One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘which camera should I buy’. As your phone is the camera you’ll always have with you, phone camera advice seems like a good place to start.
I’ll link to separate posts with options for Android users soon. For now, I’m going to focus on iPhones because that’s what I use. Much of the advice will apply to any phone model though.
The short version…
Don’t start with budget. List the most important features and how much you will use them. Most people I speak to say that the camera is a priority, so don’t compromise on it! Many phone cameras may be all you need, and will save you having to buy a separate one, so it’s worth spending more on the phone. If budget does become the deciding factor, get an older model that has what you need, rather than the latest one that is a compromise. e.g for iPhones, I would get the 11 Pro rather than an iPhone 12, because the telephoto lens is important to me.
The longer, techie version…
Questions to ask if camera is high on your priority:
– How many lenses does it have
– What are they; Wide, Ultra Wide, Telephoto
– Does it have Portrait Mode (a useful feature that blurs the background to make your subject stand out). Some models also have Depth Control, which means decide how much blur to apply.
– Does it have optical image stabilisation (which reduces camera shake so photos should be sharper in low light). If yes, check if it is just some lenses or all
– What video resolution does it record at (compare front and back cameras)
Lets take the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro as an example:
The iPhone 12 has two lenses and the iPhone 12 Pro has three. You may think that two is enough, and therefore the extra £ for the Pro isn’t worth it. But, the important bit is the ‘2x Zoom OUT’, this is from 1x wide to 0.5x ultra wide. i.e no telephoto, and the reason I personally would not buy the iPhone 12.
The third lens in the 12 Pro is really useful in my opinion. The telephoto lens is better for products and portraits. The ultra wide is useful for group selfies, landscapes and property interiors. Be careful if you’re using the ultra wide for portraits and groups of people, they may be very distorted.
- The oldest iPhone (and therefore cheapest) with dual lenses including telephoto and portrait mode is the iPhone 8 Plus.
- The smallest of the latest iPhones is the new SE, the first to have portrait mode in a single lens phone. (If you are looking to buy an SE, make sure it is a second generation)
- Want an iPhone 11 or 12? Be aware that it only has Ultra Wide and Wide camera lenses. If you want a telephoto lens, choose the iPhone XS, 11 Pro or 12 Pro (or Max versions if you want a larger screen).
- If you want to compare specifications use the Apple website’s iPhone Comparison Tool
Would you like some advice on which phone you should get next? Online booking for a free 15 minute phone or Zoom call is coming soon. For now, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help.
Want to learn how to get the best out of your phone camera? Come along to one of my Zoom phone photography and editing workshops; you’ll learn how to get out of ‘point-and-shoot’ mode and how to edit your photos to make them pop. Check out the link above for loads of fantastic reviews and to book your place.