Considering that about 81 percent of Americans use their mobile phones to take pictures, it makes sense to look for a model that comes with excellent features that will help you take beautiful photographs. Before you can compare smartphone cameras, you need to learn about a few features that affect picture quality.
Start by following these five tips for choosing a smartphone that has a great camera. A little research can help you tell the difference between a good camera and a terrific camera.
Know How Many Megapixels You Need
While a lot of factors influence a smartphone’s ability to take high-quality pictures, few things play a larger role than resolution, expressed as the number of megapixels. Some people don’t need many megapixels, because they usually only post pictures to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. You only need a 4 MP image for those platforms.
If you want a smartphone that can replace your digital camera, though, you will need considerably more megapixels. Anything with fewer than 8 MP won’t produce high-quality photos. Ideally, you should buy a smartphone like the LG G4, which has a 16 MP rear camera. The more megapixels the smartphone camera has, the better your images will look, especially when you resize them. That’s an essential consideration for people who want to print their photographs or display them on large monitors.
Compare the Sensor’s Sensitivity to Light
Image via Flickr by pestoverde
A smartphone camera’s ISO number measures the sensor’s sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO number is, the less sensitive the camera is. Anything under ISO 200 will require a very bright environment. That’s fine when you’re taking pictures outside on a sunny day, but a low ISO will not be good for taking photos at dusk or indoors, where a flash, though it can help, presents its own set of issues.
Ideally, you can find a smartphone camera with a wide ISO range so that you can take pictures in diverse lighting conditions. A camera that has an ISO range of 50–2500 or higher will work well in most conditions. If you need a higher ISO number, then you should buy a professional camera. Considering that they’re bulky and can cost thousands of dollars, it’s best to look for a smartphone camera that matches your needs.
Pay Attention to Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is another crucial element to consider when comparing smartphone cameras. Again, you want to look for diverse speeds that can adjust to different situations. If, for instance, you’re taking an action photo of a sports event, you will want a quick shutter speed that will capture the image without creating blur. If you’re shooting in low-light conditions, though, a slow shutter speed will help your camera gather enough light to produce an image. Without the long shutter speed, your picture will look too dark.
For smartphone cameras, you should look for shutter speeds between 1/6000 of a second and 30 seconds. This will give you greater control over how your images look.
Know the Camera’s Aperture
A camera’s aperture describes the diameter of the lens opening. Just like your eyes’ pupils, narrowing the diameter only lets a small amount of light through. Widening the diameter allows more light to pass through the lens.
Aperture is measured by the f-stop scale, which beginning photographers often find confusing. The higher the number, the narrower the aperture. For instance, a lens set at f/2 has a larger aperture than one set at f/2.8. Not surprisingly, you want a smartphone camera with a fairly large aperture and thus a lower number.
Look for a Smartphone With a Built-in Flash
You would think that every smartphone manufacturer would include a built-in flash so that you can take pictures in low-light conditions. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Many devices lack flashes. Don’t assume that a mobile device comes with a flash; always double-check to make sure you know what you’re buying.
Now that you know more about comparing smartphone cameras, you can choose a design that fits your needs. Whatever you do, don’t base your decision on price alone. Spending more money doesn’t always ensure that you will get a better camera.