Best phone cam­era in 2017

Jim Martin tests the best cam­eras, so you don’t have to

Android Advisor - - Contents -

First, we should ex­plain that this is not the kind of sci­en­tific test where we put phones on tripods in ‘lab’ con­di­tions. No. The aim here was sim­ple: to use the phone cam­eras ex­actly as peo­ple do in the real world, and present the pho­tos and video so you can see them all side by side.

Some peo­ple will only be con­cerned by photo qual­ity, others video. For some the selfie cam­era is the most im­por­tant. Com­par­ing cam­eras is a tricky busi­ness at the best of times, but we hope that the slideshows below help you to de­cide which you like best and of­fer the chance to see how they per­form in real-world con­di­tions.

If your pri­or­ity is video, it is worth go­ing for a phone with good sta­bil­i­sa­tion as this make a big dif­fer­ence to the footage.

How we tested

So we went out into the real world, took real pho­tos of peo­ple and places, hold­ing the phones in our hands. We think this is the most use­ful way to test a phone’s cam­era, and we took all the pho­tos in each lo­ca­tion with a minute or two of each other in or­der to keep light­ing con­di­tions con­sis­tent.

For each phone, we made sure it was set to use the full sen­sor res­o­lu­tion. Some are set to this out of the box, while others de­fault to a lower res­o­lu­tion so they shoot at 16:9. We also did this for the front cam­eras, and turned off any ‘beauty’ modes where we could.

For video, we again set the cam­eras to the high­est res­o­lu­tion – 4K – and where this wasn’t avail­able, we used the next high­est res­o­lu­tion, typ­i­cally 1920x1080, at the high­est avail­able frame rate. We en­abled video sta­bil­i­sa­tion, again, where avail­able. Not all phones of­fer sta­bil­i­sa­tion at their high­est res­o­lu­tion (or frame rate), es­pe­cially those which use elec­tronic rather than op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion. You can see our re­sults at­ggn6.

We took a few pho­tos on each phone at each lo­ca­tion, us­ing the stock cam­era app, then chose the best to present here. We didn’t use spe­cial modes which are unique to only that phone, since it’s not pos­si­ble to com­pare them with other phones, and that’s the whole point here: ap­ples-to-ap­ples com­par­isons.

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