Apps Q&A

Which Smartphone Has The Best Camera?

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“So, which smart device carries the best mobile camera?”


These days, looking for your next smartphone doesn’t just include a hunt for reliability, great design, and a powerful OS. The competitive field now includes another necessity – a functional, user-friendly camera. Many people are looking for a powerful camera that’s right at their fingertips, and what better than to combine it with something that is seriously always in our hands! But which of the many smartphones on the market have the best cameras to offer? Let’s walk through our options together.

iPhone 5
The camera quality has admittedly varied on different generations of iPhones and iPads, but the iPhone 5 is definitely the best yet. With enough light, pictures come out bright, sharp, and detailed. A quick ‘enhance’ feature will also help fix darker and grainier photos, but it won’t work magic on super dark captures. Stabilization is ok, but most movement will result in blurry pics.

As for apps, the iPhones native camera app offers just a few features, but the panorama feature makes for some excellent scene capturing  and the HDR mode helps bring out the pictures main elements. The phone takes decent videos with pretty solid audio if you’re looking to shoot video, as well.

Overall, the camera and camera app are improving with each model, and while it’s good enough for most people, photographers interested in a more serious camera should consider your options.

Google Nexus 4

Another smartphone contender for best camera is the Nexus 4, the Google dear that just got knocked down in price $100. The camera app that comes along with the phone offers a lot of nice features like smile detection, scene modes for different types of environments, ISO control, continuous shooting mode and more.

At first glance,  the pictures are decent if a bit grainy, but even in good light, the pictures tend to come out looking low quality or grainy. Unfortunately, the video quality does less than make up for the somewhat lame camera, so let’s say the Google Nexus won’t be getting the gold medal – in this contest at least.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Now we’re in the big leagues, smartphone camera-wise. Along with plenty of other notable features, the Galaxy S4 has a lot going on in the camera department. It could probably even compete with a mid-level market compact camera, with a high resolution, and manual control of ISO, exposure, and white balance. My favorite feature is the timer that allows you to be in the group pictures without always having the selfie look going on.

The cherry on top with the Galaxy 4 are all the special features added in the camera and native camera app. You can tell your phone to take a picture or video with the cool voice control feature, and Drama Shot takes a series of pictures and then fits them together in one frame for a different look. Even with the video option, slow and fast motion modes make way for creating great videos, and with outstanding resolution and overall quality, the pictures and videos come out looking even better.

Nokia Lumia 1020

After doing away with the original phones heftiness and general hugeness that made it almost literally a drag to carry around, the Lumia is back in action, with a great camera to boot.

First of all, the phone offers two different camera modes: Pro and Smart, so you know it has to be good. The Pro Cam is nearly as good as an expensive digital camera, allowing for manual changes in aperture, exposure, and white balance. You can also manually focus – a terrific offering and the only one on the list that has this – or have app do it automatically. The PhotoBeamer feature allows you to beam your pictures Star Trek style to any other screen including other smartphones and even laptops.

The Smart Cam offers similar functions to many of the other popular smartphones, like combining pictures into one frame and features that can minimize or maximize the appearance of movement in a picture.

The only real downside to the camera and phone in general is the protruding bump on the back of the phone created by the camera. If you want a great camera along with a great phone, you’ll learn to deal with it.

And thus concludes our journey through smartphone camera discovery. Good luck on making your decision and be sure to let us know which camera you think comes out on top!

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Yours Truly,

A Midwesterner with a penchant for life in the big city, Sarah graduated from DePaul University with degrees in Journalism & Advertising and is obsessed with all things Apps.
Sarah is reachable at Google+

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