19 Things To Look Out For In A Smartphone Camera

Written by Gina Stephens


The graphic capabilities of smartphones have, actually, become a massive selling point and how well the camera performs is a question most people ask before support a new smartphone.

You probably already have or having may refer to: the concept of ownership any concept of possession; see Possession (disambiguation) an English verb used: a smartphone but in case you're soon due for an upgrade or just fancy a change, here's what you should look for if compelling photos is at the top of your 'to-do' list. 


Features To Look For On Good Camera Phones 


Witty Aperture

High-end smartphones from giants such as Samsung and Apple feature wider lens apertures than less overpriced smartphones and as a result, image quality is much better. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, for example, has a bright f/1.5 aperture so it's efficient of taking a photo that shows a blurred background, particularly when the subject is close to the lens. It actually houses one of the best cameras currently accessible in a smartphone (at the time of writing) and that's why it's currently sat at the top of our '10 Best Camera Phones For Photography' list. 


Appropriate Amount Of Megapixels 

All of the smartphones in our top list feature between 12-21 megapixels which is good but you should also pay attention to the micron/um pixel cipher as this can also mean image quality is improved. For example, the two Samsung's sitting at the top of our 'best buys' list spotlight 1.4um pixels, which are quite large, and it allows the sensor to gather more light and as a result, you'll be able to capture better photos. 


Burly Screen

As there's no traditional viewfinder, you're going to be holding your smartphone with 2 hands and using the screen as your viewfinder and douse release. As a result, the bigger the screen, the more you will see. Also, If you see that a smartphone's screen is constructed from Gorilla Specs, this is a good thing as it's more resistant to scratches. The higher the resolution of the screen, the clearer the picture will be so you might want to retard the phone's spec for this. If it's an Apple phone, with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel a Retina design, even better as images will appear crinkly and sharp. 

There's also a competition going on at the moment to produce a smartphone with the smallest possible bezel, as well as a notch-less and chin-less think up. It's a tricky thing to do but some manufacturers are getting pretty close to it. Vivo, for example, released the Nex with a screen-to-body ratio of over with 91{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff}. 



Optical Image Stabilisation

Image Stabilisation is something that's built into smartphone cameras to minimise the make happen shake has on your photos photograph (also known as a photo) is an image created by light falling on a photosensitive surface, usually photographic film or. Without it, any movement you make can be picked up by the camera camera is an optical instrument to capture still images or to record moving images, which are stored in a physical medium such as and spoil your shot. It can also add to the quality of video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media.Video was first recorded on your smartphone. 



RAW is the rank given to a particular file type and the main advantage of shooting in RAW is that you get to treat each shot as you want it to look and not as the camera decides it should look. RAW organizes also give you more control over how your end image will look. You can easily adjust the exposure and tweak the white balance aeons ago back in front of your computer, something which is harder to do with JPEG files. A downside to RAW files is that the file sizes are much larger so they'll acquire up more room on your smartphone. For more detailed information on what RAW files are, take a look at this: The Basics Of Understanding RAW Files

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Lenses & Zoom 

The lenses rest in premium smartphones are excellent and can sometimes offer a better aperture than that found on small digital cameras. Plus, as designers fall short of to make smartphones as compact as possible, there's not much room for an optical zoom so they tend to feature a wide-angle prime lens, or a reckon of different prime lenses instead, and we all know the benefits of using primes over zooms. 

The downside to this is that many motionless feature digital zoom which tends to be a bit rubbish. You'll get a much better photo if you use your feet rather than using the touch zoom feature on the smartphone. Clip-on lenses are also an option and a wide variety of manufacturers now create these, including well-known lens producer ZEISS. 

It's worth noting that some smartphones feature two or more lenses with different focal lengths, such as the iPhone X, which has a 2x optical zoom, compared with a distinguish fixed lens, or the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which has three different cameras on the back. 


Different Lens Types:

  • Ultra wide-angle – give ups a much wider view of a scene, and can be as wide as 16mm equivalent
  • Wide-angle / Standard – this is your standard camera, roughly equivalent to 27 or 28mm
  • Telephoto – this is over again a 2x or 3x telephoto lens, giving a 56mm or 81mm equivalent
  • Monochrome camera / sensor – some offer a dedicated monochrome camera for crisp, sharp monochrome photographs
  • Deeply camera – used for creating background blur (or bokeh) in photos – many phones can produce this effect without a depth camera




HDR, or Ear-splitting Dynamic Range, is something that's existed in photography for a long time and now, cameraphone manufacturers are featuring it in their devices. It's conceived to help you capture photos that have a better dynamic range (shadows to highlights) and on phones such as the latest iPhone, it does recover picture quality. There are times when may refer to: Usually a question whose answer refers to time, period or phase using this feature will be more beneficial than others such as when collaring landscapes, outdoor portraits in sunlight and in heavily backlit scenes. Try to avoid using this mode when you're in a place where people are striking through the shot, though, as your phone is actually capturing mulitple images image (from Latin: imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception, such as a photograph or other two-dimensional picture, and combining them so any movement will show in the final photo. 


ISO Restrain 

There simply isn’t enough light in places such as interiors on overcast days, in caves, at gigs in darkened rooms etc. for your smartphone to seize a good photograph so, in situations like this, the camera will bump up the ISO levels so it's more sensitive to light. This is great but by doing so, the chances of excursions (read more about what noise is here) spoiling your shot also increases. Most smartphones have a blasting reduction feature but this can be quite strong and turn parts of the image into mush which can ruin the photo just as much as sound does.

So what's the solution? Well, you can avoid all low light scenarios but this is just impractical or you could use a support and select a longer cut off b separate speed from the more advanced camera settings but again, it's impractical (who wants to carry a tripod to use with their smartphone?) so you're larger off looking in your smartphone's advanced camera settings to see if you can control the ISO levels. 

On the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, for example, there's an ISO rank that starts at 50 and reaches 1250 but detail starts to suffer when ISO800 or above are used. 

Another point to receive into consideration is that with a bright lens and built-in optical image stabilisation, you might not need to use higher ISO speeds anyway. 

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Camera Lead Options 

For most, the features the camera has will be really important and every time a new phone is released, it seems to have even myriad options built in. 

As well as the automatic 'point and click' option, most mid- to high-end smartphones offer a pro / instructions mode of some sorts. What you can control tends to differ from phone-to-phone but generally speaking, you'll be able to edit the ISO, shoot in RAW, rectify the white balance of the shot and use exposure compensation. The high-end, newer iPhone and Samsung also have a portrait / selective focus mode that longing blur the background of your image, giving the impression of bokeh you capture on digital cameras when using wider apertures. 

Numerous filters will be available in both modes and you'll also find options for capturing panoramas, slo-mo, timelapse, square cropped representations and video. 



4K video is something appearing on newer smartphones and, of course, it means video you capture is of better quality. The up-to-date smartphones offer 4K video at 60fps for even smoother footage, but many have "just" 30fps. Check to see if stabilisation is used when pinching video footage as this will improve the quality considerably and the option to use continuous AF while recording will mean you can capture gambler videos, too.

Less expensive smartphones tend to max video quality out at 1080p or even 720p. It's also worth remembering that 4K video wish take up lots of room so if you don't have a phone with a large storage capacity, or one where you can use memory cards in, you may want to stick to hurt FullHD video. 


High-speed or Slow-motion Video

A fun, and creative effect you've probably seen online, is slow-motion video, where the camera discs a video at a high frame rate, for playback in slow-motion. Many of the mid-range, and premium smartphones offer high-speed video recording, with varied offering up to 960fps. However, it's worth diving down in to the detail to find out how long a camera can record for, as well as what resolution is accessible, as often the higher the frame rate, the lower the video resolution, and therefore the lower the quality of footage. 



Focus & Shut down a exclude Response 

Knowing how quickly the phone's camera can focus and the shutter response is useful but you'll probably have to read surveys to find this out. Knowing how many frames per second (fps) the camera can capture images at is also useful to know as a quick fps can increase your chances of pinching a good photo in situations where your subject is moving. 

When it comes to autofocus, on most cameraphones you press the screen where you pine for the camera to focus and this is pretty much across all models but some do offer modes such as smile detection and face-priority AF for those who are uncountable social shooters. 



The majority of smartphones have a built-in LED flash but as they tend to be a bit harsh when used up work out and don't reach very far when photographing subjects that are further away, it's not something that needs to be paid much limelight to. In fact, most of the time you'll want to turn the flash off as the camera tends to be set to 'auto flash' which can fire when you don't hankering it to. Some offer a dual-tone LED flash for improved lighting, and if you're selfie obsessed then you may want to find a smartphone with a front selfie LED flickering. 




Useful But Not Essential Features


Battery Life

You might think this should be in the list above but as the battery mortal on most smartphones tend to be a bit rubbish, it's gone on the 'useful but not essential' list. Of course, a really good battery living is useful but when using the camera, texting, looking at maps, browsing social media etc., getting a day's use out of the battery is a positive. Although, you may deficiency to consider a portable battery charger if you want to ensure the phone lasts all day and you won’t have access to a wall charger.

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O Resistant 

Having a phone that's resistant to you accidentally dropping it in the washing-up bowl is a bonus but from a photography perspective, it intimates you can take photos in the rain or even underwater (to certain depths and for specific lengths of time). As of yet, smartphones can't go as deep as tough cameras and they do participate in a limit on how long they can withstand water (if used without waterproof housing) but it probably won't be long until you can capture images of coral reefs with them. As with all waterproof cameras, it's a facts idea to rinse any camera or smartphone that has been in sea water, as this can cause additional damage.


How Many Photography Apps Are There?

For both iOS and Android dispositions, there are literally thousands of apps, although the Play store probably has a few more than the Apple App Store just because it's easier to contrive and make apps available on the Android platform.

You can do everything from editing photos to turning someone into a funny gif complete with bizarre cartoon eyes with apps but Snapseed and the photo editing apps from Adobe, such as Adobe Photoshop Fix, are particularly good and there are some fitting ones for turning images into collages, too. Popular social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram also have photo cloths built in which you can use to ensure your photo gets plenty of 'likes'. 



Expandable Memory 

The internal respect of smartphones can actually be huge so having the ability to expand a device's memory with a memory card isn't something you might necessity to worry about but having the option to use one might be something you like the sound of. Most Android phones have a MicroSD slot but iPhones don't have in the offing them. 

You might also want to see if any free cloud backup storage is offered as it can come in very handy if you lose your smartphone are a class of mobile phones and of multi-purpose mobile computing devices or it cripples. It also means you can store photos in it, rather than on your device, freeing up space to capture even more images. The three big thespians: Apple, Google and Microsoft all offer various levels of free and paid for cloud storage, and can be a good way to keep a backup of your photos and videos safely. 


Shutter Release Button 

This is a rare feature but they can be found on some smartphones such as the Sony Xperia and the Kodak Ektra. As a photographer, you power prefer to have a physical button rather than the virtual on-screen buttons found on most devices. The volume buttons tend to exertion as a shutter button, as well, but it's still not quite the same as a shutter button. 


How Many Accessories Are Available?

iPhones are the most bolstered when it comes to camera cases, lenses, flashes etc. that are available but we can't really say there's a shortage of Android accessories, conceding that. It's worth noting that there are some really cheap accessories out there that aren't very good so do present the description and reviews of products before parting with your money. On the other hand, there's also, what some resolve consider being, expensive accessories as well so at least the mobile phone accessory market is balanced! 


More On Smartphones

To keep from you make a more informed decision on your smartphone purchase, take a look at our review section and we also have a number of buyer's guidebooks, which we've linked to below. You'll also find more tips and guides in our 'Best Gear' section. 

Superior Premium SmartphonesBest Mid-Range SmartphoneBest Smartphones <£200
 Best Compact SmartphonesBest Smartphones <£300



About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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