Best camera phones for low light photography

We tested pretty much every good camera phone in the market and chose these as our favourites.

Published Date
22 - Mar - 2017
| Last Updated
22 - Mar - 2017
 
Best camera phones for low light photography

Smartphone camera have come a long way, but low light often remains their achilles heel. Companies like Apple, Samsung and even Google, have tried to tackle this problem head on, producing some impressive low light tech on smartphone cameras. However, not every OEM has access to this. So, what smartphone do you buy when low light photography is important? Well, here are our picks.

Apple IPhone 7 Plus
Read our review
Price start at: Rs. 60,000 (approx)

The Apple iPhone 7Where to buy 1487 1487 Plus is undoubtedly the best phone you can buy for photography. That's thanks, in no small part, to its impressive low light prowess. The dual-camera setup takes in more light than regular phone cameras, and Apple's algorithms work to create natural and balanced photos in low light. The larger footprint may not appeal to everyone, but if you are looking for the best overall smartphone, the iPhone 7 Plus is the phone to pick.

Specs:
Rear camera: Dual 12MP, f/1.8-f/2.8, OIS, HDR, Raw mode
Front Camera: 7MP, f/2.2
Display: 5.5-inch, 1080p
SoC: Apple A10X
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32/128/256BGB
Battery: 2900mAh
OS: iOS 10.2

Google PixelWhere to buy 43000 54000 
Read our review
Price start at: Rs. 52,000 (approx)

Google’s Pixel secures the second position quite easily and truth be told, many would put this ahead of the iPhone as well. We found the Pixel a tad irregular when clicking in low light, but for Android lovers, this is the best competition the iPhone 7Where to buy 1487 1487 Plus gets, in all departments. The Pixel also has one of the best implementations of EIS. It looks good, offers the most unadulterated Android experience and has unlimited storage on Google Photos for all full-sized images and 4K videos.

Specs:
Rear camera: 12.3MP, f/2.0, Phase detection, HDR
Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.4
Display: 5.0-inch, 1080p
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32/128GB
Battery: 2770mAh
OS: Android 7.1 Nougat

Samsung Galaxy S7 EdgeWhere to buy 1999 41990
Read our review
Price: Rs. 45,500 (approx)

Samsung made one of the best looking devices last year, and the Galaxy S7 EdgeWhere to buy 1999 41990 is equipped with one of the better cameras we have tested in recent times. The 12MP shooter features dual Pixel technology that captures more light and enables the device to focus faster. Before the iPhone and Pixel came along, this was our favourite low light shooter in the market, and indeed our favourite camera too. Combined with the powerful Exynos 8890 SoC and 4GB RAM, the S7 Edge can handle all tasks with ease.

Specs:
Rear camera: 12MP, f/1.7, Phase detection, OIS, HDR
Front Camera: 5.5MP, f/1.7
Display: 5.1-inch, 1440p
SoC: Exynos 8890
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 3600mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

HTC 10
Read our review
Price: Rs. 39,000 (approx)

HTC has finally succeeded in making its Ultrapixel tech useful, with the HTC 10. The 12MP UltraPixel camera uses a Sony IMX377 Exmor R sensor. This is aided by OIS and produces great image quality, whether you are shooting under low light or well lit conditions. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 is fast and the phone has the best camera HTC has ever produced.

Specs:
Rear camera: 12MP, f/1.8, Laser autofocus, OIS, HDR, RAW support
Front Camera: 5MP, f/1.8
Display: 5.2-inch, 1440p
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 3000mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

Huawei P9
Read our review
Price: Rs. 31,000 (approx)

When it comes to dual camera phones, Huawei has the most experience in the industry. The phone uses two IMX286 Exmor RS sensors made by Sony, with Summarit lenses from Leica. One of the sensors captures colour, while the other is a monochrome sensor. The HiSilicon Kirin 955 SoC is a downer, as is Huawei's EMUI. However, the camera on the P9 makes up for many of its shortcomings. 

Specs:
Rear camera: 12MP, f/2.2, Phase detection, Laser autofocus, HDR
Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.4
Display: 5.2-inch, 1080p
SoC: HiSilicon Kirin 955
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 3000mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

Motorola Moto Z
Read our review
Price: Rs. 39,999

The Moto Z has an impressive 13MP rear camera, powered by the Sony IMX214 image sensor and f/1.8 lens. Photographs retain good sharpness, fine details and accurate colour tones. Low light photography is fairly decent, and noise reduction does a good job. Performance is also reliable, with the phone being powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC and 4GB RAM.

Specs:
Rear camera: 13MP, f/1.8, Phase detection, OIS, HDR
Front Camera: 5MP, f/2.2
Display: 5.5-inch, 1440p
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 2600mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

OnePlus 3TWhere to buy 27999 27999
Read our review
Price: Rs. 29,999

The OnePlus 3TWhere to buy 27999 27999 is also a very popular phone, offering a balance between good hardware and price. The 16MP rear camera uses a Sony IMX298 sensor that takes good images in multiple lighting conditions. It has PDAF (phase detection autofocus) and OIS (optical image stabilisation), which helps shoot good photos in low light conditions. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC and 6GB of RAM, the phone has the best performance figures among its peers.

Specs:
Rear camera: 16MP, f/2.0, Phase detection, OIS, HDR
Front Camera: 16MP, f/2.0
Display: 5.5-inch, 1080p
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3400mAh
OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat

Moto G5 PlusWhere to buy 14999 15957 15999
Read our review
Price: Rs. 16,999

The Moto G5 PlusWhere to buy 14999 15957 15999 is a refreshing change from the usual Moto G phones. It features the same dual-pixel technology as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and captures good images in low light, considering the price. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, which is good for day-to-day tasks and quite battery efficient. The phone is water resistant as well.

Specs:
Rear camera: 12MP, f/1.7, Phase detection, dual-pixel autofocus, HDR
Front Camera: 5MP, f/2.2
Display: 5.2-inch, 1080p
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 3000mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

Nubia Z11 Mini
Read our review
Price: Rs. 12,999

The Nubia Z11 Mini offers almost as good a camera as the Moto G5 PlusWhere to buy 14999 15957 15999 and can take really good photos in all light conditions. However, it has the slowest capture speeds compared to other devices in this list. 

Specs:
Rear camera: 16MP, f/2.0, Phase detection, DTI (Deep Trench Isolation), HDR
Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.4
Display: 5.0-inch, 1080p
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 2800mAh
OS: Android 5.1.1

Honor 6XWhere to buy 11999 13999 13999
Read our review
Price: Rs. 12,999

One of the first budget smartphones to bring a dual camera, the Honor 6XWhere to buy 11999 13999 13999 has 12MP + 2MP setup on the back, adding the Bokeh effect that the P9 offers, albeit not the same quality. Saturation levels seem consistently warm. The HiSilicon Kirin 655 powered device is not as fast as its competitors and this also affects the camera experience as their is a noticeable shutter lag. It's the second best camera in the budget segment right now.

Specs:
Rear camera: 12MP + 2MP, Phase detection, HDR
Front Camera: 5MP
Display: 5.5-inch, 1080p
SoC: HiSilicon Kirin 655
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 3340mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

Coolpad Cool 1
Read our review
Price: Rs. 12,999

The Coolpad Cool 1 also joins the list of the best camera phones for low light photography with its dual 13MP rear cameras. Image quality is slightly inferior to the Honor 6XWhere to buy 11999 13999 13999, but still amongst the upper echelons of budget devices. It's the fastest smartphone in the budget segment, though, barring the Lenovo Z2 Plus.

Specs:
Rear camera: Dual 13MP, f/2.0, Phase detection, HDR
Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.2
Display: 5.5-inch, 1080p
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 652
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 4000mAh
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Hardik SinghHardik Singh

Light at the top, this odd looking creature lives under the heavy medication of video games.