5 Best Phones for Macro Photography in 2022 – Expert Guide

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Best phone for macro photography
Creative Macro Photography

Which are the best phones for Macro Photography is a popular question that many people ask these days. If you are one of them we will help you answer it.

Macro photography is by definition a form of close-up photography where magnification factor less then 10 is used. It focuses on making a small object appear larger and reveals significantly more details than a naked human eye can perceive. Most people use the term “macro photography” to refer to any photograph that depicts a close-up and extremely detailed image of small things. There is also a term micro photography that is sometimes used for images that were taken with magnification factor greater than 5.

When it comes to modern phones, most of them feature a multi-camera setup and some of them feature a dedicated macro camera. However, you will notice that this is sometimes not the case even with the latest flagships. Does this mean that all these phones suck at macro photography? Of course not. Usually, the phones that don’t have specified a dedicated macro camera switch one of their main cameras to macro mode automatically when you focus on an object that is closer than 10 cm. So remember that a dedicated macro camera or lack of it is not a good indicator of how well the phone will perform at macro photography by itself.

If you want to read a full detailed review of our recommended phone for macro photography click here. Or if you are more interested in our top budget pick we got you covered here.

DID YOU KNOW: In the earliest years macro photography was used solely for scientific purposes, to capture the things and events too small for human eyes to notice. Frank Percy Smith is considered one of the pioneers of true macro photography as an art. He presented it to the general public through a series of documentary films shot at high magnification.

NOTE: Below you can find a comparison table and a detailed description of the best phones for macro photography.


BEST AFFORDABLERECOMMENDED
Samsung Galaxy S21 FEXiaomi 11T ProSamsung Galaxy S22+Huawei P50 ProiPhone 13 Pro
Perfect ForFlagship performance at half the priceFlagship performance at half the priceCamera, gaming and web browsingPhotography and all-round performanceNext level experience
DisplayDynamic AMOLED 120 HzAMOLED 120 HzDynamic AMOLED 120 HzOLED 120 Hz6.1 '' Super Retina XDR OLED
Operating SystemAndroid 12Android 11, MIUI 12.5Android 12EMUI 12iOS 15
MemoryUp to 256GB (8GB RAM)Up to 256GB (12GB RAM)Up to 256GB (8GB RAM)Up to 512GB (12GB RAM)Up to 1TB 6GB RAM
Camera12MP wide, 8MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide108MP wide, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP telephoto macro50MP wide, 10MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide50MP wide, 64MP telephoto, 13MP ultrawide, 40MP B/W12 MP (f/1.5, 26mm (wide), f/2.8, 77mm (telephoto),f/1.8, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide))
BatteryLi-Ion 4500 mAhLi-Po 5000 mAhLi-Ion 4500 mAhLi-Po 4360 mAhLi-Ion 3095 mAh
SoundStereo speakersStereo speakersStereo speakersStereo speakersstereo speakers
SensorFingerprint opticalFingerprint side-mountedFingerprint ultrasonicFingerprint opticalFace ID
10,793 Reviews187 Reviews21 Reviews14 Reviews53 Reviews
$594.99$475.00$989.99$899.00$1,099.97
Buy on AmazonBuy on AmazonBuy on AmazonBuy on AmazonBuy on Amazon

OVERALL RATING

We evaluated the phones based on several key factors that are important to capture high-quality photos. The most important being camera megapixels, resolution, and lens zoom performance and capacity. And we must not forget the display as you don’t want just to capture an image in high quality but to also look nice on the screen.

We tested and evaluated all mentioned features and compiled results to a single score number. Please note that the final score does not take the price into the account. So obviously the budget phones will not perform as well as the high-end flagship. But we make sure that all our recommended phones will give you a great camera experience.


What are the best phones for macro photography?

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

  HARDWARE   9/10  
  BATTERY LIFE   8/10  
  DISPLAY   9/10  
  MEMORY   9/10  
  VALUE/PRICE   10/10  
  CUSTOMER REVIEWS  

Key Features

Appealing Design
The design is really nice and shares a lot of similarities with the rest of the S21 line
Pro-Grade Camera
On the back, you will find three cameras that perform an excellent job in almost any lighting conditions
Unmatched Price/Performance Ratio
The Galaxy FE series is known to deliver a lot of value for half the price of their flagship devices

Detailed Review

Just like the previous fan edition, there are only a few small but subtle differences in the S21 FE. The display grows from 6.2 to 6.4 inches - and scores in the test with similarly excellent results. The OLED display offers a Full HD Plus resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, which results in a very good pixel density of 398 ppi - that's easily enough for a high-resolution display. The maximum brightness is 900 candelas per square meter - also an excellent value. Together with the reasonable contrast values ​​of 150:1 (checkerboard contrast in the dark) and 48:1 (contrast in ambient light), the image content can be read very well under all lighting conditions.

We find one of the biggest differences to the original model in the camera structure of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G. Because the telephoto lens now only comes with an 8-megapixel sensor with a conventional f/2.4 aperture - instead of 64 megapixels and an f/2.0 aperture. The rest of the lenses remain unchanged.
The photo and video quality of the main lens are still at a high level. In daylight conditions, the photos of the main camera are very detailed, although the Galaxy S21 performs even better in direct comparison. Some details are also lost in low light but the quality is still very good - we criticize this at a very high level. Smartphone photo enthusiasts will definitely get their money's worth here because the photos are great in a subjective comparison. The FE also has its strengths. For example, the Galaxy S21 FE performs better when it comes to detail and low noise.

With S21 FE you get one of the top high-end chipsets of last year - the Snapdragon 888. Needless to say, with such a chipset top performance is always guaranteed. Whether you are playing games, watching videos, or multitasking. This phone will handle anything.

With Galaxy S21 FE Samsung has done enough to list this phone as one of the best phone for macro photography.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Under-stated, attractive design
  • Impressive triple rear camera
  • Updates through to Android 15
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Average battery & charging
  • Older tech
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

Xiaomi 11T Pro - Best budget phone for macro photography

 - Best budget phone for macro photography

  HARDWARE   9/10  
  BATTERY LIFE   10/10  
  DISPLAY   9/10  
  MEMORY   9/10  
  VALUE/PRICE   10/10  
  CUSTOMER REVIEWS  

Key Features

Absurdly Powerful Charging
The phone comes with a 120W charging system which is absolutely insane
Great display
The OLED display convinces with strong contrast and beautiful colors
Strong performance
The heart of the phone is the Snapdragon 888

Detailed Review

The Xiaomi 11T Pro is an excellent device in almost every aspect and is rightfully considered as the best phone for macro photography.

Probably one of the most shocking features is the ridiculously fast 120W charging. According to Xiaomi the phone can be charged from 0 to 100 in just 17 min. Of course in reality it takes a couple of minutes longer but nevertheless, it is at the moment the fastest charging phone on the planet.

The design of Xiaomi 11T Pro looks very sleek. The performance is also impressive. After all, the smartphone is equipped with a Snapdragon 888 that will handle everyday tasks with ease. Gamers should also be satisfied with the performance of the 11T Pro. Complex 3D games are not a challenge for this smartphone.

The OLED panel has a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels - with a size of 6.7 inches, the 11T Pro has a high pixel density of 393 ppi. This means that the display shows the content beautifully sharp. We also really like the high screen refresh rate of 120 Hz, because everything scrolls smoothly across the screen.

The phone also comes with a triple camera. As with the predecessor, Xiaomi relies on a 108-megapixel sensor in the main camera. An ultra-wide-angle lens (8 megapixels) and a tele-macro lens (5 megapixels) complement the camera setup on the back. The main camera is optically stabilized and shoots videos in either 4K at 60 frames per second or in 8K resolution at 30 frames per second. The camera is top-notch. The photos look good in both daylight and low light.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Extremely short charging time
  • Outstanding performance
  • High-contrast and colorful display
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • IP protection and wireless charging are missing
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

Samsung Galaxy S22+

  HARDWARE   9/10  
  BATTERY LIFE   9/10  
  DISPLAY   10/10  
  MEMORY   9/10  
  VALUE/PRICE   9/10  
  CUSTOMER REVIEWS  

Key Features

Powerful performance
Snapdragon 8 Gen brings blazing-fast responsiveness and performance
Fast charging
The phone can refill its 4500 mAh battery very quickly thanks to its 45W charging
Beautiful and very bright display
Dynamic AMOLED with 120Hz max refresh rate can achieve max 1750 nits of brightness which is incredible

Detailed Review

When talking about the best phone for macro photography we cannot go past the Samsung Galaxy series. The Galaxy S22+ is noticeably larger than its smaller brother, which also brings some benefits.

The most obvious one is a bigger and brighter display. The S22+ features a 6.6 inch Dynamic AMOLED display with 1750 nits peak brightness.

Thanks to an almost 90% screen-to-body ratio the phone is still slim and compact enough to be able to comfortably store it in your pockets. However one of the most distinctive features of this year's display doesn't come from hardware but software. The phone is able to reduce screen refresh rate down to 10 Hz when not needed. This greatly improves battery life.

The phone has 3 cameras. A 50M wide standard, 10MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom and a 12MP ultra-wide which also acts as a macro camera. The macro mode is triggered automatically when focusing on an object from a close distance. The telephoto lens is especially great too and optical zoom can be used on a variety of occasions. The phone is great at capturing night photos as well.

Performance is certainly not an issue as this phone features Snapdragon 8 Gen and comes with 8GB of RAM. The chipset can handle any demanding game without really breaking a sweat. And it is perfect for stuff like watching videos, social media browsing, websurfing and multitasking.

Whether you are considering this phone for its cameras of performance, you won't be disappointed in any case.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Beautiful and very bright display
  • Powerful performance
  • Faster 45W charging
  • Improved camera set
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Battery life could be even better
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

Huawei P50 Pro

  HARDWARE   9/10  
  BATTERY LIFE   8/10  
  DISPLAY   10/10  
  MEMORY   9/10  
  VALUE/PRICE   9/10  
  CUSTOMER REVIEWS  

Key Features

Outstanding camera
The camera on the Huawei P50 Pro is fantastic and capable of capturing brilliant shots in any lighting conditions.
Capable hardware
With the Snapdragon 888 and up to 12 GB of RAM, this phone is up for any task
Fast charging
The device charges super fast with the 66W charger or 50W wireless charging

Detailed Review

The OLED screen has a diagonal of 6.6 inches and has a resolution of 2700x1228 pixels, which results in a good sharpness of 450 ppi. The refresh rate is a maximum of 120 Hertz (Hz). The touch sampling rate is at 300 Hz. In the standard "Dynamic" mode, the frequency adapts automatically. The display also convinces with very good brightness.

The so-called "True Chroma" main camera (f/1.8) takes high-resolution photos with 6144x8192 pixels, i.e. 50.3 MP. There are neither effects nor zoom options. It is 3072x4096 pixels (12.6 MP) in the standard-setting. The camera delivers amazing results in any lighting conditions. The telephoto lens (f/3.5) with optical image stabilization has a resolution of 64 MP and enables a maximum magnification of 100x. You may have seen some comparisons of the zoom against iPhone 13. Huawei P50 Pro is truly impressive. The ultra-wide-angle lens (f/2.2) takes pictures with 13 MP. There is also a black and white "True Chroma Camera" with a resolution of 40 MP as further support for image processing. It is worth mentioning that at the time of writing Huawei P50 Pro has the best camera according to DXOMARK.

The phone offers strong performance thanks to Snapdragon 888 and up to 12GB of RAM. In terms of benchmarks, the P50 Pro competes with the fastest mobile phones and also runs performance-hungry games smoothly.

The P50 Pro offers a great display, chic design, top photo quality and lots of speed and is definitely one of the best phone for macro photography.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Excellent primary camera
  • The device feels premium in the hand
  • Fast wired and wireless charging
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Still no Google services
  • No 5G capability
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

iPhone 13 Pro Max - Best overall for macro photography

 

  HARDWARE   10/10  
  BATTERY LIFE   9/10  
  DISPLAY   10/10  
  MEMORY   9/10  
  VALUE/PRICE   10/10  
  CUSTOMER REVIEWS  

Key Features

Apple A15 Bionic (5 nm)

iPhone 13 Pro has an Apple A15 Bionic (5 nm) chipset with Hexa-core (2x3.22 GHz Avalanche + 4xX.X GHz Blizzard).

 Super Retina XDR OLED display
This 6.7 '' Super Retina XDR OLED display delivers a 120hz refresh rate with an excellent 1200 NITs of max brightness.
Li-Ion 3095 mAh battery

Fast charging (23W, unofficial rating). Apple's 20-watt charger gets the phone from 50% in 30 min

The iPhone 13 pro max's outward design hasn't changed very much. The phone has glass on the front and back, along with a shiny stainless steel frame. The layout is otherwise unchanged too, the notch is a smidge smaller and the camera bump is just a little larger. That's the biggest change that you'll see, but if you pick the iPhone 13 pro max up you will notice that it's heavier than before, weighing 240 grams, which is pretty heavy for a smartphone.

The 13 pro max can survive up to 6 meters underwater for 30 minutes. The display's cover glass, the ceramic shield by corning, once again offers some of the best protection in the industry, though it will shatter and scratch if you abuse it. The screen itself it's a 6.7" (OLED, 1284x2778,120Hz refresh rate) with a pixel density of 458 PPI. For the first time, Apple is introducing a high 120-hertz refresh rate on its phones. Some games can't fully utilize it just yet, but aside from that, the feature is executed very well. The display can drop down to as little as 10 hertz and then jump up to 120hz on the fly, depending on whether you're touching the screen and the current content. It has a wide color gamut and pretty much flawless color accuracy. With an excellent 1050 nits in auto-brightness, this is one of the brightest panels on the market. 

CAMERA:

The biggest update with the pro max model this year must be the cameras. All three rear cameras have been improved. The 12 megapixel main sensor has larger pixels than before, the largest single pixels in a smartphone in fact. The 12-megapixel telephoto now has optical three times zoom instead of 2.5 times. The 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor lets in more light and now has autofocus so it can double as a macro cam. There is a lighter scanner too and it helps the three cameras with depth maps for better portraits and faster autofocus. In low light only the selfie camera is the same 12 megapixel unit as before. During the day the 13 pro max takes very good photos with the main camera and of course, they have a very iPhone-like flavor. Colors are accurate, detail is good and noise is non-existent.

CHIPSET:

The iPhone 13 pro arrives with Apple's latest A15 Bionic, 6GM RAM chipset. The phone is equipped with 6GB of RAM versus 4GB of RAM on the non-pro models. Performance-wise the pro max is way ahead of its Android competition, its closest rivals are actually last year's iPhones. The new chipset improves last year's performance by 10% and it is the fastest chipset in a phone to date. The one concern we do have is that the GPU was quick to throttle and we would have liked to see a better-sustained performance. The 13 pro max comes with ios 15.

AUDIO:

The audio quality from its speakers was similarly impressive. The iPhone 13 pro max has a bottom-firing speaker and it uses its earpiece as a second channel. The speakers are among the best sounding speakers that you can get on a phone.

BATTERY:

The MAX comes with a 4352 mAh battery, which is the biggest one that Apple has ever put in an iPhone. The 13 PRO MAX has a 121-hour battery life. This phone will likely survive a full day or two of heavy usage. Unfortunately the iPhone ships without a charger. Using Apple's 20-watt charger, the 13 pro max goes from 0% to 42% in half an hour. The phone supports charging up to 27 watts, so if you get a more powerful adapter you can get up to 55% in half an hour.

CONCLUSION:

The screen is fantastic. the stereo speakers are great. Performance is still unmatched and the battery life is simply class-leading. Photo and video quality is great across the board too, but is this the most innovative phone ever? Hardly, but it offers a very solid experience in pretty much every department and of course, it's the best iPhone ever, so if you're upgrading from an iPhone that is older than the iPhone 12 pro, we definitely recommend it.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Very good chipset.
  • Great battery life.
  • Amazing value for the price you pay
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Pricey
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

Additional hardware information

Cameras

The phones these days feature multiple-camera setups. In fact, it is very difficult to find a phone with just one camera. Usually, they have at least two in the back and some even feature four. Now there is a logical explanation behind all this. The companies aren’t just stacking cameras left and right. Each camera is different and serves its own purpose. This is how we get the best results and enhance our photography experience. The most common camera types you will find are wide camera, ultrawide camera, telephoto camera, macro camera and ToF sensor.

Wide camera – It is also known as the main camera that we find on the rear side of the phone. You will notice differences in Megapixels that a certain camera has. A good main camera should have at least 12MP. Furthermore, it is also good if it has good autofocus and an optical image stabilizer, also known as OIS.

Ultrawide camera – It offers a wider field of view than the main camera. This way you can capture more into the image and it is more similar to what our eyes see. It can offer a great advantage when taking wider images such as family reunion photos for example. However, sometimes a photo can appear curved due to a wider angle and some objects might appear abnormally shaped.

Telephoto camera – It is normally used for zoomed-in shots that are taken from a distance. You can zoom in on a scene or subject and get closer without actually having to move. This can serve us well when we don’t want to approach the subject. A telephoto lens increases focal length. It brings objects closer to you.

Macro camera – It is used for close-up shots. We can capture images of small objects, such as insects or plants. These objects can appear big in a photo and we can capture a lot of detail. In fact, we can capture things that are too small to be visible to the naked eye.

ToF sensor – It is a piece of equipment that most flagship phones these days have. A ToF sensor can help you determine the distance between the camera and the object. It is actually a depth sensor that helps the phone create a three-dimensional map of the world. It uses infrared light to determine the distance between the objects and maps 3D space.

Dynamic range

The understanding of dynamic range can really help us improve our photos. Dynamic range describes the ratio between the maximum and minimum light intensities. In simple words, it tells us the difference between the lightest and darkest tones in an image.  Each device has its own dynamic range, which affects the output – that is our image. The wide the dynamic range, the better. You will stumble across this topic a lot in photography. So just remember that a wider dynamic range gives you better results. A wide dynamic range will allow you to capture more detail in brighter or darker areas. Otherwise, those areas will just appear very bright, nearly white or very dark, nearly black. So to create a good exposure, there must not be too bright or too dim parts.

An interesting fact is that human sight has a relatively high dynamic range. No camera can match it. Therefore some pictures of sunsets for example appear different than they are in real life.

Sharpness

Sharpness in photography stands for the overall clarity of the image. This combines focus and contrast. The subject must be clear, lifelike, and have a lot of details. This is when we can speak of sharpness.

Sharpness is very important in photography. Better sharpness means more detail. Furthermore, it also emphasizes the textures of the subject. You should always try and make your photos as sharp as you can. This way the images will appear more professional and interesting for the viewers.

For the best results, you will have to have good equipment as well as the right technique and well-developed skills. However, with the right gear, it can be much simpler. It is also important to know that sharpness is related to the resolution, as the number of pixels and their size affect overall sharpness.

Resolution

The image resolution relates to the number of pixels that are featured in an image. Higher resolutions simply mean that there are more pixels in the photo, whether lower resolutions mean that there are fewer pixels in a photo. The number of pixels also determines how much information is captured in an image. Or in other words, how much detail it can hold. So, the more the better, as it usually results in higher quality photos.

Changing the resolution, you are basically saying how many pixels you want to have per square inch. So it is always good to have a little more than less. After all, it affects the sharpness of the image as well, and you don’t want blurry photos. You want to capture as much information as you can. Cropping the photo, while keeping the same resolution will significantly drop the quality of the photo. That happens because you remove a certain amount of pixels, which basically means you lose a certain amount of information that should occupy that space. So avoid doing that.

There is a lot of talk about Full HD resolution these days. Here we have 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high image. Such resolution is very common among televisions these days. However, there is also Ultra HD, which is also known as 4K. This means that the resolution here is about 4000 pixels, although is usually a bit less – 3840 pixels.

Contrast

Contrast represents a visual ratio between different tones in an image. It defines color characteristics and affects areas such as highlights, shadows, colors, clarity, and textures. A simple way of putting it is to say that contrast is the scale of difference between black and white in the photo. High contrast means that there will be bright highlights and dark shadows, whether low contrast images have little difference between light and dark tones.

We also know different types of contrasts. There is Tonal contrast, which refers to dark and bright areas in the photo. Then we have Color contrast which means pairing warm and cold colors to make them stand out more. We also know Conceptual contrast, which helps us add depth and encourages viewers to engage with the photo. Then there’s also Texture contrast, where we combine rough and soft elements for an extra punch. All of the contrasts are very important if we want the image to look professional and appealing. So we must know how to use them if we want to achieve that magical result. They can help us tell a story and make certain things stand out more. So we can really be artistic with the contrast.

Best phone for macro photography – CONCLUSION

As you have learned choosing the best phone for macro photography is not a trivial task. The phone cannot compare to a professional DSLR camera with its small sensor size. Therefore, it is important that the sensor quality is at the top level and you will also need to play with some manual camera settings, as standard auto mode usually won’t cut it.

Any phone from our list will give you the best camera experience. So if you stay within our selection of the best phones for macro photography you are good and ready to go. Have fun taking photos.

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