How to choose a phone with a good camera – opinion an expert

When choosing a phone with a good camera, the best adviser is rating DxOMark. But at the same time, the cost of its leaders is very high.

choose a phone with a good camera

The best manufacturers of phones with a good camera

DxOMark Rating – a list of the results of a special benchmark. is he was developed by professional photographers and engineers, and designed to evaluate the photographic abilities of the device based on relevant characteristics – sensor specifications, image processing chip, lens optics and others parameters.

According to the DxOMark ranking, the best Manufacturers of phones with a good camera in 2017:

  1. Google (Pixel series is the absolute leader in the ranking);

  2. Huawei (the Mate flagship line);

  3. Apple (current iPhone models annually lead rating);

  4. Samsung (but only models from the flagship S line);

  5. HTC (again, the flagship U and One m lines);

  6. Sony (X series – re-launched flagship line after commercial failure of series Z);

  7. Nokia (model 808, which thanks to PureView technology is still is included in the list of the best camera phones).

However, all these phones (except Nokia 808) are included in the flagship price segment and are expensive. For example, Google Pixel 2, which leads the rating, starts at $ 650 – and officially on the territory of Russia is not for sale. Apple iPhone 8 Plus, occupying a modest third place, available in our country for 60 and more than thousand rubles.

If we talk about the budget and average price segments, then good photographic qualities boast:

  1. Xiaomi Mi5S is a mid-range smartphone equipped with cameras with two modules developed by Sony;

  2. Huawei P9 – two camera modules, Sony sensors, Leica optics. Last year’s but still relevant flagship;

  3. OnePlus 3T is the flagship killer. The top-end “filling” including the latest Sony camera modules and as much as possible Qualcomm Snapdragon performance processor at release devices

  4. Asus ZenFone 3 is also a flagship, only a sample of the year before last. Sony’s good camera module tried and tested in ZenFone Laser laser focusing system and excellent technical specifications.

  5. A good camera can also be found in Huawei Honor 8 (flagship Honor series), Huawei Nova (a very peculiar device, included in the same “experimental” series as, for example, Magic), Lenovo Motorola Moto Z (modular flagship with extensible functionality) and LG V20 (Korean’s alternative flagship lineup manufacturer).

The main criteria for choosing phones with a good camera

Criterias of choice

When choosing a phone with good photographic qualities you need Pay attention to the following specifications:

  1. Sensor model;

  2. Number of sensors and functions of the second module;

  3. Permission (actual or extrapolated);

  4. Diaphragm;

  5. Optics;

  6. Focusing mechanism;

  7. Additional technologies that improve image quality.

Other specifications of the smartphone, of course, also matter. However, it is worth considering that really high-quality pictures can only be obtained on smartphones equipped with flagship processors. Such high-performance chips can handle RAW data at high speed, taking it from the sensor with minimal delayed. This provides excellent image quality.

Sensor model

The main manufacturer of sensors for cameras in smartphones is Sony company. It is her products that are installed in the vast most models of the middle and lower price segment and absolutely to all flagships.

The line of camera modules for smartphones from Sony is called IMX – and the higher the model serial number, the better it shoots.

For example, in the smartphone LG Nexus 5, which was one of the best camera phones in 2013, installed Sony IMX179. And in OnePlus (first), released a little later also in 2013 – already IMX214.

The following modules are installed for current camera phones:

  1. Sony IMX333 – for Samsung Galaxy S8 +;

  2. Sony IMX362 – at Google Pixel 2;

  3. Sony IMX398 – on OnePlus 5.

The higher the sensor serial number, the better. But not only he determines the photographic capabilities of the smartphone.

Number of sensors and functions of the second module

The vast majority of modern camera phones use two camera modules – main and additional. The second is expanding device features by adding various functions:

  1. Accurate determination of the depth of focus (like Huawei Mate P9 or P10);

  2. Ability to change the depth of focus after taking a picture (HTC One m10);

  3. Portrait mode and background blur (Apple iPhone 7, 8);

  4. Extrapolation of image resolution (most Chinese camera phones);

  5. Expanding the range of colors (LG G5);

  6. Improved shooting in low light (Huawei Mate P9).

As a result, for high-quality images, it is worth buying smartphone with a camera equipped with two modules. But the increased number sensors still not talking about maximum visual beauty Images. For example, Google Pixel 2 has only one module – but smartphone tops DxOMark rating thanks to built-in neural network that improves the quality of images.


It is foolish to assume that the higher the resolution of the sensor, the better. HTC One m9 took great pictures on a 5 megapixel camera. The resolution of the sensor determines the degree of detail in the image.

So, for smartphones, a camera with a resolution of 8 or 13 megapixels.

But if you plan to shoot video in 4K resolution, it is recommended pay attention to models with a 21-megapixel sensor.



The diaphragm, it is the aperture, determines the photosensitivity cameras. The less its value – the more light falls on module. So, a smartphone with an f / 1.4 camera can be used for shooting in the twilight and spectacular shots in daylight, and with camera over f / 4 – except for street photography. Besides, Aperture determines the depth of field of the image.


The optimal aperture value in smartphone cameras is f / 2.


The optical components of a smartphone’s camera are lenses in the lens. The light sensitivity depends on them, the type of camera (telephoto, normal, wide-angle), and sharpness and degree image detail.

Usually the same company produces the optics as the sensor. But in In rare cases, the manufacturer of the smartphone replaces the “native” lenses with someone else’s. For example, Huawei Mate P9 or P10 uses optics from Leica, which provides better enlightenment images – but at the same time increases the cost of the device.

Focus mechanism


In smartphone cameras due to the small size of the module Two types of focusing are used – contrast and laser.

Contrast autofocus implies presence on the sensor several special pixels that analyze contrast separate areas of the image. Objects in the frame that have the greatest contrast, and are in the focus of the picture.

This type of focus is good for photographing in areas with good, but not true back or true front lighting; portraiture, landscape shooting, photographing moving objects.

The development of contrast focus technology is laser. When determining the “center” of the image, the camera scans the surrounding area with a very thin laser beam – and by the time of reflection it determines the closest to the smartphone an object. Such focusing is at maximum speed – but at small distances. Ideal for portrait and macro photography.

Flagship smartphones like Google Pixel use combined focusing technique that includes and laser, and contrast mechanisms, as well as software processing in real time.

Additional technologies to improve image quality

Among additional technologies to improve image quality can distinguish:

  1. Ultrapixel – increased size of each individual pixel by the camera;

  2. PureView – extended color range;

  3. HDR + – another technology for expanding the color range;

  4. Various neural networks and software extensions.

Most modern flagship smartphones are used in first of all, software technologies for improving quality images such as neural network processing (a vivid example is Contour Lighting Portrait Mode on iPhone 8), HDR or HDR + (the latter is Google’s proprietary technology).

Chinese phones with a good camera

chinese phones

Among the good Chinese smartphones with high quality The camera can distinguish the following models:

  1. Meizu MX6 – Sony IMX386, 12 MP, HDR;

  2. ZTE Nubia Z11 mini S – Sony IMX318, 22 MP, HDR, contrast autofocus (which for some reason works poorly in low lighting, but works great in daylight);

  3. Xiaomi Mi5 – Sony IMX298, 16 MP, great for shooting in daylight conditions, support for Camera2 API (can be supplied third-party camera application for better shooting).

In general, most Xiaomi smartphones support technology Camera2 API, so third-party applications (like AZ Camera, Nextbit Camera, Google Camera, etc.) provide more high-quality images than the stock program.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose Chinese smartphone and the secrets of choosing a quality smartphone.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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