Top Smartphones For Photography: Picking Your Future Companion

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Igor Letilovic
October 7, 2017 By Igor Letilovic
Top Smartphones For Photography: Picking Your Future Companion www.sleeklens.com

The time has finally come to create an article that takes a look at the current smartphones primarily from the standpoint of their ability to provide their users with good quality results in terms of taking photos or recording videos without compromising the overall experience you get when shooting with a smartphone. This means that all of the devices of our choice should allow for the easy content creation, no matter if you’re someone who’s already versed in the art of photography or you’re a complete beginner.

Still, all the smartphones we’ve chosen offer unique features of their own and each and every one of them will fit different types of users, which is exactly what you would want as having a choice to find the right device that will perfectly satisfy your own needs is always a good thing. We are also aware that there are a couple of smartphones that were made especially with photography in mind, but we wanted to focus on those that can easily be purchased today and that offer the most value in terms of having all of the up to date hardware and software. Honorable mentions should go to devices such as the Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia Lumia 1020, Microsoft Lumia 950, Samsung Galaxy K Zoom or even the Panasonic Lumix CM1, but most of them are impossible to buy in new condition or they are just too old to compare to today’s modern smartphones in terms of features other than their cameras, so it wouldn’t be realistic to include any of them in this article. Another important disclaimer to mention is that we won’t be taking a look at the quality of front cameras since anyone interested in any type of serious photography will care a lot more about the one on the back of the phone.

So, now that we’ve covered all of the most important facts that had to be said, let’s finally dig deeper into the core of this article and start with the first smartphone on our list.

Sony Xperia XZ PremiumGo to Amazon
While Sony’s smartphones may not be as popular as they used to be in their glory days, you really can’t talk about smartphone photography without including at least one of their devices, since this has always been the area in which they’ve always had a lot of strengths.
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Pros
  • 4K screen
  • Powerful processor
  • Hardware shutter key
  • microSD card support
  • Good battery life
  • Respectable image quality in daylight
  • Steady Shot video stabilization
  • 4K recording
  • Excellent burst rate
  • Class-leading 960 fps slow-motion recording
  • 3D scanning capabilities
  • Water resistance
  • Manual exposure controls available right from the main camera application
Cons
  • No optical image stabilization
  • Subpar low light performance
  • Too much noise reduction applied to all images
  • No RAW support
  • 960fps videos require a lot of light to offer decent image quality
Click to read the full Review
Their latest and greatest offering is the Xperia XZ Premium and it certainly comes equipped with a few unique features, some related to photography and some not. You’ll get a great-looking 5.46-inch screen with still extremely high 4K resolution, a very capable and up to date Snapdragon 835 processor, a decently sized 3230 mAh battery and 64 GB of built-in storage with the option to expand it even further with up to 256 GB microSD cards. So, enough of hardware features to ensure that you can comfortably use your smartphones without any problems. It even comes with a dedicated shutter button, something that is very rare to see on today’s modern smartphones and also a water and dust-resistant body. Now, onto the camera itself. It comes with the highest megapixel count sensor of all smartphones on our list and one of the biggest ones as well. It’s a Sony-made 19-megapixel 1/2.3-inch IMX400 ExmorRS sensor that sits behind a 25mm equivalent lens with an f2.0 aperture. This combination allows it to take pretty detailed photos in those conditions where there’s enough light and the same can be said for its videos, which can be recorded up to 4K resolution. Low light performance is average at best, since the XZ Premium’s sensor lacks image stabilization and doesn’t let in a lot of light because of its high resolution. Still, you can achieve good results by using a tripod, since you do get full manual control of exposure, including ISO and shutter speed. Shooting videos is a different story since they do benefit from Steady Shot electronic stabilization and in return look very smooth and nicely balanced.

The XZ Premium does come with couple of major features that set it apart from its competition; one of those comes included with the phone while two of those will be coming later this year together with the Android Oreo update. The one that is available out of the box is the 960p slow motion video recording and that’s thanks to a special RAM cheap that gives the sensor a lot more power than without it. It does top out at 720p, but it’s still immensely useful if you need such functionality. The other two features that will arrive soon are the 3D scanning and the improved burst mode with AF tracking. The 3D scanning allows you to scan any object you like, get a full view of it from all its sides inside the appropriate application and also print with a 3D printer. The new burst mode makes use of the capable phase detection AF system and allows for focus changes in between every shot, just like with any decent mirrorless camera or a DSLR and that is something previously unseen in a smartphone. All in all, the Sony XZ Premium offers a pretty compelling package for almost any photographer out there, other than the ones who plan to shoot mostly in low light conditions.
LG G6Go to Amazon
The next device on our path to a perfect smartphone for photography is the LG G6. The company’s newest offering the V30 could arguably take its place, but since it’s much harder to get your hands on that phone then the globally available G6, the latter was a more logical choice for our article.
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Pros
  • Large and sharp screen
  • Capable processor
  • microSD card support
  • Good battery life
  • Respectable image quality in daylight
  • Fast f1.8 aperture on the main sensor
  • 3-axis optical image stabilization
  • Useful wide-angle secondary sensor
  • 4K recording
  • RAW support and manual exposure controls integrated right into the main camera application
  • Water resistance
Cons
  • No hardware shutter key
  • Last generation processor
  • Average low light performance
  • No dedicated portrait mode for creating background blur
  • Underwhelming slow-motion capabilities
Click to read the full Review
Before taking a deeper look into its camera, let’s highlight the most important specifications. You’ll be shooting and viewing your photos and videos on a large and sharp 5.7-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1440x2880 pixels, store your content on both the large internal memory and the microSD card, operate the phone quickly due to capable Snapdragon 821 processor and shoot for a decent amount of time thanks to the integrated 3300 mAh battery. The LG G6 follows the current trend with smartphone cameras and includes two separate sensors. They both have the same resolution of 13 megapixels and the same 1/3-inch sensor size, but offers a normal field of view of around 71 degrees, f1.8 aperture and 3-axis image stabilization, while the other one comes equipped with an ultra-wide-angle lens with a 125-degree field of view, f2.4 aperture and no AF. Laser-assisted autofocus is also included for faster and more accurate focusing and so is the capability to record 4K footage with stereo sound. You could also shoot in tough weather conditions, like during heavy rain thanks to the included water and dust resistance.

While the LG G6 may not have the biggest camera sensors in the industry, it still manages to produce pleasant looking photos in daytime and decent ones in low light conditions. Image stabilization and wide f1.8 aperture certainly help to keep the noise down as low as possible and to allow for low enough shutter speeds without any image quality degradation due to handshake. You can also adjust any exposure parameter you want within the camera application and also shoot in RAW if you want to make the most out of your photos and edit them on a computer. Still, the biggest photography-related selling point of the LG G6 has to be its secondary sensor with an ultra-wide-angle lens. While other manufacturers are either embracing the telephoto secondary sensors or a combination of color and monochrome sensors, LG have managed to distinguish their flagship smartphone by going their own way with theirs. While it may not offer the best image quality out there, having an ultra-wide-angle lens is still a very useful thing to have on a device you’ll be carrying around with you all of the time since you’ll be able to take some dramatic landscape photos or record unique types of videos. The lack of autofocus may be a problem to some, but since we’re talking about very large depth of field thanks to the nature of the design of such a lens, it doesn’t sound like any kind of big deal to us.
Google Pixel XLGo to Amazon
Surprisingly enough, the time has finally come to include one of Google’s own offerings on a list of best camera phones and that honor goes to the Google Pixel XL. It’s a well-known fact that Google’s stock Android smartphones never had one cameras, but also never came with ones that could challenge the best on the market.
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Pros
  • Large and sharp screen
  • Capable processor
  • Good battery life
  • Great image quality in both daylight and low light conditions
  • Large 1.55 µm pixels help to keep the noise as low as possible
  • Advanced HDR features
  • 4K recording
  • Good slow-motion capabilities
  • Simple and easy to use camera interface
Cons
  • No hardware shutter key
  • Last-generation processor
  • No optical image stabilization
  • No water resistance
  • No microSD card support
  • No RAW support or advanced manual exposure controls without a third-party camera application
  • Mono audio recording
Click to read the full Review
Well, the times have finally changed with the end of the Nexus line up and now we have a phone that easily competes with all of the other flagships and even beats them in some respects. The Pixel XL comes equipped with a nice 5.5-inch AMOLED screen with QHD resolution, fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 32 or 128GB of built-in storage and a respectably large 3450 mAh battery pack. The lack of microSD support and a newer generation processor may be a deal breaker for some, but luckily, performance is of no issue since we’re dealing with a device that runs stock Android which is free of any unnecessary bloatware that would otherwise slow the device down. What’s most important about the Pixel XL for this article is its camera and there’s certainly a lot say about it. It’s a combination of 12.3-megapixel 1/2.3-inch IMX378 Sony-made sensor and a decently fast lens with f2.0 aperture and a 26mm equivalent focal length. There’s no optical image stabilization on board, but this is one of those rare cases where it actually isn’t that necessary since the Pixel’s sensor lets a large amount of light thanks to its 1.55 µm sized pixels which allows it to achieve faster shutter speeds and less noise at higher ISO values when shooting in low light conditions.

The overall image quality is great, no matter if you’re shooting during the day or during night time. The JPEG processing isn’t too aggressive and there’s a nice balance between sharpening and noise reduction. 4K videos also look really good and are still smooth enough despite not having the benefit of optical image stabilization. The EIS, or Electronic Image Stabilization does its job here. The addition of 1080p 120 fps and 720p 240 fps are also a nice addition for those that like to play around with slow-motion effects. There is one major feature included with the Google Pixel XL to thank for such a respectable image quality and that’s the new HDR+ mode. While most of the HDR modes included on other smartphones usually only help to balance the highlights and the shadows in the scene, the HDR+ mode on the Pixel also helps to get sharper photos with less noise to them. It works so well, that there’s really no reason not to leave it on for most of your shooting. The only case where you should leave it off is when you’re trying to capture any motion in low light, but that’s it. While the included camera application works very well and is quite easy to use, we do wish that Google decided to allow for more advanced control of exposure or RAW support within the app, so it wouldn’t be necessary to download a third-party application to gain such functionality.
Apple iPhone 8 PlusGo to Amazon
You can say what will about Apple and their business practices, but there’s no denying the fact that their smartphones always came equipped with very capable cameras. So, it’s no surprise that the story hasn’t changed with their latest device, the iPhone 8 Plus.
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Pros
  • Good quality screen
  • Excellent performance
  • Great image quality in all lighting conditions
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Secondary telephoto lens is a very useful addition
  • 4K 60 fps recording
  • Very compelling slow-motion capabilities
  • Water resistance
  • Simple and easy to use camera interface
  • Good battery life
  • H.265 codec support
  • Useful portrait mode
Cons
  • Screen resolution not as high as on the competing Android devices
  • No microSD card support
  • No hardware shutter key
  • No RAW support or advanced manual exposure controls without a third-party camera application
  • Mono audio recording
  • The telephoto camera doesn’t work in low light conditions
Click to read the full Review
Aside from its premium design, it also offers nicely balanced specifications, like the 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD screen, a powerful six-core Apple A11 Bionic processor, 64 or 256GB of internal storage and a respectably big 2691 mAh battery. To be fair, we do wish that it had a higher resolution screen and support for external storage, but the overall excellent performance and the easy to use iOS software certainly make up for those omission at least to some degree. Unlike its smaller brother, the iPhone 8 Plus doesn’t come with one, but two camera sensors. Both of them sport the same resolution of 12 megapixels, but other than that they are entirely different beasts. The one you’ll be using most of the time comes equipped with a 28mm equivalent f1.8 lens and optical image stabilization, while the secondary one is a smaller sensor sporting a 56mm equivalent lens with slightly slower aperture of f2.8. Like you would expect from Apple, they are quite secretive when it comes to providing any detailed information about the specific sensors built into their smartphones, but the general belief is that the main sensor is around 1/2.8-inch big, while the one behind the telephoto lens is around 1/3.6-inch. So, nothing out of ordinary, but not bad at all either. When it comes to overall photo quality, you can expect to get great images in those occasions where there’s enough light in the scene and good images in low light with very little noise. You can also expect to get the highest quality videos ever recorded with a smartphone, thanks to 4K recording at 60 fps and slow-motion recording at 1080p and 240 fps. Unfortunately, the one flaw of video recording with an iPhone still remains and that’s it’s limitation of only being able to record audio in mono, rather than in stereo. So, if audio is of utmost importance to you, you should look into adding something like an external microphone to improve its quality.

Now, besides being quite a simple smartphone to use when it comes to photography and lacking RAW and manual exposure controls out of the box, the iPhone 8 Plus does have quite a few tricks up its sleeves when it comes to useful features. The first one is the now familiar Portrait mode, which uses the secondary telephoto lens to help you add artificial background blur to your photos and it works well most of the time. It’s now also being expanded with one new feature, the Portrait Lighting mode. This one uses clever software algorithms to add all the necessary effects to make your photo look like it was taken in the professional studio environment. It doesn’t yield very impressive results all of the time, but you can get some very dramatic looking images after a couple of tries. It’s not something you should rely on for everyday use, but it’s a fun addition nevertheless. Lastly, we should mention the new image format, HEIF. It enables you to produce photos that are half of the size of those taken in the usual JPEG format, but without any loss in quality. There is still the downside of files only being supported on Apple devices, but on the plus side, if you transfer your images to a non-Apple device they will be automatically converted to JPEG, meaning you aren’t at a big loss in that case.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8Go to Amazon
Lastly, it’s time to take a look at the most versatile smartphone when it comes to photography and that’s the Samsung’s newest flagship, the Note 8. After the company’s fiasco with their previous device, the Note 7, it’s good to see that they’re back in full force with this one and ready to conquer the market once again.
Overall rating:
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Pros
  • Large and sharp screen, Powerful processor
  • microSD card support
  • Good battery life
  • Great image quality in all lighting conditions
  • Optical image stabilization available on both cameras
  • 4K recording
  • Water resistance
  • Secondary telephoto lens is a very useful addition
  • Dual Pixel AF is still the fastest focusing system around
  • RAW support and manual exposure controls integrated right into the main camera application
  • Useful portrait mode
Cons
  • No hardware shutter key
  • The telephoto camera doesn’t work in low light conditions
  • The very aggressive JPEG processing engine can sometimes produce over processed photos
  • Average slow-motion capabilities
  • The telephoto lens doesn’t benefit from Dual Pixel AF technology
Click to read the full Review
The Note 8 is a powerhouse no matter how you look at it; it offers the newest Snapdragon 835 processor (or Samsung’s in-house Exynos 8895 processor if you’re outside of US or China), a very large curved 6.3-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1440x2960 pixels, up to 256GB of storage that can be expanded via the microSD card and a decently big 3300 mAh battery. So, there’s no denying that it’s a very capable and up to date smartphone. Now, on to the camera, or should we say, cameras. The philosophy here is the same as on the Apple iPhone 8 Plus; there’s a main wide-angle sensor and a smaller secondary telephoto sensor that will help you get better quality zoom than you would get by using the traditional digital methods. The main camera sensor is a Samsung or Sony made (you’ll either get one or the other with the Note 8) 12-megapixel 1/2.55-inch unit which sits behind a 26mm equivalent lens with a very bright aperture of f1.7. This combination brings the pixel size of 1.4 µm, which allows for class-leading low light performance. The secondary sensor has the same resolution as the main one, but is smaller in size (1/3.6-inch), with a smaller aperture of f2.4, but it does bring an equivalent focal length of 52mm, which aligns perfectly with its 2x zoom label. The last bonus to the entire package is the addition of optical image stabilization, which is enabled for both sensors.

All of this hardware equals to great picture quality, no matter the type of photography you are into. On some occasions the photos can look a tad on the artificial aside because of the way sharpening and saturation are applied during processing, but that’s where RAW support comes in if you want to edit them yourself from scratch. 4K video recording also produces very nice results, even in low light conditions. When it comes to useful camera-related features the first one that comes to mind has to be Multi-Frame Image Processing. It works in a similar way to Google Pixel’s HDR+ technology as it combines 10 photos that are automatically taken before you press the shutter button and combines them into one purer and less noisy image. It also does it all in background and doesn’t require to be enabled anywhere on the camera interface. The Selective focus feature found on the previous Samsung’s flagship has been changed and renamed to Live Focus as it now works in tandem with the Note’s secondary telephoto camera to create background blur around your subjects that’s even more realistic than before. As is the case with every smartphone with this feature on the market, the technology still isn’t advanced enough to be void of some processing errors like blurring parts of people’s hair or something right on the edge of your subject, but it works good enough for casual use and you can’t ask a lot more from it at this moment in time. Another useful feature you’ll get with the Note 8 is the ability to shoot photos and record videos in 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which gives them a more cinematic look and also allows you to make full use of that large screen with the same native aspect ratio.

Selection Criteria

I think that most of us interested in photography are well aware of how capable today’s smartphones have become in terms of their cameras and all of the features and that we can no longer ignore them as a viable option for some amateur or semi-pro work and that means a lot of the type of a device that you can carry on you all of the time without even thinking about it. This means that it’s time to almost treat them as something like a point-and-shoot or a compact camera and judge them the same way. So, as is the tradition with each of our articles that feature multiple items of carefully chosen gear, we had to establish certain criteria to rate the smartphones we chose for this article as well. If you’re interested in taking a deeper look into our procedure of choosing the right types of items to be featured in our articles, here is the list of every characteristic of a modern smartphone that we’ve chosen to distinguish our top picks and the corresponding explanations for each of those characteristics. We hope that you’ll be pleased with our methods and recognize our ability to offer you the best smartphones to enrich your photography experience.

Camera features – First and foremost, since we’re taking a look at the chosen smartphones primarily from the standpoint of photography, it’s obvious that we should make sure that they offer a feature set that’s big enough to offer the potential user a really broad shooting experience, no matter if they’re just beginning to discover the charms of photography or they are already familiar with it. The most important aspect of every camera, especially the one mounted on a smartphone has to be its light gathering ability. Since we’re talking about relatively small sensors, it’s important to keep the ISO values as low as possible at all times to avoid any degradation to image quality. This can be achieved either by putting a large sensor as possible and allow for decently big pixels, choosing a lens with a bright maximum aperture or by including optical image stabilization so shorter shutter speeds can be used in low light conditions without the risk of getting blurry photos. There are also some other important features that could help define a capable camera phone like HDR, burst shooting, a hardware shutter key, manual controls over exposure and so on.

Screen quality/size – While it’s something that doesn’t have a direct impact on image quality of your photos and videos, it’s still very important to have a decent screen on your smartphone as it is your main viewfinder. It’s imperative that it has a high enough resolution so you can distinguish enough detail in your frame and make sure that your photos are in focus, enough brightness so you can shoot even in direct sunlight and still see what’s going on and lastly, it should be big enough so you can frame your photos and videos more precisely and also enjoy viewing all of your created content more than you would on a smaller screen. Having a respectably big screen also means that you can navigate the camera interface more quickly and that less of the image frame will be taken by the interface itself, so you can have a clearer view of what you’re shooting.

Battery life – As is the case with any electronic device these days, it’s important to have a big enough battery pack to allow you to use it for a prolonged period of time without having to look for the wall socket too often. Since using a camera on any smartphone takes a big toll on battery life (especially if you’re recording video), we will make sure that the devices of our choice have the ability to last you at least through the day of moderate shooting, so you can safely capture any moment of your choice. Now, you should also keep in mind that all of the today’s smartphones have one big advantage over most of the dedicated cameras and that is their ability to connect an external battery pack via their USB ports and thus prolong the battery life considerably if you’re planning to be far away from any other power source. So, if you plan to use your smartphone’s camera heavily, it’s certainly not a bad idea to invest in an external battery and really boost its endurance to a whole new level. It’s certainly not a very big investment since there are a lot of them available at very respectable prices.

Storage – Well, yet another predictable aspect of a smartphone you should take into account when purchasing one that you plan to use because of its photographic prowess. First, you need to decide if you’ll primarily be shooting stills or recording videos because the needs for storage are very different for those two. If photography is all you’re interested in, then you should be all right with a smartphone that only offers internal memory and use it together with cloud storage to have enough room for your photos. If, however you plan to do a lot of video work, then you should seriously consider getting a smartphone that has the ability to expand its storage with a micro SD card, as videos are a lot more taxing on storage than pictures. Lastly, a lot of today’s smartphones come with support for USB OTG technology, meaning that you can easily transfer your photos and videos to an external hard drive and free up the storage on your smartphone. So, there’s a lot of options available when it comes to storage, you just have to decide what’s right for you.

Processing power – This brings us to the last part of our criteria by which we will judge the smartphones we’ve chosen to be featured in our article and that’s their ability to process a lot of data in a very short amount of time. If you wish for your future smartphone to be able to quickly take photos in a rapid succession, record high-quality 4K video or higher resolution slow-motion footage, apply advanced real-time effects and filters or be a capable editing machine, you’ll certainly need to be sure that it comes equipped with a powerful enough processor to handle all of those tasks. In case of iOS devices, you don’t need to worry too much about its hardware since all of them are premium devices and offer satisfying performance, but in the realm of Android things are a little more complicated. In a nutshell, a mid-range quad-core processor and at least 3 GB of RAM should be sufficient for a decent photography experience, but all of you out there that plan to shoot 4K videos should consider a flagship device with a little more oomph. All in all, it’s no secret that today’s smartphones have plenty of power to handle anything related to photography or videography.

FAQs

I’m looking for a premium modern Android smartphone that has all the latest and greatest features, but also a capable camera. I’m don’t consider myself any kind of professional photographer and I’m only planning to take casual photos and videos. So, I don’t need a phone with a lot of manual controls or RAW support, just one that can take photos quickly and without any hassle. What is your recommendation? 

Our first choice would go to the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. It’s a flagship device all over; it has a decently big 4K display, 4GB of RAM, the latest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, a respectably large 3230 mAh battery and a USB-C port to allow for fast data transfers and quick charging. All of it is wrapped in the all-aluminum body, that’s also water resistant. It’s also quite a capable device camera-wise. You’ll get a 19-megapixel sensor that will produce very decent photos in all lighting conditions and also give you the capability to record slow-motion videos at a frame rate of 960 fps.

I’m very interested in the new dual camera trend and I want a smartphone that showcases the benefits of such a system very well and that also brings a few unique features with it. I want it to be fast, have a nice design and a large screen and I’m not particularly bound to any manufacturer, I just want it to run Android OS. Is there such a smartphone on your list?

Well, the LG G6 certainly looks like the device you should seriously consider as your next purchase. The first thing you’ll notice when holding it in your hand is its modern glass and aluminum design and a very tall 5.7-inch QHD screen, which enables it to have very thin bezels. With the addition of a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, up to 128GB of storage that can be expanded via the microSD card and a 3300 mAh battery, its internals are nothing to scoff at either. The dual lens cameras are also working in full force here. You’ll get the benefit of the optically stabilized 29mm equivalent 13-megapixel f1.8 sensor and an ultra-wide-angle sensor of the same resolution but with the much wider field of view. This means that you’ll be able to fit a lot more of your scene into your frame than with the regular smartphone cameras, which is a great feature to have no matter if your shooting stills or recording video.

I’ve become very interested in smartphone photography in the last few years and I’ve finally decided to invest a little more money into getting a flagship device that can provide me with good quality photos in every situation, especially in low light. I don’t need any kind of manual controls, I just want it to work consistently and reliably. I’m also quite interested in the pure Google experience, so having stock Android would be a big bonus for me. Does any device in your article fit my requirements?

There’s really no other smartphone would recommend you than the Google Pixel XL. It could easily be considered the best device on the market that runs stock Android and one of the first truly premium devices that the company has made without the Nexus branding. It bears a beautiful design made out of a symmetrical combination of glass and aluminum, which really helps it stand out from the rest of Android devices. It’s specifications also shouldn’t leave anyone dissatisfied; a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, 5.5-inch AMOLED screen with QHD resolution, up to 128GB of storage and a large 3450 mAh battery really make up for one capable smartphone. It may not come with the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, but performance is no issue because of the clean and optimized nature of the new stock version of Android 8.0, also called Android Oreo. The 12.3-megapixel camera that sits on the back of the Pixel XL is no slouch either. Thanks to having large pixels, it offers great image quality in all lighting conditions, despite it not having optical image stabilization. The new HDR+ mode also helps a great deal to achieve such good results.

After doing a lot of research and weighing all the pros and cons I’ve decided to get my first iOS device. It’s hard to ignore the fact they aren’t the most affordable smartphones around, so I’m wondering if there’s any benefit in getting the latest generation of iPhones. Aside from performance, I’m also interested in camera capabilities and I would like to know if it makes sense to buy the new iPhone for that reason and is there enough improvement over the previous generations. Can you help me with my decision?

Well, image quality and camera features are constantly improving with every iPhone and that is also the case with the iPhone 8 Plus, so if you’re one of those people who care very much about photography, you can never go wrong with getting the newest available version. The iPhone 8 Plus offers a lot in terms of its hardware and imaging prowess. You’ll get a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen, all-glass premium design, 3GB of RAM, 64 or 256GB of internal storage, an extremely powerful Hexa-core A11 Bionic processor and also quite a large (by iPhone standards) battery with a capacity of 2691 mAh. Now, the impressive specifications don’t end here and are extended to the camera and its features. You’ll get a nicely balanced combo of two 12-megapixel sensors; one comes with a standard wide-angle lens with f1.8 aperture and optical stabilization, while the other one sports a short telephoto 56mm equivalent f2.8 lens which gives the iPhone 8 Plus its 2x zoom capability. Lastly, you’ll get some useful features such as Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting and the ability to record 4K video at 60 fps.

Ok, I want to get right to the point. I’m seriously interested in smartphone photography and I wish to get the best available camera phone on the market. I’m prepared to pay the premium price if the said smartphone also offers a lot in terms of its specifications, meaning it should have powerful internals, a lot of memory and a large and beautiful screen. I also want it to run Android since that’s the OS of my choice. Can you recommend me such a device?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 should be the device of your choice. It’s certainly one of the best equipped Android smartphones on the market and one of those premium devices that are able to justify their high price point. Aside from getting a very nicely designed smartphone, you’ll also be getting a big and spacious 6.3-inch QHD AMOLED screen, one of the most powerful processors that can be found on an Android device (either a Snapdragon 835 or the Exynos 8895), 6GB of RAM, up to 256GB of fast built-in storage and a respectably good battery pack with a capacity of 3300 mAh. If you put aside its cameras, that’s certainly a hardware combination worthy of anyone’s admiration. So, does the Note 8 do a good job when it comes to taking photos and recording videos? Indeed, it does. You’ll get two very capable 12-megapixel sensors; a larger sensor with a 26mm wide-angle f1.7 lens and a smaller one with 52mm f2.4 lens. What’s great about those cameras is that they’re both optically stabilized, something that can’t be said for any other smartphone on the market with a similar camera combination. Image quality is great no matter if you’re shooting on a sunny day or during night time, just like you would expect for such a device.

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Igor Letilovic

Igor Letilovic

An amateur photographer, songwriter, musician, computer and technology geek and an occasional comedian, I'm a little bit of everything. I always aim to pursue things I'm passonate about and try to look on the positive side of things whenever I can. My mission is to wrap my articles in that aura of positive energy and keep a healthy balance between being serious about my work and spicing things up with a little fun now and than. After all, life's a game and there's always a different way to play it.

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