I love the convenience of having my smartphone also be my primary camera. Advances in digital technology mean I can take an endless number of amazing, high quality pictures using just my smartphone—something I never could have imagined back when I was still buying flash bulbs and rolls of film at the drugstore!
These days, if you’re shopping for a new smartphone, it means you’re also shopping for a new camera. Here are a few key smartphone camera features to look for to make sure you’re getting everything you need to take memorable photos.
Megapixels are the unit of measurement for a camera’s graphic resolution. While lower megapixels may be fine for some basic shots, the image will appear “pixelated”—that is, blocky and fuzzy—if you print or enlarge it. You will find a huge difference among smartphone cameras. Some basic models, for instance, offer 5MP cameras, while premium models like the iPhone 11 or Samsung Galaxy Note10 come with 12MP cameras.
One of the features you’ll want to pay close attention to is the rear-facing camera, which may come with multiple lenses. In recent years, manufacturers have added more and more lenses to the back camera, spawning designations such as “dual-lens” and “triple-lens.” This gives you more versatility, with specific lenses for directing light and a sensor for capturing it, both of which affect the quality of the finished shot.
While multiple lenses don’t always guarantee better photos, they each have a specific purpose. Wide, or ultra-wide-angle lenses fit more in the shot, whether it’s a sweeping landscape or a row of friends’ faces. They’re the equivalent of taking a few paces back with a standard camera so you get more in the frame. Ultra or super-wide lenses, of course, let you take more figurative steps back.
There are additional features that will improve your camera quality, as well. Many models now include a panorama setting, which creates sweeping, unbroken images of a large area or scene. iPhone models come with the live photo option, to convert still pictures into short animations. You’ll also find a wide variety of built-in photo editing software, including filters, which let you digitally alter the appearance of your photo in a few quick steps.
Any modern smartphone camera is truly wonderful for letting you easily capture photos whenever and wherever you want. But the features discussed here provide the tools you need to go from simply taking good pictures to taking great ones.