Best camera phone 2021?

Associate
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Agreed - it can only tell you basics but it's still a comparison.

I've seen a few vids about the Samsung S22 Ultra due out in early February. Might be better to wait until that emerges. At the very least it should lead to a dip in the price of the S21 Ultra. I'm betting the imsging won't be significantly better.
 
Soldato
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Didn’t the Pixel 5a win the latest MKBHD blind test against the iPhone 13 Pro? Pity we can’t get the 5a over here!
Yup. P5 would be pretty much the same. It's one of those things,if you analyse photos,know what to look for etc you'll find that p6,iPhone 13 etc hold more info,are sharper etc but if you're the type of person that points shoots and uploads then phones with brighter pictures will do better. Like 5a.
 
Associate
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Seen a "renewed" S21 Ultra at £719 - about £400 less than a brand new one. 12 month warranty.

But I worry that the battery may be on its last legs. Not sure that would be covered by warranty. I guess it could be £80-90 to replace.

Would any of you guys take a gamble on something like this ? (Not necessarily the same make/model).
 
Soldato
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The most complete system is the iPhone 13 Pro.
Yep this - The iPhone 13 Pro & Max nails both photo and video straight out of the phone. It's simply the best all rounder and won the MKBHD 'Best Camera Phone' in 2021 : https://youtu.be/IDcyXtweHCw?t=396
It also has RAW modes for both photo & video should you wish to adjust in app to get your preferred look, without destroying the original image.

The 13 Pro Max also won the best battery award

Surely it's that new Sony phone. Still wouldn't replace my camera with it though.
The Sony Xperia i has the best camera sensor in a phone but, just like a DSLR, you need a photo editing adjustment workflow to get the final image looking great.
 
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Caporegime
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Got a iPhone 13 on the 18th and it's genuinely the worst camera system I've used on a smart phone since owning an Orange San Francisco. Every single photo indoors is unusable thanks to a lack of detail and blur, I didn't have a single usable picture from Christmas day spent at my brothers.

There are a load of complaints on Reddit, MacRumors and the Apple forums but most complaints get beaten down with insulting comments like you need to learn how to take photos like a photographer now you've got a proper camera system. It gets trounced by pictures taken with my old Nexus 6P in every situation bar those with perfect lighting so there are clearly massive issues with it at the moment. A lot of people are suggesting it's a software issue and installing something called Halide will produce vastly superior results as shown in the thread below.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/really-bad-photos-with-iphone-13-pro-max-merged.2315188/page-6

I've got two more days to decide whether to send it back or not but I'm astonished this got the reviews it did considering the results it consistently produces for me.
 
Soldato
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Got a iPhone 13 on the 18th and it's genuinely the worst camera system I've used on a smart phone since owning an Orange San Francisco. Every single photo indoors is unusable thanks to a lack of detail and blur, I didn't have a single usable picture from Christmas day spent at my brothers.

There are a load of complaints on Reddit, MacRumors and the Apple forums but most complaints get beaten down with insulting comments like you need to learn how to take photos like a photographer now you've got a proper camera system. It gets trounced by pictures taken with my old Nexus 6P in every situation bar those with perfect lighting so there are clearly massive issues with it at the moment. A lot of people are suggesting it's a software issue and installing something called Halide will produce vastly superior results as shown in the thread below.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/really-bad-photos-with-iphone-13-pro-max-merged.2315188/page-6

I've got two more days to decide whether to send it back or not but I'm astonished this got the reviews it did considering the results it consistently produces for me.
That’s very strange! You sure it’s not faulty hardware? I have 4 phones to hand here, pixel 5, 6, galaxy flip 3 and iPhone 13 pro. Out of those the iPhone and pixel 6 are the most consistent and good overall. 0 issues with 13 for e.g.
 
Caporegime
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That’s very strange! You sure it’s not faulty hardware? I have 4 phones to hand here, pixel 5, 6, galaxy flip 3 and iPhone 13 pro. Out of those the iPhone and pixel 6 are the most consistent and good overall. 0 issues with 13 for e.g.
I've no idea. It's clearly not right when you look at the pictures some people are posting but then a good number of people are suffering the same results as me. If it's hardware, I would expect bad results 100% of the time but in perfect lightning, mainly outdoors, all lenses are fine. If it was software, I would expect everyone to have the same low quality pictures.
 
Soldato
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I've no idea. It's clearly not right when you look at the pictures some people are posting but then a good number of people are suffering the same results as me. If it's hardware, I would expect bad results 100% of the time but in perfect lightning, mainly outdoors, all lenses are fine. If it was software, I would expect everyone to have the same low quality pictures.
have you got any examples? just out of interest.
 
Caporegime
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No, I've yet to take a picture I've been happy to keep so keep deleting them.

I'll take one of my food tonight. Took a picture of my roast last night and the broccoli looked like a green bowling ball it was so smooth, you can make out every individual part of the broccoli from a picture I took with my 6P in 2017.

Edit: @grudas

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zTcehzJADaTC2QUc9

Both pictures look ok as they are but as soon as you zoom in or view it on a bigger screen, the iPhone appears to have smoothed everything out which results in a loss of detail making it look like a lower resolution. It's most noticeable on the worktop, it's textured yet you can't see the texture with the iPhone.

Wish I kept the picture of my brothers dog, I could see the individual hairs when I took pictures with my Pixel, he looked like he was wearing a coat it was so bad on the iPhone.
 
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Soldato
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No, I've yet to take a picture I've been happy to keep so keep deleting them.

I'll take one of my food tonight. Took a picture of my roast last night and the broccoli looked like a green bowling ball it was so smooth, you can make out every individual part of the broccoli from a picture I took with my 6P in 2017.

Edit: @grudas

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zTcehzJADaTC2QUc9

Both pictures look ok as they are but as soon as you zoom in or view it on a bigger screen, the iPhone appears to have smoothed everything out which results in a loss of detail making it look like a lower resolution. It's most noticeable on the worktop, it's textured yet you can't see the texture with the iPhone.

Wish I kept the picture of my brothers dog, I could see the individual hairs when I took pictures with my Pixel, he looked like he was wearing a coat it was so bad on the iPhone.

ah I see what you mean, I think google phones are more aggressive with post-processing and applying sharpness to pictures.

have you tried photos app -> edit -> increase sharpness on iOS? I don't know if apple simply leaves the picture without and allows you modify it(very unlike them as they "know" what's best for you) or there's less detail.

I don't have any pictures to compare from my 13 pro as I've only had it 3 weeks but I'll try and snap something just out of interest.
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
19,865
Got a iPhone 13 on the 18th and it's genuinely the worst camera system I've used on a smart phone since owning an Orange San Francisco. Every single photo indoors is unusable thanks to a lack of detail and blur, I didn't have a single usable picture from Christmas day spent at my brothers.

There are a load of complaints on Reddit, MacRumors and the Apple forums but most complaints get beaten down with insulting comments like you need to learn how to take photos like a photographer now you've got a proper camera system. It gets trounced by pictures taken with my old Nexus 6P in every situation bar those with perfect lighting so there are clearly massive issues with it at the moment. A lot of people are suggesting it's a software issue and installing something called Halide will produce vastly superior results as shown in the thread below.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/really-bad-photos-with-iphone-13-pro-max-merged.2315188/page-6

I've got two more days to decide whether to send it back or not but I'm astonished this got the reviews it did considering the results it consistently produces for me.
You need to post up some examples. Very difficult to comment on your issues otherwise.
Worth being aware if you're in a very dark room the iPhone 13 will enable night mode which extends the exposure up to 2 seconds. Clearly if you move the phone during this time the image will be blurred.

No, I've yet to take a picture I've been happy to keep so keep deleting them.

I'll take one of my food tonight. Took a picture of my roast last night and the broccoli looked like a green bowling ball it was so smooth, you can make out every individual part of the broccoli from a picture I took with my 6P in 2017.

Edit: @grudas

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zTcehzJADaTC2QUc9

Both pictures look ok as they are but as soon as you zoom in or view it on a bigger screen, the iPhone appears to have smoothed everything out which results in a loss of detail making it look like a lower resolution. It's most noticeable on the worktop, it's textured yet you can't see the texture with the iPhone.

Wish I kept the picture of my brothers dog, I could see the individual hairs when I took pictures with my Pixel, he looked like he was wearing a coat it was so bad on the iPhone.
In your food plate examples above - both lighting conditions are completely different. The texture on the table is being identified because of the lighting direction angle, not the camera sensors ability to show it.
The iPhone photo has very flat lighting from above, so the texture on the table looks flat too.
 
Associate
Joined
25 Oct 2011
Posts
224
Definitely not. I find it fairly poor in anything approaching a low light condition.

Hundred percent agree, had mine a year as well as the last few Samsung flagships, notes etc.

Direct daylight outside the s21 ultra can take very good photos , only challenge is the colour are always unrealistic. If it wasn't for these issues I think the s21 Ultra could be the perfect phone for me. Really shame that Samsung brings some great hardware but the software processing is awful.

Looking back on photos in Google Photos , my s7 and Note 9 took far more natural shots.

I have the Pixel 6 Pro, video isn't as good and it lacks some of the great features like oneshot and directors view but takes better photos with more accurate colour reproduction.

The 10x optical on the Samsung is very good as is the ultra wide. Please Samsung get it right with the S22 Ultra
 
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