There was a time when all you needed a mobile phone to do was make a clear phone call and send the occasional text.
And then technology began to advance at a rapid rate and all of a sudden, some phones came with digital cameras built into them. This started as a novelty initially as they really didn’t take amazing pictures but then again, for the time (around 2002), the ability to take a photo with your phone certainly became a major selling point.
Fast forward almost 15 years and camera phones are now found on pretty much every mobile phone model available to consumers today. And these cameras take nothing short of incredible pictures, so much so in fact that they have rendered the ordinary ‘point and click’ digital camera useless!
So if you are in the market for a smartphone with a digital camera, which are the models that you should be paying particular attention to. Let’s take a closer look but please note, these are in no particular order.
HTC makes some incredible smartphones and the HTC 10 is no exception. It has an exceptional digital camera as well. It produces some excellent images with some brilliant textures thanks to its f/1.8 aperture lens.
The sensor itself is 12.1 megapixels and is perhaps the strong point of the camera especially for its ability to capture light and shade so effectively. Of course, smartphone cameras are known for their ability to capture photos quickly and easily. The HTC 10 stands out here as it has very speedy and efficient autofocus, allowing you to snap away while not worrying about focus as you change subjects.
If it does have a flaw, the HTC 10 does sometimes overexpose images but for the casual photographer, this is not really a massive problem, especially if you are a photographer who likes to set up each shot.
Sony Xperia Z5
A release in early 2016, the Sony Xperia Z5 is noted in most smartphone circles for having one of the best mobile phone cameras around. So what can you expect from one of Sony’s flagship smartphones? Well, the camera sensor comes in at a massive 23 megapixels and has a mere 0.03-second autofocus.
It also features a f/2.3 aperture although we found photos sometimes suffer from overexposure on light and shadow. Again, if you are setting up each shot, you can easily overcome this but for someone who wants a ‘point and click’ camera, you may have some photos ruined by this problem.
Although the cameras on the iPhone 6/6s is not as up to date as some of the other models mentioned here, they still do a great job. And let’s be honest, most people are buying an iPhone because it is an Apple product, probably not specifically for their cameras.
It features a f/2.2 lens but this is certainly not as impressive as some of the latest Android phones. In fact, the camera in the iPhone takes fairly low-contrast images. Although favoured by some photographers, most of the general public prefer the brighter Android offerings if they are specifically looking for a good camera on a mobile handset.
That said, the camera takes some incredibly sharp photos against a very good dynamic range. Overall, it has a very good cinematic texture.
LG mobile phones tend to have very good cameras and the G5 is certainly no exception. Over and above this, the G5 was the first smartphone to come with two different cameras with different focal lengths while a number of modular accessories can be added to the cameras to help you take better pictures. These modular accessories are a particular drawing point for a number of customers.
The main camera is a 16 megapixel, a f/1.8 aperture which takes some excellent photos. The second camera comes with an extra wide lens although this camera is certainly not as good as the main camera.
Overall, this is an excellent phone for budding photographers.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Until we get a chance to have a good test of the latest iPhone 7 camera, the Samsung Galaxy S7 rules the roost when it comes to the best camera found in mobile handsets today.
The rear camera offers a 12 megapixel lens with a f/1.7 aperture, all very similar to the other phones mentioned. The thing about the S7 is the incredible dynamic range offered by this camera while the wide aperture allows for more light to enter the camera when taking photographs. This results in pictures with almost perfect contrast and textures, particularly in low-light, often an area where the other phones struggle.
The S7 also has an amazingly fast autofocus, so you can click away to your heart’s content.