World Photography Day Special: Top 5 smartphones for photography

There’s enough in your pocket

It’s World Photography Day and I am sure you’ll find exceptional system cameras around which celebrate the joy of capturing photos. However, everyone doesn’t have the time and luxury to spend top dollar for proper cameras. The rectangular devices sitting in your pocket are often easier to mingle with and use for most of us. So here’s a tried and tested list of top smartphones with top cameras. We’re looking at colour, portraits, night shots, videos, optical zoom and versatility from these fantastic blowers. All of these premium camera smartphones are the best in their field. We’ll tell you which smartphone camera to eye based on your photography style and preference.

1) Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro

If we write anymore about how great the Google Pixel camera is, we might bore you with it. However, there’s a reason why it’s the best camera for nerds. Firstly, authenticity! The Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro cameras are good at staying true to what your eyes see. The greens stay lively, the reds are not burnt and the blues don’t bloat. Every skin tone, blemish and shadow is as it should be and nothing feels unnatural about its composition. If you want accuracy and consistency, the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro have them. 

If you don’t like oversharp images with emphasis on sober colours, then avoid the Google Pixel. Oh, and the Google Pixel 7a is pretty much the same image quality in terms of tones and colour without the colossal price tag.

2) Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The do-it-all camera smartphone. If you could duct tape a laptop, a tablet and a system camera together, it will still not work as effectively as the S23 Ultra. If you want a smartphone that can work in any shooting condition no matter how close or far you’re from the subject, the Samsung is probably the only smartphone on this list capable of doing it with ease. The S-Pen inside this is actually as important as the camera modules themselves. After you click your photos, masking work in Lightroom or other photo editing software is very easy thanks to the S Pen. It gets more addictive as you click photos and use the S Pen to fiddle with them. 

If you don’t like oversharpened, slightly saturated and bright photos, the S23 Ultra might not be for you.

3) Vivo X90 Pro

The Vivo has a 1-inch camera sensor which might have its pros and cons depending on how you want to use it. Stick the camera in front of someone’s face and it will capture a portrait shot that shames every other smartphone in this list. However, the Vivo has something even better going for it — the Zeiss T* coated lens. The lens reduces glare and Vivo has also collaborated with Zeiss to fine-tune the display colours to match the camera’s. The end result? Well, you’ll find consistent colour tones across every lens on this smartphone. Ultrawide, telephoto and wide will all the consistent colours and tones. Thanks to the 1-inch sensor, the Vivo can also click exceptionally detailed macro photos. It’s also able to capture more light so night photos are simply stunning here. It’s best for street, macro and night photography. 

HDR photos are where the Vivo is the weakest so you might want to learn how to use a camera before you pick this one up. This is for serious photographers.

4) Xiaomi 13 Pro

Natural sharpness and great shadow detail. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a real contender here and it's very good at capturing indoor and outdoor shots with clean lines and perfect geometry. The Xiaomi excels in keeping the highlights at their best behaviour and the Leica collaboration brings fun filters and colour tones to play with here. However, it's in the black-and-white photos where the 13 Pro hits the sweet spot. If you spend more time framing your shots than actually taking them, the Xiaomi 13 Pro will do you well.

If your frames are often busier than a Mumbai local train, this is not the perfect one for you.

5) Apple iPhone 14 Pro

The Apple iPhone 14 Pro is easy to recommend. It’s not perfect but it will never do anything you didn’t expect. It’s the most reliable and powerful camera smartphone on this list. It may not be the most versatile and playful but it will dish out consistent photographs and videos on a whim. No other smartphone on this list can do video as good and consistent as the iPhone. It’s a no-nonsense smartphone that will ease your photography journey, you need only frame and click. 

Don’t bother with this if you want comprehensive tools in the viewfinder and granular control over your photographs.