When photographer Chase Jarvis coined the famous saying "The best camera is the one you have with you," he was revealing an unspoken truth: Even professionals carried point-and-shoot cameras despite owning DSLRs and dedicated video cameras. His message was that great photographers create compelling images with whatever they have on hand, but the sentiment wound up setting the stage for a massive disruption of traditional imaging -- one that saw famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz embrace Google's Pixel still cameras and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh start shooting movies with iPhones. The year 2020 will be remembered for many negative reasons, but it should also be marked as the time when technology caught up with and redefined Jarvis' saying. Thanks in large part to improved sensors and the neural cores in mobile processors made by Qualcomm and Apple, this was the year when standalone photo and video cameras were surpassed by smartphones in important ways, such that "the one you have with you" will now actually be either your best or most capable camera. Unlike single-purpose cameras, the latest smartphones now create 3D scans of objects and rooms, AI-optimized images, and cinema-quality Dolby Vision HDR videos that even professional cameras can't replicate.
The two best ways to improve your smartphone photography are "talent" and "practice," but if you'd rather buy your way to better shots, that works too. Nowadays, there's a great selection of accessories like clip-on lenses, stabilizers, stands and other gear you can get without blowing a hole in your budget. If you've been thinking about taking that next step, here are a few questions to ask yourself and some of the best products on the market. Smartphone photography has become so good that you might rightly question whether you need accessories at all. Devices from Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG and Google can achieve a level of quality that was unthinkable just two years ago.
The number of YouTuber creators has exploded over the last few years, with videos running the gamut from eating ASMR to Rube Goldberg-style trick shots. With that, vlogging cameras are now popular enough to be their own category. Some models are even specifically designed for the genre, like Sony's new ZV-1 and Panasonic's G100, with features like a flip-around screen, stabilization and face/eye-detect autofocus. Manufacturers have also added vlogging features to regular mirrorless, compact and DSLR cameras priced anywhere from $500 to $5,000. It's become such a key feature, in fact, that camera reviews usually take into account whether a model can do it or not.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. After 70-plus hours of researching over nearly three years, including days of hands-on testing for this update and two months using our main pick, we've found that the Insta360 One X is the best 360 camera. It produces attractive, high-resolution, 360-degree, fully spherical images and videos that you can scroll around to show a view of every direction surrounding the camera, plus unique non-360 "FreeCapture" 1080p videos that show just the most interesting sections of your 360 content. The camera is small and easy to use and has excellent apps for your phone and computer. The Insta360 One X is the camera that does everything well. The specs on the One X read like a 360 camera wishlist: 5.7K resolution (the highest you can get in this price range), removable battery, on-camera display, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, an app with advanced editing methods, and more. It's as if Insta360 looked at everything people wanted in a 360 camera, and stuffed it all into the One X. Even better, it performs as well as you'd hope looking at the features list. The camera isn't waterproof, but two waterproof cases are available, along with numerous other accessories. Though it lacks some of the advanced features of the Insta360 One X like robust image stabilization, a removable battery, and 5.7K video, the Ricoh Theta V is a solid alternative if our main pick is sold out. The Theta V's simple design belies the complexity within, offering high-quality images and videos that look more natural and immersive than those taken by most other cameras. Though its resolution isn't as high as that of some others, the quality of its lenses and image sensors let it take excellent photos and videos.
When people shoot YouTube videos, do they need a computer or laptop to do so? People shoot videos with all kinds of equipment, from simple smartphones to professional movie cameras. Prices range from £50 to more than £40,000. As always, it depends on the job. Some people are taking selfies for Facebook while others are shooting blockbusters for cinemas.