The latest smartphones and apps to take photos like a pro
Today’s business owner is expected to wear many hats – from strategy to finance, sales and marketing. Within that mix falls photography – because fantastic photos can instantly attract leads, customers and sales or look great when you’re travelling.
But you don’t need to cart a bulky SLR when you can take cover-worthy shots with these latest smartphones and free apps. Technology has vastly improved the quality of cameras in smartphones where you virtually can’t tell the difference from SLR. Features which were just recently only found in SLR cameras like optical image stabilisation (OIS), larger sensors, bright lenses and optical zoom are today inbuilt into even the most base model smartphone.
So which smartphones and apps are leading the way in travel and everyday photography? We’ve selected the best from review sites to keep you snapping like a pro.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Review site ePHOTOzine rates the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus its top camera for photography. It features an ultra-bright f/1.5 – f/2.4 aperture lens for excellent photos in low-light, a 12-megapixel sensor and optical image stabilisation (OIS) and the front selfie camera is an 8mp f/1.7 camera with Auto Focus (AF.) In manual mode you can shoot raw images, so you can take complete control of your image processing.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is also waterproof to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 mins – a convenient feature when travelling but don’t push the limits! You can expand the memory with a microSD card and the tough Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the screen makes it resistant to inevitable holiday bumps.
CNET’s Scott Stein reviewed Apple’s iPhone X and concluded “the 10-year anniversary iPhone feels the same, but different. Weird, but good. But tough it out – because after a few days, you’re probably going to like where you end up.”
The iPhone X features 12-megapixel wide-angle ƒ/1.8 aperture and telephoto ƒ/2.4 aperture cameras. The 2x optical/10x digital zoom is impressive and it uses its dual rear cameras to produce great portrait shots. Like the Samsung S9 it includes image stabilisation and a fast autofocus. It can also shoot a panorama up to 63 megapixels – great for holiday landscapes.
Body and face detection makes for sharper captures, burst mode means you won’t miss out on any of the action and a self-timer lets you capture a group photos. Like all high-end smartphones the editing suite is impressive without a shortage of options.
Google Pixel 2 XL
After putting the leading smartphones to the test including the Galaxy S9 Plus and the iPhone X, Tom’s Guide said Google’s Pixel 2 XL leads the way when it comes to phone cameras.
“Google’s phone has the best low-light performance and it uses computational photography to produce high-end photo effects. We’re convinced that Google makes the smartphone with the best camera.”
The Pixel 2 XL performs more consistently in lower light and excels at taking self-portraits – a critical feature for the perfect holiday selfie. Google packed some smart features into the phone’s camera, most famously Pixel Visual Core which is a purpose-built sub-processor specially designed to improve the processing of HDR+ photos, making the beautiful images you capture look even more polished.
The Trusted Reviews site rates the Pixel 2 XL camera as ‘the best there is’ at capturing fantastic pictures in varying conditions. The 12-megapixel camera is optically stabilised, has a wide f/1.8 aperture for striking low-light shots and a portrait mode for effectively blurring the background.
Android apps for better snaps
Whatever the capability of your smartphone camera, there are loads of apps available that can bump its performance up and snap even better photos. These are three of the best Android camera apps available for free in the Google Play Store.
Camera FV-5 – it’s DSLR manual photography straight to your phone giving you full control over ISO, light-metering focus, white balance, shutter speed etc.
Camera MX – Create animated photos and videos with plenty of effects, filters and frames for image editing.
Candy Camera – great for taking selfies. It comes with a bunch of functions and filters including makeup tools, face slimming effects and stickers.
If you’re travelling, pack these smartphone accessories too: your phone charger, portable charger, headphones, selfie stick, waterproof case (if your phone isn’t) mini tripod and Bluetooth speaker.
Start planning your next holiday at the most Instagram-worthy destinations – see Ten emerging travel destinations around the world.