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Until very recently, aspiring filmmakers had no choice but to spend thousands of dollars on cameras and equipment to pursue their dreams. But now there’s one device that can do it all: your phone. Smartphones have made astounding technological advancements over the last few years, offering quality cameras that can rival some traditional cameras. That has allowed the film field to become a lot more democratic, not to mention a lot more creative. The best camera phones for filming turn everyone into a director. With a camera in your pocket, there are no limitations, as capturing spur of the moment footage is a cinch.
The tricky part is narrowing down the best camera phones for filming, since there are almost too many phones to choose from. To save you a lot of stress, we’ve researched the best options, whether you’re a professional or looking for a camera phone for personal use. Factors like camera phone sensors, megapixel count, zoom and other specs have been taken into account to find the best camera phones for filming.
1. Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The winner of the best camera phone for filming, the Apple iPhone 12 Pro is capable of capturing fantastic footage. The 12-megapixel lens has a newly increased aperture of ƒ/1.6 with a 7-element lens design, meaning there is a major increase in light to the image sensor, delivering a clearer picture. Expect crystal-clear details and impressive contrasts. Plus, Apple’s Smart HDR 3 technology instantly recognize scenes, so it can adjust exposure accordingly to maximize the picture. Impressively, you can record video in Dolby Vision HDR at up to 60 frames per second.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
Hands down the best camera phone for filming in the Android world, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G takes a very close second place. Its 108-megapixel sensor alone is worth the price, thanks to its new laser auto focus sensor. This model boasts the best zoom on the market—yes, even beating out the iPhone. The 12-MP telephoto has a folded lens design to give it five times the optical power, with a 10x zoom and 50x digital zoom!
3. Google Pixel 5
Though the camera itself won’t blow you away, the Google Pixel 5 racks up the points when it comes to its software and post-production offerings. The biggest update from the Pixel 4 is its new ultrawide telephoto lens, but its greatest draw might be Google’s Night Sight, which allows it to thrive in low- and mid-light situations.
4. Google Pixel 4a
If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best camera phones for filming. Similar to its pricier counterpart, the Pixel 5, this phone is all about its impressive software. The 12.2-megapixel, ƒ/1.7 aperture rear camera gets the job done, but it’s Google’s imaging abilities that make this one a winner for your wallet and your film. This model also has Night Sight, as well as Super Res Zoom and Live HDR+. Another surprising perk for its price point is its storage, since 128GB allows for plenty of videos.
5. Huawei P30 Lite
The Huawei P30 Lite’s Leica Triple Camera earns it a spot on this list, making it one of the best camera phones for filming. Special features let you play director on another level, such as the Super Slow Motion video mode that captures footage in a precise slow format. Another general perk of the phone is its powerful battery that just keeps on going so you don’t have to worry about seeing red before wrapping filming.
6. Sony Xperia 1
You’ll practically be film festival ready with this pro level phone, since it records in 4K HDR, meaning every detail is caught on camera. It’s particularly adept at recording backlit and darker scenes. There are plenty of recording features, like recording super slow motion video in full HD, that make this one of the best camera phones for filming. Sony Xperia 1’s cinematic aspect ratio and color reproduction stays true, another major plus. And its Creator Mode runs on CineAlta, which boasts the same color accuracy that movies are made in. It’s also great at clearing noise for crisp audio.
7. LG G7 ThinQ
While the LG G7 ThinQ is attainable for the tightest of budgets, it doesn’t scrimp on quality when it comes to its camera. Not only can you record HD video in 4K, it also boasts HDR10, so you can capture your footage in a great array of color, which also look richer. Plus, the video looks even more life-like. Since artificial intelligence is built into the entire phone, that ensures you’ll always be getting the best possible quality videos. There are additional perks like steady recording capabilities and time-lapse video features.
8. Apple iPhone SE
If the latest and greatest iPhone is out of reach for you financially, the iPhone SE is a great runner-up for Apple users. It has the same 12-megapixel, ƒ/1.8 single-lens camera as the iPhone 8, with the welcome addition of the A13 Bionic processor to take it up a notch. This model is particularly adept at shooting at night and in low light, plus it has a phenomenal digital zoom, courtesy of Apple’s state of the art imaging techniques, like Smart HDR.