Contrary to popular myth, for a high-quality photo, the number of megapixels is not paramount. Other indicators are important: sensor brand, size of the entire matrix, photosensitivity, and focus type. If you know more about these things, you will be able to find a mobile phone that removes a well-known flagship. And if you add to this the pumped skill of photographing (knowledge of special techniques, the ability to build a frame, make color correction, etc.), then your pictures will genuinely admire.
The best option is if the smartphone has a Sony sensor with an IMX label. The higher the number, the better (IMX 362 is better than IMX 340). Slightly worse result than Sony, Samsung sensors give and OmniVision.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to find out which sensor is used in a particular smartphone model: usually this information is not provided in the specifications. To find out, it is necessary to study the reviews on photography.
The physical size of the matrix is measured in the form of clonal inches, written as follows: 1 / 2.8 ”. The smaller the number after the fraction, the larger the matrix and the higher the quality of the images. A good indicator for budget smartphones is 1/3 ”, for gadgets of average price class 1 / 2.8”.
Immediately clarify and about megapixels: a good value is 8-12 MP when using a large matrix with large pixels. For example, a budgetary 1/3 ”matrix with a resolution of 12 MP will be an excellent solution for mobile shooting.
Another important parameter that should not be neglected is the luminosity (also known as aperture or photosensitivity). It is denoted by the symbol f divided by a numerical value: for example, f / 2.0. This characteristic demonstrates how much light the camera can capture over a certain period of time and how far the aperture can open in order to capture high-quality images in poor light conditions.
It is important to remember: the smaller the f, the better the luminosity.
Now most often you can find smartphones with f / 2.0 and f / 1.8. The Galaxy Note 9 with a dual main camera boasts f / 1.5 at the main sensor and f / 2.4 at the optional one. The iPhone XS has an f / 1.8 aperture on the wide-angle lens and an f / 2.4 on the second. Of course, these devices can not be compared with SLR cameras, but for mobile phones, they do an excellent job of shooting in the evening and at night.
The 16 MP sensor makes photos that consist of 16 million points. The more points there are, the higher the clarity the picture has. On the basis of this, it can be decided that a camera with a large number of MPs is better than the one with less. But in practice, this is not entirely true.
The fact is that today's mobile cameras have more MPs than is required. Take, for example, televisions. Full HD TV has a resolution of 2.1 MP, and the newest 4K TV is 8.3 MP. In this case, in the cell of almost every phone there are more than 10 MP.
Mobile screens are simply not able to fully convey such a high resolution, so you can hardly see the differences between photos from modern mobile phones with different number of MPs.
Although there is one nuance. A camera with a resolution of more than 12 MP will be useful when framing. Having taken a photo on a 16 or even 20 MP mobile camera, you can cut off a huge fragment from it, but the resolution after that will still remain higher than that of a 4K TV. The cropped image can be placed without shame on social networks, blogs and Instagram.
Stabilization compensates for sensor jitter and prevents the image from floating. This is an important parameter for photo and video.
There are two types of stabilization - optical (OIS) and electronic (EIS). If the camera's sensor moves in space along with the photographer's hand, the OIS retains its relative stability. Due to the stabilization technology, shaking on video recordings and blurring on the photo are minimized.
OIS greatly increases the cost of the smartphone. Under it, it is necessary to allocate additional space inside the case, therefore, in mobile phones, electronic stabilization is more common, which creates a similar effect due to software. With electronic stabilization, the perspective of individual frames that make up the video changes. This technology is applicable to video files created by a camera with optical stabilization, to bring their smoothness to the desired result.
In short, OIS is better than EIS: after all, electronic frame processing has a detrimental effect on quality and often creates the effect of jelly video. However, it should be noted that the technology of electronic stabilization does not stand still. This fact is confirmed by the high quality of the clips captured on the devices with EIS.
Unfortunately, in this regard, stores do not simplify the process of finding a good smartphone: the type of focus is not always indicated in the description. The reviews will come to the rescue with detailed characteristics.
Budget models use contrasting focus. It should be avoided. It is better to give preference to the device with a laser focus. It costs more, but it will be much better to shoot.
Lenses and flash
What exactly is not worth focusing on is the number of lenses in the lens and the flash. No matter how many lenses, no matter who released them. The lens is either quality or bad, and you can only check it with real photos.
Flash is the most unnecessary element for mobile shooting. By and large, it is only useful as a flashlight. There are exceptions in the form of a xenon or ring flash, but it is best to learn how to take pictures without it: there will be less distortion of light, glare and other artifacts. As a result, you spend less time in editors.
As you can see, it is not at all necessary to cram a specific lexicon from the field of photography and study in depth, for which one or another characteristic is responsible. You can just remember what terms and numbers say about good and bad parameters. So much easier among all the variety to find a smartphone with an acceptable camera and not to miss the first model proposed by the store consultant.