What cameraphone produces the best quality pictures?
March 23, 2012 4:22 PM   Subscribe

What smartphone has the best quality camera?

If the kind of picture is important, action/landscapes, typically outside (but sometimes in pretty low light). Caveats: Available on Sprint in the U.S. Thanks!
posted by stewiethegreat to Technology (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As of six months ago, the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II were pretty much neck-and-neck for camera quality. They're the same price at Sprint, so it's up to you which OS and form factor you like better.
posted by zsazsa at 4:28 PM on March 23, 2012

Here's a smartphone camera test.
posted by martinrebas at 4:55 PM on March 23, 2012

Professional photographer here...

This is a purely subjective answer, and not based on any kind of testing. Plus, i haven't evaluated any of the most current generation cell phone cameras.

My HTC Incredible has an 8mp camera, and I know what I'm doing with it.

My wife's second to the most current generation iPhone has a 5mp camera. I have her iPhone camera set to HDR mode all of the time.

I am simply amazed at the way she can use this thing, with no other adjustments, and get decent pictures pretty consistently under all manner of "no chance for a decent image shooting that way based on conventional wisdom" situations.

My next cell phone will be an iPhone simply because of her success with hers.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:57 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Nokia Pureview 808 claims to have a 41mp sensor, though I suspect that's more of a stunt than anything.
posted by modernserf at 5:16 PM on March 23, 2012

Mmm ya, Carl Zeiss is the new Tommy Hilfiger. Which is the way, they sold away their reputation for quality or style to make a quick buck. I'd stay away from anything bragging about Zeiss involvement... in these crappy cameras, megapixels don't matter, and more importantly now, LENSES doesn't matter.

iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S beats the competition into sand. Not a fanboy (their stuff is overpriced trendy nonsense except for the Shuffle and the iPhone), but iPhone iPhone iPhone.
posted by Yowser at 5:34 PM on March 23, 2012

And oh ya, I forgot, the iPhone probably has a crappy sensor just like every other phone out there, but they seem to have tweaked the crap out of that thing to make sure it works in the conditions people will actually use it for.
posted by Yowser at 5:50 PM on March 23, 2012

In regards to the Nokia Pureview 808, I hear it's actually fairly decent. Ars Technica has a good write up.
posted by nrobertson at 7:58 PM on March 23, 2012

I love, love, love the 8-megapixel camera on my iPhone 4S.

I started out using the regular camera, no apps, no fancy effects or apps. I loved it. It was incredibly simple and fast to use. The "fast" part matters to me because I was able to snap, snap, snap pictures, one after another, and almost always, I'd end up with some really good pictures in the batch. I haven't taken a whole lot of action shots, but the few that I have, I've used this "snap snap snap" technique with the regular camera and it has worked well for me.

I've found that the "HDR" setting on the regular camera makes for great still landscape pictures. However, it slows down the processing time on the camera — my understanding is that the HDR setting it takes one underdeveloped picture, one overdeveloped picture, and then merges them together — and because of that, I wouldn't recommend it for action shots. The picture will come out slightly blurry.

In addition to the regular camera, I now use a few different photography apps, especially Hipstamatic app. The "foodie" pack is hands-down the BEST camera for food photography that I've been able to find! And there are a variety of packs that work well for landscapes, too. Hipstamatic doesn't take pictures nearly as fast as the regular camera (so my "snap snap snap" technique doesn't work), but my experience is that if you exercise patience, you'll still be able to get great photos. Also, you should know that the pictures taken with Hipstamatic are square, not rectangle.

For what it's worth, my SO has the iPhone 4 (not 4S) with a 5-megapixel camera and still loves it for photography.
posted by hypotheticole at 7:59 PM on March 23, 2012

The iPhone4S is a truly enjoyable point and shoot camera experience. As imjustsaying mentions, the HDR setting does some amazing things in conditions unsuitable for most point and shoot cameras.
posted by NikitaNikita at 9:19 PM on March 23, 2012

I think they improved the camera noticeably between the HTC Droid Incredible and the Incredible 2; my friend's Incredible photos generally are nowhere near as good as my Incredible 2 ones, which my friends with iPhones regularly ooh and aah over. I would highly recommend the Incredible 2's camera.
posted by limeonaire at 10:30 PM on March 23, 2012

I am a confirmed Apple hater. I've never owned an Apple product and never will. I have spent lots of time with all the top of the line Android phones, and have many "gadget freak" friends with the latest gizmos, and when I get a chance I put these through their paces. I regret to inform you that the camera on my wife's iPhone 4S is far and away the best camera on a phone I've ever seen. Second place isn't close.
posted by Crotalus at 11:24 AM on March 24, 2012

supposedly the camera on the phone I have, the myTouch Slide 4G, is one of the best. also 8 megapixels.
posted by FlyByDay at 1:31 PM on March 24, 2012

My old Nokia N8 takes better pictures than my current iphone 4S. By a long way. I still carry the N8 round because of that, since it works without the SIM in.
posted by muckybob at 4:28 AM on March 26, 2012

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