These are the best smartphones for photography right now
Smartphone cameras these days are far superior than their point and shoot counterparts, with results that rival typical DSLRs.
So much new tech have been squeezed into smartphone cameras that have improved the quality of images – from improved sensors with larger apertures, to optical image stabilisation (OIS), optical zoom, two cameras working in tandem and better image processing software, that smartphones can even shoot in RAW for complete control over post processing.
If taking pictures is your passion or it’s something you’re interested to dip your feet in, we’ve highlighted the best smartphones for photography and what truly makes them stand out from the pack so you know which you should spend your hard earned cash on.
The Samsung Galaxy S7’s dual-pixel tech shooter proved to be one of the better smartphone cameras in the past year. The company’s sticking with an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it philosophy, bringing the f/1.7 OIS camera back for the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.
This time, there’s a new multi-frame image processing. It works like HDR, stitching three photos together for better contrast, richer colors and better details. Even subjects under backlit or in poor lighting look impressive. There’s a pro mode if you want to customise settings further, and an improved 8MP front facing camera as well.
iPhone 7 Plus
There are several improvements on the iPhone 7’s camera compared to its iPhone 6 – a wider f/1.8 aperture for better low-light photos, OIS for both iPhone models, as well as a new Quad-LED flash for better and more natural lighting. The biggest plus point for the iPhone 7 Plus though, is the addition of an f/2.8 56mm zoom lens.
Just tap on the 1x icon onscreen for an optical 2x zoom for close up photos sharper than your kitchen knife. Or hold the icon awhile to choose how far or near you want to zoom. The Portrait mode simulates the ‘bokeh’ effect from DSLRs, producing artsy blurry backgrounds that make your subject (and the love of your life) stand out from the background.
The Huawei P9 showed its twin-camera setup paired with Leica glass was right on the money. The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus goes one step further, its 12MP colour sensor and 20MP monochrome one working hand-in-hand to produce stunning images in true black and white or rich colours. The monochrome sensor also does double duty for zoom – you can zoom to any point between 1x and 2x and still get clear photos. While not true optical zoom, it’s better than any smartphone camera digital zoom can muster.
The improved f/1.8 Leica glass helps under poor light, and under wide-angle mode you can adjust the aperture (down to the legendary Leica f/0.95) for aesthetically pleasing ‘bokeh’ blurry backgrounds – helping your subjects really stand out. Or shoot in monochrome for that truly Leica look. And yes, even the front camera’s fitted with f/1.9 Leica glass too.
There’s a lot going for the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL, but its rear shooter’s HDR+ mode really makes photos pop. It’s high dynamic range display good exposure in resulting shots on both the foreground and background. Landscape shots truly shine under the HDR+ mode, especially when you’re shooting in the golden hour (after sunrise or before sunset).
Unlike HDR modes from other smartphone cameras, there’s next to zero lag when shooting using Pixel’s HDR+, so snap away freely.
The LG G6 takes the modular camera approach from the last year and gives it a little twist – now it’s a permanent dual 13MP camera setup, a standard lens coupled with a wide-angle one. Switching up to the wide-angle lens nets you impressive landscapes, and shooting from atop a hill should result in impressive cityscape photos.
The G6 has a pro mode for those who want to tweak their shutter speed, ISO and white balance like your typical DSLR. You can also shoot pictures while referencing at your previous shot. Called Square mode, it easily lets you adjust compositions and settings without going back to your gallery.