One of the major areas of interest for the smartphone manufacturers has been the camera, not only the still imagery but the videography as well has seen a major leap in terms of advancement. We started from the VGAs and have come a long way where a 40MP camera in your pocket does not seem to be a dream anymore. In this article piece we have tried to hand pick the best smartphones with 4K video capturing capability out there in the market. If you are an aspiring mobile film maker then this will be of specific interest to you.
By 4K we mean that a video produced has a resolution of 4096 by 2160 giving the aspect ratio of 16:10 however in general 16:9 is the aspect ratio used for the camera sensor hence most of the camera/smartphones manufacturers market the 4K videos having resolution of 3840×21760 pixels. The 4K videos have not yet gained the popularity it should have, major reason being the sky high prices of 4K televisions however with the advent of the smartphone based Virtual reality headsets and the support 4K on YouTube, and the support of 4K video capture has become an important check point in the priority list for the smartphones manufacturers.
- iPhone 6S/6S Plus
The first smartphone to make it to the list is the latest iteration in the iPhone series which is the iPhone 6S/6S Plus. Apple made the most expected change in this upgrade by replacing the 8MP sensor with the 12MP sensor having 1.22 micron pixels. The 5 element piece camera has an aperture of f/2.2 and also supports phase detection autofocus. This camera can shoot 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) videos at 30fps, it also supports 1080p videos at 120fps and 720p at 240fps. The iPhone also comes with a hardware OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) however unfortunately that feature is limited to the ‘Plus’ variant of iPhone 6S just like the previous generation iPhone 6 Plus while the iPhone 6S relies on software OIS to prevent the shaking during the capture which obviously is not that effective. Apple boasts its state of the art sensor, new image signal processor, OIS, improved local tone mapping and its advance pixel technology known as Focus Pixels in the camera.
Apple has also introduced Live Photos, which can be generalized as the GIF images in the latest gen iPhones, with this feature you can capture GIF images through the 12MP camera and then view these on any of the iOS devices. Well the last feature is an add-on feature but not a brilliant one after the introduction of Boomerang by Instagram which does the same.
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus
Considering the fact that Samsung was one of the first smartphone manufacturers to get into the 4K video shooting capability bandwagon, the second guy that holds a well-deserved position in the list is the flagship series from Samsung holding Samsung Galaxy Edge and Edge Plus family (Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Note 5). The camera with 16MP sensor at f/1.9 and hardware OIS (and VDHS) offers 4K recording with continuous auto-focus producing great colors at 3840 x 2160 resolutions. The camera also supports auto real time HDR effect for both front and rear where the front camera offers 120 degree of coverage providing that best selfie.
- Sony Xperia Z5 (Compact and Premium)
The third guy to make it to the list is the Sony Xperia Z5 and Z5 Premium (we have considered them both for a single position since they hold the same set of specifications, it’s just that the premium one gets a more premium look). This set of contender comes with a 23MP ½.3” Exmore RS Sensors supported and enhanced with hardware OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) marketed as Steady Shot Intelligent Active Mode by Sony, this makes this device a perfect companion to shoot those amazing moments in 4K. Sony boasts its accurate 0.03 secs autofocus and its 5X clear zoom along with its signature G lens that enables the camera to capture maximum light complimented by the 24mm wide angle lens. Along with this state of the art hardware technology the inbuilt camera app offers a wide range of features that allow you to add images, doodles and texts.
One of the differences to be noted between the Xperia Z5 premium and the other two variants is that it allows you to view the 4K videos at the native resolution. Stay connected with Gadgetadda for the camera shots from the Xperia Z5 (coming up soon).
- LG Nexus 6P
The LG Nexus 6P comes with a 12.3 MP Sony sensors (originally made for the point and shoot cameras) at f/2.0 with the Infrared laser focus and dual flash that is capable of capturing 1.55 µm pixels. The Nexus 6P camera does not feature the OIS however the introduction of the micron pixels should make up for that. The camera is capable of shooting the 4K video at 60fps but the current generation chips from Snapdragon including the 808 and 810 limit it to 30fps. It is capable of capturing slow motion videos at 240 fps better than the Nexus 5X which captures at 120 fps.
The Nexus does not offer you a wide range of options while capturing images and recording a video but it gets your job done easily and it seems it is the best offering from the Android end till now. You would not face any lag issues with the camera when using the normal mode however switching to the HDR mode makes the lag evident. Overall the camera would be able to fulfill your needs.
- LG G4
The LG G4 is the guy to position itself right at the 5th slot in terms of its performance with 4K video recording, with its 16MP sensor (1/2.6” sensor) that has f/1.8 aperture (the larger in the segment) offers faster shutter speeds and clear and crisp image in any light conditions. The LG G4 features a 16MP 1/2.6″ primary sensor with laser autofocus and optical image stabilization.
The camera boasts its laser focus which we have observed works really well in low light conditions however in good light conditions fails to give the others smartphones in the list a run. The good manual camera controls for the still photography offer a wide variety of options to the camera enthusiasts just like a DSLR which is missing in most of the handsets in this segment. Not to miss the front camera which offers an 8MP sensors accompanied by the ‘Selfie light’ and ‘Gesture Shutter’ to enhance your already beautiful selfies.