Top 5 Smartphones for Travel Photography

The latest and greatest can help you create your super snaps.

For night owls

Only one lens? Google clearly didn’t get the memo about having to pile on as many lenses as possible. But no matter, its 5.5-inch Google Pixel 3 (US$799) does just brilliantly with a 12-megapixel single lens. Its portrait photo functions, Super Res Zoom mode and ultra-wide option are all well and good, but it’s the Night Sight mode that impresses most of all. If you take a lot of images after sunset, the Google Pixel 3 is for you.

Pro tip: Night Sight mode AND the Super Res Zoom are really handy

For landscape photographers

The Sony Xperia 1 (US$999) has a super-long 6.5-inch CinemaWide 4K OLED display that’s perfect for perusing panoramas in pin-sharp quality, with pro-level color accuracy. On board also is a triple-lens setup that comprises three 12-megapixel lenses.

Pro tip: Best for inspecting your panoramic photos … or for watching movies

For polished pictures

The market leader’s latest phone sees a seriously impressive photography upgrade. Inside the 6.4-inch Samsung Galaxy S10+ (US$999) are three lenses: a primary 12-megapixel, a 16-megapixel wide-angle and a 12-megapixel telephoto. That wide-angle impresses, despite sometimes seeming soft on detail, with the built-in software giving all photos extra sparkle.

Pro tip: This all-rounder makes almost every photo look ultra-vibrant and appealing

For photography experts

If the return of Nokia’s kitschy, retro and classic 3310 phone in 2017 was all about novelty, then the Nokia 9 Pureview (US$699) is the real deal. Complete with Zeiss optics, it’s the first smartphone to have five cameras; their images are fused to create one 12-megapixel photo. Able to capture extra depth of field, it also uses the uncompressed raw format and has an Adobe Lightroom processing app built in — so this is one for photography enthusiasts.

Pro tip: This is for the ones who always make sure to travel light

For ultimate detail

Is this the shape of smartphones to come? Packed with a mighty 48-megapixel camera, the Honor V20/View 20 (US$650) records more detail than most, while its Super Night View mode is handy for hand-held long exposure shots in low light. As a bonus, this 6.4-inch smartphone has a “desktop mode” — simply connect it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and you’ve got an instant desktop PC.

Pro tip: this phone’s 48-megapixel camera will one day be the standard

This article first appeared in the May 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Jamie Carter

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