Professional cameras such as mirrorless and DSLRs are still in the race only because they provide features that phones don’t but they are mostly replaced by the top-end phones for non-professional use. Smartphone cameras are just so excellent that you won’t need to carry a separate bag for a camera. Most of the high-end latest phones are equipped with dual-camera; one is used to add clarity in the picture and the other one is mostly a telephoto lens that has a narrow field of view to provide optical zoom. In this article, we will discuss the top 5 smartphones for photography in 2018 so you can enjoy the features of a phone and quality of a professional camera in a single device.
1. Samsung S9 Plus
The Samsung S9 Plus is one of the best smartphones for its performance and camera quality. Much of its success revolves around its camera. If you are looking for a high-end phone that is also best for photography then the S9 Plus should certainly be on your list. It was released in March 2018. It has a 12-megapixel dual-camera that provides astonishing results. The secondary sensor has a 2x optical zoom while the primary sensor is the only one in the world to have a f/1.5 aperture on a phone which makes it the best option for performing well in low light. The sensor also automatically moves from f/1.5 to f/2.4 according to the lighting situation with the help of the Samsung’s new dual aperture technology.
It can be said clearly after seeing its aperture technology that the phone is able to perform great in low light or night photography, especially if you are a night lover who wants to capture the beauty of city lights then this smartphone should be your top priority to buy.
The S9 Plus’s image sensor stack has its very own dynamic RAM that allows photos to be made up of 12 frames, unlike those traditional 3 frames. You won’t just enjoy the amazing photography on this phone but videography too with the help of its slow motion (240FPS in 1080P) and super slow motion (960FPS in 720P) feature that adds a touch of cinematography in your footages.
This phone’s camera also has optical stabilization that helps shooting action pictures without creating distortion and blur. The camera does the entire job automatically but if you are a technical geek you can switch to the manual mode for more control over the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture etc.
- Dual rear cameras are excellent for low light photography
- High performance
- f/1.5 aperture that can automatically be adjusted according to the situation
- Battery life is not much impressive
This phone has taken all over the market with its premium looks and astonishing camera. It was released in October 2017. Unlike the latest phones that come with rear dual-camera, the Google pixel 2 XL comes with only two cameras; a 12.2MP rear sensor and an 8MP front-facing sensor but they still are capable of capturing stunning photographs and videos. Its camera has OIS (optical image stabilization) that means you will get clear and smooth photos without any blur and distortion.
Most phones take only 3 frames but the Pixel 2 XL takes 12 frames to create photos with a lot of details in both shadows and highlights. In other words, photos that you will capture from this phone will have sharp details, HD colors, and hardly any noise. Unlike other phones, the auto-HDR function is enabled by default that creates a slight lag while shooting pictures but you will be glad to see the magnificent results.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a phone and a DSLR in a single device then you should get the Google pixel 2 XL that offers almost similar dynamic range as a professional DSLR.
- Exceptional software experience
- Excellent camera quality
- Impressive battery life and fast charging support
- Does not have a 3.5mm jack like iPhone 7 and later models
The iPhone X is one of the masterpiece phones made by Apple that provides extraordinary results in both performance and camera quality. It was released in October 2017. It has Dual 12 megapixel sensors at the rear and a front-facing TrueDepth 7MP sensor for exceptional photography. The dual camera on the back is able to capture the most iconic photos you can ever click with a smartphone. It doesn’t matter you want to use its camera in low light or extreme sunlight, the iPhone X will still provide you high details and natural colors in both the situations.
Another significant change that can be seen in iPhone X’s camera over earlier iPhones is its optical image stabilization feature that can capture sharp pictures and record smooth videos without any distortion. You can record high-quality 4K footage at 60 frames per second with stabilization. The studio lighting option is also one of the most noticeable features in iPhone X that can give amazing looks to your photos in post editing. The front-facing TrueDepth camera that is used to unlock the phone is also used to capture selfies in portrait mode.
You won’t face any lag in capturing amazing shots no matter what the lighting situation is. The focus, white balance, and exposure are automatically adjusted according to the light to provide an exceptional dynamic range. HDR is also automatically enabled to shoot pictures with great details. Unlike the above-mentioned smartphones, the iPhone X only captures 3 frames to create a photo but that doesn’t mean it compromises on quality. You can also disable the HDR option in the settings to only save the normal photo.
- Face ID
- Dual camera
- Amazing portrait mode for excellent photography
- OLED display
- No home button
- No fingerprint option
With the Huawei P20 Pro, the phone photography gets to another level of greatness. It was released in March 2018. It’s the first ever phone to have three rear cameras to shoot remarkable photos. The primary one is a 40MP sensor, the secondary is an 8MP telephoto sensor with 3X optical zoom and the third one is a 20MP monochrome sensor. Not just this but Huawei also equipped this phone with an NPU (neural processing unit) chip that adds an additional touch of intelligence in clicking outstanding photos every time. The phone is intelligent enough to switch between different photography modes according to the situation. For instance, if you are taking a close up selfie then the camera will automatically switch to the portrait mode and blur the background.
The Leica lens equipped in this phone can shoot 10MP photos normally and you can also shoot 40MP ones if you like. Not to mention its capability to capture 76+MB DNG RAW files in pro mode for better post-editing. If you want to shoot in night mode then you will also get impressive results because the P20 Pro merges a barrage of images over 3-6 seconds to provide a good dynamic range.
- Equipped with 3 rear cameras
- Unrivaled low light shots
- Exceptional zoom capability
- Good battery life
- Can capture Ultra HD pictures in DNG RAW files
- No 3.5mm jack
- Slippery back surface leads to poor grip
If you think you can’t afford an iPhone X but have enough money to buy a decent phone with camera quality equivalent to an iPhone X then you should definitely get your hands on to iPhone 8 plus. It was released in September 2017. Just like iPhone X, it also has 12MP dual rear cameras and a 7MP front-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.2. The primary sensor on the back has a wide-angle f/1.8 lens with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and the secondary sensor is a telephoto f/2.8 lens with OIS.
You also get portrait lighting effects just like iPhone X but it is only supported by the rear cameras. You can also shoot a 4K video at 60FPS on iPhone 8 Plus. However, the battery drains much faster in portrait mode so you must carry a power bank with you in case you don’t have access to a wall charger.
Similar to other high-end phones the iPhone 8 plus also automatically enables the HDR when it detects certain scenes need it. The iPhone 8 plus can be your best buddy on your next trip that can capture some memorable shots like a pro.
- Portrait lighting mode
- Dual camera
- Amazing display screen
- Wireless charging
- Might not be a handy choice for some users due to its size
All the above-mentioned smartphones have the best cameras for photography and their performance in other areas is also remarkable. If you want to enjoy the same quality of photography as on an iPhone X but in a less price then it is recommended that you go for iPhone 8 plus which is almost 200$ cheaper than the iPhone X. if you still want to extend the camera performance you can also use Phone Camera Lens Kit to achieve wider angles.
You should also consider these points besides the camera quality:
The better the quality of the screen, the more details you can view in your photography. All the above-mentioned phones are also exceptional in the screen quality.
If you will only rely on your smartphone for every type of photography especially the one that involves risk then opt for a phone that has a sturdy design to provide a strong grip while shooting. You can also get a sturdy phone cover for your phone for a firmer grip.
Smartphones are prone to accidents and if you are a true nature photographer then make sure whatever smartphone you choose to buy is at least water resistant.
Most high-end smartphones are expensive but if you want a complete replacement for a professional camera then you should invest in a good camera phone such as Apple iPhone X or Samsung S9 Plus that will somehow provide you similar results but still not every single feature.
Although the professional cameras are larger in size, they still have an excellent ergonomic design for better grip. Make sure whatever smartphone you buy fits well in your hands so you can utilize the best out of the phone in every aspect.