More and more often you see 4K technology everywhere. Although you may have heard it before regarding televisions, the fact is that this brand new technology can already be used on the some of the best smartphones in the market. Even though it might be a little strange to have such a definition in a device that can easily fit in your pocket, the truth is that there's nothing like a 4K video. If you think about it for a while, the first phones didn't even have a camera in the first place. However, a lot of people thought this new trend wasn't going to be popular at all, you just see everyone taking selfies, photographing their meals, using their smartphones to capture the best moments of their lives.
With more and more people using their smartphones to take photos and shooting videos, the best brands in the market just had to make sure this feature would be included on their most expensive models. You can even buy a smartphone that allows you to shoot "raw" images and then you're the only one taking care of the entire image processing.
So, what are the best 4K camera phones in the market? Which one should you choose? In this article, we will pick up the top 10 best 4K camera phones.
With the most powerful 4k smartphone on your hand, you can make your video stunning with some 4k video editing software. Here we will recommend you Wondershare Filmora video editor since it supports 4K ultra high definition video editing and allows you to add some cool visual effects, filters and overlays as well. This software is available on both Windows PC and Mac computer, and you can now create proxy files and change the playback quality to a lower resolution (will not affect the final video quality) in Filmora for better video editing experience. And if you prefer to edit videos on your Android phone or iPhone, you can try FilmoraGo, which is a free video editing app for both iOS and Android.
In terms of photography, Sony is one of those respected names in the industry. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium comes with a front camera of 13MP and a back camera of 19MP. One of the best things about their camera is that it is one of the very few that allows you to take a photo like if you were using a real camera. Overall speaking, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium camera is quite easy to use and it does offer a good experience. However, what we notice is that there are some things that don't even make sense. One of them is the fact that although they include the 4K technology and this is a top feature that only the best smartphones have, the 4K appears as a special mode just like the creative effects or the AR. Their camera has an amazing feature that we loved: it is able to record slo-mo video at only 980 frames per second. With this kind of camera, you can even film a nature documentary because it will catch all the details. However, we also need to tell you this up-front: you do need a good light.
One of the best partnerships Huawei did in the last few years was with Leica. And now, you can take advantage of their amazing cameras. The Huawei P10 comes with one front camera with 8Mp and two back cameras: one with 12MP and another one with 20MP. Just like it already happened with the previous Huawei models, you can use the 20MP one to take black-and-white photos. However, when you use both rear cameras, your photos will have a better clarity. Although the Huawei P10 comes with the feature that allows you to shoot 4K videos, the fact is that it doesn't offer any stabilization when you're recording at this resolution. As if this wasn't enough, if you use Windows, you won't be able to open them by using Windows's 10 Photos app, VLC, and you won't even be able to upload it directly to YouTube. Another thing that we notice is that the Huawei P10 camera doesn't deal very well with low light. Even though you'll have fun playing with the different modes of the Huawei P10 camera, the truth is that there are better smartphone cameras in the market these days.
Samsung has been a leader in what comes to the cameras they use on their smartphones. So, we weren't really expecting anything less than that. The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a front camera with 8Mp and a rear camera with 12Mp. In what concerns to the menu itself, although you will only see the main icons on the screen, they included a lot of features that you can use. The Samsung Galaxy S8 camera works very well in the outdoors. The photos are sharp and show a lot of details and textures. And one of the main reasons why they achieve this major success is because their camera is using the HDR as default. Plus, since they also include the electronic stabilization, this ensures that your photos will be great even though you shake or the light is a bit low. In case you're serious about shooting 4K videos, you need to know that the sound quality is not the best in the market and that you might have a few problems with the hybrid stabilization system. However, the Samsung Galaxy S8 camera still is one of the best in the market.
While the Google Pixel XL already has one year, it continues to have one of the best cameras on the market. The Google Pixel XL includes a front camera with 8Mp and a rear camera with 12.3Mp. Although you might find some excessive sharpness on some of your photos, most people seem to like it. One of the things that allow the Google Pixel XL to remain as one of the best on the market until today is the fact that the smartphone features the Snapdragon 821. And since it is so powerful, the Google Pixel XL is able to run HDR+ all the time. If there is something we love about the Google Pixel XL camera is the ability it has to combine different "raw" images and produce a high-quality JPG without any ghosting or blurring. In the 4K videos, you can count with some pretty smooth and nice videos although it doesn't include optical stabilization. The difference is that Google chose to use gyro-based stabilization instead. The Google Pixel XL camera also works pretty well not only with low light photos as well as selfies that come with a lot of detail.
Featuring a front camera with 5Mp and two rear cameras with 13Mp each, you are able to take photos with a normal field or with a wider angle. Plus, you can shoot 4K videos with the one that you choose. One of the best things about the LG G6 is the fact that it is water-proof. So, if you like outdoor activities, you can take some photos or shoot videos in the rain or around the pool. However, the LG G6 isn't easy to mount and it's not rugged, making it a bit difficult to use when compared with other smartphones on the market. Overall, the camera of the LG G6 isn't that good. Although you can take pretty good photos in bright light and the phase detection autofocus is pretty accurate and quick, you won't have any depth effect. So, you'll always see some kind of blurring in the background. In case you decide to use the wider lens, you should expect to see some kind of distortion. However, what we really don't like is the lack of detail on the photos. However, if you decide to take a photo in a low light environment, the quality of the images is quite remarkable. Although you'll still see some noise, they are quite good. In what concerns to 4K videos, we can only say they are ok. Although the audio is great, there is no stabilization on the LG G6. So, if you're shooting something that is moving quickly you won't even get an ok 4K video.
The OnePlus 5 comes with a double rear camera - one with 16Mp and the other one with 20Mp, and a front camera with 16Mp. When you're taking photos in a low light, they will be incredibly detailed and sharp. Even though the OnePlus 5 doesn't have any stabilization, as long as you're taking a photo to a non-moving subject and you keep your hands steady, you can expect great results. Even though the lack of stabilization doesn't affect photos very much, the truth is that affects the quality of your 4K videos a lot. This is, indeed, one of the main weaknesses of the OnePlus 5. In what concerns the front camera, the OnePlus 5 features one of the highest resolutions we have seen so far on the market. So, if you're planning to take out many selfies, you can be sure the OnePlus 5 is perfect for you. One of the things we most like about the OnePlus 5 camera is their app interface. It's simple, intuitive, and easy to use. You can play with all the settings you want with ease. The only drawback is really the video.
When you're looking for a smartphone that has a great camera, one of the things that you really need to look at is how are the images they produce with low light. And in what comes to this, the HTC U11 is definitely the winner. Featuring a front camera with 16Mp and a rear camera with 12Mp, the HTC U11 is perfect if you like to take "normal" photos. Since it includes the "dual-pixel" feature (just like the Samsung S8) that allows you to quickly focus, you can view them in every screen size that they will look amazing. In what concerns to video, although the default is set to 1080p, you can easily select the 4K option. One of the good things is that the HTC U11 includes image stabilization; one bad thing is that it doesn't really work well when you're using the 4K resolution (it works best when you're using the default resolution - 1080p). Overall, the HTC U11 doesn't disappoint at all. Yes, it could be better, especially in what concerns with 4K video shooting. However, the photos you get, especially with low light, are pretty amazing.
8. Xiaomi Mi6
One of the most attractive things about the Xiaomi Mi 6 is the price. It's about half of most of the smartphones featured on this list and their features aren't half for sure. Many people tend to say that the Xiaomi Mi 6 is the replica of the iPhone 7 Plus. Well, you can say that considering the cameras that are identical on both phones. Just like the iPhone 7 Plus, the Xiaomi Mi 6 comes with an 8Mp front camera and a dual rear camera with 12Mp each. The one camera that doesn't have anything to do with iPhone's camera is the front one. It does, indeed have some different features. You can use a configurable tilt-shift mode, for example, that will make things look just like miniature models. In what concerns with the rear cameras, the Xiaomi Mi 6 does a great job with photos where there is good light. They are pretty sharp and very detailed. However, one of the things that should come as standard is the HDR. You will need to activate it when you want to use it which is not that good. Plus, it seems the hardware of the Xiaomi Mi 6 doesn0t have the ability to work with such a mode often since the app might crash. Both the depth effect and the zoom lens seem to work pretty well when there is a good light. If there was one thing that really surprised us was the quality of the photos with low lightning. It actually resembles the HTC U11 which is a great compliment. However, when it comes to video, regretfully, the Xiaomi Mi 6 fails completely. The Xiaomi Mi 6 doesn't have any stabilization and the footage isn't detailed or crisp. Plus, the sound isn't good as well. Summing all up, even though the Xiaomi Mi 6 may be great taking great photos either with bright and low lights, the fact is that you shouldn't consider it if you're planning on shooting 4K videos.
9. iPhone 7 Plus
Featuring a 7Mp camera in the front and 2 back cameras, both with 12Mp, the iPhone 7 Plus was the first Apple smartphone to include 2 cameras in the back. The only feature added to the camera of the iPhone 7 Plus is the telephoto lens. This feature allows you to have a 2x optical zoom and it works pretty well. However, rather than that, the features continue to be all the same that was already included on the previous versions of the iPhone. One of the things that we really don't like is the fact that the video resolution settings aren't where they were supposed to be. Instead, you need to open the Setting's app of the smartphone and scroll until you find the Photos & Camera. Other than this, we are quite happy with the iPhone experience. The main camera photos are absolutely great in terms of color accuracy, sharpness, focus, and contrast. After all, it enables the HDR by default and it works pretty quickly. In what concerns to 4K videos, we are happy to say that they are detailed and sharp, just like the photos we already mentioned. The audio is high-quality and the stabilization is impressive. But not all is good with the iPhone 7 Plus camera. Low light photos may show you a low-quality level, especially when compared with these top smartphones. They will look very noisy.
Featuring a 5MP camera on the front and a 12Mp camera on the back, we can say that the photos taken with the MOTO Z2 Play are among average. While the rear camera includes phase detection autofocus, dual-pixel autofocus, laser autofocus, and a dual-tone LED flash, this should imply that low light photos would have an awesome quality. However, this is not always the case since you sometimes, just need to keep tapping to focus what you want. One of the things we noticed was the difference when you're looking at the photos on the smartphone itself and on another device. The truth is that they look a lot better on the AMOLED screen of the MOTO Z2 Play. When you're trying to take a photo with low light, the auto night mode will activate. Again, the results weren't always good or always bad. They kept changing. In what concerns video capabilities, the MOTO Z2 Play allows you to shoot using Full-HD or 4K. Although the videos could be a lot better, they are quite ok. Besides, one of the things that you can easily do is to use the Go Live mode and go live directly on YouTube.
Recommended Video Editor App for Your New 4K Camera Phones
After unboxing your favorite 4K camera phone, it is time to install various apps. No matter you are looking for an App to create funny videos or make an aesthetic photo collage, it is necessary to install an easy-to-use yet versatile video editor. Luckily, Wondershare FilmoraGo is a great choice considering its powerful features and numerous video effects to match your needs.
Extremely intuitive interface
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So, which smartphone should you get? Which one has the best camera? Which one is the best to shoot 4K videos? There isn't a single model that is the best one to take photos and to shoot 4K videos. So, simply put, you need to prioritize your needs, what you really appreciate more, and choose the best smartphone for you according to that. However, what we can say is that, according to our opinion, if you're looking for the best smartphone for low light photos, your best choice is the HTC U11. But if you intend to take most of your photos with good and vibrant light, then you should really go for the Samsung Galaxy S8. If your major need is concerned with 4K videos, there's no question that your best choice at the moment is the Google Pixel.
Tips for capturing cinematic footage with your phone [video tutorial]
Max Wales is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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