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The Inbox: What Smartphone Should I Buy So I can Take Better Pics?

We received an interesting question about taking better photos from one of our readers via our Facebook Page and we’d like to tackle it for this instalment of The Inbox.

Hi Team Unbox! What smartphone should I buy if I want to take better photos? I don’t trust the sample shots shown by the official companies anymore because I’ve bought the higher end flagship smartphones in the past and yet my pics aren’t as good as the ones in their sample shots. My budget is around Php25,000. Thanks! – Desmond L.

Invest in a Photography Class

We can so relate to you man. When we were staring in Unbox we had terrible photos being uploaded on this site for our reviews. This is even after we bought a lot of high-end gear but even then the over-all quality of our pics didn’t improve. The biggest change happened only after we realized that the camera wasn’t the problem, it was the photographer. We signed up for a basic photography class by Leo Castillo and we learned the basics of composition, lighting, and all the features of the cameras we had. I’d like to think that after that class the quality of the photos coming out of Unbox has improved dramatically.

Picture, picture!
Picture, picture!

That’s our suggestion to you as well. Take a Photography 101 class. Don’t buy a new smartphone yet. Learn what you can from the class and try taking photos again with your cameras. You’ll be surprised at the difference.

Update: What Are the Smartphones with Great Cameras

If you really want to be hardcore about it we still believe that the Nokia Pureview 808, Lumia 1020, and Lumia 1520 are still the devices to beat when it comes to smartphone photography. However we get that not everyone is a fan of Windows Phones.

Other than these two, you can obviously try out the top flagships of all the global brands today. There’s the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, LG G4, Sony Xperia Z3 (though we suggest you wait for the next flagship), Galaxy Note 4 (the camera of the Note 4 is soooo underrated), and the Galaxy S6.

If you want to be technical about it, we suggest you read Digital Photography’s top smartphone camera list. They haven’t updated it yet though to include the most recent flagships like the Galaxy S6 and the LG G4. According to them the King of all Smartphone Cameras is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1.

The Inbox is our Q&A series. We basically go over the messages we get on our Facebook Page, E-mail, and Twitter and feature some of the Q’s or concerns sent to us. When we can we try to help. ????

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.


    1. You’re missing the point. He already said that he bought the flagships before. The solution to his problem is not really a new smartphone. He needs to become a better photographer.

      1. Then why is the title named “What Smartphone Should I Buy So I can Take Better Pics?”. It only confuse some people. Also, he definitely said, “What Smartphone” not “How to be a better photographer”.

        1. I’ll take your point that it can be confusing given the title. We’ll put a note at the bottom of the post with several recommendations. πŸ™‚

  1. Agree. If you have no budget theres a lot of tutorial videos in the net. But it would be best if you get into a photography class. Even if you buy the very high end phone and don’t know how to properly use it then you still end up with crappy photos. Sabi nga nila wala yan sa pana. Nasa Indian yan! πŸ™‚

      1. Kahit baluktot ang pana mo, e kung si robin hood naman ang gagamit, tatama pa din yun. Mali ka dun noel nicolas. Nasa gumagamit yan talaga at paano mo maxamimize ang gamit mo.

  2. if your into photography best smartphone for camera is the LG G4, Nokia lumia 2010 is good too, why? because there is manual mode that is same like DSLR. dont try point n shoot capture in your smartphone, use manual mode to see whats the best shot

    1. I have both the LG G4 and Lumia 1020 and I agree on what you say. Both cameras are also good in auto mode, although the 1020 is already showing its age.

  3. Anyways, do you have any suggestions in mind though for example wala na syang phone ngayon at kelangan nya bumili πŸ™‚ G4 has one promising camera on it though.

  4. Misleading ang question/title niya sa problem niya, highend na binili niya pero un ung problem niya, tama si unbox, though you can also try owning a real camera instead and enroll in a class or take a tutorial on Photography l;ike unbox said.

  5. It’s not only the camera or the cameraphone; that’s just one leg in the tripod. The other two are you, the photographer; you must have an eye for beauty and the other leg is being at the right place at the right time. I have a 12 megapixel CM Apollo but if I go out the house to take photos (usually during weekends), I take my 11 megapixel Nikon Coolpix L23 because there are shots (like macro or fireworks) that the mobile can’t take and because it’s faster to push physical buttons that to swipe a mobile phone screen. My blog:

    1. Hope this helps:

      Some points:
      -the camera has little to do with great photos
      -techniques, settings, and rules are cumbersome for new hobbyists
      -photography is more an art
      -focus instead on finding nice scenes for a photo
      -experiment and take lots of photos
      -be patient to wait for the right moment (like sunset, the best is just after the sun goes below the horizon then the clouds are lit very colorful hues)
      -develop your eye for nice compositions, look around, try closing one eye
      -don’t take outdoor photos in the middle of the day
      -clip your elbows to steady the camera and don’t immediately move the camera
      -if using a phone, tap where you want to focus
      -share your best photos, it will strengthen your passion for photography

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