To kick things off, let me clarify what this will and will not include. This review is going to provide you will a high level overview of the technical elements that determine our smartphone cameras image quality. What it WILL NOT BE, is an in depth techie review, as there are already plenty of those out there and I will link to a handful of these for you.
The purpose of this is to provide you with a clearer understanding of what the actual difference is and why it matters between the current smartphone cameras on the market.
Great image quality all starts with the size of your camera's sensor.
Before we had digital cameras, the camera sensor was the actual that we used, which came in various sizes -- as do our digital camera sensors today. The camera sensors job is to gather the light and information it sees to create your image. The larger the camera sensor, the more light and information it can gather, in turn creating a higher quality image overall.
Larger camera sensors will capture more lights, less noise, more detail and more of that beautiful background blur, so many cell phone photographers crave.
Larger sensors gather more light due to its larger surface area, which means it will perform better in low lighting situations... i.e. dark restaurants.
Let's talk about megapixels really quick, because that's what most of the cell phone companies focus on.
More megapixels does NOT always mean better image quality.
Camera sensor size and megapixel count go hand in hand and a higher megapixel count will always be better on a larger camera sensor, than a smaller one.
Think about the sensor like a funnel and the megapixels like marbles. If you're trying to squeeze 12 megapixels through smaller and smaller sensors/funnels, then inevitably they're going to get crowded. In the photography world, you see this happen more in the lower lighting situations.
Larger Camera Sensors create that beautiful background blur.
This has been a challenge in cell phone photography and why cell phone companies have been using AI (Portrait Mode, Live Focus, Foodie etc.) to re-create that effect.
Smaller Camera Sensors allow for better zoom and zoom lenses are also cheaper when designed for a smaller sensor. Small Sensors lead to smaller, less expensive cameras overall... i.e. the smartphone cameras.
To bring this to a close, with the most recent released of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Apple has release their largest camera sensor to date, with a slew of technological upgrades as well. I for one and stoked about this new release, I just received mine yesterday, though with the timing of The Chef Shots Launch... I've barely even taken it out of the box 😉
You're now armed enough to be dangerous in any conversation you might have with a pro-photographer and I will leave it to you to decide which phone is best for your needs.
There are special Early Bird Bonuses that will only be given to my email list, so you won't want to miss it!!
As always, Happy Shooting!
I've made this diagram below so you can compare the image sensors in a few of the most common smartphones of 2020 and if you would like to learn or make a few comparisons yourself, I've included links below:
Technical Smartphone Camera Comparison - Tom's Guide