Cameras have become one of the biggest reasons people buy smartphones. But to be able to get the best photos possible, you need to get a smartphone with the right camera features. Here are some of today’s popular camera features to keep an eye out for when shopping for your next smartphone.
Tom’s Guide ranks the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge as today’s best smartphone cameras. It earned the top spot due to its super fast autofocus capability and 12MP dual-pixel sensors that ensure you never miss a shot.
Most leading smartphones have some type of autofocus capability, but the S7 takes it a step further. Smartphones generally rely on one of two methods to focus automatically. Contrast-detect autofocus adjusts the focus until it finds a high-contrast shot by identifying a select number of focus pixels that are spread across the frame. Phase-detect autofocus uses distance to set the focus. The S7, however, comes with dual-pixel focus, which uses every pixel in the shot to identify contrast. This enables the S7 to focus more rapidly than previous smartphones.
Low-Light Shooting Capability
Another popular feature is low-light shooting. This is made possible partly by high dynamic range (HDR) imaging, a photography technique that was recently imported to smartphones. The “dynamic range” refers to the ratio of light to dark in a shot. HDR takes shots at three different exposures that are combined to spotlight the best parts of each shot into one composite image. Smartphones with HDR capability perform this editing function automatically for you.
Wide-angle lens shots, including selfies, are another capability of today’s smartphones. A wide-angle shot lets you fit more in your picture and create a more three-dimensional effect when you shoot objects at different distances in the same view. Samsung makes a lens cover for the S7 that comes with a wide-angle lens attachment as well as a telephoto lens. The iPhone 7 Plus comes with wide-angle and telephoto lenses as well.
Another wide-format type of shot is panoramic shooting. This is characterized by a wider aspect ratio with a field of view that better approximates the width of the human eye. If you think of a wide-screen TV letterbox format, this gives you an idea of what a panoramic shot looks like. Panoramic mode is common to the S7, iPhone 7 and Pixel.
With the advent of virtual reality, 360-degree shots have become part of the smartphone photographer’s repertoire. This type of shot is composed by using a front and rear camera to shoot two images at once, which can be then be combined into a single wraparound view by using an app. To accomplish this editing, you can use an Android camera’s photo sphere mode, a Samsung’s Surround Shot mode or the Street View app, which works with both Android and iOS devices.