Best Phone For Night Photography 2021

By | 25/10/2022

Best camera telephone 2022: Smartphones with stargazing capabilities

Image shows the rear cameras on Samsung camera phones



(Image credit: Samsung)

With multiple lenses, advanced software and gargantuan zooms, the cameras on the very latest smartphones are offset to seem even more than advanced than some ‘proper’ cameras.

While it’s true that photographic camera phones are getting a lot of innovation, information technology’south important to think that engineers trying to squeeze every bit much performance every bit possible from these small-scale, apartment devices practise accept their hands tied. Small sensors are the dominion here, and in no style can they compete with DSLR and mirrorless cameras. That goes double for ‘Night Modes’, which are being heavily trailed on the newest smartphones all the same can’t (yet) go close to competing with dedicated astrophotography cameras.

More than astrophotography tips

However, with larger aperture lenses, the quality and sensitivity of sensors in smartphone cameras are improving each twelvemonth, and nosotros’ve got to a phase where flagship phones can take good images at night. Some smartphones avowal huge digital zooms that can have detailed close-ups of the moon  (by cropping a regular image). The software is improving yearly and tin now produce relatively clean shots. See our guide on smartphone astrophotography to learn more.

Here at Space.com, we’ve cast our eye over the market for the best camera phones and rounded upwardly the best for general photography, including Dark Mode and low-light imaging. Y’all’ll notice everything from the latest and priciest flagship phones from Apple and Samsung to contenders from Google, Huawei and OnePlus. We’ve as well included a few camera phones that may non exist right up at that place but offer something that might suit you better than i of the flagship handsets – first-class broad-angle shots, ultra-clean Dark Modes, or but a bully value packet.

If your aim is height-notch astrophotography and so none of these camera phones will delight you, but for casual dark sky shots and for all-round photography they volition do a decent task.

All-time camera phone overall

Product photo of the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

(Paradigm credit: Apple)

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Technically the all-time iPhone yet for photographers

Specifications

Weight:

8.47 oz (240g)

Dimensions:

6.33 ten three.07 x 0.30″ (160.8mm x 78.1mm 10 7.7mm)

Operating system:

iOS

Screen size:

6.seven-inch

Screen resolution:

1284 x 2778

CPU:

A15 Bionic

RAM:

6GB

Rear camera:

12MP + 12MP + 12MP

Forepart camera:

12MP

Reasons to buy


+

Night Fashion



+

Built-in HDR



+

Super Retina XDR OLED display

Reasons to avoid


Expensive



Much similar 12 Pro Max

As usual, Apple’s six.7-inch flagship smartphone is cutting edge. This one has bigger sensors than ever, and so information technology can produce brighter photos even in depression light and at night. Its first-class Nighttime Mode makes decent images of the night sky possible, including the aurora borealis if you tin go yourself to the Chill Circle.

That Nighttime way automatically kicks in when information technology’south nighttime, just similar the built-in high dynamic range (HDR) mode for all your shots. Simplicity is complemented by advanced hardware, with the latter boasting a 3x optical/15x digital zoom. Selfies and video calls are high resolution and video, with 4K/lx frames per 2d.

Best Android smartphone camera

The rear of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Paradigm credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

This high-end Android telephone is a photographer’s favorite

Specifications

Weight:

8.01 oz (227g)

Dimensions:

6.v x 2.98 x 0.35″ (165.ane ten 75.6 10 8.9 mm)

Operating organization:

Android

Screen size:

6.8-inch

Screen resolution:

1440 x 3200

CPU:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

RAM:

12GB

Rear camera:

108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP

Front camera:

40MP

Reasons to purchase


+

 108-megapixel sensor



+

 10x optical zoom



+

 100x digital zoom

Reasons to avoid


Massive files sizes



Lacks micro SD card slot



Beefy

Is this the best Android camera phone? Yes, it is – and a large office of why is its incredible 108-megapixel image sensor. Although technically you can accept ultra-high resolution images, that massive megapixel capability is there to better pictures taken in low-light. The 6.8-inch Milky way S21 Ultra takes nine separate 12-megapixel images and then loses the ‘noisy’ pixels to create a cleaner and more than detailed photo. You lot tin also use that sensor to accept pure 108-megapixel images, but why would yous need to practice that? Especially since you can’t expand its maximum built-in storage of 512 GB. The 10x optical and whopping 100x digital zooms are more interesting for photographers, which tin be helpful when y’all put the Galaxy S21 Ultra on a tripod.

We are still waiting to test the new Galaxy S22 Ultra
(opens in new tab)
, and will add it when we have spent plenty time with information technology.

  • Related:
    How to take photos of the nighttime sky with a smartphone

Best for optical zoom

Front and rear image of the Huawei P40 Pro Plus

(Epitome credit: Huawei)

Huawei P40 Pro+

An excellent value flagship smartphone with a useful 10x optical zoom

Specifications

Weight:

7.97 oz (226g)

Dimensions:

six.23 10 2.86 x 0.35″ (158.2 x 72.half-dozen x 9mm)

Operating system:

Android

Screen size:

half-dozen.58-inch

Screen resolution:

1200 10 2640

CPU:

Kirin 990 5G

RAM:

86GB

Rear photographic camera:

50MP + 40MP + 8MP + 8MP

Front camera:

32MP

Reasons to buy


+

Excellent applied science



+

Leica lens



+

Night Mode on telephoto photographic camera

Reasons to avoid


Lacks Google apps



No Night Manner on ultra-wide camera

Are y’all choosing between Huawei’south P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus? The latter brings 10x optical zoom via an actual zoom lens – a showtime when information technology launched in 2020 – which means more than detail and editing options than whatever resolution-killing digital zoom. However, there’southward a lot more to get excited about on this 6.58-inch smartphone, which brings no fewer than seven lenses, including a 3x optical telephoto, ultra-wide lens and a time-of-flight depth sensor. Its dark mode boosts dynamic range and sharpness to produce clean, colorful images that most obviously reveal more than detail in shadows. It also works well on the telephoto lens, though less well on the ultrawide lens.

Unfortunately though, there’s an elephant in the room. Huawei smartphones now don’t support Google Play apps and services, which may make them less desirable.

All-time for built-in software

Product photo of six Google Pixel 6 Pro's laid face down

(Image credit: Google)

Google Pixel 6 Pro

A unique-looking camera array and a 50MP sensor

Specifications

Weight:

7.41 oz (210g)

Dimensions:

6.45 x 2.99 x 0.35″ (163.ix 10 75.9 x 8.9mm)

Operating system:

Android

Screen size:

6.vii-inch

Screen resolution:

1440 10 3120

CPU:

Google Tensor

RAM:

12GB

Rear camera:

50MP + 48MP + 12MP

Front camera:

11.1MP

Reasons to buy


+

Nighttime Sight and Magic Eraser modes



+

Runs Android 12 Os



+

Available in unusual colors

Reasons to avert


Design won’t appeal to all



But 4x optical zoom

This Google smartphone is the best effectually for in-photographic camera software and photo editing. Fire up the photographic camera app, and you’ll detect all the usual modes, such equally portrait, panorama and a low-light mode called Nighttime Sight, but at that place’s also a new mode called Motion that’s purely for taking artistic long-exposure shots. The half dozen.7-inch Pixel half dozen Pro also comes with advanced new features, including Real Tone (for making skin tones more than realistic across the board) and Magic Eraser for removing people and objects from photos after the fact.

The hardware isn’t bad, either, with a 50MP wide lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 48MP telephoto lens with 4x optical zoom (something missing on the Pixel 6). Add some unusual color choices – yellow and gold, white and gray or black and grey – and the Pixel 6 Pro seems a standout choice for combining style with substance.

All-time for ease of use

Product photo showing the Apple iPhone 13 Pro is available in black, gold, white and blue

(Epitome credit: Apple)

Apple iPhone thirteen Pro

The best value flagship iPhone for photographers

Specifications

Weight:

7.20 oz (204g)

Dimensions:

5.78 ten ii.81 x 0.30″ (146.7mm x 71.5mm 10 vii.7mm

Operating arrangement:

iOS

Screen size:

six.1-inch

Screen resolution:

1170 ten 2532

CPU:

A15 Bionic

RAM:

6GB

Rear photographic camera:

12MP + 12MP + 12MP

Front camera:

12MP

Reasons to buy


+

Excellent bombardment life



+

Improved photographic camera suite



+

Night Mode portraits

Reasons to avoid


Expensive



Photographic camera array protrudes slightly



Simply 3x optical zoom

Not much has changed, design-wise, since the iPhone 12 Pro, but some of the changes practice make this handset better for photography. There are also some crucial differences betwixt the iPhone 13 and the iPhone thirteen Pro. Although both measure 6.1 inches the latter has a brighter screen, extra battery power and a much better photography suite than the mainstream handset.

Its rear photographic camera array includes an ultra-wide and a wide lens with larger apertures, a telephoto lens (something the iPhone 13 lacks) with 3x optical zoom and a LiDAR scanner for quicker autofocus and for taking portraits in Night Fashion. On the iPhone thirteen Pro, it’s also possible to take images in professional person quality using Apple tree ProRAW and indulge in ProRes video recording up to 4K/xxx frames per second.

All-time for broad-bending photography

OnePlus 9 Pro product photo

(Epitome credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus nine Pro

A partnership with iconic photography visitor Hasselblad makes for a unique camera phone

Specifications

Weight:

six.95 oz (197g)

Dimensions:

half dozen.43 x 2.ninety x 0.34″ (163.ii ten 73.6 x 8.7 mm)

Operating organization:

Android

Screen size:

6.seven-inch

Screen resolution:

1440 x 3216

CPU:

Snapdragon 888

RAM:

8GB/12GB

Rear camera:

48MP + 50MP + 8MP + 2MP

Front camera:

16MP

Reasons to buy


+

 Hasselblad-calibrated colors



+

 Fast wireless charging



+

 Ultra-wide lens

Reasons to avoid


 Average battery life



 Inconsistent Night Mode

Does the OnePlus nine Pro live up to its hype? A 6.7-inch handset running Android 11, it sports a stunning AMOLED QHD+ brandish that beats near smartphones with its color and black levels. It too includes super-fast wireless charging and can fully recharge in half an hour using its 65W charger.

Its photographic camera assortment on the rear is busy, with four lenses and laser autofocus. So why is there a Hasselblad logo back in that location? The ultra-high-end medium-format camera photography company has co-adult the 9 Pro’s photographic camera array with OnePlus, with ‘Natural Color Calibration’ as its substance. Skin tones do expect keen through its cameras, though the photography highlight is its ultra-wide-angle lens that corrects for edge distortion

Meanwhile, its main camera records in 12-scrap RAW, and videographers will love its ability to record in 4K/120FPS and even in 8K at 30FPS.

Best value Android photographic camera phone

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus in pearl, purple and black

(Epitome credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

This adept value effort includes 30x zoom, 8K video capture and a clean Night Mode

Specifications

Weight:

7.05 oz (200g)

Dimensions:

6.36 10 2.98 ten 0.31″ (151.7 ten 71.2 10 7.9 mm)

Operating organisation:

Android

Screen size:

6.7-inch

Screen resolution:

1080 x 2400

CPU:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100

RAM:

8GB

Rear photographic camera:

Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP

Front camera:

102MP

Reasons to purchase


+

8K video capture



+

Vivid Night Way



+

Long battery life

Reasons to avert


Ageing photographic camera tech



Night Mode requires stability

It may not have the mighty 108-megapixel camera and 100x zoom of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S21 Ultra
(opens in new tab)
, however, this version, which is kinder on the wallet, even so offers a lot to photographers despite using very like tech to the older Galaxy S20 Plus.

Housed in a redesigned camera strip on the rear of this 6.7-inch handset are 12-megapixel wide-bending and ultra-wide lenses and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens. The latter offers 3x optical zoom and 30x digital. In bright conditions, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus takes colorful, vibrant and detailed photos that are equal to nearly other phones, while in low calorie-free, it produces images that are a touch brighter than, say, the iPhone. Nonetheless, its Night Mode hugely benefits from using a tripod (or at least balancing it on a wall or similar).

Best value iPhone

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

It may no longer be the flagship simply this photographic camera phone still sports cutting-edge tech

Specifications

Weight:

6.67 oz (189g)

Dimensions:

five.78 10 2.81 x 0.29″ (146.7mm x 71.5mm x seven.4 mm)

Operating arrangement:

iOS

Screen size:

6-inch

Screen resolution:

1170 10 2532

CPU:

A14 Bionic

RAM:

6GB

Rear camera:

12MP + 12MP + 12MP

Front camera:

12MP

Reasons to buy


+

OLED brandish



+

Night Mode



+

Iii camera array

Reasons to avoid


Average battery life



Uses an older chipset



Only 2x optical zoom

Can this aging iPhone still compete? Actually, yeah information technology can. A six.ane-inch smartphone with a triple camera array, wide-angle, ultra-wide and telephoto – the latter with 2x optical zoom – all capture thoroughly decent 12-megapixel photos. What may exist slightly behind the times is its paltry 2x optical zoom. Information technology’s nowhere virtually the abilities of Samsung (and other) flagship phones to capture afar subjects, merely it’s much better for amend composing portrait shots. Arguably the latter is more than useful.

Ditto Night Mode, which is possible via the iPhone 12 Pro’s rear lenses, is vastly improved here than on previous iterations. You’ll also get the LiDAR depth-scanning sensor – something that enables fast autofocus in depression light – and Apple’s ProRAW epitome format and the power to record video in 4K at 60 frames per second. What y’all miss out on compared to the iPhone thirteen Pro is the latter’s Apple tree A15 Bionic flake, slightly faster apertures and bigger sensors, 3x optical zoom and Cinematic Manner for video recording.

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Jamie is an experienced science, engineering and travel journalist and stargazer who writes about exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, moon-gazing, astro-travel, astronomy and space exploration. He is the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com
(opens in new tab)
 and author ofA Stargazing Programme For Beginners

(opens in new tab)

,
and is a senior correspondent at Forbes. His special skill is turning tech-babble into plain English.

Source: https://www.space.com/best-camera-phone-astrophotography