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You told us: You want these two smartphone camera improvements in 2023

It turns out that polled Android Authority readers want better zoom and low-light image quality in 2023.
By
January 5, 2023
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra cameras close up
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

2023 is here, and we’ve already seen the first flagship phones launch from the likes of OnePlus, Vivo, and Xiaomi. These devices will undoubtedly bring some respectable camera credentials to the table, among other selling points.

But as we step into the new year, we were curious about the improvements our readers wanted most from smartphone cameras in 2023. So we threw this question to you, and here’s how you answered. 

What do you want to see from smartphone cameras in 2023?

Results

Just over 1,200 votes were cast at the time of writing, and the top pick by a slim margin was “higher quality zoom.” This pick accounted for 24% of the vote, and we can understand why. Top-end flagships from the likes of Google, Samsung, and Xiaomi indeed offer great zoom capabilities, but lower tier flagships and mid-rangers are often left wanting. Furthermore, flagship phones from Apple, Oppo, Realme, and OnePlus are also lagging behind in terms of zoom quality.

Meanwhile, the runner-up by just a single percentage point was “better low-light shots” (23%). Low-light photography has made major strides thanks to modern night modes, but you clearly feel that there are more gains to be had. There’s also still room for improvement in this regard when it comes to budget phones in particular.

More coverage: Want a phone with a great camera? Here’s what to look for

Rounding out the top three was “improved video,” accounting for 12.1% of the vote. We can understand this stance, as Apple’s iPhones still have a reputation for outperforming Android devices when it comes to video quality. If it’s any consolation, Android makers have often adopted video features way before Apple, such as super steady video, 8K video, 4K/120fps slow-mo, and more.

The “other” option accounted for 7.3% of the tally, and comments point to wishes like smaller camera bumps, more accurate previews, less over-processing, and an improved under-display camera.

Comments

  • roaduardo: Faster shutter speeds. Faster shutter speeds. Faster shutter speeds.
  • Andrew Farris: I wanna see better overall processing, imo phones lean way to heavily on denoising and sharpening. Comparing images taken with apps like “motion cam” that uses its own camera pipeline, you can really see a much more detailed and higher quality jpeg from that app than the stock camera apps.
  • Michael: I’d like to see a “rewind” mode. Sometimes in trying to capture fleeting moments. Let’s say you want to capture a lightening strike. When you see the lightening it’s too late to push the shutter. Similarly if I’m trying to capture my child blocking a shot in volleyball. With rewind the camera would have a buffer containing the last two seconds, say as a series of ten shots. 
  • Albin: Mainly I’d like to see current premium features like optical telephoto and OIS pushed down and become standard on mid-range and budget models. That said, “staggered HDR” seems like it has a lot of potential though I haven’t seen comparisons.
  • B!: Other (leave a comment) – UDC perfected.
  • Kira: I think greater proliferation of OIS technology to more mid rangers and even some budget devices, which not only improves low light photography, but also helps with the videography in a realistic manner. On the other hand, hopefully expecting the OEMs to skip all those useless macro/depth sensors in exchange for OIS. 
  • Joe Black: Better colour/white balance across every smartphone and feature to turn off every skin smoothing or excessive sharpening in general.
  • Andreas Larsson: I want more accurate previews in the viewfinder and less post processing
  • EasyCare: Stick to the basics. Better low light performance. Reduce camera bump. Improve selfie camera quality. Personally, I would also add that we need to stop with the super long zoom race. A main camera with standard 28 to 35mm focal length and a simple 2x but high quality lens is better than a 3x, 5x or 10x lens.
  • Eric Koop: Better quality zoom, specifically on mid tier phones. I don’t want to pay a million dollars for a Galaxy Ultra or iPhone Max. Toss one on the Pixel A or Galaxy A series that isn’t crappier than just using digital zoom on the main shooter