In recent years, phone manufacturers have offered ever more efficient cameras in terms of photography, with resolutions that allow them to compete with professional cameras and several sensors, for an exceptional rendering. Between smartphones from Google and Apple or products from Asian brands like Xiaomi, Huawei or Samsung, the choice is vast and it is not easy to navigate without being an expert.
Are you looking for the best smartphones for photography? Our selection of 7 phones and our final buying guide should help you see more clearly and you will soon be able to take pictures – image or video – of incredible quality.
The best smartphones for photography in 2021
1.iPhone 11 Pro: The best photo smartphone of the moment
Release Date: March 2019 | Main camera: 12MP (f / 1.5-2.4) | Telephoto : 12MP (f / 2.4) | Ultra-wide: 16MP (f / 2.2) | OIS: Yes | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP | Weight: 175g | Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm | Battery: 4,100mAh | Maximum video quality: 4K 60fps | Storage: 128GB / 512GB / 1TB | Memory card slot: Yes
Considered by aficionados of the apple brand as one of its best models, the iPhone 11 Pro is a technological monster that will only be able to delight users in search of a phone to take pictures and take great pictures. videos.
It delivers amazing results even when taking a photo instantly, without actually getting involved in the shot. Just reach out, point the lens at the target and press, for a high-flying shot. This is possible thanks to the wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, zoom combination chosen by Apple, with the presence of 3 sensors.
The ultra wide-angle equivalent 13 mm f / 2.4, the wide and 26 mm f / 1.8 and 3 e sensor 52 mm f / 2.0, allow uptake of highly relevant light and a zoom lens that makes it also effective for landscape shots than for portraits, which are sublimated here. In addition, Apple has included a Night mode that crushes the competition, with very good photos even without light. The result is startling.
If the 12 Mega Pixels displayed by its main camera may not seem like much compared to some smartphones on the current market, it is the final images that matter and they are beautiful. By quibbling a little, we will blame the lack of manual mode, as well as a level of detail in disappointed with what other phones offer in 2021, but this is largely offset by the pictures that can be taken with this iPhone 11 Pro.
The colors are rendered wonderfully, and we can say without blinking that it is the best smartphone in terms of colorimetry, with an ultra natural end result, which will cause a sensation on Instagram.
If we add to this an optimal handling, the great fluidity of the iPhone 11 Pro photo software (due to the structure of the IOS) and the overall quality of this version of iPhone which is no longer up to date. prove, we get one of the best smartphone for the photo of the moment.
Beautiful, efficient and capable of offering photos worthy of professional equipment to its users, this iPhone Pro 11 is a total success and only its high price is against it.
2.Google Pixel 4: The best mid-range photo smartphone
Release Date: October 2019 | Main camera: 12.2 MP (f / 1.7) | Telephoto : 16 (f / 2.4) | Ultra-large: absent | OIS: Yes | Front camera: 8MP | Weight: 162 g | Dimensions: 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2mm | Battery: 2,800mAh | Maximum video quality: 4K 30 fps | Storage : 64GB / 128GB | Memory card slot: No
Google offers here, with its Pixel 4, a great model for the photo but which fishes by certain aspects of its finishes.
Let’s start with its exceptional photo quality, with this smartphone which only relies on 2 modules: a Wide-angle with 28 mm f / 1.7 with a 12 megapixel sensor and a 2x telephoto lens with 45 mm f / 2.4 with a 16 MP sensor. Sufficient to cope with models with 3, 4 or 5 sensors? Yes, largely!
If you can’t find a wide angle, which will disappoint fans of this type of shooting, it doesn’t take long to realize that the Google Pixel 4 is capable of the best when it comes to photography. Apart from the iPhone Pro 11, no current model comes close to it.
The level of detail is impressive and you just need to take a picture of your dog, a friend, a landscape in broad daylight or the sky to realize that this smartphone offers an exceptional rendering in all circumstances, with more colors. natural than ever. Even at night, the Pixel 4 delivers the best, with a level of precision never before seen on a smartphone.
Finally, to complete the picture, the Google Pixel 4 has an astroph oto mode for taking pictures of the sky and its stars, made possible by an exposure time of 16 seconds. If you’ve got a tripod, expect stunning photos.
If it is definitely one of the best smartphones for the photo of 2021, the Google Pixel unfortunately suffers from several defects in its finishes, which slightly tarnish the picture. First, its low autonomy due to its 2,800mAh battery, as well as a rather poor storage capacity. Then, we can blame it for a fairly ordinary design, and an acceptable audio quality, without working a miracle. But if you want a device capable of taking the best quality photos and videos, you won’t be disappointed!
With unparalleled precision and a jaw-dropping astrological photo mode, this Google Pixel 4 model can claim to be one of the current best choices for smartphone photo enthusiasts.
3. Xiaomi Mi Note 10: The smartphone with the best resolution
Release Date: December 2019 | Main camera: 108MP (f / 1.7) | Telephoto: 12MP (f / 2.0) + 5MP (f / 2.0) | Ultra-wide: 20MP (f / 2.2) | OIS: Yes | Front camera: 32MP | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 157.8 x 74.2 x 9.7mm | Battery: 5,260mAh | Maximum video quality: 4K 30fps | Storage: 128GB | Memory card slot: No
With this Mi Note 10 model, the Xiaomi brand offers a model with a quintuple camera, which makes it one of the most daring smartphones in the field. Enough to allow it to outperform the competition?
Multifunction, with a main sensor of 108 MP, this phone makes a strong impression when we look at its technical characteristics. And the photo rendering is up to expectations, with its incredible definition and an optical stabilization system that works wonderfully. However, this resolution makes the photos cumbersome to export and a slight latency is felt between two shots. Storage being limited, it will be necessary to sort it often.
The other sensors offer wide angle, X 2 and X 5 modules which offer good results in high light but a little less attractive photos in low light with a lower level of detail (the night mode, efficient, works correctly) . We always stay on the high end in the field, but in comparison with its main sensor, the other modules are slightly disappointing and you will mainly use this one.
Moreover, we find this difference in rendering between the different sensors in the colors and the level of details, which excel with the main module but are sometimes less impressive with the other sensors. In terms of zoom, it’s great, apart from the X 50 hybrid which is clearly inconclusive!
All in all, this Xiaomi Mi Note 10 model offers very good results in terms of image but it fails with its rather slow integrated photo application, despite continuous improvements. It is not catastrophic, especially since the device offers, besides that, a very good autonomy and a screen of optimal quality.
For the price, it’s a mid-range smartphone that will appeal to lovers of beautiful photos.
If the main 108 MP sensor put forward offers astonishing results, the rest is a little decaf. This does not prevent this smartphone from having a very interesting quality / price ratio, and it will delight those who cannot spend 1000 euros on a smartphone.
4.Huawei P30 Pro: the best smartphone with superzoom
Release Date: March 2019 | Main camera: 40MP (f / 1.6) | Telephoto : 8 MP (f / 2.4) | Ultra-wide: 20 MP (f / 2.2) | OIS: Yes | Front camera: 32MP | Weight: 192 g | Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm | Battery: 4,200mAh | Maximum video quality: 4K 30 fps | Storage: 128GB / 512GB | Memory card slot: Yes
The Chinese brand Huawei has chosen, for this P30 model, to increase the number of photo sensors to offer its users the most precise rendering possible, in all possible visual conditions. It is therefore adorned with four sensors, distributed as follows: three are reserved for photography, the fourth is a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor which is used to improve the whole, especially with regard to portraits and shots at distance. For what result?
With a 40 MP main sensor, a 20 MP wide-angle sensor and a third 8 MP sensor capable of zoom X 50, the result is quite incredible, especially for photos of a distant target. Its stabilization system, coupled with this superzoom, allows you to photograph elements that cannot even be distinguished with the naked eye and you will be surprised by viewing your images on the phone screen or on your PC.
In addition, it has one of the best Night mode on the current market, especially in its automatic mode which allows you to take high quality photos quickly, without prior adjustments. The color capture system used – a red, yellow, yellow blue RYYB sensor, rather than the usual red / green / blue RGB sensor – is no gimmick, and it does catch light admirably.
What about Selfies? Convincing, although decaded by the rest, but more than enough for self-portraits to be posted on social networks!
Among the small faults from which it suffers, we can cite its high price, and the in-house software integrated for navigation which would benefit from being more intuitive. For the rest, its design, the quality of its screen and its good battery life easily place it among the best smartphones for the photo of 2021.
If you want a camera capable of distant shooting, with a great level of detail and precise color rendering, this Huawei P30 is a very good choice, thanks to its 4 sensors and its Superzoom!
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: A versatile smartphone with a remote control stylus
Release Date: August 2019 | Main camera: 12MP (f / 1.5-2.4) | Telephoto : 12MP (f / 2.1) | Ultra-wide: 16MP (f / 2.2) | OIS: Yes | Front camera: 10MP | Weight: 196g | Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm | Battery: 4,300mAh | Maximum video quality: 4K 60fps | Storage: 256GB / 512GB | Memory card slot: Yes
With its triple 12 MP, 16MP and 12 MP photo sensors (which include a telephoto and ultra-wide-angle lens), and its TOF (time of flight), the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a high-end smartphone for photography. .
If the TOF is especially practical for managing the depth of field, and the portraits are greatly improved, it is above all its three main sensors that interest us. The sharpness of the images is remarkable and the colors, vivid and natural, are superb. We know the fashionable Samsung colometry, with a little high saturation, but the result is really engaging.
The ultra wide-angle lens and its very fast autofocus allow it to easily figure among the best smartphones for the photo of the moment. In addition, the different sensors are harmonious with each other and there are few differences when switching from one to the other. Remarkable!
Night mode is effective, and while it distorts the actual colors a bit by adding too much light, images taken in low light are very pretty indeed. And the same goes for Selfies and portrait mode, which offer good images even if the weather conditions are not optimal.
Note that the Samsung application dedicated to the photo is always a total success, as fluid as it is intuitive to take in hand, with its Instagram mode which will delight users of this social network.
Let’s finish with the particularity of this Galaxy Note 10 Plus smartphone: the S Pen stylus! Like a magic wand, you just need to wave it in the air in the desired direction to act on the screen and on the different applications. For the camera, it will be convenient to change the photo mode, to zoom and to edit the images. A real plus for this versatile high-end smartphone that shines in all other areas: magnificent screen, top level, great fluidity and excellent battery life.
A technological gem, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a high-end smartphone that amazes at all levels. While it is expensive and the photos, for lack of light, are not as good as on other models, this is a great choice if you are looking for a versatile model.
6. iPhone 11: The most affordable iPhone with excellent rendering for low-light photos
Release Date: September 2019 | Main camera: 12MP (f / 1.8) | Telephoto lens : absent | Ultra-large: absent) | OIS: Yes | Front camera: 12MP | Weight: 194 g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm | Battery: 3,110mAh | Maximum video quality: 4K 60fps | Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB | Memory card slot: No
This iPhone 11 has two cameras with 12 megapixel sensors, a wide-angle with f / 1.8 aperture and an ultra-wide-angle (120 °) with f / 2.4 aperture, but no telephoto lens. The result ? Very clear, very colorful photos, full of details. Regardless of the camera used, the images are quite close to each other and you can even shoot with both cameras simultaneously; you will only have to make your settings afterwards.
On the other hand, note that it does not have a manual mode or zoom, which can bother photography enthusiasts.
One of the strengths of this iPhone 11 is the night mode which automatically engages. With a fairly long exposure time, it offers photos taken at night quite close to reality, without that ultra-bright impression that sometimes gives the impression that the photo was taken in the middle of the day. Too bad that the wide angle function, at night, often gives rather blurry images.
Also successful for the portraits and Selfie modes, which if they lack a little detail, offer a rendering that respects the colors and which give very beautiful images, as well as for photographing landscapes in the blink of an eye. Even if there are several of you in the photo, the final shot will be fun to see! And the video is not left out with this iPhone 11, which allows you to shoot in 4K with a maximum of 60 FPS, for amazing mini films that you will be delighted to edit or share.
Complete and affordable, this iPhone model is pleasant to use, to handle, and only its slightly dated design and its price of 256 GB can be criticized.
Those looking for an affordable phone that is ultra easy to use for photography and has all the advantages of Apple brand devices will find this iPhone 11 one of the best smartphones for photography in this range.
7. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus – an ultra wide angle in the Galaxy-S lineup
Release Date: March 2019 | Main camera: 12MP (f / 1.5-2.4) | Telephoto : 12MP (f / 2.4) | Ultra-wide: 16MP (f / 2.2) | OIS: Yes | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP | Weight: 175g | Dimensions: 74.1 x 157.6 x 7.8mm | Battery: 4,100mAh | Maximum video quality: 4K 60fps | Storage: 128GB / 512GB / 1TB | Memory card slot: Yes
This S model from the Samsung Galaxy range has a rear module with 3 lenses, which gives it great versatility. What to be among the best smartphones for the photo of the year? Yes, as evidenced by the very beautiful images that you get by using it.
Its main sensor at 12 MP, its wide-angle sensor at 16 MP and its third Zoom sensor at 12 MP offer a rendering up to the quality criteria to which the Korean brand has accustomed us and day and night, we can photograph the world that surrounds us in a very beautiful way. The colors are vivid, sometimes very sharp as is often the case with Samsung and the night mode guarantees striking shots even when it’s dark, even if you lose a little detail.
If we are interested in the front sensors, the result is very satisfactory and places this phone among the best for Selfies, a little less for portraits for which the background borders are sometimes poorly cut. But overall, it’s clean, crisp, and detailed, which will be a hit with fans of social media sharing.
It is impossible not to mention the video performance offered by the device, with 4K and a resolution of 60 fps, which benefits from the very good image stabilization of this smartphone and – a world first – it supports video shooting in HDR10 +. Special mention to the Slowmotion and Timelapse modes , which will delight video editing enthusiasts.
Let’s finish with two very well designed points: the overall interface of the camera, intuitive and pleasant to use, which allows you to switch from one sensor to another in an instant or to zoom in easily, and the framing aid which allows you to do not miss his photos. Once again, Samsung is demonstrating its know-how to make the user experience as pleasant as possible.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is a sure bet, both for photography and in the other areas in which it shines: its autonomy, its design, the quality of its screen and its overall performance. A very good model!
Buyer’s Guide: Everything you need to know about the best smartphones for photography before buying one
It’s not easy to know what to look for when you’re looking for the best smartphone for taking photos. Here are the important criteria to invest in the right phone to satisfy your desires for beautiful images!
The number of sensors and their quality
For some time, smartphone manufacturers have tended to outbid, in order to stand out, on the number of photo sensors in their devices. In reality, their number has no direct influence on the quality of your photos! Sometimes it is better to have two excellent quality sensors (as is the case on the Google Pixel 4 ) than 4 or 5 mediocre sensors.
The more sensors there are, the more photography options you will have (with wide angle modules, zooms, etc.), which can however be of importance for users who want to vary the pleasures and creations.
The opening of the sensors
The aperture, which is denoted by f / (example: f / 1.5-2.4 for the main sensor of the iPhone 11 Pro), is used to set the quality of low-light photos. The smaller the value after the f /, the more light the lens will be able to receive and therefore give you sumptuous shots in all weather conditions.
Before fighting on the number of sensors, smartphone (and camera) manufacturers only put forward the number of Megapixels (MP) of their product. If in principle, the higher the number of MP, the more the images are teeming with details, there are other criteria that must be taken into account to have a quality rendering.
For lovers of high resolution, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and its 108 MP main sensor is a good choice.
The quality of the sensor above all
When looking at the performance of the best smartphones for photography, it is common to focus on the rear sensors, used by taking pictures most of the time. But we must not neglect the front sensors, useful for Selfie / portrait enthusiasts.
If you are the type to post pictures of yourself, in the company of your cats or your friends, taking pictures of yourself, consider looking at the quality of these modes / sensors taking into account that they are generally significantly less efficient than the modules on the back of the phone.
Smartphone storage space
Taking pictures or videos and tempting, especially when you have a good smartphone to do so. But you have to be able to store them, without having to permanently delete your takes. To do this, check the basic storage space of the phone you are interested in (the 512 GB of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus are attractive at this level), as well as the possibilities of adding a memory card to increase this space.
If you want to shoot in high definition, (or even in HDR + as the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus allows ), make sure that the smartphone accepts 4K. Practical and offering a better than normal rendering, it will also consume more energy on your device and the chosen model must have a processor capable of supporting this. On entry-level models, this is rarely the case.
The photo application
You can own the best smartphone for photography, if the dedicated photo browsing / editing app doesn’t keep up you will tear your hair out. It is for this reason that for the devices of this selection, we have taken into account this important criterion. In the field, the best-known brands generally offer very functional photo apps!
There are many things that come into play when it comes to choosing a quality smartphone, and the price may vary depending on the performance of the device, its screen (size and resolution), audio quality, and of course its sound. camera. As smartphones are used more and more for photography and video, the price of the most advanced products in this area will be higher than devices offering only basic or average rendering.
FAQ: we answer the questions you ask yourself about smartphones to take pictures
Camera or smartphone: what to choose?
Everything will depend on your practices. If you are a professional who lives on photography, investing in a DSLR is obviously a good idea, because no smartphone can yet compete with the level of detail offered by cameras intended for animal or sports shots, in particular.
On the other hand, for very high quality photos, even for a few professional uses, the smartphone is a tool as practical as it is versatile that will always be close at hand. With the incredible improvements made to these devices recently, it is the best choice for the majority of users.
🔎 How many pixels for a good smartphone camera?
We could see that the number of megapixels was not everything! After a certain point, it will be difficult for the human eye to tell the difference between photos taken with a particular device. However, a minimum of 8 MP for the main sensor is recommended for quality photos.
Then, if you opt for higher models (12 MP, 16MP, 108 MP…!), You must ensure that the other elements hold up to take advantage of this resolution.
Note: the higher the pixel resolution, the more space the photos will take up on your phone.
🔌 How to transfer photos from smartphone to USB stick?
Copying photos from a mobile to a USB stick is not difficult, but it is better to know the steps to follow.
If the USB key connects in Micro USB directly to the phone, you will only have to insert it into the device. Otherwise, you will need to acquire a USB / Micro USB adapter to perform the maneuver.
Once the USB key is plugged in, a notification will inform you of the good connection on the smartphone. Open File Manager (which can be downloaded for free if you don’t already have one), and click Internal storage.
Open the DCIM folder then Camera and select the desired files (or do Select all), and click on Menu. You will find a Copy To option , through which you will choose your USB key. The transfer then takes place!
If you have a problem, check that your smartphone is OTG compatible, as this is a prerequisite for copying data to removable devices.
📱 How to transfer photos from smartphone to your tablet?
To copy photos taken with your smartphone to your tablet, there are two effective solutions.
The first is to use a cloud tool, like Google Drive or Dropbox, to copy your photos to it from the phone. Then, you will only have to open the Cloud from the tablet to retrieve them. It is the easiest and the fastest.
Otherwise, there are applications (on the Play Store or the Apple Store), which make it possible to link the two devices. You will select the photos to transfer to device A, and you will send them to Device B detected via the application. This system is sometimes faster in downloading images.
🖼️ 4/3 or 16/9 photo on smartphone?
Both formats are available on smartphones and are especially important if you want to print the photos or watch them on a TV or PC screen.
4/3 is the norm, and it offers good results for photos of people, groups or animals, but 16/9 (sometimes replaced by 18/9 with wide angle) allows landscapes to be sublimated. and the widest shots.
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