Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

By Subhrojit Mallick | Updated Sep 21 2019
Slide 1 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

There are smartphones and then there are smartphones with great low-light photography skills. This list is about the latter. Low-light photography is particularly challenging for any camera, and more so for smartphone cameras. Due to the restricted space, smartphones house smaller sensors, smaller lenses, smaller everything. Yet, where other cameras mostly just leverage the hardware, smartphones are now blessed with superpowers like artificial intelligence and machine-learning. Some even deploy more than one lenses while one of them tries to variate the aperture to take good low-light shots. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of smartphones that have great low-light capabilities at every budget.

Slide 2 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Under Rs 10,000

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S

It used to unrealistic to expect good camera performance in this budget, but at Rs 9,999 you can now get a 48MP camera smartphone, aka the Redmi Note 7S. It rocks the Samsung GM-1 48MP camera sensor that's just as large as the Sony one and does more or less the same thing to produce far more details than most other camera sensors. It also comes with a dedicated Night Mode. It's clearly the most powerful camera in the under Rs 10,000 price range and it works quite well too. It definitely won't give you the same quality of photo as other more expensive 48MP camera phones in the market (particularly due to ISP constr

Slide 3 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 10,000- Rs 15,000

Realme 5 Pro

The Realme 5 Pro comes with a Sony IMX586 48MP camera along with three other cameras that offer wide-angle, macro and portrait shots respectively. Add to that the camera tuning that Realme implements to make photos really vivid and rich makes the Realme 5 Pro the one to go for if you are looking for a good camera under Rs 15,000.

 

Slide 4 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 15,000- Rs 20,000

Motorola One Vision

While the Motorola One Vision struggles with getting the white balance right in daylight photos, the low-light mode of the smartphone is astonishingly effective.It manages to bring out light where there is little, and with good details and sharpness at that, as compared to its peers.

Slide 5 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 20,000- Rs 25,000

Redmi K20

The Redmi K20 offers a versatile camera stack on the back with three cameras, each tuned to offer photos with good details and richness. There's a 48MP Sony sensor along with a winde-angle and telephoto camera, and all three of them work pretty well combined with Xiaomi's scene recognition algorithms. The night mode on the phone is quite capable of delivering photos that look bright and sharp in low-light.

Slide 6 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000

Vivo V15 Pro

The Vivo V15 Pro is a triple-camera phone that uses the 48MP Samsung sensor as the primary camera, along with a ultra-wide camera and a 8MP ultra-wide camera and 5MP depth sensor. The primary sensor with 1/2-inch surface area is quite capable of low-light photos. It brings out good sharp details and when used with the night mode, it manages to offer good exposure as well.

 

Slide 7 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000

OnePlus 7

The OnePlus 7 also comes with the 48MP camera sensor on the back made by Sony. It's the same primary camera as the OnePlus 7 Pro and it also brings the same algorithms onboard including a dedicated night-mode.

Slide 8 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000

Asus Zenfone 6z

The Asus Zenfone 6z also comes with the 48MP Sony sensor with a dedicated night mode that performs multi-frame noise reduction to improve low-light images. The Asus 6z also offers the same capabilities for selfies too as the camera module can flip over from the back to the front.

Slide 9 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 40,000 to Rs 45,000

Google Pixel 3a

The Google Pixel 3a has the same camera as the Google Pixel 3, and as a result, it offers the same low-light photography skills that's there in flagship Google smartphone. In some cases, we even saw slightly better image processing in low-light. The Pixel 3a also has the night mode which takes multiple photos to fuse them together, as well as low-light portrait selfies.

Slide 10 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000

Oppo Reno 10X Zoom

The Oppo Reno 10X Zoom doesn't only offer high-res zoom using a periscope telephoto lens, but at also a capable low-light shooter. It has a 48MP primary camera with a dedicated low-light mode which does capture some details under good exposure.

Slide 11 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 50,000 to Rs 55,000

LG G7+ ThinQ

The LG G7+ ThinQ  is an underrrated smartphone and perhaps has gotten lost in the din made by the likes of the OnePlus 6 and the Poco F1. The smartphone makes full use of Snapdragon 845's AI Engine to enforce neural nets to enhance the colours, details and the clarity. The same extends to low-light photos. It uses a 16MP f/1.6 lens with a large 1/3.1" sensor with 1.0um micropixels and OIS.

Slide 12 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 55,000 to Rs 60,000

OnePlus 7 Pro

The OnePlus 7 Pro comes with a 1/2-inch sized camera sensor with 48MP resolution where low-light photos are pixel-binned. As a result, there are a lot of things aiding low-light performance in the OnePlus 7 Pro. You get good details and sharpness, but the illumination might be all that much. To improve the exposure as well, there's a dedicated night mode which takes multiple photos and fuses them together to create a well-lit photo.

Slide 13 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000

The Samsung Galaxy S10

The low light performance of the Samsung Galaxy S10 is once again impressive, at least in the way that you are more likely than not to get a properly exposed shot. What you do lose, however, its accurate colour reproduction, detail and sharpness. The main camera still manages to produce usable photos, but the ultra-wide  lens is not of much help, due to their small aperture.There's Super Night Mode that the phone's scene optimiser automatically picks up depending on ambient light, but it only does so after a good 5-6 seconds of waiting or when the scene is really dark.

Slide 14 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 65,000 to Rs 70,000

Google Pixel 3

Typically, photos shot in low light tend to be underexposed, but on the Pixel 3 XL, that is not the case. Photos shot in low light are well exposed, however, they do suffer from aggressive noise reduction. The result is images that look good on a small screen, but look at them on a larger display and you start to notice the painting-line effect that runs across the image. What is definitely nice though is the fact that the Pixel 3 XL can shoot in portrait mode even in low light since it doesn’t rely on a telephoto lens with a small aperture.

Slide 15 - Best smartphone cameras for low-light photography for every budget (September 2019)

Rs 70,000 to Rs 75,000

Huawei P30 Pro

The Huawei P30 Pro definitely sets a new benchmark for smartphone photography, whether its in terms of low light capabilities or in terms of how much zoom is packed into a smartphone camera. Anyone who loves taking photos will absolutely love shooting with the P30 Pro. The RYYB sensor has shown to be immensely effective in low light, capturing shots in practically pitch-dark situations. We were surprised to see the software process really bring out the colours and illumination, albeit at the sacrifice of detail. It is still very impressive, however, to have taken a photo of a completely unlit landscape, only to have the image be well light, and the stars also show in the sky.

 

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