Smartphone Camera for Wildlife

I like a smartphone as my “always have” camera. Any suggestions for a good phone camera for wildlife? I think optical zoom, be it through multiple lenses or an add-on would be great. All I have is normal and wide-angle, which is great for landscapes. I know I can digital zoom, but that gets dicey very quick.

I think the best you can do right now is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra which has an equivalent focal length of 240mm, which isn’t too shabby…

Hmm, 10x optical zoom. That’s pretty sweet. Not a cheap phone by any means, but worth looking into. Thanks

@BrettOssman @David_Kingham I’m going to be forced to upgrade to 5G. Do either of you own the Galaxy S21 Ultra?

Yes, but have to check to see if I actually have 5G service. I mostly got it for the camera.

Are you happy with the camera performance, Brett?

I just have an iPhone 11…

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C’mon, Dave. Get in the 21st century! :wink:

Yes, the only things that bugs me, a little, are that only the main lens and a subset of the features are available in Pro Camera mode. However, I don’t really use Pro mode at the moment.

I do use the 3x and 10x lenses a lot. Going higher than 10x is obviously digital zoom with it’s known possible issues.

I’d have to review the Pro mode feature limitations again, but can if you like.

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Not necessary, but thanks. Just wondered if you were happy with it overall. I’ve never spent that much on a phone, but am mulling it over.

iPhone 12 Pro Max. Add to this Hydra & ProCamera apps to provide control over the basic camera functions, and you have a versatile camera that fits in a pocket. Below is an edited list of features. These are specific to nature photography. Some of these are designed for general photography, but they offer an exciting set of features to explore.

Add LightRoom and PhotoShop Mobile apps. These aren’t as full featured as the desktop versions, but they are improving all the time. The new Apple chip is speeding up the phone and will improve the photography side.

It’s not cheap, but hey, you can even make a phone call with this camera.

  • Pro 12MP camera system: Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras
  • Ultra Wide: ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view
  • Wide: ƒ/1.6 aperture
  • Telephoto: ƒ/2.0 aperture (iPhone 12 Pro); ƒ/2.2 aperture
  • 2.5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 5x optical zoom range (iPhone 12 Pro Max)
  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control.
  • Dual optical image stabilization (Wide and Telephoto)
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization (iPhone 12 Pro Max Wide)
  • Five-element lens (Ultra Wide); six‑element lens (Telephoto); seven-element lens (Wide)
  • Panorama (up to 63MP)
  • Smart HDR 3
  • Apple ProRAW
  • Photo geotagging
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG