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Best Smartphone Cameras 2016 (Archive)

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Last response: in Digital Cameras
March 8, 2016 2:34:26 PM

You should have included the Sony xperia z5 on here. 23 megapixels and Sony tech equals a deserved mention in this article. Samsung might have the best specs but in my experience are the least reliable and most likely to be a factory lemon. They get too much hype already so show some deserved love to other brands.
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March 23, 2016 7:26:37 PM

Point taken Brodafett, However You Must Have All The Knowledge of What Makes a Cell Phone Camera The Best, and its Not Havingt The Most Mega Pixls That Make The Best Cell Phone Cameras!!!!
The Resolution Myth
Generally speaking, the more megapixels a cellphone camera offers, the better the quality of pictures you can take with the device. However, this is not always true. While the megapixel resolution is important, it alone does not guarantee the optimal results for picture quality. Other variables such as lens quality, shutter speed, low-light performance play an equally important role in determining the overall quality of pictures taken with a cellphone or smartphone camera. Nevertheless, the best camera cellphones offer resolution ratings of at least 10 megapixels, and a few models support resolutions of 20 megapixels or more.
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March 24, 2016 12:15:00 PM

BrodaFett said:
You should have included the Sony xperia z5 on here. 23 megapixels and Sony tech equals a deserved mention in this article. Samsung might have the best specs but in my experience are the least reliable and most likely to be a factory lemon. They get too much hype already so show some deserved love to other brands.


The above linked review is not alone in determining that that the Samsung s7 s7Edge are the best cameras in smart phones.
http://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles/Samsung-Galaxy-S7-edge-M...
Also pixel count, particularly in as small a sensor as phones have play next to no role at all in image quality.
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March 31, 2016 3:17:20 AM

Yes, I am well aware that pixels aren't the end all be all of photography. My point was simply the Sony xperia z5 is every bit as good as any of these cameras listed. It wasn't mentioned because it is not a Samsung or Apple iPhone period. Let me ask both of you how good are Sony lenses?? Yeah they are very good. The xperia is a Sony phone with Sony lenses and camera technology. Then logically shouldn't they get mentioned on this list? Instead it's Samsung, Samsung, Samsung, Apple, Samsung. So, do you want to keep singling out one little point from my comment, or address the actual basis of my original comment? Disprove that the xperia z5 doesn't deserve to be on this list. I'm waiting.

To the author do some research. Don't be lazy and just list the newest phones, in order, from the two biggest names in the industry. There are enough corporate sponsored fluff pieces for Samsung already.
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March 31, 2016 8:52:20 PM

One of three of Samsung and Apple's sensor part sources is Sony. Guess which produces the best results in tests? A good camera is low fringe and grain and best low-light handling under competitive pixel density. Three years ago Sony finish a "super white" low-light tech that nobody has yet to compete with. You think they are going to use worse parts on their own products?
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a b w Digital camera
April 1, 2016 9:28:01 AM

You guys should just check out DXO Mobile. Which unlike uninformed random noise from the internet is fact based.
http://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles
The Sony's do well, but aren't as magical as you might wish.
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April 6, 2016 2:52:04 AM

No comment about the Lumia 950? ..maybe/probably the true winner in the categories "Best Smartphone Camera Overall" and "Best Smartphone Video"?!?!
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April 7, 2016 5:31:07 AM

The Sony's do well, but aren't as magical as you might wish.
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April 17, 2016 2:56:25 AM

Well I think the sony cybershot was one off the best cell phone camera at that time.. cybershot took us to another level of photography
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April 17, 2016 1:06:08 PM

I have a Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. Best phone camera I've had ever. :) 
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April 21, 2016 3:11:00 AM

Apple Iphone SE has good camera quality
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April 28, 2016 10:12:30 PM

Anyone forgot Lumia 1020?
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May 11, 2016 6:25:39 AM

I own lumia 950XL..... Nothing to say.... The best..... Sony too is the best.... It's the reality.... Rest everything is here patronized
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June 3, 2016 8:43:54 AM

The best phone camera ever was the Nokia 808 (Symbian). No question. It was a fully functioning phone for me. I moved on only when the awful web browser (Opera was the least bad) became useless for some websites which I need to use. It had a dedicated shutter button and a wonderful 3rd party camera app which produced stunning 12MP images generated by averaging down the raw 40MP images.

Nokia then put the same camera into the Nokia 1020 (Windows 8.1) but without the 808's coprocessor so it was slower, and they crippled the output options into (a) 40MP raw (a rarely supported version of DNG!) and a small jpeg of about 1MB in size (intended for emailing by dumb users).

Still the two above are the best ever camera phones and if you look at the size of the lens, never mind the thickness of the camera, you can see why nobody today gets even close.

Today, production phones, all use the same sensor, and the top Iphone is similar to the Samsung S7. I have the S7. The previous, S6, is very similar. Unfortunately, Samsung try to please the undiscerning masses on the S7 by oversaturating the images so if you want natural colours you often have to tweak them. And there is no properly functioning 3rd party app for the S7 (yet, OS version 6.x) which might enable one to get natural pics straight out of the phone.
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June 21, 2016 8:57:34 PM

Have you compare your phones with Sony Xperia Z3......myself and friends try to compare witch smart phone's camera is the best.......sorry iphones - the worst among the worst....
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July 19, 2016 11:05:42 PM

adding a Dark Horse to this article here.. one of the best and cheapest smartphone cameras i have found is the vivo xshot.. the phone itself has its cons in outdated OS & support.. however the camera has a very decent F1.8, OIS, 6P lens, 13MP.. this still cant match the S7, but i would say is on par with the iphone 6 plus.. **interesting thing to note is that the xshot halted production and newer models from vivo all have F2.0 cameras with no more OIS.. obviously going in line with cost reduction.. that or maybe they were making a loss with putting such a good camera in a relatively cheap flagship..
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August 2, 2016 11:25:03 AM

I bought the Sony xperia z5 just because of the camera and was very excited to get it. The pictures were half as good as my Samsung Galaxy S5. I tried every setting, printed the same picture with both camera phones and send tthe phone back with the pictures enclosed. Very disappointed. So I wish they would do sample pictures of the same pictures with each camera. Save us all time and money.
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August 11, 2016 5:06:49 AM

Cell phones can take great pictures in good lighting provided your in focus. There is only so much that can be done because the total light on the sensor is really important and the sensors are so small. A f/2 ISO 100 setting on a 1/2.5 inch sensor is comparable to f/11 ISO 1600 on an APS-C sensor and even worse with bigger sensors.
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August 11, 2016 6:59:44 AM

Ewitte said:
Cell phones can take great pictures in good lighting provided your in focus. There is only so much that can be done because the total light on the sensor is really important and the sensors are so small. A f/2 ISO 100 setting on a 1/2.5 inch sensor is comparable to f/11 ISO 1600 on an APS-C sensor and even worse with bigger sensors.
I use the blond method...I shoot the exact same picture with both cameras and print them. The Sony was half as good as the Samsung Galaxy 5, and yes I tried different settings as well in the Sony and got the same results. Same photographer same picture same lighting, different cameras. Interestingly enough I just went in to test the Samsung 7 it was very contrasty with blown out highlights. I did try the LG G5 and it took great pictures. Of course I didn't print them as I was in a store, so I don't know for sure. But at least on screen the color and exposure was excellent.

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August 31, 2016 2:36:13 AM

No huawei p9 with leica camera's ?
funny point of view..
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September 7, 2016 3:28:16 AM

According to me Galaxy s7 edge has the best camera among the high end smart phones.
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September 7, 2016 10:29:07 AM

Along this same conversation, I had purchased the Samsung Note 7 and had to return it for the recall. . . .now was I'm waiting to see what they are going to do, I see the specs for the New LG V20 and the rumored specs for the upcoming SonyXperia XZ. . . .what are your thoughts on those in relation to the cameras on the phones, etc
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September 10, 2016 5:32:07 AM

I don't know why a great camera is so important on a smartphone. Most people take pictures to post on Facebook or Instagram and probably never look at the picture on the phone again. I think we should be focusing on speed, display quality, data speeds, call quality and probably the most important thing should be battery life. I think we're point here.
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September 22, 2016 6:43:16 PM

The Z3 and Z5 phones are great (I've had both) but the camera is quite poor quality in today's standards. Unless you're under a bright clear blue sky, almost all photo's appear quite dull and lifeless. Twilight/night time shots even in manual mode with maximum exposure leave a lot to be desired.

To be honest the z5 (compact for me) would be the perfect phone if only it had a larger sensor with only 8 - 12mp captures (most people only save at 8mp anyway). The 23mp is for spec sheet comparison only, and is no reflection of quality, if anything it's worse as it makes shots take considerably longer (have you ever taken a photo on a current iPhone, Samsung or LG G4/5?).
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September 22, 2016 9:30:21 PM

Nokia 808 has a good camera.
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September 24, 2016 1:11:40 AM

No Nokia Lumia reviews? What a joke. This guy has only heard of phones mentioned on CNBC.
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October 1, 2016 3:51:03 AM

In my opinion, the images from the HTC10 are better than ones from the s7. The s7 may have advantages with slightly faster focusing, but I prefer the images that the htc produce. DXOmark also rank the HTC as the current top camera phone.
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October 21, 2016 3:54:31 AM

I think everyone really forgot the Nokia 808 Pureview and Lumia 1020........
This is the real ranking.
1. Nokia Lumia 1020
2. Nokia 808 Pureview
3. Iphone 7
4. Microsoft Lumia 950 or 950 XL
5. Samsung Galaxy S7
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October 21, 2016 2:41:40 PM

Emperor Akashi said:
I think everyone really forgot the Nokia 808 Pureview and Lumia 1020........
This is the real ranking.
1. Nokia Lumia 1020
2. Nokia 808 Pureview
3. Iphone 7
4. Microsoft Lumia 950 or 950 XL
5. Samsung Galaxy S7


Aweful ranking.
1. Lumia 1020
2. Pixel XL
3. HTC 10
4. S7
5. 808 pureview
6. iPhone 7

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October 29, 2016 12:19:10 AM

Wow ... you guys might want to indicate in your article body that now's not the best time to buy a Galaxy Note 7 on eBay or craigslist ...
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December 7, 2016 3:00:45 PM

what is the best phone camera for shooting high rez images of artwork please?
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December 10, 2016 12:43:44 AM

Hi there, could someone please help, i'm ready for a new phone, i've gone off of Iphones, i currently have a Iphone 6 plus, which doesn't focus and has extremely poor audio. only by searching on the internet i found out there was a problem with that series, since i live in the country it's a bit hard to go visit the apple store. I was looking at the new Google Pixel, but now found that has camera problems as well. All i am looking for is a phone that has a reliable camera, (and is a good phone as well of course haha) is anyone got any good suggestions? i'm going around in circles, thanks heaps
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December 19, 2016 10:08:23 AM

Lumia 1020. Best. RAW images of 39mp. It's cheap now to buy it online because of masses went after hype, and true pros have huge benefit now.
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December 19, 2016 5:43:56 PM

sm7x7 said:
Lumia 1020. Best. RAW images of 39mp. It's cheap now to buy it online because of masses went after hype, and true pros have huge benefit now.


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December 19, 2016 5:44:24 PM

Thank you
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January 27, 2017 9:40:58 AM

Guys he's trying to write an article for the average consumer, not techies. Most people go for either iPhone or Android (which means Samsung). Sonys don't sell well in the States among average users.
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February 15, 2017 3:39:02 AM

I've been researching lenses on my DSLR the cheap kit ones on a 24MP APSC can typically resolve about 8-9MP. Most of the best ones can get to 14-17. I'm sure its going to be WORSE on a phone. So I think Apple/Samsung were smart to back off a bit to get better performance out.
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February 22, 2017 7:01:18 PM

I own Moto X Pure 2015 despite there is no manual -control the prints are pretty amazing But I was Stun seeing my neighbor's LG4 in both results actually that day it sold me out. I keep my Moto X because I love the way performs but for Pro shooting I feel the LG4 is the closed to my Canon 5DMarkI BTW Tow weeks ago I shoot a friend's a low budget food project. In the end the my pall was very impress the deal was 40 dishes value of $400 But end up getting $ 500 that means the quality was very impressive Of course Im not new to food photography My previous projects was with Taco Bell, Burger King , Sysco foods, etc... Yes if you would ask me 1 year ago I will leave you intimidated and walk way. I want to encourage you to try best possible because in the last year or so smartphone technology is very capable I believe by the next 3 years will Take DSLRS by surprise My apology for the long easy my English are not great cause is my third language. My pro gear is Canon MarkI , Mark III , Canon 50mm 1.2, 24-105, 16-35MARKII, Canon 10mm w stabilizer...etc... Right now I take it for serious gigs the reason clients don't accept walking with a Smartphone and few LDS I feel getting fire me on the spot. Again sorry for the long essay Im feeling like little child because I never expect smartphones will be so capable Cheers....:) 
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February 23, 2017 12:01:03 AM

Let me make this a lot easier for everyone. Every smartphone except Apple. Seriously, what a let down since their 5c. I'm an apple guy all around but I'd rather take the Samsung just cuz of the photo quality.
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February 28, 2017 9:58:43 AM

I would honestly go with the latest iPhone7 cuz think the colors you whiteness on the pictures are lovely. Well you should understand that no smartphones can be compared with a pro cameras.
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