A Videography Shootout Between the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung S21 Ultra, OnePlus 8 Pro, and Google Pixel 5

Cameras in mobile phones continue to surprise and impress with every passing year. Here is a direct comparison of four of the most desirable phones right now when it comes to shooting video, with some interesting results.

I use my phone for work, play, and everything in between, borderline twenty-four seven. As is my system with everything in my life, the more I use something, the more I'll budget for it, and so when it comes to phones, I'll always try to get top of the range. I've spoken time and time again on this topic, so I won't cover it too much, but as a non-landscape photographer, I also use my phone as a wide-angle option most of the time. I have also owned the flagship phones for three out of the four brands on this list, albeit an older version of the Samsung.

Until recently, I didn't own a single Apple product; I found them to be wildly overpriced for their specs and I didn't want to enter their ecosystem. However, when I came to upgrade my phone last month, the iPhone 12 Pro Max was offered to me and for a fair amount less than the Samsung and Google phones. So, I took the jump and I have been thoroughly impressed. The camera quality is truly staggering and I don't just mean for a phone.

Phones are also becoming increasingly more viable for shooting b-roll too. With several phones now offering 8K at 30 fps, the resolution is beyond what anyone would ever need. But as you can see in this comparison, the dynamic range, focus tracking, and stabilization are all perfectly usable.

What do you think of modern phones when it comes to videography? Do you ever use yours?

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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Great job! You went through all the things I would want to know about in a professional way. Thanks for your hard work!

Very thorough review that made me much less skeptical about the future of phones for video and still photography.