The Best Cameraphones to Buy in 2014
The rise of smartphones and social media can be largely attributed to cameras and pictures. It doesn’t matter whether it’s posting pictures of sporting events on Twitter, Instagramming your picnic on a summers day or even taking professional shots for a publication; if there’s one thing smartphone users love to do at any given time or place – it’s take pictures.
Most modern smartphone cameras have all reached a certain standard but that doesn’t mean there are no stand-outs currently available. The last thing you want to do is buy a phone just assuming the camera is up to scratch only to find out all too late that it isn’t.
To save you the trouble and to prevent you from cursing yourself after shelling out £500 and not even getting a decent camera, we have compiled a list of the top smartphone cameras to buy in 2014.
Now before we begin, be warned that shiny expensive phones don’t necessarily mean good cameras. In fact we’ve seen numerous phones that pack cutting edge features only to be let down with a really poor camera. But don’t worry, we have got it all covered. All you need is to read this post carefully and find out which devices we think currently pack the best camera’s. Spoiler alert: we have a phone with a whopping 41 megapixel camera in there that can even rival a DSRL!
Best smartphones with cameras currently available in the market
Apple iPhone 5S
Apple were slow starters when it comes to smartphone cameras; in fact they didn’t give us a good camera until iPhone 4S. But for the Cupertino Giant that was the beginning of a new era and thankfully for iPhone users Apple have improved their cameras significantly with each iteration.
With the iPhone 5S you get an 8 megapixel shooter, yes I know you are thinking ‘is that it?’ but let me finish. This is state of the art hardware; it has a Sapphire crystal lens coating with back illumination – in camera terms this means that the quality of output is extremely efficient. Next the flash is not your run of the mill flash; Apple have introduced 5S with TrueTone technology. This enables a better finish in portrait pictures. Human skin is captured with a very realistic touch and the 5S camera has all the fancy options like face detection, burst mode, image stabilisation and special focus.
Video wise, the camera is no slouch either. It records video at 1080p – at very high quality and to top it off it even records in slow motion.
Sony Xperia Z2
The Sony Xperia Z2 isn’t the only Sony smartphone that has a mind blowing camera, the Z1 was also a beauty but here Sony have gone one better which is quite an achievement.
The Xperia Z2 has a modified and extensive version of the Z1’s camera. We still have the monster 20.7 megapixels only now it has HRD mode, 8x digital zoom and a 1080p front facing sensor plus a 2.2 mega pixel front facing camera.
Coming over to the software side, we have various options like auto focus, background defocusing, lighting, sepia tone, timeshift, burst and AR mode. And when it comes to shooting videos, the Z2 is unrivalled; we can shoot video at 4K, by far the highest resolution available in the market today.
The best feature is that the phone is waterproof. You can operate the camera underwater as well making it perfect for taking shots in the pool on holiday or down at the beach.
Nokia Lumia 1020
If you aren’t an avid reader of smartphone reviews or opinions then what you are about to find out might shock you; the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41 megapixel camera. That’s not a typo.
That is 33 more than iPhone 5S and needless to say that it outruns the competition by miles – the Nokia Lumia 1020 in our opinion has the best camera available on the market today.
In terms of pixels the only rival is the Nokia 808 Pure View (but it won’t be featuring on our list since it is not a very good all round phone). The Lumia 1020 camera is not all about pixels though; it has some jaw dropping features as well. Such as Zoom and the Pro Camera app; the Pro Camera app allows you to extensively customise your camera settings and take pictures just how you want – saturation, light, colour balance, everything can be highly customised. Xenon flash aids when snapping at night or dim light.
The software and camera app Windows have provided makes the Lumia 1020’s camera pretty special too. The Instagram app is a good example; being able to take a picture and instantly upload it on social media is a great feature. The 1020’s camera is the perfect blend of hardware and software. Video recording is of equal brilliance and the 1020 records videos at 1080p (full HD).
Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung is a serious contender for sweeping the smartphone market and solidifying itself as the Android supremo. They further enhance that reputation by introducing a top notch camera with the new Samsung Galaxy S5. It has a 16 megapixel camera and a 2 megapixel front facing shooter.
Features wise the S5 has a 0.3 second autofocus which is the fastest amongst smartphones at the moment. Then we have an extraordinary feature called “Selective Focus”. The Selective Focus allows you to capture photos with a depth of feel effect in which you can specifically focus a person or an object. This is a feature common in expensive DSLR cameras but now you have it right in the palm of your hand.
HDR mode has also been revamped and reinforced; now the pictures have better skin tones even in indoor photography. The Galaxy S5 also has a new UHD video feature and it’s a real winner as the S5 excels in all areas – not just camera.
Nokia Lumia 925
Another Nokia Lumia phone, another great camera, the Nokia Lumia 925 is overall a sleek looking device that can take excellent pictures. The Lumia 1020 had a freak-of-nature 41.7 megapixels camera and the Lumia 925 is not far behind with an 8.7 megapixel beauty (OK, that’s far far behind but only in terms of megapixels, the quality of the camera is outstanding).
The PureView camera includes a dual LED flash and you can tweak and edit photos by the Pro Camera app, just like on the Lumia 1020. The app allows you to customise your photos however you like as well by applying special effects through Smart Mod; you can even create videos out of pictures. High quality video recording at 1080p is available with all the necessary effects and features. The front camera is 1.2 megapixels that supports video calls.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
We have already reviewed the Samsung’s Galaxy S5’s camera but we are not quite done with the Samsung devices just yet. Before we were blessed with Galaxy S5, Samsung gave us a delightful camera in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
This gigantic smart phone has a 13 megapixel camera along with excellent shutter speed and supports LED flash. There is an extra feature called “Smart Stabilis
sation”. If you have unsteady hands while taking a picture, the Smart Stabilisation sorts things out.
Video options of the Galaxy Note 3 are vast and top drawer too. Check this out: it has got UHD and supports slow motion recording (you can make your own dramatic short film, assuming you have the 100 other skills needed of course but video recording is right here in the palm of hand with Note 3).
With Samsung, or most Android phones for that matter, you can be sure of getting heap of camera apps and software too. The Note 3 is equipped with advanced features like Panorama, Best Face and Sound n Shot.
LG are now the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world and having endured a slow start, they are rapidly making ground. Their progress is evident in their phones too and LG G2 is one such device that showcases how far LG have come. It has a 13 megapixel camera, LED flash, touch focus, auto focus, image stabilisation and face detection. It even has a competitive HDR mode.
There is digital zoom with both still and video modes included too and it records video at 1920×1080 (1080p) with full HD. There is even a voice activation command attached to the G2 camera which is a nice touch.
Our most highly rated feature of the G2’s camera is the “optical image stabilisation” and this feature has been missing in some high end phones like the Galaxy S4.
The G2 is a great phone to snap both indoor and outdoor pictures and it’s also attractively prices which makes it is a very good catch – camera-wise and otherwise.
So there you have it, our favourite camera orientated smartphones currently available. Do you own any of these devices? Got a question that isn’t answered here? Feel free to leave a comment or post a question in our help and advice section.