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The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD boasts an impressive zoom range in a relatively compact package. How does it perform? We took a look.
In many users' pockets consumer-level digital compact cameras have been replaced by smartphones. The cameras of the latter don't usually have zoom lenses or xenon flashes but image sensor technology has been rapidly improving and clever software processing helps rival, and in some cases even surpass, image quality of dedicated cameras. Add large high-resolution screens for image framing and viewing along with the ability to add special features and new shooting modes by installing apps to the mix, and it's no surprise that for many the smartphone camera has become an important piece of photographic equipment.
On this page we have listed, in no particular order, our current favorite smartphone cameras for those who are looking to buy their first smartphone or upgrade their current device. We are aiming to continuously update this article as new reviews are being added to the site. At the bottom of the page you will also find a chronological list of all smartphone camera reviews that have been published on DPReview Connect since we started the site in 2012.
Recommendations are subject to change and current as of December 2015. Please note that some reviews are ongoing and we will update this article accordingly.
20MP 1-inch sensor | F2.8 aperture | 4K video | 4.7-inch 1080p display | adjustment dial
In terms of smartphone technology the the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 is not the newest device anymore but with its 1-inch image sensor, adjustment dial and comprehensive manual settings it is still the closest thing to a true hybrid device that we have seen. Its image detail and operational control is unheard of on more conventional smartphone cameras and the ISO range up to 25,600 allows for more flexibility when shooting in low light. Additionally the Raw files offer noticeably more editing leeway than those captured by cameras with smaller sensors.
However, CM1 owners have to be willing to accept some compromises. The lens shows some noticeable corner softness, white balance under artificial light is inconsistent and the flash produces results that can be virtually unusable. Video quality is average at best and we weren't too impressed by the CM1's screen either. The DMC-CM1 is also noticeably bulkier than conventional smartphones and as shipped, the lens has no protection from scratching, so carrying the device in your pocket might not be ideal.
Essentially, the Panasonic CM1 is the device of choice for all those who want their smartphone to offer the looks, feel, control and image detail of a premium compact camera. If you are willing to accept the drawbacks mentioned above and don't mind paying a premium price it won't be easy to find a smartphone that performs better as a stills camera.
What we like: Great detail and DR across the ISO range, physical shutter button and adjustment dial
What we don't like: 4K video only at 15 fps, poor flash performance, no OIS
16MP sensor | F1.9 aperture | Optical Image Stabilization | 4K video | 5.1-inch QHD display
In our opinion the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are the nicest looking-looking and made Samsung smartphones we have tested so far and the camera performance perfectly matches the premium look and feel of the exterior.
With their 16MP CMOS sensors the Samsung flagship models capture good detail in bright light and thanks to a combination of very well balanced noise reduction, a fast F1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization low light image quality is at the very top of smartphone cameras with small sensors. In addition both panorama and HDR modes produce great results and the front camera is among the best we have seen. The 5.1-inch Quad-HD screen is fantastic for viewing images or composition, even in bright outdoor conditions, and the new Quick Launch feature gives rapid access to the redesigned and better-structured camera app via a double-click of the home button.
There aren't many points of criticism but high volume photographers will notice the lack of a microSD slot. Thanks to a firmware update the Galaxy now offers manual control of shutter speeds or DNG Raw capture though. So overall, as a mobile photographer you can't go wrong with the Galaxy S6 Edge. It offers great smartphone image quality and camera performance in a beautiful package, just make sure you can live without expandable storage.
What we like: Class-leading image quality in all light levels, efficient HDR and panorama modes, premium look and feel
What we don't like: no expandable storage
Also consider: The LG G4 comes with a spec sheet that is not too dissimilar to the Galaxy S6's. It combines a 16MP CMOS sensor with an even faster F1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization. We preferred the Samsung's build quality and screen and found the Galaxy also had a slight edge in terms of image and video quality. However, the G4 is still very good and adds a microSD slot and removable battery to the mix, making it an excellent alternative for the users who rely on those features.
21MP 1/2.4-inch sensor | F2.0 aperture | 4K video | 5.7-inch QHD display
The Motorola Moto X Style (Moto X Pure Edition in the US) offers a high-end specification at a price point that is noticeably lower than the competition from other established manufacturers. It offers good image and video quality across the board. In very low light optical image stabilization could help reduce the need for shooting at high ISOs but but even without such a system digital stabilization is doing a very good job in video mode and still images show well balanced processing up to the highest sensitivities. The front camera is one of the first we have seen to come with a dedicated LED-flash, giving the Moto an advantage when shooting self-portraits in very low light.
Images are composed and viewed on a large high-resolution display that is sharp and bright, allowing for decent visibility even when shooting in sunny conditions. All the technology is wrapped up in a solidly built water repellent body, allowing for use in adverse weather conditions.
On the software side of things, purists will appreciate the Moto X Style's operating system, which is very close to stock Android. Despite the latest version of Google's mobile operating system the Moto X Style does not support DNG Raw capture or full manual control over shutter speed and ISO though. Panorama mode cannot keep up with the best in class but if you are happy to expand the imaging feature set via third-party options from Google Play and can live without Raw, the Motorola Moto X Style currently represents one of the best value for money handsets for mobile photographers in the high-end bracket of the market.
What we like: Excellent detail, expandable storage, water-resistant
What we don't like: no DNG Raw support, low-quality panoramas and slow-motion video
Also consider: The Motorola Moto X Play comes with a very similar design to the Moto X Style but a smaller 5.5-inch 1080p display and a slightly downgraded processor specification. In terms of camera module and operating system it's very similar to the Style, albeit at an even more affordable price, making it a great option for the budget-conscious mobile photographer.
12MP sensor | F2.2 aperture | Optical Image Stabilization | 4K video | 5.5-inch display
Like its predecessors the iPhone 6s Plus delivers solid image quality with good exposure, color and tonality across all light levels but, especially in bright conditions, pixel-level detail is not quite up with the best in class. Where the Apple device really shines is in the special modes department though. Panorama mode produces the largest and best-stitched images in the smartphone sector and both slow-motion and standard video modes capture excellent results. Finally there's now also 4K video for those who need higher resolution moving images.
Apple has also upgraded the front cam to a 5MP sensor and the iOS ecosystem arguably still offers the best selection in imaging and video apps. For current iPhone 6 or 6 Plus users upgrading to the 's' model offers limited benefits but the iPhone remains a solid choice for any mobile photographer, especially when they're already invested into the iOS operating system.
What we like: Good exposure and color, great video and panorama modes, premium materials
What we don't like: less pixel-level detail than direct competitors, no microSD-slot
Also consider: The iPhone 6s offers most of the Plus model's imaging features and quality in a smaller package with 4.7-inch screen. The camera module has to make do without optical image stabilization but in its testing DxOMark found the impact on image quality to be small.
If none of our recommendations can convince you, below you can see a complete list of our smartphone camera reviews including scores. Click on the device name to go straight to the review.
|Device||DPR Score||DxO Score||Date|
|Apple iPhone 6s Plus||8.3||84||12/01/2015|
|Motorola Moto X Style / Pure Edition||8.2||83||10/01/2015|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge||8.4||86||06/16/2015|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1||8.6||n/a||05/27/2015|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 4||8.3||83||04/14/2015|
|Sony Xperia Z3||7.3||79||02/24/2015|
|Google Nexus 6||8.2||78||01/27/2015|
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||8.0||n/a||12/18/2014|
|Apple iPhone 6 Plus||8.2||82||10/21/2014|
|Amazon Fire Phone||7.9||69||09/28/2014|
|Apple iPhone 6||n/a||82||09/23/2014|
|Sony Xperia Z2||7.6||79||08/19/2014|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||8.2||79||07/09/2014|
|HTC One M8||7.1||68||05/27/2014|
|Motorola Moto X||6.6||n/a||03/03/2014|
|Nokia Lumia 1520||8.4||n/a||02/07/2014|
|Google Nexus 5||7.1||n/a||11/29/2013|
|Sony Xperia Z1||7.8||76||11/01/2013|
|Apple iPhone 5S||8.1||76||10/03/2013|
|Nokia Lumia 1020||8.8||74||08/30/2013|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||8.0||75||07/12/2013|
|Sony Xperia Z||6.6||61||06/12/2013|
|Samsung Galaxy Note II||7.1||n/a||03/22/2013|
|Nokia Lumia 920||n/a||66||03/07/2013|
|Samsung Galaxy S3||7.3||72||11/01/2012|
|HTC One X||7.5||n/a||10/22/2012|
|Apple iPhone 5||8.0||72||10/09/2012|
Jul 28, 2015
Oct 1, 2015
Sep 9, 2015
Oct 13, 2015
The new Moto X Style replaces the 2014 Moto X at the top of Motorola's smartphone lineup.
The LG G4 follows on last year's G3, and like its predecessor puts a lot of emphasis on camera specification. The 16MP 1/2.6-inch CMOS sensor is a touch larger than the 1/3-inch sensors in many other phones, and the F1.8 aperture is the fastest among the current crop of high-end mobile devices. We put its mobile imaging capabilities to the test. Read more
The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD boasts an impressive zoom range in a relatively compact package. How does it perform? We took a look.
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|_SDI2370bw by rick decker|
from Crashing Wave
|2019_0720_163302AA by old shutter bugger|
from In The Style Of EDWARD WESTON's Sitll Lifes
|IMG_750-16662-2 Dusty drive by Jill Hancock|
from Daylight Pictures of Modern Trucks in Action
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from A Big Year - Birds 2022
About 95% of Earth's oceans haven't been observed. Researchers at MIT have built a battery-free, wireless underwater camera that may help scientists explore more of the oceans.
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For the past eight years, the Library of Congress has been working on figuring out the subjects in a large collection of film, TV and music photos. Many of the mysteries have been solved. However, 17 photos have eluded the LC's best efforts, and the public's help is needed to help put names to the final unknown faces.
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While visiting the team in Seattle, Chris and Jordan attempt to eat some chowder. It's difficult. Also, this week they are puppets.
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The Canon 5D Mark II was released in November 2008. Since then, a photographer used theirs to capture nearly 2.3 million images, which is an average of about 450 photos per day if they shot every single day. The camera is still going strong for its new owner.
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It's been a while since we've encountered a lens with a normal to super-telephoto range, how do the photos from the Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 look? Take a gander.
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