Over the last decade, camera optics on smartphones has improved significantly. While consumers prefer to smartphones over point-and-shoot cameras, many professionals too have also started using smartphones for their shoots. Although we test camera while reviewing all smartphone, in this shootout we have only compared the camera capabilities of some recently launched smartphones in the Indian market.
Notes on Process: For testing, we had created four categories on the basis of popular price categorizes - up to Rs 9,999, Rs 10,000 to Rs 24,999, Rs 25,000 to Rs 39,999, Rs 40,000 upwards.
For participation, we had written to all the leading smartphone companies, inviting them to nominate their smartphones and share a testing unit for the same.
All images were shot on auto mode with HDR setting turned on in outdoor environment and low-light surroundings by Business Today Photo Editor - Vivan Mehra. Images were shot outdoors, under clear sky. We captured landscape shots offering an amalgamation of colours.
For low-light photography, we shot images in a dark room with the only light source coming from the glass walls. We also used the front camera for capturing selfies. Most of the smartphone manufacturers have added beauty mode, which fine tunes the face in the image but we captured all images in the default mode in front-facing camera. Of all the phones, Vivo V5Plus had a dual camera at the front for capturing depth effect in selfies.
Up to Rs 9,999: Xiaomi Redmi 4 vs Panasonic Eluga Ray vs Yu Yureka
All the three devices came very close. The images captured from the Redmi 4 offers good details but are over saturated. The front camera captures overly soft images with good colour.
Yu Yureka's rear camera captures accurate colour and the main camera has low dynamic range. Selfies are slightly faded but capture details.
The primary camera of the Panasonic's Eluga's captures cool colours, however, the front camera has high exposure and low dynamic range.
In low-light, Redmi 4 performs the best, followed by Yureka and Eluga Ray.
BT Choice: Xiaomi Redmi 4
Photographer Choice: Xiaomi Redmi 4
Best outdoor Camera Phone: YU Yureka
Best Selfie Phone: Xiaomi Redmi 4
Best low-light camera phone: Xiaomi Redmi 4
Rs 10,000 to Rs 24,999: Asus Zenfone 3 vs Coolpad 1 vs Honor 6x vs Micromax Dual 5 vs Moto G5 Plus vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
Of the six phones we compared, the Motorola Moto G5 Plus was impressive of the all. It was the best at capturing selfies and low-light images. The images shot in well-lit surroundings were also impressive.
The Asus Zenfone 3 comes second as the details captured using the main camera in both well lit and low light environment offered good amount of details.
The Redmi Note 4 captured best images in well-lit surroundings but struggled with low-light imaging and selfies. Micromax Dual 5 comes with dual camera that does a decent job with both the front and rear camera but tumbles in low light imaging.
The Honor 6x is a winner when it comes to capturing selfies but the main camera falls short in-front of the completion. Lastly, the results captured from the Coolpad 1 were least impressive but is the least expensive of them all.
The Moto G5 Plus is priced under Rs 15,000, competing against the CoolPad 1, Honor 6x and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. The Asus ZenFone 3 and Micromax Dual 5 are priced above Rs 20,000.
BT Choice: Motorola Moto G5 Plus
Photographer Choice: Moto G5 Plus
Best Outdoor camera phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
Best Selfie Phone: Moto G5 Plus
Best low-light camera phone: Moto G5 Plus
Rs 25,000 to Rs 39,999: Gionee A1 Plus vs Honor 8 Pro vs Samsung A7 vs Vivo V5 Plus
The four camera smartphones we tested in this price category offered varied results. While the rear camera on the Samsung Galaxy A7 captured slightly faded results, it managed to preserve details but struggled in low-light as well as selfies.
The Vivo V5 plus is the best when it comes to capturing selfies (thank to the dual camera for selfies), even it captures great images without depth mode. The main camera in both natural light and low light is pretty decent.
While the Honor 8 Pro has the least amount of noise in low light, the main camera captures low quality images in comparison to the other smartphones and the selfies are slightly faded.
The Gionee A1 Plus also captures good low-light images but rest of the results were just about average. The Honor 8 Pro and Gionee A1 Plus both boasts dual camera at the rear, which offers great bokeh effect images.
BT Choice: Honor 8 Pro
Photographer Choice: Honor 8 Pro
Best outdoor camera phone: Samsung A7
Best Selfie Phone: Vivo V5 Plus
Best Low-light camera phone: Honor 8 Pro
Rs 40,000 and above: Apple iPhone 7 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Google Pixel XL vs Sony XZ Premium All the camera phones in this price category are superb for imaging, be it outdoors or in low-light.
While shooting selfies, Google Pixel XL captured the most natural and accurate colours and had great amount of details. Samsung Galaxy S8+ came second and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus came third. In outdoor photography, the Apple iPhone 7Plus and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus came very close.
The Apple iPhone 7Plus offered better dynamic range whereas the Samsung Galaxy S8+ has more saturation. In indoors and low light photography, Samsung S8+ performed the best as it preserves more detailed images, followed by Google Pixel XL and Apple iPhone 7Plus.
All these smartphones are priced around Rs 60,000. There is also an HTC U11 priced at Rs 51,999, which also captures good images. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium images scored last in all categories.
BT Choice: Google Pixel XL
Photographer Choice: Samsung Galaxy S8+
Best outdoor camera phone: Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Best Selfie Phone: Google Pixel XL
Best low-light camera phone: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Dual-camera at the rear for capturing depth effect or should I say DSLR like images is not just restricted to the flagship smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 7Plus. While some feature one RGB and one monochrome lens, some have a regular lens accompanied with one telephoto lens.
Other than iPhone, most of the camera phones allow users to adjust aperture while capturing the image and even while editing. We shot bokeh-effect images using the CoolPad Cool 1, Micromax Dual 5, Gionee A1 Plus, Honor 6x, Honor 8 Pro and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.
While the CoolPad Cool 1 is priced under Rs 15,000; the Micromax Dual 5 and Honor 6X are priced under Rs 25,000. The Gionee A1 Plus and Honor 8 Pro are priced between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus is the most expensive retailing close to Rs 60,000. Interestingly, the depth effect captured by all these smartphones was pretty impressive.