Are You Looking for the Picture-Perfect Phone?
For you casual photography buffs out there, there’s hardly any need for you to lug a bulky camera around the next time you want to take pictures. Phone cameras have advanced so far that they’ve practically made cameras obsolete unless you’re doing photography for a living (and perhaps one day, not even then, who knows?). With the wealth of apps just waiting to be downloaded from your respective phone app store, the determining factor of your phone’s camera-worthiness boils down to its hardware. Use this cheat sheet to find the picture-perfect phone for you!
New phones are touting higher and higher megapixel counts as their selling points for an increasingly media-conscious society. Hey, Facebook posts and Instagram feeds have to be fed somehow, right? Thing is, if all you’re aiming for is digital publishing, a measly 5MP is enough to whet your appetite. Yes, that’s right, it doesn’t even need a double-digit count! Of course a higher megapixel count will make your pictures look crisper, but if you’re just looking at them on your phone or computer screen, you’d likely be hard-pressed to see the difference until you either switch to a much larger screen or print the pictures out.
Front cameras can help you Facetime, Skype, video call..and most importantly for selfie lovers, take pictures. They’re the ultimate selfie tool. With a front camera-equipped phone you won’t have to play guessing games aiming blindly with your phone’s rear camera. The megapixels for front cameras are typically lower than a phone’s primary rear camera, but phones such as the HTC Desire Eye have an impressive 13MP front-facing camera. Oppo’s N1 and N3 have swivel cameras boasting 13MP and 16MP respectively, as nifty work-arounds for the poorer front camera issue most, if not all, camera phones face.
Most phones don’t tout their camera lenses; usually, it’s their display screen that takes centre stage. That said, Huawei’s P9 is one of the few that does so, using its partnership with renowned camera lens producer Leica as a selling point. It’s set to open pre-orders from 23rd May onwards, so you’ll probably be able to read reviews about its 12MP cameras in short order. If you don’t have a Leica lens-equipped camera phone, don’t worry! Numerous good quality clip-on lenses are now available on the market, so instead of shopping for one multi-purpose, built-in lens for your phone, you’ll be much better off hunting for as many clip-on lenses as your heart desires. Wide-angle, tele-photo, or fish-eye lens? Now you can have them all!
Focus lends your pictures a little extra sass as it sharpens around your focus area. Blurred shots are terrible! With auto-focus, even a lower-megapixel phone camera will be able to take better pictures by virtue of the emphasis on the subject matter. It’s a step up from touch focus, which requires you to tap on the focus point manually on the screen.
Half of our day is spent in relative darkness away from the optimum lighting of the sun, and without adequate lighting, most phones simply fail to perform in the photography department. This is where flash comes in handy. The best of today’s phones come equipped with Xenon flash, while others have a mid-range dual-LED. The most basic phone lens is the single LED flash. If you’re planning on shooting in poorly-lighted areas often, flash is what you should be banking on!
Shaky hands make for poor pictures. Unfortunately for many of us, it takes a lot of practise steadying our hands (or we could always cheat with a tripod, but they’re bulky in comparison to the phones themselves) in order to take a good shot. It’s much easier to cheat with an image stabilisation feature built into your phone. Phones that come with Optical Image Stabilisation is your best bet, although Electronic Image Stabilisation is an acceptable second.
With phones becoming better and better at taking photos, one day you might not even need a proper camera to take photos like a pro. Until then, choose the best specs and keep shooting!