Outdoor, landscape, portrait photos All cameras perform at their best outdoors when there’s plenty of light available. We took three photos in these conditions and quite a few of the 10 phones produced great results which many people would be very happy with.
In our top three, however, are the Google Pixel, Sony Xperia XZ and OnePlus 3T. The Google Pixel stands out as the best, though, as it manages to consistently produce excellent images regardless of subject or complexity.
Key to this is its improved HDR+ mode (which happens to be the default setting in the native camera app). It combines several RAW images to produce a JPG with high dynamic range, yet
without any trace of blurring or ghosting caused by movement in the scene. Better still, you can take several HDR+ photos without any slowdown so, unlike the older Nexus phones where poor performance meant you wouldn’t want to use HDR+, on the new Pixels, you can.
Low light In low light the Pixel again does an excellent job, preserving detail without lots of noise. So does the Galaxy S7, which captures low light scenes remarkably well for a phone. Worthy of mention here is the HTC 10 Evo, which also produces more than usable shots in dim or very low light conditions.
Selfie Yet again, the Google Pixel delivers the goods. Unlike a lot of phones which serve up a doctored, soft-focus, skin-enhancing image by default, the Pixel’s 8Mp front camera produces crisp photos with lots of detail. Some people might prefer it didn’t, which is why other manufacturers such as Samsung and LG default to blemish-reducing Beauty modes.
One feature we don’t like is the way the OnePlus 3T, HTC 10 Evo and LG G5 flip their photos so it’s like looking in a mirror. However, the latter two do all take great selfies.
Video Video quality will be more important to some buyers than photos, but equally important will be the video modes and features on offer. Aside from
the Huawei P9, all the phones here can record in 4K at 30 frames per second. But if you prefer to record high-frame-rate video, you’ll want at least 60fps at 1080.
Plenty of phones here will oblige, but the Pixel goes one better and will shoot at 120fps. It shoots excellent video, with great colour and detail, and minimal noise and artifacts. Google’s phone uses software only. Both systems deliver excellent results whether shooting at 4K or 1080p.
Final thoughts We’re comparing camera quality here, but there are other considerations. One is features. For example the LG G5 offers a wide-angle camera which makes is a good choice if you’re after an action-camera look to photos and videos without resorting to an add-on wide-angle lens.
Don’t forget, too, that the Galaxy S7 are water resistant so can take photos and videos in conditions where other phones wouldn’t survive, including underwater.
The Pixel may not have any of these features, but remains one of the best phones for photography you can buy right now. If you don’t want an Android phone, you won’t be disappointed with the iPhone, but the Pixel just pips the Galaxy S7 (our previous winner for phone cameras) as the best Android phone for photography.
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