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Best Phone Camera

Hubert Nguyen May 4, 2017

With smartphones, Photos Capture is undeniably the second-most important activity after communications, so the camera experience is an extremely important feature for nearly every potential customer. At Ubergizmo, we have access to pretty much every smartphone out there, and we have a lot of experience with them. To save you a little time and help you choose your next phone, here is a list of the best camera phones on the market. Optionally, you can read what’s a great mobile camera experience? if you are curious about how we look at this.

*This page will be updated several times a year. Last update: May 4 2017

Important criteria

Our selection rests on a few important factors. I won’t dive deep into the details here, but here are the essential points to remember:

  1. The end game is to take sharp, low-noise photos that resemble what our eyes can see (or slightly better!)
  2. Megapixel is only relevant in bright lighting conditions as it can bring in extra details. In low-light, it doesn’t matter as much.
  3. Good white balance and color-metering is very important
  4. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) help avoid blurry photos in low-light
  5. Advanced Auto-Focus (laser or phase-detection) is critical for fast AF
    1. Dual-Diode pixel is the state of the art AF technology today
  6. A large, high-quality display improves the photo experience on the device
  7. Keep in mind that raw sensor specs don’t always translate into best photography. There is a huge amount of software processing involved in the final photo output.

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+

Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S8 Photo Samples

With the Galaxy S8 released and on the market, we had ample time to play with it and see how it performs from a mobile-photography point of view. This year’s Galaxy S8 features a hardware that is quasi-identical to the already excellent Galaxy S7 series. The software has been improved, but overall, this is an incremental improvement over the S7 that lead mobile camera performance for most of 2016.

The Galaxy S8 photo experience is excellent across the board: it is easy to quickly launch the camera with a double-press of the Power button. The autofocus (AF) and metering are extremely fast, thanks to the Dual-Diode pixel technology that gives it many times the number of AF sensors when compared to competitors. The captured photos are sharp and vivid with not too much sharpening or effects. Finally, the enormous AMOLED display will boost the quality of the image on the phone itself.

  • Read our complete review of the Galaxy S8/S8+
  • 12 Megapixel
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): yes.
  • Advanced AF: yes. (Dual-Diode Pixels phase-detection)
  • Display: AMOLED 6.2″ 531 PPI (S8+) and 5.8″ 568 PPI (S8)

Google Pixel/Pixel XL

Gallery: Google Pixel Photo Samples

The Google Pixel was an enormous jump forward for Google handsets. By not competing in “performance for the price,” Google has freed the hand of the handset designers who have been able to integrate an excellent camera sensor and optics, along with a powerful hardware platform based on Snapdragon 821. In turns, this allowed Google’s software developers to use computational photography with great effects. With HDR techniques pushed to the limits, they have increased image quality and camera experience to levels previously unknown for Google Handsets.

The Pixel handsets provide an excellent experience, across the board. Google’s HDR technique allows for very contrasted and saturated photos. It particularly excels in scenes with high dynamic range that could confuse other cameras. Sometimes, the colors may seem a bit unnatural, but some people love this, while others can be turned off. Overall, the Pixel photography is a huge success.

  • Read our complete Google Pixel review
  • 12 Megapixel
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): yes (Pixel XL), no (Pixel).
  • Advanced AF: yes (phase detection)
  • Display: AMOLED, 5.5″ 441 PPI (Pixel XL), 5″ 534 PPI (Pixel)

LG G6

Gallery: LG G6 Photo Samples

The photos above show a wide shot (top) and a conventional shot (bottom). LG is the only OEM to provide a wide-shot.

The LG G6 builds on the legacy of great camera phones such as the LG V20 and the LG G5. In conventional photography, the G6 performs very well and competes at the highest level. Upon a close inspection of the photos, you may find that they are a little over-sharpened, but overall it is really good. The LG secret weapon that no-one else has matched is the wide-angle photography option. In many instances, the LG G6 is the only mobile camera that will be able to take the most interesting view. That is the unique power of the LG G6 today (along with the LG V20 and LG G5).

In the end, the LG G6 creates a new footprint in a mobile photography uncharted territory. While it is just a little bit less performing than a Google Pixel or Galaxy S7/S8 for “conventional” photo, it is by far a camera experience that is more fun, and opens more possibilities. We want other phone-makers to pursue this kind of experience. As wide-photo becomes more popular in the consumers’ awareness, we will be less forgiving to OEMs that don’t include this option.

  • Read our complete LG G6 Review
  • 13 Megapixel
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): yes (conventional cam), no (wide cam)
  • Advanced AF: yes (phase detection)
  • Display: LCD IPS display, 5.7” 565 PPI

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Gallery: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Photo Samples

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus phones brought important mobile photo improvements to Apple’s line of products. The iPhone 7 has better low-light performance and overall image quality than the iPhone 6S, and that is a welcome improvement. The iPhone 7 Plus brings a secondary camera which is equivalent to a 2X optical zoom. Use in combination, both cameras can help build a depth-image which is then the basis to produce great software-based Bokeh (background blur – see photo above). That makes the iPhone the best handset for mobile portrait photography.

Apple users will immediately benefit from the jump in performance. Cross-platform users may not be swayed since they have better options (for different reasons) with the S7/S8/Pixel and G6. Of course, if you want/like to zoom a lot, the iPhone 7 Plus will be the obvious best choice since it is the only handset to have an optical zoom. We would argue that overall, the Wide shot (G6) is much more useful than the 2X zoom, but each user is different, so pick based on your usage pattern.

  • Read our full iPhone 7 Review
  • 12 Megapixel
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): yes.
  • Advanced AF: yes (phase detection)
  • Display: IPS LCD 4.7″ 326 PPI, 5.5″ 401 PPI

Huawei P10/ P10 Plus

Huawei P10 portrait photo with background blur

The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus have truly established themselves as the Android nemesis of the iPhone 7. They have a comparable size and feel, which isn’t the norm anymore on Android where large-display phones rules. The Huawei P10, in particular, feels similar to holding an iPhone 7 and may be a good option for potential “switchers” who like Android, but also the general iPhone 7 form-factor. The Huawei P10 is a very good Portrait mobile photography handset. With its 20 Megapixel black and white sensor, it could also be an excellent B&W camera.

The Huawei P10 extends the dual-camera concept that Huawei has been promoting for a long time now. As we explained before, the dual-camera does help produce depth data, which is used to produce higher-quality Bokeh (background blur) in photos. The conventional photo quality of the Huawei P10 makes it the first Huawei-branded phone to enter our top #5 phone cameras list. The Huawei Camera app also has artsy photo modes like Light Painting or a productivity mode for document scan.

  • Read our complete review of the Huawei P10
  • 12 Megapixel (color cam) / 20 Megapixel (B&W cam)
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): yes.
  • Advanced AF: yes (phase detection)
  • Display: IPS LCD 5.1″ 432 PPI, 5.5″ 534 PPI

Best Phone Camera , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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