doing wonders with their DSLR, mirrorless and even point and shoot cameras.
But the latest smartphone are not only capable computers: They are also powerful cameras that we can take with us anywhere we go. This is why many have called the digital photography, but even more, the newest smartphone cameras, the democratization of photography.
That’s an exciting term, and it really make us want to go out with a smartphone camera and share our photos on Instagram. So let’s discover what are the current best smartphone cameras for you to go and capture the world.
Right now, people and media have been talking a lot about Huawei, due to its ban in the United States, and their loss of access to Android and all Google services, which puts the company at a difficult position, and leave all of its users in a dilemma in regards to what to do with their phones.
For now, we will have to wait to hear what the company have to tell us about the state of their phones and what users will have to do. But, what doesn’t stop being true, is that Huawei P30 pro, and especially, its camera, is one of the best in the market, and for many, the very best one.
To begin with, it has three main cameras on the back, or four cameras, if counting the time of flight sensor. This is the Leica Quad Main Camera, which have different focal lengths and the latest light fusion sensor, which offers a lot of flexibility, as well a lot of power to photography enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Its four cameras feature a powerful 40-megapixel camera, as well as an impressive 5x optical zoom periscope lens, which allows for very close shots with a great quality and unlocks new possibilities for photographers using their smartphones.
Its night vision for pictures on very dark situations is one of the bests among smartphones. It’s of course not a mode for most photography situations, but it’s a great option to count with when we really want to capture a moment and we have no proper light sources.
Overall, a solid option for smartphone camera, perfect for taking high quality photos anywhere, leveraging the best of software, and of course, being also a very good phone. If it wasn’t because of the current situation of Huawei, the decision would be easier.
Google is a software game changer; they changed online searching forever, and own some of the most important software in the tech world, including the Android operating system. And lately, they have been putting a lot of effort into machine learning and AI.
These efforts and experiments into artificial intelligence of Google have also been done in the realm of computational photography, which has allowed them to deliver a great smartphone camera, not so heavy on the hardware side, but compensated with superb camera software.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL don’t have several lenses as other great phone cameras alternatives do, and its back camera is 12-megapixel, but this is not exactly a bad thing, as this, for one, allows Google to greatly reduce costs, since consumers don’t have to pay for the cost of the extra lenses and sophisticated camera.
Since Google’s Pixel 3 doesn’t rely as much on hardware, it lacks optical zoom, but it perfectly overcomes this with its Super Res Zoom, which uses software techniques to combine multiple frames together, to obtain a detailed zoomed shot.
Its Night Sight mode is also excellent, leveraging once again the power of software, to brighten up very dark scenes, and being able to keep the focus, without needing to rely on flash, which is very useful when we simply don’t have enough light to take that night photo.
Overall, the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer a great camera, which might not seem as great at first sight, being weird to hear of a good smartphone camera without many lenses. But this is just a limitation that makes it one of the cheapest best phone cameras around, and its impressive software capabilities might be a plus for software enthusiasts.
It was hard not to talk about the latest iteration on the Apple’s iPhone series, and both, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max come with what is one of the best cameras on a smartphone. And it’s a great camera that comes into an overall beautiful smartphone.
Similar to the Google’s Pixel 3, the iPhone XS might not seem so impressive as a more than capable phone camera at first glance because it has only one main camera, a 12-megapixel one, but this has dual lenses with f/2.4 and f/1.8 apertures.
One of the greatest improvements on this iPhone model, is its smart HDR (High Dynamic Range), which leverages software, as well as faster sensors, which highly improves photos, and allow you to take good photos even quicker, without making them look artificial.
Apple’s iPhone XS and XS Max come with Depth Control, to adjust the depth of field once you have taken the photo. And, for portrait photos, its improved Portrait Lighting allows you to capture people more beautifully.
The newest iPhone in the market is not disappointing, but quite the opposite; and for those wanting to take great pictures while leveraging the power of digital photography, this is one of the best smartphone cameras.
However, if looking for the negative side, its price is definitely one of the key factors when deciding whether to get this or not. Its price tag is the highest, and this is the price to pay for a beautifully designed phone, with great screen and image quality, and a great camera.
When talking about anything that involves great technology in smartphones, one simply cannot avoid talking about Samsung, as this company has been offering the most impressive Android smartphones for many years, and the camera of these devices never disappoints us.
With its Galaxy S10, Samsung has opted for leveraging the power of better camera hardware, more on the side of the Huawei P30, than that of Google Pixel 3 and iPhone XS; which rely more on software (not a bad thing whatsoever, of course).
To begin with, as an overall smartphone, without exclusively talking about its camera capabilities, this is simply a wonderful device, with simply one of the greatest battery lives out there, and a AMOLED screen that looks great. These are both great features that will allow you to take more pictures in a day without worrying about battery.
On the camera side of things, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus come with three cameras on the back, which offer a wider range of possibilities for photography enthusiasts, with each for a specific purpose.
One of its three cameras, its main camera, located in the middle of the camera setup, is a 12-megapixel camera with its standard view and optical image stabilization (OIS). The 12 MP might be surprising, and even disappointing, but it is important to remember that more megapixels alone doesn’t make up great photography capabilities, and this is true for most smartphone cameras, including this one.
Next, we have a 16-megapixel super-wide-angle camera, which allows photographers to take very detailed views, allowing to put many more things into the scene. This is a great feature to count with when we want more spacious, and fascinating pictures.
This smartphone camera features yet another camera, once again, a 12-megapixel camera, but this one comes with a telephoto lens, to take photos that are 2x closer, without losing much in quality. Even if 2x is not the greatest zoom, it’s worth remembering that it’s an optical zoom, which means closer photos with great quality.
The latest flagship device of Samsung is overall an excellent phone, with great screen quality, fast processing speeds, and, of course, a great camera, and this time competing with the Huawei P30 with its three main cameras. A solid option for a powerful phone, with a great camera.
There is no shortage of great smartphone cameras out there right now. Each brand has been improving over the years, some have decided to go for more and better lenses, while others go for better computational photography.
However, there’s certainly a price tag barrier for some people, as most of the best smartphone cameras available in the market come from the best brands. But this doesn’t mean that there are not alternatives if you are looking for a modern and more than capable camera that is much more budget-friendly.
The Honor 20 can be put next to the Huawei P30 and the Samsung Galaxy S10, as what makes it great as a smartphone camera are its four rare cameras, just as the Huawei P30 does. This quad-camera will give you a lot of freedom and a wide range of possibilities on your photography endeavors.
Honor 20 Pro’s main camera features 48-megapixel, which is quite a high number of MP. This is stabilized, with a very good quality of photography, and which allows to record very stable videos.
This phone also comes with a 2-megapixel macro camera, which is not the most impressive in terms of quality, but which is still a very good concept, that might help you to get interesting photos, and overall, for a budget-friendly device, it is a great surprise to count with this.
For our more involved photography needs, apart from the powerful 48-megapixel main camera, we count with an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens, which allows gives us the possibility to take photos at 3x of zoom without losing too much quality.
Finally, the four camera of the Honor 20 Pro’s quad-camera, is a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, to take much more detailed photos, that fits more into the scene. This might not be as powerful as other alternatives, but still quite good.
If you are looking for a good multi-purpose smartphone, much cheaper than the most popular brands, and that prioritizes the camera quality; then the Honor 20 Pro is a great option. However, this is a sub-brand of Huawei, and therefore the same regulations might affect this brand as well. Which could make it better to wait until august to see what future Honor devices will do.
Yet another option for those wanting to leverage the power of more than two rear cameras, the OnePlus 7 Pro features a 3 back cameras setup, with the power of Leica lenses, the same used for the Huawei 30 Pro.
OnePlus 7 Pro’s main camera has a 48-megapixel sensor and wide-angle, which is powerful for the standard camera, and being it wide-angle allows for great quick shots out of the box, as it is capable to capture many details.
Its secondary camera comes with a 16-megapixel sensor and ultra-wide angle, which allows to capture a broad 117-degree field of view. It might fall a bit behind other smartphone camera alternatives on this area, but under the right conditions, it’s still a great added.
For taking very close photos, the OnePlus 7 pro comes with an 8-megapixel telephoto lens which unlocks the possibility of taking photos with a 3x zoom without losing details, as it’s a camera designed for this need.
What makes the OnePlus 7 Pro’s camera special is definitely its portrait mode, which has been enhanced, adding a great bokeh effect. A great camera for photographing people, with a very good face detection. It allows to record videos at up to a 4K resolution and 60 FPS, which is quite a good added.
OnePlus 7 Pro is a not so pricey alternative, which might fall behind a bit in some regards, but which, for not professional photography, offers a very pleasant photography experience, features very modern Leica lenses, and is just great for taking beautiful portraits.
Samsung is incredibly prolific on its cutting-edge smartphone technology production, by not only producing some of the best flagships out there, but also other options for more specific needs, and this is the case with its Galaxy Note 9.
In terms of phone and computational capabilities, the Galaxy Note 9 is impressive, and whether you decide to get this one, a S9 or a S10; is a decision that requires to consider many factors. But, as a smartphone camera alone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has quite good features.
The latest Samsung smartphones are doing a very good job by mixing the best of camera hardware and lenses, with AI and computational photography and post-processing; and this is also the case with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
It features a dual 12-megapixel rear camera, which uses technology to change between apertures depending on light conditions. While its secondary back camera gives you the possibility to take photos with a 2x optical zoom. This might not sound like a big number, but it’s a telephoto lens, which offers closer images without losing much quality.
The Galaxy Note 9 also comes with enhanced scene-optimizer capabilities, which automatically adjusts colors and the white balance, and does this by determining the subjects in the image. It might get hard to notice the improved details, but they are there.
Choosing between the latest Samsung’s flagship or the latest Galaxy Note will depend a lot on what you would like to use your modern smartphone for. Galaxy Note 9’s camera is great, but you should definitely consider the other advantages of a Galaxy Note before going for this one.
Sony has a been a firm competitor in the realm of professional photography, with its excellent DSLRs and point & shoots alike. But, in the world of smartphone cameras, their Xperia series has never disappointed when it comes to image, photo and video.
A lot has been said in regards to phone cameras, always paying special attention to the photography capabilities; finding that some are more powerful in terms of camera hardware, while others leverage software and AI to process great images.
In the realm of smartphone cameras for video and cine, not much has been said. This is why the Sony Xperia 1 has a well-deserved place for those video and film aficionados and pros alike. It’s an interesting bet to feature great smartphone videography, and we will explore it.
First, its aspect ratio is quite unusual, but great for making videos. It features a 21:9 screen, making it way longer than other flagships. And its screen features a 4K resolution, notch-free and HDR.
What makes the Sony Xperia 1 so good for those who want to record great videos with a smartphone, is the fact that it gives a lot of control for videographers, with manual control. It also produces videos that can be perfectly enhanced later with post-processing tools.
There are weak points such as a not so great battery life. But, overall, for those wanting to have a great phone, made by a brand with a long photography and video tradition; and especially, those wanting to produce great video with a smartphone, the Sony Xperia 1 is a great choice