With warmer weather, many of us may be spending more time outside.

Coastal Maine as well as our inland lakes and mountains provide wonderful sightseeing, recreational and photographic opportunities. Since almost everyone carries a cell phone these days, a camera is always handy. Don’t you think it’s amazing that these cell phone cameras take such stunning photos?

If you are in the market for a new cell phone and enjoy taking pictures, perhaps the quality of the camera will be a major criterion for choosing that new phone. I was curious how experts were rating the newest cell phone cameras, so I did a bit of research.

Three cell phone cameras seem to pop up in many reviews:

• iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max
• Google Pixel 7 Pro
• Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Not every reviewer rated these phone cameras in the same order, but all three continually were highly rated. Technical vocabulary is used to describe them. Some of the terms are familiar, but others are brand new. Therefore, perhaps a vocabulary lesson is in order before we delve into the positive attributes of each of these cameras.


1. MP (megapixel): One megapixel equals 1,000,000 pixels. A pixel is a tiny square of visual information. Multiple pixels create digital images and videos. The higher the MP rating, the better the resolution.

2. Resolution: Resolution is the amount of sharp detail the viewer will see in an image. The better the resolution (more MPs), the clearer the details will be.

3. Optical zoom: An optical zoom is the traditional way to magnify an image. It relies on the lens to do the work.

4. Digital zoom: Digital zoom uses cropping to magnify an object in an image. Often the quality of the image is not as good as when optical zoom is in use.

5. Astrophotography: This camera feature is used to photograph astronomical objects (the moon), celestial events (comets) and the night sky. The iPhone 14 Pro calls this option Night Mode.

6. RAW: When you are photographing in RAW mode, your images are stored on your phone’s memory card and are not compressed (the file is made smaller to save space) and are minimally processed by the camera’s software. Many photographers prefer shooting in RAW mode because the quality of the image is better and there are more editing options. You have to go to the camera settings on these newer phones to choose RAW.


7. JPEG: This acronym actually stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. These are the folks who created this format. JPEG’s are compressed (made smaller) thus they save space on your digital devices. This format is easier to share and thus a preferred format for social media.

8. Phototonic engine: This term refers to Apple’s computational photography technology.

9. Computational photography: Digital cameras and their software create unique images that traditional cameras cannot. Examples include panoramic shots and the HDR function. HDR stands for high dynamic range, and when it is turned on, the best elements of three images are combined into one.

10. Tensor features: This term refers to Google’s technology in their Pixel phone cameras that create wonderful images.

When thinking about which phone and camera are best for you, take time to think about how you want to use the camera. Are you mainly a landscape photographer? If so, you might want the best zoom features. Or perhaps you really like creating videos for family friends, social media and business. Which camera is highly rated for video making? (Some of the experts point to the iPhone 14 Pro Max.)

Here are some of the positive features that reviewers have identified for each of these three cell phone cameras.


iPhone 14 Pro

1. It has larger image sensors and great software for computational photography that produces sharp and vibrant images.

2. Its wide-angle lens is superb.

3. Its cinematic setting provides dramatic options when taking video.

4. There is excellent stabilization for when you are shooting video.

5. Night Mode is excellent. Low-light conditions do require a longer time to take the shot; there is a slider to allow the photographer to adjust that time when necessary.

6. Portrait mode provides a variety of styles for close-ups of people.


7. In settings, you can choose photographic styles such as rich contrast, vibrant and warm.

8. There is an easy-to-use zoom.

Google Pixel 7 Pro

1. It also has larger image sensors and great computational software that produces wonderful images.

2. It has a 5x optical zoom.

3. Its Macro Focus picks up the tiniest of details in an image.

4. You can add cinematic blur in your videos for a more dramatic effect.


5. Its Real Tone feature creates realistic skin tones.

6. The 2x zoom helps you take lovely portrait shots.

7. Super Res Zoom smoothly integrates the telephoto features with the regular lens.

8. The Photo Unblur features allow the photographer to retouch those images that are slightly out of focus so they become crisp and sharp.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

1. This camera has a terrific zoom feature.

2. There is an astrophotography mode for night-sky shots.


3. Image clipping allows you to pull the subject in the photo from its background. The iPhone 14 Pro also has a similar feature. For example, if you take a picture of a floral arrangement on your table, you can lift just the floral arrangement away from the table and any other background and paste it into a document.

4. The Adobe Lightroom system is integrated and is an excellent program for image editing.

5. The camera is a 200 MP device that provides excellent images.

6. There is a 12-megapixel camera for cool selfies.

7. There are four rear cameras for better images.

8. Auto-focus is fast and accurate.

One thing all of these phones share is a pretty hefty price tag. Are you willing to spend upwards of $700? That is a big decision and there are less expensive cell phones with good cameras. Needless to say, you should research the phones you are interested in before purchasing. Of course, the camera is not the only important feature of a new cell phone, so there is a lot to think about. Also, remember to shop around. There are always deals to be found.

Enjoy Maine’s spring, black fly season and summer this year, and keep your cell phone handy to capture all of your adventures.

BoomerTECH Adventures (boomertechadventures.com) provides expert guidance and resources to help Boomers and older adults develop competence and confidence using their Apple devices. Boomers themselves, BoomerTECH Adventures rely on their skills as educators to create experiences that meet individual needs through videos, Zoom presentations, tech tips and timely blog posts.

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