Which Camera Smartphone Should I Buy?

Jack Sanders writes:

Hello, Chris (or anybody reading this).

I want to buy a new smartphone, but I’m having some difficulty choosing one. I’m into digital photography, so I want to buy a phone with impressive camera technology. After searching the Web, I’ve come down to two devices: the Nokia PureView 808 and the Nokia Lumia 920. The 808 really impresses me because it lets me control the camera settings and its oversampling technology is mind-blowing! But the downside is that it runs on a dead OS.

Meanwhile, the Lumia 920 doesn’t let me play with the camera settings as much and lacks the oversampling technology that’s available in 808. On the other hand, it has the floating lens technology, which allows the best low-light capturing in any smartphone while having better overall specs (not to mention full support from both Nokia and Microsoft).

So can you help me choose which one should I buy? Or should I wait for the Sony Xperia Z, which is rumored to have an HDR function? What do you think?

Which Camera Smartphone Should I Buy?Since you’ve expressed a desire for a smartphone running an operating system that appears to have a future while incorporating PureView technology, I suggest waiting to see what Nokia has in store for us on the 25th of this month. The company recently announced that it will be making some very special product announcements at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. Rumors are that Nokia will be introducing a Lumia smartphone that will incorporate the same 41-megapixel sensor that you currently find in the PureView 808, as well as a floating lens technology to stabilize images. In other words, a Windows Phone and PureView-powered smartphone — the best of both of the other devices you mentioned combined into one. And while I would normally treat a rumor as just that until it’s officially confirmed, it may be worth your while to wait for this one if you can hold out for a couple of weeks.

Sascha Pallenberg of Mobile Geeks showed me his PureView 808 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month, and I must say I was impressed. Not only does a 41-megapixel sensor seem incredible, but Sascha claims the device provides about a week of battery life. Still, the 808 runs on the Symbian operating system, which as you know is yesterday’s mobile OS. So unless I was absolutely dead set on getting the very best camera phone available right this very moment, I’d wait to find out if Nokia will be introducing a similarly equipped handset two weeks from now that’ll be running the Windows Phone OS. (If rumors are true, we’re also likely to see immediate price drops on both the PureView 808 and the Lumia 920 devices. Then you can buy the smartphone you want and have money left over for some nice camera-related accessories, such as smartphone stabilizing equipment.)

If you’re more inclined toward an Android smartphone, then the Sony Xperia Z is, indeed, a decent device. And if you’re into recording video, the Xperia Z is the only smartphone to have high dynamic range (HDR), so I’d definitely go with this phone if video was my main consideration. If still images are your main purpose, however, I recommend waiting to find out what Nokia will bring to the table less than a fortnight from now. Samsung is another company to watch, particularly with its new focus on Android-powered cameras. Though the Samsung Galaxy Camera isn’t a phone, some of its better features will very likely make their way into future Android smartphones.

Does anyone else have a camera phone to recommend?