More people are purchasing smartphones based on their camera prowess. We list 2015’s best camera phones. Say cheese!
Smartphone cameras are no longer casual throw-ins on calling devices. With every significant new launch, smartphone cameras have evolved into fully functioning photography modules capable of replacing the average point-and-shoot cameras, bringing in manual settings, gradually improving image sensors, and a lot of innovation with even the front-facing camera modules (owing to the advent of ‘selfies’).
In such times, it was inevitable to choose Smartphone Cameras as an entirely individual segment yet again. The phones that will receive the award were judged based on how true-to-source were the images rendered by the cameras, how smooth and efficient were the noise reduction algorithms, how much control would you have over a photograph, and the overall versatility of the primary camera module.
Zero1 Winner: iPhone 6s Plus
Apple’s prima donna was among the very first in packing in excellent camera modules within the compact shell of smartphones, and this year, the prime award goes to the iPhone 6s Plus – the largest and the most expensive that an iPhone has ever been. There has never been any doubt over an iPhone’s imaging capabilities, and with the iPhone 6s Plus, the status has been reaffirmed.
The iPhone 6s Plus packs in a Sony IMX315 image sensor, with a resolution of 11.94 megapixels for still images, and 4K video recording capabilities. It also featured a 5-element lens with a Hybrid IR filter, and Sapphire crystal glass lens cover to protect the lens. The Sony IMX315 image sensor is a part of Sony’s latest line of mobile imaging sensors, that replaces the second green pixel in the sensor’s pixel array (the previous standard pixel array was RGBG) with a white pixel. This allows for better light reception, thereby allowing a brighter lit image with lesser noise levels and superior low light photography. The iPhone 6s Plus’ camera also features optical image stabilisation, making it an ideal camera module in the present generation of smartphone cameras. It shoots crisp, detailed images, retaining true-to-source colours and matching the level of details of a reasonably decent standalone point-and-shoot camera. For its stellar camera, the iPhone 6s Plus is our deserving Zero1 Winner!
Runner-ups: Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is a formidable overall device, and is powered by two different sensors depending on its market – either a Sony IMX240, or a Samsung S5K2P2 ISOCELL image sensor, both with resolutions of 15.87 million effective pixels. Also featuring optical image stabilisation and an f/1.9 aperture lens to aid wider depth of field, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 comes mighty close to the iPhone 6s Plus, with the level of detail and clarity in its photographs. Where it loses out on is the slight oversaturation of colours and extreme low light, where the iPhone triumphs over it.
Sony Xperia Z5
The Sony Xperia Z5 comes third, powered by a 22.78MP Exmor RS mobile image sensor. While theoretically, this is one of the most powerful image sensors, Sony’s implementation and algorithms have resulted in generally oversaturated colours with slower focusing than the iPhone 6s Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, and even lesser amount of detail. Nevertheless, once you manually tweak the settings and get it right, the Sony Xperia Z5 is absolutely delightful.
Best Buy: Honor 7
The Honor 7 features a Sony IMX230 BSI sensor, with a resolution of 20 megapixels and an f/2.0 lens. The phase-detection autofocus is fast, and the 6-element lens is very, very good. Taking into consideration a price of Rs. 22,999, and the Honor 7 makes for flagship-class smartphone photography at a mid-range price bracket.
Honor 7 Price: Rs.23,000