World’s first cell phone camera featuring a 0.11 MP camera was manufactured by Sharp in 2000. Samsung’s SCH-V200 followed suit and by the end of 2003, over 80 million camera phones already made their way into the consumer market.
14 years and numerous megapixels hence, LG released their first dual-camera Optimus 3D smartphone followed by HTC Evo 3D.
The first camera phone could barely take an image when Nokia stormed the market with N90 in 2005. The latest camera phones at present can capture HD quality images and with the insatiable demand for better quality photographs, smartphone manufacturers even promise to deliver ‘DSLR-like’ photography experience.
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Although one might have the place to buy such smartphones, the primary question is - which one to go for?
Smartphone photography, anyone?
Although photographers prefer answering this question diplomatically to the tune of ‘photography is more of a mind job’, experts stress on spec-sheets. Smartphones have evolved themselves to fit in larger sensors and better touch-screens that shoot decent photographs even in low light.
Best smartphone cameras 2018:
Practically indistinguishable from photographs taken with standard cameras, smartphone cameras have evolved manifold. Consecutively, manufacturers have diverted their attention to providing unique features with better design and high-powered batteries. Till 2016, Nokia Lumia 1020 exhibited a mammoth 41 MP camera that could produce marvels in the form of photographs.
Known for their sharpness and extensive depth-of-field, Lumia 1020 proved how elegant a smartphone camera could be. However, Samsung, Apple, and LG refused to back down and produced flagship smartphones that delivered superior quality photos and videos. Apple introduced 4K video capabilities while Samsung stressed on ‘beautified’ images with advanced AI features. The tussle between image quality and user-friendliness remain.
The top 4 latest camera phones in the market right now include:
Samsung Galaxy S9+
Featuring dual 12 MP optically stabilized cameras with f/1.5 and f/2.4 respectively, S9+ is one the best camera phone manufactured.
With phase detection and up to 30% noise reduction, it produces fantastic results even in low light. Images are crisp and with the stacked DRAM, Samsung boasts of being able to deliver DSLR like images with allowance for changing depth-of-field.
The front-facing camera in S9+ bags in an 8MP genius that allows capturing wider selfies with blurred backgrounds. S9+ allows 4K video at 60 fps with full image stabilization.
Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei takes smartphone photography one step ahead with a triple-camera setup that houses 40MP, 20 MP, and 8MP respectively.
Designed to capture the tiniest detail, Huawei installs a monochrome sensor with the 20MP camera which aims to aggravate dynamic range.
P20 Pro even allows optimal zooming with the 8MP sensor thus compensating for the loss in image quality. With full manual control, it will enable slow shutter photographs up to 6 seconds.
The front-facing camera is a staggering 24 MP which stars a wide-angle lens for essential groupies. Apart from better night-time photographs, this phone allows 4K videography at 30fps with slo-mo videos at 960 fps.
Google Pixel 2 XL
Google steals the show once again with a simple camera setup of 12.2 MP sensor that combines technical ingenuity with better image stabilization.
Auto-focusing is the fastest, and with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, ultra-sharp images with blurry backgrounds are a piece of cake. Pixel 2 XL applies digital stacking that takes stunning portraits and landscapes with exceptional dynamic range.
Its front camera features an 8 MP sensor with ecstatic image stabilization and sharper images. Stabilized 4K videos at 30 fps is a standard and Google specifically ponders on simplicity augmented smartphone photography apart from a larger screen.
The Apple iPhone X is one of the latest camera phones launched in late 2017 that feature dual 12 MP sensors. Thanks to its crispier OLED screen, users can take stunning photographs with intense detailing even in low-light.
With a wide-angle and a telephoto lens stacked together, Apple focuses more on colour and depth thus producing immense photographic pleasure. Apart from 4K videography at 60fps, Apple packs a secondary 7MP front facing camera that freezes moments instantaneously.
‘The best camera is the one that you have’, but then again the latest camera phones have seen an unparalleled elevation in the last 5 years.