Cameras are an increasingly important part of smartphones and as specs start to level out they’re one of the main ways that manufacturers try to make their handsets stand out. Whether it’s a high megapixel count, a laser auto focus, an optical zoom or any number of other things there are a lot of interesting and powerful smartphone cameras around and these are the five best.
The iPhone 6 Plus is Apple’s best camera phone yet. This is still an 8 megapixel camera, which might sound disappointing but it’s the first iPhone with optical image stabilisation, which makes a huge difference, especially in low light, where it enables you to capture more light without images becoming blurred.
That’s not the only thing Apple’s added though. There’s also ‘Focus Pixels’, which increases the speed of the autofocus and various other under-the-hood improvements that help your photos come out better than ever.
Plus it has all the same things that made Apple’s cameras great to begin with, such as a dual-LED True Tone flash and a simple, intuitive interface.
In fact the iPhone 6 Plus’s camera is so good that according to DxO Labs it’s the best camera phone on the planet. The iPhone 6 is just about as good, but it lacks optical image stabilisation.
Sony always packs high quality snappers in its flagships and the Xperia Z3 is no exception, in fact it’s the best yet.
Like the Xperia Z2 it has a 20.7 megapixel Exmor RS sensor, but this time it’s 25mm, so it’s wider angle allowing you to fit more in your shots. On top of that for the first time it supports ISO 12800 sensitivity which is a perfect fit when shooting in low light.
Beyond that it’s the same great camera it’s always been, capable of taking impeccable photos and able to shoot 4K video as well.
There’s a wide selection of settings and scene modes to play with too, including HDR, background defocus and TimeShift video. It doesn’t have optical image stabilisation but that aside there’s not much more we could ask for.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 has the honour of having just about the highest megapixel count of any smartphone out there at 41 megapixels.
That alone is just about enough to get it on this list as it can take more detailed photos than most of the competition and they can stand to be blown up to A3 and above while retaining an impressive level of quality. All those megapixels also mean that it supports up to 3x lossless digital zoom, but there’s more to it than just megapixels.
The Lumia 1020 also has optical image stabilisation, so the effects of camera shake are minimised, avoiding blurry shots even in low light. Plus it has a dual flash, with both a Xenon and LED unit, so there’s a lot of power there, allowing it to brighten up even the darkest scenes.
The LG G3 has a 13 megapixel camera along with optical image stabilisation and a dual-LED true-tone flash, which is better able to replicate skin tones than most smartphone flash units. All of which makes it a pretty great camera phone, capable of high quality photos.
But the real stand out feature is its laser auto focus, which allows it to focus faster than any other smartphone available. Other phones are getting fast already so it doesn’t always make a hugely noticeable difference, but when time is of the essence you’ll be glad to have it.
Is it a phone? Is it a camera? Your guess is as good as ours, because it fills both roles and for the most part it does both well.
The Galaxy K Zoom is the successor to the Galaxy S4 Zoom and it does many of the same things as that oddity. It’s got a 20.7 megapixel lens, which is certainly a good start. It also has optical image stabilisation and both LED and Xenon flash, so photos are high quality, blur free and it can perform well in both good and bad lighting.
But it goes even further because it also has a 10x optical zoom. That’s almost unheard of on smartphones and makes it a true compact camera alternative. The flip side is that the lens makes it a little bit bulky, but it’s still a lot better than carrying both a phone and a camera around.
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