Choose the best smartphone for photography.
If you’re in the market for a new phone and camera quality is a priority for you, here are a few factors to help evaluate your options.
Aperture refers to the circular opening within your lens that lets in light. A wider aperture — f/1.8, for example — lets in more light. This means your camera performs better in low light and is able to capture a shallow depth of field. Choose a phone with a wide aperture (also referred to as a low f-stop number) for the most versatility.
Optical zoom produces much better results than digital zoom, but since phones aren’t big enough to house a telescoping lens, many manufacturers install multiple lenses at different fixed focal lengths. For example, a phone may have a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens. Pick a multi-lens phone to take close-ups or capture large scenes without zooming in and out, which reduces image quality.
Image stabilization helps combat camera shake, especially in low-light conditions that require a slower shutter speed to gather enough light to produce a good photo. Look for this feature in your smartphone camera to get the most functionality out of it.
Megapixels aren’t the only indicator of image quality, but they are a big factor to consider when choosing between smartphone cameras. Many high-resolution DSLRs can shoot at 46 or even upwards of 60 megapixels. By comparison, most phones are under 20 megapixels. Opt for a higher megapixel count for greater detail and cropping capabilities.
Photography tips to take better photos on your phone.
Focus on the fundamentals.
Less control on a phone may feel like a disadvantage, but limitations can be freeing. “All you can do is focus on the fundamentals,” says photographer Andrew Kearns. “You start to think so much more about your composition. I always encourage people with a DSLR to start with a prime lens like a 35mm. It’s the same process with a phone.”
Limitations can simplify the process and help you focus on the core tenets of great photos — composition, light, shadow, contrast, scale, emotion, and story. Use this simplicity to your advantage.