Best Android Video Camera Android Central 2021
Cameras in smartphones are getting better than ever, and that applies just as much to videography as it does to photography. Luckily, just about any high-end phone captures great-looking footage these days. Some have great specialized video features, while others are better suited for point-and-shoot videography. So what are the best Android phones for shooting video?
- Best overall: Sony Xperia 1 II 256GB
- Highest resolution videos: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 128GB
- Great manual controls: LG V60 ThinQ 128GB
- Best stabilization: Google Pixel 5 128GB
- Pro-grade equipment: Sony Xperia Pro 512GB
- Best for less: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 128GB
Best overall: Sony Xperia 1 II 256GBStaff Pick
The Xperia 1 II combines three great cameras — wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide — with robust manual controls and a color-accurate 4K display that's capable of utilizing the Rec. 2020 color gamut. Sony's Cinema Pro app is based on the company's CineAlta Venice cinema camera and allows you to manually set ISO, focus, and shutter speed, as well as apply LUTs to achieve different film looks.
Highest resolution videos: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 128GB
The Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn't have quite as extensive manual video controls as the Xperia 1 II, but it does shoot video at up to 8K resolution. You can upload straight to YouTube at that size, or you can use the built-in gallery to trim or even downscale that footage to something more shareable. In lower resolutions, there's also ultra-steady video stabilization, and you can shoot in HDR10+ for supporting displays.
Great manual controls: LG V60 ThinQ 128GB
The V60 has a list of manual video controls almost as expansive as the Xperia 1 II, with LUTs and manual focus, plus its own great triple camera array. You can monitor your audio in bliss with LG's incredible-sounding Quad DAC, and like the S21 Ultra, you can shoot at up to 8K. You also get a secondary screen you can attach to the phone, giving you more room to work with when editing your footage.
Best stabilization: Google Pixel 5 128GB
Like its predecessors, the Pixel 5 has fantastic video stabilization. With both OIS and EIS in tow, you get buttery smooth video whether you're riding along in a car or train, or just walking down the street with the phone in your hand. There are four different stabilization modes, allowing you to tackle each shooting scenario differently and even switch to the ultra-wide lens for a different perspective.
Pro-grade equipment: Sony Xperia Pro 512GB
The Xperia Pro has the same cameras as the Xperia 1 II, but packs far more pro-grade features that cater to filmmakers and broadcasters alike. Thanks to its HDMI port, you can connect your dedicated camera and use the Xperia Pro as a 4K HDR reference monitor, and even upload your captured footage in real time over 5G. Of course, that just scratches the surface of what this phone can do — this is an incredibly powerful creative tool for the right user.
Best for less: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 128GB
The Galaxy S20 FE offers all the same video features as the far pricier S21 Ultra, with similarly great cameras and a much more compelling price. Its flat display won't distort your videos as you watch them back, and you can add to its storage when you run low with microSD expandability. Best of all, it has a fantastic battery life, so you can confidently shoot all day without worry.
Shoot for the best
Smartphones have become pretty incredible videography tools in recent years, and these options will serve you well, whether you're vlogging or shooting your next indie film. For the most versatile shooter around with the most manual controls, go for the Xperia 1 II, which offers three great cameras, robust manual video controls through its Cinema Pro app, and shoots in a cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio with the efficient h.265 codec.
With Cinema Pro, you can apply different looks to your shots based on the CineAlta Venice, Sony's incredible 6K full-frame cinema camera. You can also adjust settings like your project's frame rate, with the option to shoot at 24fps, and change settings like ISO, white balance, and shutter speed on the fly. This is by far one of the most comprehensive video capture experiences we've seen on an Android phone, and it's well worth the money for on-the-go cinematographers.
On the furthest extreme of the price spectrum, professional shooters may want to consider the Xperia Pro, which features the same cameras and Cinema Pro software, but double down by letting you connect your dedicated camera via Micro-HDMI — of course, it doesn't have to be a Sony camera, either. The Xperia Pro instantly becomes one of the highest resolution external monitors you can buy, and allows you to broadcast your footage in real time or upload it to a backup server over 5G.
If you're not ready to spend quite that much (and who could blame you?), there are other great options like the Pixel 5, which offers different stabilization modes for different situations. You can't expand its storage, nor does it have a dedicated telephoto camera, but it's still an extremely capable shooter.
The good news is some of the best android phones these days are great at video. Every phone we listed does a great job with various specialized features such as remote operation, EIS, and background blur. No matter which phone you pick, you'll be getting a capable video camera (or three) that fits in your pocket.
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