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2023 Smartphones: The Specs Every Photographer Needs To Know

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So you’ve dropped your phone. It’s still working, only the screen is badly cracked and the picture of your S/O now has a dented line through the middle. You think it’s fine, but then you notice their eyes are now a few extra millimetres apart, and it’s making them look more like Sid the Sloth than they used to.

What are you going to do? Simply deal with it? Sure. But even if you could get over the fact that your beloved partner’s face now looks like a beloved cartoon character, you haven’t factored in that all of your photographs are now ruined. No matter how good they are and no matter how much effort you put into them; every single one of them now has an equator separating one side from the other. 

But don’t worry, it’s not all bad news. After all, it’s probably time for a change anyway. Camera phones are better now than they’ve ever been, meaning your photography can not only get back to normal, but rise to a whole other level. 

It’s important that quality is always at the forefront of your mind. These pictures aren’t just going to exist on your phone. If you’re the budding photographer we think you are, your best pics are going to be shared amongst friends, posted on Instagram and maybe even turned into a photo book in 2 clicks!

To get this quality, though, you’re going to need to know the stats. By that we mean, you’re going to need to know exactly what the stats mean and how they might help your photography game. With this in mind, let’s begin with the stat you’re likely to have seen everywhere:

High Megapixels Are Good Megapixels

One of the first things you’ll see when checking out camera phones in 2023 is the letters “MP”. This means “megapixels” and they’re supposedly quite good. Essentially, they refer to the small picture elements in a photograph – the pixels that complete the digital image. 

One million of these are known as a megapixel: the more MPs your phone has, the clearer the resolution of the pictures you take. The best 2023 phone in this regard holds 200MP overall – with a 10MP front-camera – so that’s what other phones are competing with in the camera photography game right now.

Know Your Apertures

It’s also important that you know your apertures when you’re browsing for a new phone. For those who are unaware, an aperture is the opening between the lens and the sensor, determining how much light is going to reach the sensor in preparation for the photograph – the wider the opening of the aperture, the more light is going to get through. 

It is measured  in f-numbers, with the lower f-stop indicating that there will be more light. With this in mind, you will find that most phones have a fixed aperture of between f/1.4 to f/2.0. When you’re taking a look at these stats, make sure you find the lowest one you can before you make your decision.

Learn About Lenses

With the aperture in mind, it’s important to note that some smartphones will have two or more lenses with alternating focal points – giving them a 2x optical zoom compared to a single-fixed lens. Different lens types include:

  • Depth Camera
  • Monochrome Camera
  • Telephoto 
  • Wide-Angle
  • Ultra Wide-Angle

These will also give different results with your camera, including background blur and sharpened images. Additionally, the ultra wide-angle is a 16mm camera equivalent, with the wide-angle giving an equivalent of 27mm to 28mm and the telephoto lens offering a 56mm to 81mm equivalent. It’s also important to note the difference between the front and back lenses. Whatever phone you choose, the specs will be specified to the rear, with less emphasis on the front – which is not used much for “photography”. So if you’re wondering why you don’t look good in selfies with your new phone, it’s because you’re using the wrong camera, that’s all!

Size Matters

One problem that budding photographers make when choosing a smartphone is overlooking the importance of the screen size. This is not a stat that you should gloss over. Remember, there are no traditional viewfinders when it comes to a smartphone, which means you’re going to be using both of your hands for the viewfinder and shutter release. 

The bigger the screen is, then, the more of the scene you are going to see. This is part of the reason why the new “Fold” phones are gaining steam. With a 7.3” screen, photographers are finding it far easier to not only handle the camera but see more of the scene in front of them. So if you’re wondering why fold phones are worth the price tag, for a photographer, their size alone does the talking.

Pixels Are Important – But Not All Of Them

Lastly, we should note that pixel size matters too. You might be thinking we’re referring to the pixels found on the phone screen itself, but we’d argue that these specs aren’t that important. As mentioned before, your best pictures are going to exist beyond your phone. They will likely go on your laptop, your Instagram, and then into print once you’ve taken them to a photo book maker – ahem, hello there! 

No, we’re talking about the pixels found on the sensor. These are measured in micrometres – or microns. A camera with larger sensor pixels is going to give better picture quality than one with small pixels. This is important, especially when it comes to taking photographs in a lower light. 

A camera with large sensor pixels will handle this perfectly, making the photographs look brighter and sharper as a result. You want to make sure that your photos always look good, no matter what time you are shooting. For this reason, make sure you take note of these specs and all the other specs in this piece.


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