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Best Android camera phones available today. Bonus: three future contenders

Quick, can you remember the last time you used a standalone digital camera? It was back when you were still listening to ”new” Rolling Stones hit singles on your dedicated MP3 players, right? Boy, have smartphones changed the game and sent a bunch of once crowd-pleasing gadgets to the pits of oblivion.

Android photography

Multimedia performers, skilled point-and-shoots, personal assistants, self-portrait producers, these are only some of the tricky roles Androids undertake day in and day out without flinching. Forget “convertible” tablets and laptops, our routine handhelds are the real 2-in-1, 3-in-1, 4-in-1, all-in-one MVPs.

Of course, while nearly all of today’s smartphones are versatile enough to transform into modern Walkmans, complex cameras and miniature PCs at will, only certain models can fulfil every task flawlessly.

Android camera

And if you don’t need a cutting-edge multi-purpose device, but rather the perfect machine for a specific imaging function, you may want to revisit our selfie specialist roundup or stay tuned for the ultimate list of camera phone pros.

That’s right, it’s time to put the selfie fad behind you, and concentrate on the best rear-facing cam-equipped Android contraptions available today, as well as a few imminent photography savants:

Samsung Galaxy S6 – $657 factory unlocked; $200 with Sprint, AT&T or Verizon pacts

It’s difficult to find something the GS6 (and its “edgy” sibling) aren’t great at. Cam performance is no exception, with 16 megapixels, optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash, face detection, auto HDR and panorama features covering all key areas a shutterbug might need when not in possession of a DSLR.

Galaxy-S6-Camera

Granted, the actual lens remains tiny compared to bulky digital single-lens reflex cameras, whereas the f/1.9 aperture system is no longer the cream of the crop after LG G4’s introduction. Yet at the end of the day, this powerhouse will produce amazing pics in whatever conditions… all things considered.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – $540 unlocked; starting at $230 with Verizon contracts

At first glance, Note 4 and S6’s main snappers are virtually identical. The same 16 MP count, OIS across the board, LED flash and so on and so forth. But if you look close enough, you’ll find Sammy’s newest top-shelf phablet boasts narrower f/2.2 aperture, resulting in slightly less low-light muscle.

Galaxy Note 4 camera

Needless to point out the on-contract GNote 4 is also pricier while packing an inferior processor that could well influence shutter speed.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom – $411 unlocked

This weird hybrid is more digital camera than phone, and it’s nowhere near as widely available stateside as the mainstream new members of the S and Note families. But hey, it can make and receive voice calls, and when it comes to photography skill, it’s Android’s best shot at keeping Microsoft’s PureView technology at arm’s length.

Galaxy K Zoom

Hands down the 10x optical zoom is what makes this chunky monkey a shutterbug’s wet dream, alongside 20 hefty megapixels, 24 – 240 mm focal length, Xenon flash and a CMOS sensor.

Sony Xperia Z3 – starting at $465 international SIM-free

Though it also rocks 20.7 remarkable MPs, the Z3 is hardly an ideal DSLR replacement, since it lacks the sharp close-up miracles of optical zoom. Not to mention optical image stabilization.

Xperia Z3 camera

On the bright side, the CMOS 1/2.3″ sensor is a standout performer, and you get LED flash, autofocus , Burst Mode, HDR, a decent digital zoom and image stabilization system, plus 4K video recording at 30 fps in the 5.2 incher’s bag of tricks.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact – $380 unlocked

Xperia Z3 Compact

Smaller but not humbler than Sony’s most recent full-sized global flagship, this diminutive beast also unleashes the fury of a 20 megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture, LED flash, autofocus and 2,160p vid shooting at 30 fps. Including underwater.

LG G3 – $353 factory unlocked; $0.01 on-contract at AT&T, Verizon and Sprint

Let’s not beat it around the bush. 13 MP is low when pitted against the 16 and 20 megapixel giants listed above. F2.4 aperture certainly doesn’t help G3’s cause, letting less light in and thus harming both overall night-time photo performance and focal quality.

LG-G3-Camera

Thankfully (for LG), the perennial Korean underdogs were wise enough to adopt a proficient OIS solution, as well as offer dual-LED flash and something called laser autofocus to improve just what the narrow aperture hindered. All in all, for a market veteran, the G3 holds its own decently, keeping up with the times.

Google/Motorola Nexus 6 – $630 unlocked; $180 with AT&T contracts, $200 for Sprint

Yes, it’s expensive, somewhat precarious to handle with one hand and no, it doesn’t break any sensor records, at a humdrum 13 megapixels. But there’s OIS class to be had, f/2.0 aperture, autofocus, face detection, HDR, panorama functions and 30 fps 4K video recording.

Nexus 6 camera

Besides, the always up-to-date, stock software guarantees nothing will get between you and capturing that mesmerizing sunset the way God intended man to admire it – no bells and whistles, little to no post-processing correction.

What’s on the horizon

LG G4

Moar megapixels (16, to be specific), record-setting aperture size (f/1.8), “truer colors”, improved white balance, beefed-up optical image stabilization, ultra-sharp UHD video capture, manual settings for fine-tuning everything from shutter speed to ISO sensitivity and exposure compensation.

LG G4 camera

Frankly, I’ve no idea what half of those things do or mean. What I’m pretty sure of nevertheless is the leather-backed soon-to-be G4 drastically perks up its predecessor’s already impressive camera performance, going up against Nokia’s PureView virtuosos with great aplomb. Let’s just hope LG finds the pricing sweet spot eventually.

Asus Zenfone Zoom

Unveiled back at CES in January, this direct Samsung Galaxy K Zoom opponent is nowhere to be found on store shelves stateside or around the globe. Even worse, we doubt it’ll ever be picked up by a major American carrier.

Asus Zenfone Zoom

The best we can hope for therefore is a reasonable price tag outright and an adequate distribution effort. What makes this so desirable? Simple – 3x optical zoom, dual-LED, dual-tone flash, OIS and laser autofocus. Unfortunately, the megapixel count is mediocre at best. Yes, we’re afraid you can’t get rid of the unlucky 13 here either.

Sony Xperia Z4

Looking familiar as ever, the latest “Sony flagship nobody asked for” pulls off the “amazing feat” of once again snubbing optical image stabilization. No words on an LED or aperture upgrade yet, but ultimately, even if nothing’s changed, this 20.7 MP shooter remains a classic.

Xperia Z4

Do keep in mind that, while identical on the outside, the Z4 stands out from the Z3 under the hood with a state-of-the-art octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip. That perhaps doesn’t directly boost photography excellence, but it definitely aids with the phone’s general wow factor.

Samsung might ditch OIS from the Galaxy S5 camera

Galaxy S5 OISSamsung was reported to be working on a 16MP camera sensor with OIS for the Galaxy S5 flagship, but it seems like the camera won’t be up to the standards as initially expected. According to reports from Korea, Samsung is having trouble manufacturing these 16MP camera sensors with OIS and might be looking to ditch OIS altogether.  So this could mean we’ll see a Galaxy S5 with no OIS on board, thus hurting its camera credentials greatly. The current process will allegedly take until June 2014 to perfect if Samsung were to bring OIS into action, but that’s a long time to wait as the company expects to launch the smartphone by Q1 2014.

Of course, this is just a rumor for now and we might see Samsung pulling off a rabbit out of its hat to bring OIS to the Galaxy S5. This feature basically allows users to take stunning images even if there’s a shake while taking a shot. This feature was demonstrated on the Nexus 5 in detail by Google earlier this month. So while this is disappointing news for Samsung fans, it won’t be fair to write Samsung off yet.

Source: ET News – Translated

Via: Android Beat

LG Nexus 5 could launch with an OIS camera

Nexus 5

According to a new rumor, the upcoming LG Nexus 5 smartphone will launch with an OIS or Optical Image Stabilization camera. This is certainly exciting news for fans of Nexus smartphones which don’t usually brag of good cameras, although the LG Nexus 4 was a surprise exception. The rumored Nexus 5 was torn down for its FCC filing and some keen observers have spotted that the camera sensor does pack OIS with a gyro sensor to support smooth video capture.

This makes more sense considering that the Nexus 5 is going to be based off the LG G2, which also packs an OIS camera on board. However, as this is a rumor, we can expect it to go either way. There’s still time left for the launch of the Nexus 5, with some reports claiming a late 2013 release. The handset is rumored to sport a 4.96 inch 1080p display, a 13MP camera sensor, a Snapdragon 800 SoC, Android 4.4 KitKat, 2GB of RAM and a paltry 2,300 mAh battery.

Source: Smart Fan (Translated)

Via: Phone Arena

Galaxy S5 to have 16MP camera with optical image stabilisation

galaxy-s5

galaxy-s5

Samsung is still having problems converting the 16MP shooter found on the Galaxy S4 Zoom and Galaxy Camera to a camera suitable for the Galaxy Note series and the South Korean giant may fall back on a 13MP shooter similar to the Galaxy S4.

The main problem is making the large zoom and sensor fit into the phone, instead of being an extruding part. Samsung is hopeful this will be solved in time for the Galaxy S5, rumoured to be coming mid-2014.

The Galaxy S5 has lots of exciting rumours surrounding it, especially the idea of Samsung making an all metal device, instead of the cheap plastic we have seen on the Galaxy S4 and we will likely see on the Galaxy Note 3.

OIS is still a feature just coming to some devices and the Galaxy Note 3 will not get it according to a new report. The reason for this is scale, Samsung has been unable to grab enough to support the opening few months after launch and has decided to drop it.

Optical Image Stabilisation is quite new for smartphones but the Lumia 1020 and other camera phones have already got the feature inside. It is weird to see Samsung behind in a hardware push, with the company normally on top of all new features.

By the time the Galaxy S5 arrives on the market, Qualcomm, NVIDIA and MediaTek will all have new processor chips out, we believe. 3GB of RAM will be commonplace on Android and it is likely we will see a big push in NFC and LTE.

This is all good news for people wanting their next device to be capable of much more than the previous one. Samsung has started the two-year innovation gap and the Galaxy S4 falls under the “mostly internal change”, similar to the iPhone 4S.

With this in mind, we should see a complete new redesign on the Galaxy S5.

Source

LG Optimus G2 to pack OIS camera, 5.2 inch Full HD panel and more

optimus-g2-front

According to a new rumor emerging from a Greek source, the yet to be launched LG Optimus G2 could feature a 5.2 inch Full HD IPS display, an OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) camera, 2GB of RAM and the fancy Snapdragon 800 CPU similar to the one seen on the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

What’s even interesting is the unique placement of the volume/zoom and the power keys, which is said to be located right below the camera. Apparently, the power button will be placed in between the volume rocker, which is a very odd placement.

What’s even bizarre though is the alleged placement of the Android navigation keys, which according to the source is at the “movable bottom of the camera“. We are eagerly awaiting a confirmation of some sort from LG to give us a better idea of its working.

optimus-g2-back

Although a rumor earlier today suggested that the smartphone would feature 3GB of RAM, it now seems like that configuration is reserved for the South Korean variant of the Optimus G2 on SK Telecom’s network.

We just hope that LG doesn’t end up confusing users with too much uniqueness as evidenced by the images above. We’ll reserve judgment until the smartphone is made official by the company.

Via: Phone Arena