23 December 2021

    Nafisa Akabor

    Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography

    We take a closer look at smartphone cameras that are best suited for low light photography.

    We’ve all heard the famous line: “the best camera is the one that’s with you”. This rings true today as cameras are one of the most important features on any smartphone. Most consumers make purchasing decisions around it, while brands emphasise it at product reveals.

    Over the years we’ve seen hardware improvements, but now it’s all about computational photography, which is more around digital processing techniques that combine multiple frames into one photo.

    Examples include HDR shots, depth of field, panoramic and the all-important low-light night shots.

    Here are our smartphone picks for low-light photography:

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

    The S21 Ultra packs in the best from Samsung right now: quad lenses including a 12MP ultra-wide; 108MP wide angle and 2x 10MP telephoto lenses with a 100x Space Zoom. Samsung’s default camera uses AI and will take great low-light shots but if you want to capture something like the stars in the sky, you can switch to Pro Mode for adjusting of the ISO, shutter, and other settings. If you’re big into editing, you can also shoot night shots in RAW format that is uncompressed, preserving more detail.

    Shop S21 Ultra on Vodacom here.

    iPhone 13 Pro

    Apple’s latest flagship iPhone 13 Pro has a huge camera upgrade that now does macro shots. While the sensors remain a trio 12MP, they are larger thus take in more light, so better for your night shots. Additional computational photography features have new photo styles that plays with colour, either warm, light or vibrant, while Night Mode really shines. Low light is also improved for slo-mo and time lapse. You can shoot in ProRes mode, which preserves all the little details.

    Shop iPhone 13 Pro on Vodacom here.

    Huawei Mate 40 Pro

    Huawei has been known for its amazing cameras and the Mate 40 Pro is no different. It features a 50MP main shooter; a 20MP ultra-wide and a 12MP telephoto, backed by a laser sensor. Its default Night Mode uses AI to capture the best low light shot by keeping the lens still, or you can shoot manually by toggling ISO and shutter speeds. It also has light painting modes to capture traffic trails, graffiti, silky water and star trails, which lets the camera do all the work with incredible results. Low-light also works with videos, while keeping faces well-lit and in focus.

    Shop Mate 40 Pro on Vodacom here.

    Vivo X50 Pro

    The Vivo X50 Pro features a quad-lens set-up with a main 48MP shooter, backed by a 13/8/8MP. What makes this camera unique is the addition of a built-in gimbal with 5-axis stabilisation. This allows to keep the lens steady and locked while you’re shooting, which is fantastic for low-light pictures. Night mode holds the shutter open for longer, which allows more light to come through, while Extreme Night Vision uses AI to capture footage in poorly-lit conditions. Astro Mode is standard and captures the stars in the sky. It also features a 60x Hyper Zoom and 5x telescopic camera with its periscope lens.

    Shop Vivo X50 Pro on Vodacom here.

    Nafisa Akabor