5 Best Phones for Photography and Editing in 2021 – Latest Guide

3 min read 📖137 people found this article helpful 👍
Best phone for photography and editing
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is one of the best phones for photography and photo editing.

I admit it, I am a Social Media addict. From browsing the latest memes and trends to posting on my own accounts several times a day. It just takes a big part of my day. I also take and post a lot of my own pictures too. And since a few months now I have gotten pretty used to doing some editing before launching them to the public 😅. My old phone had a pretty solid camera but it was kinda awkward for editing as it was smaller and was starting to become slow too. So I decided to do a little research on which would be the best phone for photography and editing and also share my findings in this post.

First we will look at the camera as it is obviously responsible for taking a great photo. Most of the phones nowadays feature a multiple camera setup. But the specification alone will not tell you if the photos will be good or bad. I learned this the hard way when I had to bought a phone best on camera specification alone and didn’t pay attention to what other customers were saying. Well, it turned out they were write and the photos were not so good so I ended up returning that phone.

Performance is also important as it will give you a nice and responsive experience when editing photos. Here you can’t really miss I believe. Most phones are pretty capable these days, you should maybe pay attention that it has enough RAM and a good chipset.

So in the end I purchased Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and I must say it has performed amazingly for me. The camera takes really quality shots and editing them on the big screen is an absolute pleasure. Now I know that it is quite expensive and won’t be an option for most of you. This is why I also researched and tested other phones and compiled a list of which I like the most and which I think came close to my Note 20. If you have the budget I would definitely recommend Note 20 as the best phone for photography and editing. But if you are looking for more budget options you will be pleased with any of the phones from my list.

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

DID YOU KNOW: Phone cameras have much improved from the early days and the pictures they can take are becoming more and more impressive. But it is the editing that gives it that special final touch and creates the “WOW” effect. This has helped me a lot with growing my social media accounts.

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


BUDGET RECOMMENDED
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Samsung Galaxy S10+ Xiaomi Mi 10T Huawei P40 Pro Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9

Samsung Galaxy S10+

Xiaomi Mi 10T

Huawei P40 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra
Display 6.53 inches 6.4 inches 6.67 inches 6.58 inches 6.9 inches
Main camera 48 MP wide, 8 MP ultrawide, 2 MP macro, 2 MP depth 12 MP wide, 12 MP telephoto, 16 MP ultrawide 64 MP wide, 13 MP ultrawide, 5 MP macro 50 MP wide, 12 MP periscope telephoto, 40 MP ultrawide 108 MP wide, 12 MP periscope telephoto, 12 MP ultrawide
Video max. 1080p@30fps max. 4K@60fps, HDR10+ max. 8K@30fps max. 4K@60fps max. 8K@24fps, HDR10+
Front camera 13 MP 10 MP wide and 8 MP wide 20 MP wide 32 MP wide 10 MP wide
Battery 5020 mAh, non-removable 4100 mAh, non-removable 5000 mAh, non-removable 4200 mAh, non-removable 4500 mAh, non-removable
Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy 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 photography and editing?

XIAOMI Redmi Note 9

One of the best phone for photography and editing
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY CAMERA FEATURES

MAIN CAMERA FRONT CAMERA VIDEO
Quad with 48 MP wide, 8 MP ultrawide, 2 MP macro and 2 MP depth Single 13 MP standard Up to 1080p 30 fps

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 is one of the brand’s cool phones, which sells at a very low price. It has a decent chipset and an extremely good battery life. It also comes with an IR blaster, which a very cool and useful feature that allows you to control certain appliances, like a TV for example. This makes the phone good, despite the low price. After all, there is no need to pay a lot for quality. Therefore it makes our list of the best phones for photography and editing.

The phone features a quad camera setup. Here you will find one 48 MP main camera with PDAF, 8 MP ultrawide camera, 2 MP macro camera with autofocus, and a 2 MP depth sensor. Daytime shots taken with the main camera are decent. However, the overall quality is behind the competition. Sharpness could be improved and there could be more detail. Therefore images appear a bit softer. Still, the colors look pretty good. Using zoom reduces image quality even more. Photos have more noise and do not come out really sharp. Portraits look more or less good, but only in good light. Low light performance is surprisingly good. Photos have a wide dynamic range with nicely preserved highlights. However, the images are still soft.

Video recording is again not the best. There is no option for 4K videos and you can only record up to 1080p. This is really disappointing as most phones these days support 4K and some even 8K. Videos appear soft and the dynamic range is pretty narrow. There is still a lot of room for improvements in this area.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Very affordable. Great price/performance ratio
  • Sleek design makes it Easy to handle and place into pockets
  • Even 4 GB model will be able to handle games pretty good
  • Fast and accurate autofocus in good light
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • The processor chip may be a bit weak for more demanding games. If you will use this phone also for gaming you should consider some higher-end models on this list.
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

SAMSUNG Galaxy S10+ – Top Budget Phone for photography and editing

One of the best phone for photography and editing
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY CAMERA FEATURES

MAIN CAMERA FRONT CAMERA VIDEO
Triple with 12 MP wide, 12 MP telephoto and 16 MP ultrawide Dual with 10 MP and 8 MP wide Up to 4K 60 fps

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Samsung Galaxy S10+ is a more premium version of regular S10. This phone is bigger and carries some new additions. However, most of the features, especially design, remain the same. The phone is a bit older and is definitely not the newest flagship out there, but it can still perform really well and can carry out many difficult tasks. Therefore, we decided to put this phone on the list of the best phones for photography and editing.

On the field of cameras, the major difference is that the S10+ has a dual selfie camera, which regular S10 doesn’t. That improves depth sensing and gives better results when taking selfies. Otherwise the camera setup on the back remains the same. The phone features 12 MP main camera, 16 MP ultrawide camera and 12 MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom. You get fantastic results during the day. The photos are very sharp with a lot of detail. The dynamic range is great and the overall quality of the photos is superb. Using zoom does not affect quality in a major way and photos remain sharp. Night time photography is on a high level. The output is surprisingly good and you get a high quality shots with a lot of detail. However, when it’s too dark the quality will decrease. The videos taken during the day look fantastic. You can make 4K footages at 30 fps or 60 fps. Both options give you outstanding results. However, videos taken with telephoto camera at 60 fps can have reduced quality.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Performance is excellent thanks to Snapdragon 855 and lots of RAM. This phone will handle any task you throw at it.
  • Dual selfie camera improves depth sensing and gives better results when taking selfies
  • Eventhough the battery is not the biggest on the market the phone will last surprisingly good. Even if you are gaming or watching videos.
  • Very wide dynamic range and excellent highlight protection
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • If you are not an advanced user, you might not benefit from this version and should probably stick to regular S10, otherwise you are just overpaying for your phone.
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

XIAOMI Mi 10T

One of the best phone for photography and editing
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY CAMERA FEATURES

MAIN CAMERA FRONT CAMERA VIDEO
Triple with 64 MP wide, 13 MP ultrawide and 5 MP macro Single 20 MP wide Up to 8K 30 fps

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Xiaomi Mi 10T is a brand’s flagship phone that was released in 2020. However, price wise it’s more of a mid-ranger. It sells at a very reasonable price, especially if we take into account everything the phone offers us. It’s still isn’t the cheapest phone you will find, but it’s quite a bargain for such quality. The phone has a great chipset and amazing battery life. The camera performance is awesome and there aren’t any major issues here. Therefore, we decided to list this phone as one of the best phones for photography and editing.

The quality of cameras is surprisingly good for a mid-range phone and is one of the phones strong points. The phone features triple camera setup, with one 64 MP main camera, one 13 MP ultrawide camera and a 5 MP macro camera for close-up shots. You will find the daytime photos to be extremely good. The phone really makes high quality photos. There is impressive amount of detail with almost no noise. Dynamic range is very good and photos appear very sharp. Colours look pretty natural. Zooming will cause loss of sharpness and detail and the quality will drop. However, photos still look good and beat some of the competition. Portraits look good and the edge detection works quite fine. Phone does a good job in low light as well. Sharpness is decent with good contrast and well preserved colours. The dynamic range remains quite wide.

As far as video recording goes, you are able to make 8K footages at 30 fps. There is also an option for 4K footages and regular 1080p footages. These videos all look great and have very good quality. Sharpness is good with the right amount of detail. Also, noise has been reduced to a minimum.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Performance is great thanks to Snapdragon 865
  • Camera is great with many options and settings
  • You will appreciate 144 Hz refresh rate of the screen. Especially when playing games or watching videos
  • Great battery capacity and an excellent battery life
  • Accurate target exposure in indoor and outdoor photos and videos
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • No wireless charging
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

One of the best phone for photography and editing
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY CAMERA FEATURES

MAIN CAMERA FRONT CAMERA VIDEO
Quad with 50 MP wide, 12 MP periscope telephoto, 40 MP ultrawide and TOF 3D depth Dual with 32 MP wide and IR TOF 3D depth Up to 4K 60 fps

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Huawei P40 Pro is one of the brand’s newest flagship phones. It brings some new high-end features to regular P40. For one, it has one of the best cameras you can get in a phone. Additionally, it has a great chipset, which can enhance your gaming experience. It also comes with IR blaster, which a very cool and useful feature that allows you to control certain appliances, like TV for example. This is a great phone that you will be proud to own. Therefore it makes our list of the best phones for photography and editing.

P40 brings photography on a whole new level. It is like it was meant for taking images. The phone comes with a quad camera setup, which consists of 50 MP main camera with PDAF and OIS, 40 MP ultrawide camera, one ToF 3D depth sensor and a 12 MP periscope telephoto camera with OIS and a 5x optical zoom. Daylight photos taken with main camera look excellent. They really reflect the quality of a flagship phone. They have a lot of detail and are extremely sharp. Images also have wide dynamic range and practically no noise. Such high quality is preserved across all the cameras, even ultrawide and telephoto camera. Photos are simply impressive. Thanks to ToF sensor, portraits look great and 32 MP selfie camera can also produce amazing selfies, where subject really stands out. Just as expected, low light photography remains on a very high level and is actually one of the best among smartphones. Night time photos look just as great. We get wide dynamic range, nice highlights and shadows and the amount of detail is just impressive. Even with zoom, the quality is not lowered at all. The photos remain decently sharp.

Video recording is great as you would expect. You can take 4K footages at 30 fps. Overall they look good; however the amount of detail could be improved. The dynamic range is wide and sharpness is satisfying. The phone has great stabilization, so videos look very smooth even when you are moving.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Some would argue that the camera is the best on the market
  • Super fast 40W charging and 27W wireless charging. You will recharge your phone in a blink of an eye
  • Smooth performance from Kirin 990 even under heavy load
  • IR blaster is an interesting feature not many phones have these days
  • Excellent texture/noise balance in photos and videos
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • A little less intuitive to set up. Also note that it comes without Google support out of the box. There is still a workaround to get Google products if this is a must for you
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

SAMSUNG Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

One of the best phone for photography and editing
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY CAMERA FEATURES

MAIN CAMERA FRONT CAMERA VIDEO
Triple with 108 MP wide, 12 MP periscope telephoto and 12 MP ultrawide Single 10 MP wide Up to 8K 24 fps

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a huge new addition to the Note line of phones and is an upgrade from regular Note 20. It is one of Samsung’s most premium phones and it is truly the best of the best in terms of performance, camera quality, and battery life. However, it is a bit pricy as well, but you do get extra features in return. The really cool feature is the S Pen of course, which you can make great use of. Especially now, that Samsung introduced some new additions to it. Therefore Note 20 Ultra is certainly one of the best phones for photography and editing. If it wasn’t for the price we would definitely recommend this one. But it is a little on the expensive side and not in reach for everybody.

Note 20 Ultra has a triple camera set up. The phone is equipped with a 108 MP main camera, 12 MP ultra-wide camera, a 12 MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom, and 50x hybrid zoom. Photos taken with the main camera have excellent detail, the colors are very accurate and the noise is reduced to a minimum. The quality in general is outstanding. The same goes for the telephoto camera which has higher native zoom than other models. Nighttime photography is also awesome and has a wide dynamic range. It also captures a lot of detail and has great color saturation. In low light photography, you might get reduced quality while using zoom, as it will just crop from the main camera. You also have the option of using night mode, which improves shadows and highlights.

As for the videos, you have an option of filming in 4K at 30 fps and 60 fps. Regardless of your choice, the videos look very good and the quality is decent. There really are no major complaints in this department. You also have an option of filming in 8K which gives you more detail, however, the file size will be considerably bigger.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • The premium chipset paired with 12 GB will handle any task you can think of
  • The camera setup is amazing and will make a perfect photo in almost any lighting conditions
  • Large 6.9 inch screen makes this phone an absolute pleasure to work with. Great for everyday tasks as well as gaming and watching videos and similar
  • Accurate exposure with wide dynamic range
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Battery is ok but if you are a heavy user, you may need to charge the phone twice per day. It comes with a 25W fast charging feature so it won’t take long though.
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 photography and editing – CONCLUSION

As you have learned choosing the best phone for photography and editing 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 best phones for photography and editing you are good and ready to go. Have fun taking photos.

People also like

Leave a Reply