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.
LG really packed everything it could think of into the G4’s camera. It has a 16 megapixel sensor, which is a good start, as that’s a high enough count to snap highly detailed images.
It also has optical image stabilisation (OIS) to counteract camera shake. In fact it uses OIS 2.0, which is more effective than the version found in most phones.
Then there’s its laser autofocus and the ability to snap a photo with a double tap of the rear key, even when the screen is off, which makes it super speedy at taking pictures.
An f/1.8 aperture lets it take in more light than almost any other smartphone snapper too, so it’s a great option even when the lighting isn’t ideal and it’s packed full of options you can tweak, from ISO to shutter speed and plenty more besides.
It really is one of the very best smartphone cameras on the market, powerful enough for those serious about photography and simple enough to point and shoot. The 8 megapixel front-facing camera is pretty good too.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a 16 megapixel snapper, just like the LG G4 and the core camera module is every bit as good, taking incredibly detailed shots with great colour reproduction and contrast.
It also has optical image stabilisation to help you avoid blur and better capture poorly lit scenes. It lacks some of the bells and whistles of the G4, but you wouldn’t know it from the photos it snaps.
It’s fast too and has a 5 megapixel wide-angle selfie snapper, so you won’t be left disappointed if you’re a fan of your own face.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a great all round camera phone then, adept in almost all situations. In fact according to DXO Mark the Galaxy S6 Edge (which has the same camera) is the best camera phone in the world, though it’s yet to test the LG G4.
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.
Sony always packs high quality snappers in its flagships and the Xperia Z3 is no exception, in fact until we can buy the Xperia Z4 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.
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