• > UPDATE Thread < Thanks to all who've DONATED to help with MobiTog's costs, please consider a small regular monthly sum, now possible under the new Donate tab! (NB - If all active MobiMembers Donate just £1/$1 per month it will cover our costs and help with expenditure for updates/improvements) A BIG THANK YOU ALL for your continued generosity & support!
  • PLEASE READ THIS THREAD < Tap for linky - MobiTog still has a few minor updates/improvements to complete... :)

Discussion: Android phones for photography

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
So as I will probably buy a new phone the next months I will collect some information about phones I find descent for photography - opinions and experience very welcome!

Personally I have the following criteria for my new phone:

- plain Android with few modifications by the manufacturer (nice to have - the less the better)
- good native camera app with focus on photography
- around 5,5" display size - not too big
- up to date Android version
- good battery life with quick charge
- Moment case available (nice to have)
- RAW capture

Currently I had a look at the following phones:
- Google Pixel 2/3
- Oneplus 6T
- Honor View 20 (night shots - https://www.flickr.com/photos/31091808@N05/albums/72157706501806455)
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro (https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/reviews/huawei-mate-20-pro-camera-review)
 
Last edited:

sinnerjohn

Smooth Bug Catcher
Real Name
John
Device
Pixel
Does size matter? I was looking at the Pixel3 v the Pixel3 XL and apart from the screen, battery and price, they seem much the same.
I'm not really sold on huge screens myself, unless they give some extra dimension.
 

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
After watching a bunch of youtube videos, reading a lot of reviews, looking at plenty of shots I chose a few phones which seem to be very promising to me.
I dropped Honor, Huawei because the company decided not let users unlock their phones to flash a custom ROM if they like. That's for me a clear no-go. If the manufacturer stops providing update after 2-3 years I'd like to be able to flash a custom ROM to my phone.

Nevertheless I will name one of the phones from Honor, because it seems to be very capable.

One thing I realized is that AI is the buzzword! Nearly every manufacturer is using some kind of artificial intelligence to apply settings for taking pictures. This works in most of the cases quite well, but not always. And of course it's not what you have in mind when taking a shot. ;)

So I had a closer look at the following phones:
- Oneplus 6T
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s

Here's a link to the performance of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s: https://www.anandtech.com/show/12992/the-xiaomi-mi-mix-2s-review/7
I like this review because you can easily check the competitors in the same scene. The Xiaomi has pretty awkward front camera but as I never did a selfie I don't care.
The big plus is the optical 2x zoom lens which has a quite good image quality. (https://www.mi.com/global/mix2s/)

The Oneplus is also not bad. Has a better front camera, OLED display. (https://www.oneplus.com/de/6t)

Actually I'm not sure which one would be the better one. The tele of the Xiaomi is a real plus for me.
 

sinnerjohn

Smooth Bug Catcher
Real Name
John
Device
Pixel
Xiaomi isn't a well known brand in the UK. One of my colleagues has a Oneplus (admittedly an older one) and he doesn't rate the camera at all.
What about the HTC U12?
 

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
Oneplus wasn't well known for camera performance but with the 6T seemed to really catch up.

Xiaomi is gaining market presence in Europe. And they have a really good price rate in regards what you get for your money.

The HTC sounds interesting as well. But here in Germany they lost presence on the market. I'm fearing bad maintenance when it comes to updates of Android (which is sometimes really bad).

As always - it's not that easy and straight forward!! :lmao:
 

ImageArt

MobiLifer
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Ann
Device
iPhone 7 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
Oneplus wasn't well known for camera performance but with the 6T seemed to really catch up.

Xiaomi is gaining market presence in Europe. And they have a really good price rate in regards what you get for your money.

The HTC sounds interesting as well. But here in Germany they lost presence on the market. I'm fearing bad maintenance when it comes to updates of Android (which is sometimes really bad).

As always - it's not that easy and straight forward!! :lmao:
Minefield! It’s difficult to know what reviews are accurate or just blurbing what they have been given.
 

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
In the end you need to make your own decision. Of course there are fan boys, haters and folks who compare to high end devices (which does only work to a certain degree).

Those reviews will only point you to a direction. The rest is yours.
 

terse

MobiLifer
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Ted
Device
iPhone Xs
iFixit just posted a teardown of the Samsung S10 and S10e here:

https://ifixit.org/blog/14010/galaxy-s10-teardown

This won't tell you anything about the usability of the phone, but some of us :appsir: find these things interesting. The teardowns also give some clues as to what hardware may turn out to be troublesome and/or expensive to repair. One thing iFixit noted about the S10/S10e is the extra heat generated by wireless charging and its likely effect on the difficult-to-replace-because-thoroughly-glued-in battery.

There are teardowns for many other phones, including the P20 Pro, Pixel 3, and iPhones. Look at a few of those and you'll begin to see that all these phones share certain problems for repair, part of the price for packing so much stuff into such a small space.
 
Last edited:

Ryn S

MobiLurver
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Ryn S
Device
iPhone 7 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
I was looking at the Samsung S10E (because I’m not happy with the direction Apple has taken... ) and the article mentioned a different phone/camera scheduled for release later this year that has an 18mp camera....I’m going to wait and see what’s coming later this year...I’d like to be able to take pics that can be printed larger than what is possible currently. I’m really glad this thread is here.
 

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
After checking and reading a lot of reviews I came to the conclusion that photography lives and dies with the used algorithm of the camera app.

Best approach is the native app delivers a comparable quality like GCam from Google or I can install a modified version of it.

The trick of this app is that it reduces noise by stacking images into a single one.

Even with my midrange Moto I get a phenomenal quality. Of course this method needs computing power to do it fast.

It also has the drawback that moving objects get blurry. But for stills this the way to go.

My current favourite is the Xiaomi MI 9 which did a descent job at DXOs review. I hope I can test it or at least get a grip on it at a local dealer.
 

ImageArt

MobiLifer
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Ann
Device
iPhone 7 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
I was looking at the Samsung S10E (because I’m not happy with the direction Apple has taken... ) and the article mentioned a different phone/camera scheduled for release later this year that has an 18mp camera....I’m going to wait and see what’s coming later this year...I’d like to be able to take pics that can be printed larger than what is possible currently. I’m really glad this thread is here.
Well, it’s been interesting to try out an Android phone and I could certainly get used to it but don’t underestimate how comfortable you feel with an iPhone and the apps for Apple. I’m not impressed with what any phone company is coming out with at the moment. As TomHH has said, it’s all about manipulating the final image with software. Due to the size of phones, hardware has hit the limit. I was pretty disappointed with the Huawei P20 Pro despite everybody saying it was much better than the iPhone. Maybe in specific areas but definitely not across all photo types (ie macro, motion, video etc).
 

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
So after a lot of reading, viewing, sleeping... today I get my new phone - the Google Pixel 3!
Why made me choose this one:
- pure Android
- at least not too large
- frequent updates
- three years updates provided (yes, that's an issue for Android phones)
- descent camera (played already around with a ported version to my current phone)
- dedicated CPU for image processing (VisualCore)
- Moment case available
- good price for used but nearly new phone (430€, 2 month old)

So let's see the next days if it was the right decision! :lmao:
 

ImageArt

MobiLifer
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Ann
Device
iPhone 7 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
So after a lot of reading, viewing, sleeping... today I get my new phone - the Google Pixel 3!
Why made me choose this one:
- pure Android
- at least not too large
- frequent updates
- three years updates provided (yes, that's an issue for Android phones)
- descent camera (played already around with a ported version to my current phone)
- dedicated CPU for image processing (VisualCore)
- Moment case available
- good price for used but nearly new phone (430€, 2 month old)

So let's see the next days if it was the right decision! :lmao:
Really looking forward to seeing how you find it. All your points are pretty much my own requirements.
 

RoseCat

MobiStaff
Site Staff
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Catherine
Device
iPhone 7 Plus
So after a lot of reading, viewing, sleeping... today I get my new phone - the Google Pixel 3!
Why made me choose this one:
- pure Android
- at least not too large
- frequent updates
- three years updates provided (yes, that's an issue for Android phones)
- descent camera (played already around with a ported version to my current phone)
- dedicated CPU for image processing (VisualCore)
- Moment case available
- good price for used but nearly new phone (430€, 2 month old)

So let's see the next days if it was the right decision! :lmao:
Yay!! Congrats! I hope the two of you have lots of great photo adventures. :D
 

sinnerjohn

Smooth Bug Catcher
Real Name
John
Device
Pixel
After checking and reading a lot of reviews I came to the conclusion that photography lives and dies with the used algorithm of the camera app.

Best approach is the native app delivers a comparable quality like GCam from Google or I can install a modified version of it.

The trick of this app is that it reduces noise by stacking images into a single one.

Even with my midrange Moto I get a phenomenal quality. Of course this method needs computing power to do it fast.

It also has the drawback that moving objects get blurry. But for stills this the way to go.

My current favourite is the Xiaomi MI 9 which did a descent job at DXOs review. I hope I can test it or at least get a grip on it at a local dealer.
I have my eye on the pixel as well, looking forward to your findings :thumbs:
 

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
IMG_20190401_091313-01.jpg

shot with HDR+, the default of Pixel 3
IMG_20190401_091320.jpg

2x zoom
MVIMG_20190401_091331-1.jpg

5x zoom

All pics just cropped to max 3000px.

More about the Pixel the next days....
For now - the size is just right, works fluently. Finger print sensor on the front would be better.
 

JillyG

MobiLifer
Mobi Veteran
Real Name
Jilly
Device
iPhone Xs Max
My 365
My MobiTog 365

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
Stick to max 3000 x 3000px and no further compression will be applied to my knowledge
 

TomHH

MobiAddict
Real Name
Tom
Device
Pixel
So here some words on the camera so far:
Actually the GCam is a point-and-shoot camera at its best. No fancy stuff to adjust nor a 'PRO' mode.
You can set the focus point, adjust EV, adjust HDR settings, JPEG or JPEG+RAW, flash, motion detection, WB, set different modes (portrait, panorama etc) - no shutter, no aperture.
But hey, what the camera delivers is really good - crispy and detailed shots.
Also 3rd party apps working flawlessly so if a real pro-mode is needed you can switch to those. But the of course you loose the Google optimization.

One thing I find quite interesting is setting the focus point by doing a single tap on the screen. It stay there where you put it! I didn't had the time to check wether it can be used as tracking focus. So e.g. set the focus to a biker comming along and set the focus on her/him and keep it. Could be interesting for motion shots or the kids.

Also do not deactivate Google Photos even though you have additionally installed your preferred gallery app! The phone will get stuck in the photo preview function when you do so.

The rest is just a phone :lmao: - you can make and get calls! And Android is a 'Google Vanilla' Android which you sometimes get rid of, sometimes only deactivate. My Moto G5+ was more 'Vanilla'!

Coming from a normal LCD display the OLED of the Pixel is quite flashy and I have to get used to it. Did compare my shots to my laptop yet, so I can't really say if this good or not. But you can adjust this a little having three settings (natural, enhanced, adaptiv).

Handling is good, no lagging just doing its work. After setting up the phone there's about 50GB (mine is the 64GB version) free for use.
Upper and lower bezels could be a little smaller but with some tweaking you can get rid of the onscreen softkeys and use just gestures (APP is 'navigation gestures' which is really good - also works on other phones).

That said I quite happy with my purchase! But more on the photographic features to come ... :)
 
Top