Long story short – this 5.2” baby fulfills all the requirements of a good camera smartphone.
The greatest highlight is the Sony 12MP dual camera engineered in collaboration with Leica. This is a combination of two 12MP cameras (one RGB, second monochrome), which, as claimed by Huawei, allows to capture 100% more light than conventional phone cameras. This camera smartphone is perfect for those low light shots you have struggled so much to make so far! Not only have they increased their pixel size to 1.25µm, enabled 1080 HD and 120 fps slow-motion videos, but also added fully manual control (for those increased image depth captures). But wait, there’s more – this is a perfect selfie phone. 8MP front camera captures plenty of light resulting in very detailed pictures.
G5 is a very close competitor of Huawei P9 in the Best Smartphone for Instagram competition. Why? An impressive dual camera. LG took a slightly different approach here though. Unlike P9, those two cameras are not designed to be used simultaneously. The first – 16MP is a main camera and the second one is 8MP wide angle lens camera, which indeed does an awesome job capturing extensively long or high objects. Although not very useful particularly for Instagram – it’s certainly a nice-to-have.
The 16MP camera provides decent pictures and even in low light the shots come out light, however some vivid colors are presented oversaturated – actually a serious alert! If you tend to take a lot of pictures in low light, G5 might not be the best choice for you.
Front face camera on the other hand is outstanding, however pictures look as if there were already some sort of make-me-more-beautiful filter applied to them. Again, not a drawback, but something to consider.
In general, picture quality is better than most phones out there, only when you look at it in the context of this top list it falls to the bottom.
Let’s just all take a moment to appreciate this smartphone’s screen. I’ll just put it out here – 5.2” super LCD5 technology screen, superb resolution and more than 520ppi! (just fyi Super LCD or SLCD are superior to the standard LCDs as there is no air gap between the outer glass and display element which produces less glare and gives better visibility + it is more energy efficient).
Now on to the camera. Bigger pixels on this 12MP back camera do a very good job in taking good quality pictures in both daylight and low-light environments.
Front camera on the other hand is not as impressive, pictures usually have over exposure and thus do not look completely natural. However combining it with built-in HTC filters provide you with some very satisfying results.
SONY XPERIA Z5
Our best camera phone. That’s the Xperia Z5 campaign’s slogan and you cannot argue with it. This smartphone definitely has the best camera in Xperia line. If I ever said that the amount of megapixels does not determine the best smartphone for taking pictures, then after seeing what this 23MP multi-aspect image sensor can do I simply have to take my words back.
It especially surprised me with the pictures taken at nighttime. And I don’t mean low light – this phone can shoot when it’s dark outside. Naturally they lose the detail and quality, but has more than enough when working on a phone resolution – perfect for Instagram and social networks.
It also can shoot 4K (!!) videos and it gives you manual control over ISO and HDR. Additional features such as Geo-Tagging, great GPS chip and other are not great interest here.
iPHONE 7 PLUS
iPhone cameras have been famous for a long time now and they are worth all the good words, however the competition is very high today and they do not have such huge competitive advantage anymore. The new iPhone main camera has not improved significantly – you can barely see any difference from the 6s. It is however still good enough to compete with the best phones in the market on this list.
The part which has improved is the front camera. It went from 5MP in iPhone 6s to 7MP in the latest model and you certainly can feel the step up in quality. It’s most obvious in lower light. Verdict: best selfie phone available today.
Why go for a Plus? Screen size for editing. 5.5 inch display really helps to make the whole Instagram experience much better.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S7
Out of numerous tests performed with these phones Samsung Galaxy S7 won every single one of them, at least to my eye. It was best in capturing detail, performed well in low light and reproduced best colors. Well maybe it was not as good at night time snapshots – let’s give this title to Xperia Z5.
There has been numerous hateful comments and criticism about Samsung releasing their S7 too early and way before it’s ready to see the light of day, but when it comes to the best camera smartphone for Instagram – it is my undisputed champion. All hail the king. Raised the bar high with this one, good job guys.
Is there the best camera for Instagram?
What one needs to take that perfect Instagram shot? Photographer skills and feel for it? Sure. Being in the right spot at the right time? Maybe. But if the camera you have in your pocket or purse is a potato – instagrammable pictures never going to happen. Chase Harvis said “The best camera is the one that’s with you” and so you have to make sure that you have the best camera for Instagram with you at all times. Is it likely that you will always carry a DSLR? Not very, but what you will have with you no matter what – your smartphone.
Some might argue that smartphone cameras will never take photographs as good as a professional DSLR will and to some extent that’s true. If you were to print a picture made with a phone on a huge OOH billboard it would look ugly and low quality – but hey, when was the last time you needed a picture of that size? That is why when we talk about photos for social media, quality smartphone camera is the best choice you have.
I will quickly walk you through the list of things you need to consider in order to get yourself the right camera phone and then present you with the best smartphones for Instagram in 2016 (so far).
Reguirements for the best phone for taking Instagram pictures
Low light performance
Whether you do Instagram pictures to monetize your site or you only want the beautiful shots for your friends to appreciate and share – what you probably have already found is that pictures in the evening and poor light do not look good at all. This is where most smartphone cameras typically fall behind of proper DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. This can be explained by phone cameras having a very narrow camera lens (sensor) and millions of pixels being fitted on that tinylens. Thus less light gets through the sensor and as a result you find your pictures come out with a lot of noise and grain.
However there are phones which try to overcome this. Some have significantly bigger lenses, then there are others equipped with dual cameras, HTC even tried introducing their new UltraPixel technology (which essentially is enlarging the pixels in order to capture up to 3x more light – read more about HTC UltraPixel technology). And it all really helps a lot to improve the quality in low-light environments. Nonetheless specifications on paper is only one side of a coin and I suggest always looking at the actual pictures made with that particular mobile device.
Another huge advantage of more substantial cameras is manual control of settings. ISO, aperture, shutter speed. If you are used to using those in photography – you are probably one of those who say that a smartphone camera is no good for decent pictures. But guess what! There are already phones where you have a full manual control over the camera settings. Yes, you read this right. Adjust the shutter speed all you want to capture that running squirrel which just randomly appeared in front of you in the park. Go ahead and change the apperture aperture to get that proper depth in your shot. Phone cameras have gone very far and they certainly do not deserve all the hate they get.
If you have no clue what I just said in the paragraph above – here’s a very simple and straightforward guide to newbies on photography. A good starting point of making the most of your camera.
Built-in & 3rd party filters
Okay, let’s talk filters. If you are only using photo editing tools provided by Instagram, you are not using the maximum potential of Instagramming. It true that Instagram releases updates from time to time and has a set of very cool filters, but unless you can accept not standing out from the crowd you will need to use your built-in or download some third-party apps.
Smartphone manufacturers try to make their camera software more attractive and sophisticated by adding cool effects, features and filters and some of them are really impressive. I will cover some phones with awesome camera soft down below.
Apps available from Google Play or Apple Store are also an option. One of most popular ones is VSCO Cam. I have used it myself and it is great – simple, intuitive and allows to do simple editing such as spot removal, color change, red-eye removal, etc. One thing to keep in mind is that most of those apps are not available on Windows phone, so unless your Microsoft device has the best built-in software you might want to stay away from them.
So far we have covered camera performance in low light, manual controls and editing applications which brings us to the next point – smartphone screen on which you will be editing those creative pictures for instagram.
What we want in this department is decent size and bright display. Look for IPS LCD display with pixel density of at least 300ppi. This will ensure that the details on your screen are well displayed and in general give you a better representation of the picture you’re about to edit. Believe me when I say that a poor screen will ruin a good insta-experience. In addition it may become extremely time consuming.
Regarding the screen size, I suggest going for 5” and above. I know this is rather large, but when you do all the editing with only your fingers – no matter how slim and pointy yours are they will not help when the screen is too small. Bigger screen – quicker and more precise photo editing. This extra few bucks are definitely worth the time saved.
Front camera for selfies (Optional)
This last tip only applies if you are a selfie-person.
Do not get in a trap of having to deal with a low quality front camera. There are plenty of phones out there which have impressive main cameras, but their front cameras produce very grainy and poor quality photographs even though they might have as much as 5MP. Just keep alert and make sure to check out the image examples and compare them between smartphones. Let’s look at the phones now.
Have you found any phones that could compete with the ones I’ve mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below and I might add them to this list.