Looking for your next phone? What do you look for in them? Most of the things phones pack internally these days are more or less the same. But smartphone companies love to play with their cameras. So let’s look into some of the best camera phones in various price ranges.
Huawei P30 Pro – Mobile Camera Redefined
Imagine the best camera on a phone you’ve seen or used, or experienced. Then, multiply it by 5! That’s what you get on the Huawei P30 Pro. It does NOT take 5 times better images, but what it does is fantastic! You can zoom into a scene 5 times and not get your picture ruined by those little pixels and noise! With a 5X Optical Zoom lens technology in the camera, it is right now the best zoom lens there is!
Huawei’s P-series is all about Photography. Actually, the “P” stands for Photography! So, it’s only natural that they include their best camera tech in this series. With the P30 and P30 Pro, Huawei intends to “rewrite the rules of photography”. And to do that, they certainly included their big guns – an interesting combination of lenses and sensors.
The biggest of course, is their 5X Zoom Periscope lens which means that it’s not your regular round camera sensor. This sensor has a lot of parts inside, in the form of a periscope (the tool they use in submarines to see what’s going on above water). With a periscope in there, there’s a square-shaped sensor up front which gathers all the image data and sends it back to an angled mirror, which reflects the image data and sends it to the actual telephoto lens that is responsible for magnifying the image. If it was not a periscope lens, the camera would protrude out in an awkward fashion.
The Periscope lens and 5X zooming is all about the right combination of the right sized mirrors, sensors, distance and some mathematics included as well. So, with the right combination, you can also get 10X or 20X Optical zoom, or something close.
And besides that Optical Zoom, you can also capture up to 50X Digital Zoom. Well, let’s just say, with very steady equipment (use a gimbal or stabilizer), some patience, nice weather and a bit of photography knowledge, you can take super close up shots of the moon!
The primary camera in the setup is the 40 MP SuperSpectrum lens. What this means is, besides the sheer number of pixel count, it also has a new trick up its sleeve. While regular cameras are fitted with an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) filter (the primary colors, of course), this SuperSpectrum lens is fitted with an RYB (Red Yellow Blue) filter. In layman terms, this means the sensor gathers more of the red light. So, the sensor can gather more light making it more sensitive in low light situations. And that helps capture more details in low light images, making it one of the best cameras for taking night time shots. To help it further, there’s a dedicated Night Mode in there as well. And that helps you capture images of things you can’t even see!
The other one is a 20 MP Ultra-wide angle camera. And with that, you can take wide shots of the environment around you. Meaning, you can get more objects and surroundings into that frame, making it very suitable for group shots, or beautiful sceneries, if you’re into landscapes. And that 20 MP lens also gives you great details on the subject.
The last one is not exactly a camera lens; it’s called a TOF (Time of Flight) sensor. The TOF sensor is used for a number of things. But primarily, it is used to detect depth of field in photos, for capturing portrait shots with better bokeh quality. TOF enables the camera to segregate the subject and background better, calculate the depth and apply detailed blurring for some great looking portrait shots. Additionally, the TOF sensor is also used in AI and AR (Augmented Reality), where it can measure length, distance, area and volume of objects with 98% accuracy. Of course, the application of that is quite limited now…but that makes it a future proof tech!
This amazing package of cameras makes the Huawei P30 Pro the best choice for photography enthusiasts. If you’re someone who is into mobile photography and want a super versatile camera, then, the Huawei P30 Pro is all you need!
Vivo V15 Pro – Popping selfies!
While the Huawei P30 Pro gives you an absolute artillery of a camera unit, it is also a premium-priced flagship. And so, not everyone’s cup of tea. So, let’s dive into a more mid-range territory, here – something that still packs a great set of cameras. Because, well, cameras are the major focus on today’s smartphones anyway.
Now Vivo is a company known to bring new innovative features from their flagships, or even concept phones into mid-rangers pretty quick. With last year’s Vivo V11 Pro, it was the cheapest phone to bring an in-display fingerprint scanner, back then. And this time, the Vivo V15 Pro became the first mid-range phone to introduce the Pop-up Selfie camera module.
If you don’t understand the hype about pop-up cameras, don’t worry. Neither do I. But apparently, it’s to give you that true bezel-less display experience up front. You know, so that you can get an amazing multimedia experience. Plus, you never know how cool a pop-up camera is until you hold one in your hands. The way the camera comes out of hiding with a cool robotic sound, makes you feel as if you’re some kind of a terminator! (That is a bit dramatic, but it does feel like that sometimes)
The V15 Pro’s pop-up module houses a 32 MP selfie camera, which lets you take amazing selfies. And by amazing, I mean, if you’re good with a bit of processed images. Because Vivo’s selfie camera, by default gives you a sort of “beautified” images of yourself. And that’s with the Beauty Mode off. But If you like playing with your facial features, you’re in for a treat! There’s a lot of tools in there to enable to you take all kinds of selfies. You can virtually Photoshop your face in there! It allows you to adjust your forehead, jaws, chin, nose, eyes, and everything! Cool, or not, you decide. I thought it was fun, for a while. But this can take your Instagram to a whole new level!
On the rear panel, the phone offers a triple camera setup – which seems to be the norm these days, for mid-range phones. The first of the set, is a whopping 48 MP camera. That’s a whole lot of megapixels, but it uses something called “Pixel Binning” to capture 12 MP images from that camera. And that doesn’t mean it takes bad pictures.
In the contrary, that pixel binning technique combines four pixels into a single one, making each pixel more detailed than it originally was. There is very less noise in your pictures and ample details and sharpness. Plus, Vivo does its thing with the colors, making it pop everywhere! So, it’s not only the selfie camera that pops, but the colors, too. The colors in the images are vibrant and eye-catching. But of course, sometimes, that vibrancy is unsuitable in certain aspects, making photos look a bit oversaturated. Still, use it in the right settings, and you have one of the best cameras on a mid-range smartphone.
The V15 Pro also packs an ultra-wide camera for those wide shots, of course. And as it is with these ultra-wide lenses, they’re mostly fun to use. Capturing more in the frames is handy, especially, while taking photos of sceneries or landscapes. And don’t forget group photos!
The other is a 5 MP depth sensor. This, too, is not an actual camera lens, but something that assists in taking portrait shots and getting the bokeh effect. Edge detection is pretty good on the subject and the background, except for a few exceptions here and there. What’s more fun is that you can take portrait images with various background effects. There are quite a few, but the one I liked most were the “Rainbow” and “Monochrome” effect.
The first applies a rainbow shade your photos, making your photos livelier. The second gives you a black-and-white background, just like those pictures you can get from DSLR cameras! There’s just so much to play around with!
Besides a good set of cameras, the Vivo V15 Pro became one of my favorite mid-range phones because of its quick implementation of flagship level experience. While other flagship phones still have notches or some kind of holes on the screen, this one, was the first to give us the clean all-screen experience. And also, you get the zippy in-display fingerprint scanner which can unlock your phone in 0.37 seconds. Not as fast as your traditional fingerprint scanner, but I’ll take it!
So, a combination of some good cameras and its innovative steps, the V15 Pro is easily one of the best choices for a premium mid-range phone.
Oppo F11 Pro – The Average Joe
Here’s another mid-ranger that employed the pop-up camera module too! It’s the Oppo F11 Pro. So, you can see phone companies, these days, are going for that clean all-screen display experience. And a full-screen display it delivers, but this phone lacks certain components here and there, compared to the competition it’s facing.
Because this is not a phone that gives you the latest and the best, but it delivers all that is necessary…in a pretty good package, too! Because while the Oppo F11 Pro, may not stand out in other aspects, it certainly has got a cool design!
Dubbed “Thunder Black”, the design of this phone is certainly the first thing that’ll make you like it. While most other smartphones these days, go for a shiny light color with dual gradient, this one stands out with this dark colors combo. A combination of cyan, magenta and black, the design, somewhat resembles the moment of a lightning strike – when the skies are full of black clouds but light up due to the lightning. Hence, the name “Thunder Black”. This color combination also makes the phone appear to have a glass construction, but is, in fact, plastic. It easily fools you with its build quality.
And if this “Thunder Black” doesn’t appeal to you, there’s something even better! It comes in the form of this Marvel Avengers Edition, and with the way it looks, there’s no contest between this one and other mid-range phones, out there…in terms of looks, that is. That is an absolute must have for Marvel fans, but it does cost you some extra money. So, it’s up to you to decide.
Besides the design, however, the Oppo F11 Pro is not something very special. It’s still a good unit, a great standalone device, until you start comparing it with other premium mid-rangers. To be fair, the Oppo F11 Pro is quite a bit cheaper than its competition, but still, there are certain aspects it can improve by a lot.
For instance, this phone has a dual camera setup at the back. And it comprises of a good 48 MP lens and a 5 MP depth sensor. It missed out on the Ultra-wide angle lens, which, is getting very popular among smartphones of the same tier. This positions the Oppo F11 Pro at a disadvantage, compared to its other counterparts…say the V15 Pro itself. Yes, the V15 Pro is more expensive, but also offers quite a bit more.
But of course, the F11 Pro, for what it is, is still a good device.
Its pop-up selfie camera packs a 16 MP sensor, and as Oppo so aggressively advertises its selfie prowess, this one doesn’t disappoint. All the elements in your selfie are pretty great. From the amount of details, to the balanced colors, and dynamic range, there’s nothing you can complain about in this department. Even its portrait selfies come out fantastic! Edge detection is superb, and the background blur is on point. The only problem is here, is its inability to recognize multiple faces in a selfie portrait…so, no group portraits for you.
The rear camera still captures decent photos, though. There is good color reproduction, and okay-ish dynamic range, and plenty of details. But there’s a slight greenish tint in the images, which is not very noticeable…unless you start comparing the pictures with that of other phones. But that greenish tint comes in handy when you actually need to take photos of natural landscapes with a lot of greenery in it! That is when the Oppo F11 Pro’s camera really shines through! And what else it does better than other phones in the price category are close up shots…almost as good as the Macro shots of the Huawei P30 Pro.
Its portrait images are also fantastic. Edge detection is pretty accurate, the subject gets great colors and focus is superb while the background blur also looks good. And one more thing about the F11 Pro is, it can take better images when it comes to human subjects. So, if you want an absolutely stunning picture of yourself, or your friends, the F11 Pro is the one to have.
In addition, this phone also has a dedicated Night Mode. Just like the Huawei P30 Pro and the Vivo V15 Pro, this one, is also a long exposure shot. But unlike the P30 Pro, it has a regular RGB filter, so, while it can lighten up images in the dark and give you decent colors, it doesn’t pack as much details.
So, the F11 Pro is a decent phone with respectable camera performance. The only thing it lacks is an ultra-wide camera, which places it at a great disadvantage. And there are some aspects, like the lack of an AMOLED display, that might not appeal to you. But then again, it is not as expensive as the other mid-range phones out there!