While photography is usually all love, our phones have taken really good pictures. Think about it – when did you last need a camcorder for the holidays? As the mobile cameras get better every year, we are now at a point where smartphones can be used for professional video recording.
Just like the picture quality, the video performance of mobile phones varies a lot. There are phones that take great pictures but average videos and vice versa. Then there are phones that make editing your videos a breeze, and others that make it work.
We tested all of the top flagship flagship phones to get to the bottom of these issues. Whether you're shooting for Instagram celebrity or just wanting to capture your family's precious moments without compromising quality, we believe we've found the top five phones on the market for recording and editing video.
Table of Contents
- Starting Price: The MSRP of the phone as from April 2019. If you find a better deal when these phones are sold, this is the highest price they are sold for.
- 4K Recording: Most smartphones can record at 4K resolution (2160p), but some may be limited to 30 frames per second while recording in this mode. A higher frame rate (for example, 60 frames per second) is preferred for action videos, as the additional pictures allow smoother recording. However, 24 frames per second are used in film and television. What we prefer, we have listed all available 4K frame rates.
- 1080p recording: Displays the frame rates available when recording in 1080p (Full HD) on each phone. While 60fps are not a problem for most flagships, not all phones are the same. A typical example: the Google Pixel 3 XL, which does not have a true 60 fps mode. Instead, only 1080p videos are captured at 60 frames per second if there is enough light. If not, 30 frames per second are used.
- HDR shot: Indicates whether the phone supports HDR video recording. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a technique that brings a picture closer to the human eye to distinguish very dark objects from very bright objects. Currently, the best option is to record on the smartphone HDR10 +. While HDR10 sends static metadata, HDR10 + sends dynamic metadata, allowing the display to calibrate color and brightness frame by frame. These additions help to provide a more realistic picture.
- Lens Configuration: The types of lenses used in the back camera of the phone. More lenses are ideal because you are as flexible as the video looks. Each lens usually has a different focal length and field of view. With the phones with multiple lenses on our list, you can seamlessly switch between lenses with each object as you film, to find the right focal length for your video.
- Aperture: This is represented by the F number, the ratio of the focal length to the aperture (diameter of the lens aperture). The smaller the number, the larger the aperture and the more light is captured for each frame of the video.
- Zoom: The available zoom levels for each phone. Optical zoom is always preferred because it is lossless, so you can approach an object without affecting video quality.
- Optical Stabilization: Smartphone cameras are usually stabilized in two ways: optical image stabilization or electronically image stabilization. Despite the "image" part, these stabilization methods also help in videography, as a video is essentially a series of photos. Optical image stabilization helps to reduce blurred video by manually moving the lens in the opposite direction of movement of the smartphone's body and keeping the image centered. OIS, however, is the worse stabilization method of the two when it comes to video.
- Electronic Stabilization: Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) shifts the image after it hits the camera sensor to re-center it. EIS can predict moves, softening the video. However, due to the size of the picture, it is often not available in all modes, namely 4K at 60 fps (or 4K at every frame rate in the case of the iPhone X S max
- slow motion recording with 960 Frames per second: Indicates whether the phone supports video recording at 960 frames per second, if so, what resolution and how long.) Only Samsung and Sony support this feature in the US, and both companies use an image signal processor that does not Therefore, every organization must use a workaround, the DRAM buffer, to store the uncompressed video during recording, resulting in a limited duration of less than 0.5 seconds.
- 480 fps Slow Motion: This is the other shutter speed that requires the Super Slow Motion tag, and like 960 fps, current processors do not support real-time recording at this high level Therefore, the DRAM buffer must be used to limit its duration. Only the Samsung Galaxy S10 + supports this frame rate, which at 960 fps is twice as long as for the recording.
- 240 fps Slow Motion Recording: For most phones, slow motion video is limited to 240 fps. However, the maximum resolution for this shot varies, with some OEMs opting for the preferred 1080p and others using 720p. However, for each option, the recording is unlimited, allowing you to capture video until the memory is full.
- Backflash: Video available LED flash. Apple's True Tone system uses four separate LEDs with different color temperatures to give Flash videography a more natural look. Samsung's High CRI (Color Rendering Index) system works similarly except that each LED used can produce light with a wide color temperature range. None of the other phones in this list has a comparison system, but opt for a single, fixed color temperature.
- Front Camera Max Quality: The maximum resolution for videos shot by the front camera (or cameras). , We have also specified the maximum frame rate at this resolution. These specifications are critical for anyone interested in live streaming and vlogging, as they are directed towards the viewfinder, unlike the rear camera.
- Max Internal Storage: The largest internal storage option available for the phone. Depending on the length, resolution, frame rate and a variety of inputs, videos can quickly take up little space. And with no expandable storage (more on that later), you're either responsible for limited cloud storage or forever losing your videos.
- Expandable storage: Indicates whether the phone supports expandable storage through microSD. With this feature, which has been an exclusive Android product for years, you can increase the available storage space to save even more videos. For the phones on our list that include expandable memory support, microSDXC is supported by default. This version has a theoretical maximum capacity of 2TB, although currently the largest option available is 1TB.
- Water Resistance (Depth / Time): Videography does not stop because of the weather, so you want a phone that you can use in the elements. Since so many phones now have an IP rating, we need to have an IP68 rating for every phone on our list. This ensures that they can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. Only the Xperia XZ3 must have its port connected. Everyone else can do this without any changes.
- Manual Mode: Indicates whether the native camera app has a manual mode for video that allows you to obtain aspects such as shutter speed, ISO, and exposure to the desired look.
- Disable EIS: The ability to disable EIS or electronic image stabilization. This feature is useful for those who use a cardan ring for stabilization that does not require the system to correct motion. While many Android phones allow this in the native camera app, iPhone users must use third-party applications to use this feature.
- Video Encoding: The format of the video as soon as it is stored on the hard drive. The most common format is H.264 (AVC). H.265, also known as HEVC, provides more efficient compression, so you can easily store more videos on your hard drive without compromising on quality.
- Shoot Without Audio: The ability to capture muted video or sound. While none of the phones can achieve this with the standard camera app, this is possible with third-party apps.
- Stereo or mono audio: Whether the audio is recorded in stereo or mono or if you choose to have the option. Only the iPhone X S Max can switch between the two audio recording modes.
- Audio Encoding: The format used for the audio recorded with your video.
- Audio Bit Depth & Sample Rate: The bit depth is the resolution of the audio data recorded in an audio file. The higher the audio bit depth, the more accurate the sound. The sampling rate indicates how often the source sound is recorded per second. In both terms, the higher the number, the better.
- Select microphone: The ability to select the microphone to use for recording. While this feature is available through third-party apps on iOS, it is not available with the version of the current stable version of Android. Android 10 has added this feature in the latest beta release, so Android phones may be able to select a microphone for recording.
- Controllable shutter speed: Whether you can set the shutter speed of the video. The shutter speed is the time at which each image is exposed. Shortening this duration results in a higher frame rate, while allowing the shutter to remain open for each frame for a longer time may allow for brighter videos.
- Controllable ISO: Specifies whether you can adjust the photosensitivity of the video manually. ISO, together with aperture and shutter speed, determines the exposure of each frame, which can make videos lighter or darker.
- Adjust Exposure: The ability to change the exposure of a video recording. Using a slider, you can adjust the phones that support this feature to adjust how light or dark the video is by automatically adjusting the ISO values and shutter speed (and aperture for the Galaxy S10 +) to the look you want ,  Save Focus and Exposure: This feature allows you to focus on a specific subject by holding down a section of the viewfinder. If you then tap an icon, you can lock the exposure of the focused object to prevent the video from becoming blurred, bright, or dark while shooting different scenes. Only the Galaxy S10 + does not block the exposure in this way. You must manually set the exposure to a higher or lower value than the current exposure to lock it, which usually results in overexposed or underexposed video.
- Gridlines: What gridlines are available to line up the images. 3×3 is the default grid line available for most phones, but more options are always better.
- Change Lens: Specifies whether you can use different lenses to capture video. Many smartphones equipped with two or three rear cameras allow you to shoot with each lens to achieve the look you want.
- Timelapse: Indicates whether the phone can capture time-lapse video. Time lapse is a technique in which the frame rate during recording is lower than the frame rate of the final video – essentially the opposite of slow motion. The result is a video that seems to play faster when played back at a standard frame rate.
- Recording Aspect Ratio: The various aspect ratios available for recording video. While most phones on the phone do not support this feature, it is possible to use third-party camera apps to adjust those conditions.
- Align photo during shooting: Specifies whether the phone can take photos while a video is being taken. with which resolution.
- Video geotagging: Specifies whether the phone's default camera app can automatically add the recording location to the video file.
- Lock lens during shooting: The ability to prevent the camera from turning off the lens while filming. This feature is only available on the iPhone X S Max and prevents you from accidentally switching lenses (and potentially distorting perspective) while zooming videos.
- Integrated Video Editor: Indicates whether the phone is equipped with a video editor app. While third-party apps are always available, it's still a better option to develop OEM-designed apps that work specifically with the smartphone's camera. For basic editing, all Android phones are equipped with Google Photos, and all iPhones are equipped with the App Apple Photos app. Samsung and Sony have integrated a basic video editor in addition to Google Photos. However, some mobile phones, such as the LG V40 ThinQ, also have a robust built-in video editing app.
- iMovie Support: One of the better apps for video editors for mobile is iMovie. Exclusive to iOS, this video editing software provides everything you need to edit video, including the ability to manage 4K video. The app is not installed, but you can download the app for free on any iPhone.
- FiLMiC Pro Support: If you are a mobile videographer, the editing app of choice is FiLMiC Pro. This third-party app has everything you need, so it was important to clarify that it's available for all the phones listed here.
- DxOMark video rating for the rear camera: The grade given by DxOMark is the video performance of the rear view camera.
- DxOMark Front Camera Video Score: The grade given by DxOMark for the video performance of the front camera. All except LG V40 ThinQ and Sony Xperia XZ3 received an official rating.
- Time to start a video: The minimum amount of time required to open the camera app, switch to video mode, and start recording. Ideally, you want the lowest possible time to make sure you never miss a moment. However, each phone has faster methods, such as: Double-tap hardware keys or lock the screen shortcuts for even faster times. We were unable to perform this test on our Sony Xperia XZ3 review unit before it was returned.
- Moment lens support: Moment offers a popular set of telephoto, wide-angle and other lens mount connections for smartphones. The latest versions of these lenses require a special case to connect to the phone, and Moment only offers these cases for the more popular smartphones like iPhone, Galaxy and Pixel.
These phones in the above table were not randomly selected – they are our five finalists. To narrow the field to the best of the best, we first set up some basic rules.
Since we are an American website, we have only selected phones that have been officially released in the US. This eliminates some great options from Huawei and Xiaomi, namely the P30 Pro and Mi 9. Although some of these phones are technically available in the US, the LTE service in the US will be limited, so there is no manufacturer's warranty We were able to offer them to our readers do not recommend.
A second important requirement was that each phone had to record at least 4K resolution (2160p). 4K resolution is widely used on televisions, laptops, monitors and even some cell phones. To be able to offer your viewers the best quality, you must be able to shoot in 4K. Even if your content is displayed on a lower-resolution phone, the quality is still better.
In addition, we have only considered phones of the current generation to ensure that each of our recommendations withstood the test of time. Take for example the LG V40. Although the V30 is an amazing phone from the videography point of view, it is almost two years old and it is unlikely that there will be future firmware updates. Even though the LG V50 was announced, it is not available at the time of publication. So we had to delete it from the list.
Since videography has been extended to all environments, we believe that every phone is important here Waterproof. The only certified way to confirm this is with an IP rating. Therefore, we have considered only IP68-rated models to maintain your ability to film up to one and a half meters deep in the water for up to 30 minutes. [19659003Wealsoadvisethateveryphoneonourlistmustsupportaslowdownmodewithatleast120picturespersecondMobilevideographersusethisfunctionforuseforcleverevideosThereforeweneedsthatyourhandybeenbestbestinthiscategory
Finally, we have listed only one variant of each phone. Many of the devices in this list have sibling variations, such as the Galaxy S10 + with its smaller counterparts in the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10e. In those cases, we chose the largest variant of the device because a larger screen will be helpful in editing videos.
The lightest newest phone on our list, the Galaxy S10 + is a powerhouse of a phone. Similar to the Galaxy Note 9 before, it's a phone that's remarkably good at so many things. Samsung has never been too short in the camera department, and the Galaxy S10 + is no exception. Based on our tests, the engagement for the back-camera camera was also extended to the video performance.
There are some features that you will find in the Galaxy S10 + that you will not find on other phones list. The first is the ability of the front camera to shoot 4K videos at 60 frames per second. The resolution is not only impressive (every other device on our list is limited to 1080p), but the fact that you can record at the higher frame rate of 60 frames per second is impressive.
The Galaxy S10 + is the only phone on our list that can record super slow motion at 960 fps and 480 fps , While both modes are limited to 720p and provide sufficient lighting, you can capture amazing videos that you'll never see in real time. While 960 frames per second are limited to less than half a second, it may be helpful for a similar video style to halve the frame rate for twice the performance.
HDR video recording is possible via HDR10 +. This should not come as a surprise since both Samsung and Amazon are pushing this new standard for wider acceptance. What distinguishes HDR10 + from HDR10 is the use of dynamic metadata. This allows the display to calibrate the color and brightness of each frame in the video, resulting in more accurate playback on HDR10 + certified screens.
The Galaxy S10 + is also the only phone on our list where multiple aspect ratios for video recording are supported by the stock camera app. You can record with the pre-installed app either 16: 9, 19: 9 or 1: 1. For the other phones you have to download a third-party app.
Apart from its unique features, Samsung is also a lot better than its competitors. When it comes to stabilization, the Galaxy S10 uses OIS (on the lenses) and EIS for shake-free video. For videos with a higher degree of movement (eg action videos), there is the Super Steady mode. With the Ultrawide camera (for a similar look of GoPro cameras) you get even better stabilization. You lose OIS and autofocus because Ultrawide does not support these features, but you get some of the best stabilization there is.
Autofocus is another feature that makes the Galaxy s10 + better than most competitors. Although you need to shoot at 1080p at 30 frames per second, you can use autofocus for tracking. With this feature, you can follow moving objects better, and you can better focus on them as they move. For the front camera, you can use dual-pixel autofocus, one of the fastest available autofocus techniques. This technique can be used in all shooting modes up to 4K at 30 frames per second.
The S10 + is one of the best phones on the market. Unlike other great cell phones, Samsung has made video performance a top priority, which has allowed us to lead our list. With this phone, multiple lenses (as well as third-party lenses from Moment) can capture stunning high-definition video with smooth frame rates. HDR10 + provides a stunning contrast and lets you save your videos without worrying about running out of space. Whether you are filming your vacation, starting a YouTube channel, or recording your PRs in the gym, this is the phone for you.
Years ago, LG introduced the V Series, a phone designed for those who consider cameras as the most important part of a phone. Later in the series, LG decided to break away from the competition with a strong focus on video. The result of this progress is the LG V40 ThinQ. While the learning curve for the phone is higher than the rest, with some patience and time you can capture some of the best video footage.
What strikes the LG V40 ThinQ is the full manual mode for both photos and video. Take a look at our list and see how the LG V40 ThinQ gives you more control over your video. Adjustable shutter speed? Check. Controllable ISO? Check. Changeable exposure? Check. Hi-Fi audio recording? Also check. With manual mode you have almost identical controls as with a DSLR.
Here it does not stop. Videos can be recorded in H.264, H.265 or Cinelog. The latter corresponds to the RAW format for pictures. The video is not edited, which keeps the colors in a more natural state and gives you more flexibility in the editing process.
If you're talking about the editing process, no phone on our list has as much video editor as LG. We're talking about a similar performance to many costly third-party options, such as: Add background music, merge videos, add titles, etc.
Just like the S10 +, there are three cameras that give you more flexibility in how your video is filmed. One of these lenses is a telephoto shooter for lossless 2x zoom.
Another feature of V40 ThinQ is the ability to shoot at 24 fps in 4K. As mentioned above, this is the preferred frame rate for the cinema and makes your videos look more like movies than home movies. Unlike the iPhone X S Max, this frame rate is also available for 1080p shooting, so you can put less on the storage volume of 24 frames per second.
The LG V40 ThinQ isn & # 39; t perfect. First, the time to start a video is surprisingly slower than the competition, almost 1.5 times slower than our winner. The price is quite high, especially considering that this phone only has 64GB of memory and OIS is only available on one of the rear cameras (the standard lens). Due to the lack of popularity, important accessories such as torque lenses are not supported.
The LG V40 ThinQ is ideal for those looking for more from their mobile phones. If you're serious about capturing video but prefer the flexibility of a phone over a DSLR or camcorder, the V40 ThinQ is the best option on our list, at least in the box. You have a manual slow motion mode, a comprehensive video editor and a number of options to get the best possible video. There are even useful functions, such as: For example, point zoom (automatically zooming into a specific area of the image during shooting) and cine (real-time color correction). With a little patience, this phone can record amazing videos that you can share with pride everywhere.
Phone 3: Apple iPhone X S Max
While many The enhancements to the iPhone X S Max are not to be underestimated compared to the predecessor of photography, the update of videography is not underestimated. Apple is a leader in mobile videography in the smartphone industry, and this year's model is no exception. The high price is indeed unfavorable compared to other Android options, as it can be said: "They pay for quality."
On the back there are two rear cameras: a telephoto and a wide-angle camera. Each one can be used for filming and each one offers a very different view. Thanks to the telephoto lens, a loss-free zoom up to 2x is possible. For more distant subjects, you can use 6x digital zoom (although video quality will deteriorate).