It’s that time again. You need a new phone. Maybe your screen cracked, maybe it fell out of your pocket at a concert. Maybe you’re just ready for an upgrade. But your situation is a little different than the average consumer, because you are a content creator.
Being a content creator makes you well aware of the importance of having a very good and reliable phone. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating content with it, and there is just so much we can do with this portable device that fits perfectly (or not) inside of our pockets. The trouble is, how do you choose? Should you stick with the same brand you’ve been using for the last ten years or is it time to switch things up?
Let’s start with the basics, so why should you choose a smartphone for content creation instead of dedicated cameras?
From expensive cameras to almost necessary accessories like tripods, external mics, and even light setups to make your content look professional, the costs can skyrocket easier and much quicker than we have expected. However, content creation doesn’t have to drain your bank account if you don’t want it to, so in order to do that we’re talking about smartphones.
Almost everyone has a smartphone. Smartphones nowadays are smarter and more advanced than they have ever been, many of them containing the same technology and specs as some of the most sophisticated DSLR cameras on the market.
We have budget phones that can record in FULL HD 1080P, but we also have the flagships from 2022 that already have 4K recording capabilities, and some even 8K. A few years back that wasn’t possible even with dedicated cameras. So, for something that you already carry around with you all day long, you might actually have more options available to you using your smartphone. Yes, the same one you use to call, text and post on your social media.
One of the benefits of using your smartphone in order to create content is that you always have it with you. We’re more connected than ever, and that means that your best bet at creating content is the thing that you have mostly in your hands, the phone.
Photos and videos, what should you focus on and why.
A few years ago, we saw a blossoming trend of phones with lots of lenses, and it’s still in full bloom. Many phones now have a standard lens, a magnifying zoom lens, and a wide-angle lens. Monochrome or infrared time-of-flight sensors can help judge depth for bokeh. Less successful lenses and sensors we’ve seen include color filters (you can do this very well in software) and macro lenses (slowly improving).
Super-high-megapixel camera phones are becoming more and more popular, as well as superzoom lenses. But a lot of pixels don’t necessarily mean better photos, as sometimes the pixels can be very small, and that can create problems for color capturing and lower light photography.
Something you need to have in mind is the availability of third-party camera apps, because that plays a big role. Some are available for Android, but most apps used by professionals still tend to come out first and be more quickly updated on iOS.
In the era of TikTok and Instagram Stories, video is more important than ever. Here are some features to look for.
Optical image stabilization is always better than electronic or digital image stabilization, creating less jittery videos. Many high-end phones now use both, giving a Steadicam-like effect.
While 1080p video is still good enough for most people, many phones can record in 4K, and 8K recording is pretty common on Android flagships. 8K requires a massive amount of storage—about 600MB per minute—and right now, its primary use is for editing videos on a PC after the fact, especially if you want to be able to crop and zoom.
Slow-motion video can make for some exciting effects; while most phones can now capture up to 240fps (1/8 speed), some can go up to 960fps (1/32 speed). Keep an eye on how long a phone can capture slow-mo for, though, because it can be tricky to grab a scene if you only have 0.2 seconds of recording time. Many phones also have other video tricks like time-lapse, hyper-lapse, and video bokeh modes.
In the end, the most important factor in any photo or video isn’t the camera—it’s the photographer behind it.