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Home News The Xperia 1 II is our favorite phone for shooting video

The Xperia 1 II is our favorite phone for shooting video

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’s the best Android camera for shooting video?

Best overall

Sony Xperia 1 II

Staff pick

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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 filmic looks.

$1,198 at Amazon
$1,200 at Best Buy
$1,198 at B&H

Highest resolution videos

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

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The Galaxy S20 Ultra doesn’t have the Xperia 1 II’s fancy manual controls (at least not for video), 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.

$1,099 at Amazon
$1,100 at Best Buy
$1,100 at B&H

Great manual controls

LG V60 ThinQ

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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 Note 20 Ultra, you can shoot at up to 8K. You also get a secondary screen you can attach to the phone, giving more room to work with when editing your footage.

$900 at Best Buy

Best stabilization

Google Pixel 4 XL

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Like its predecessors, the Pixel 4 XL 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. For the first time on a Pixel, you also get a secondary lens in the form of a 2x telephoto (though we definitely wish Google would have also included an ultrawide).

$649 at Amazon
$650 at Best Buy
$633 at B&H

Best foldable for video

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

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The Galaxy Z Fold 2 takes stellar photos with its triple camera array and shoots sharp, smooth 4K video. What makes its shooting experience unique is the ability to fold the display and prop the phone up like a tiny laptop, allowing you to use the cover display as a viewfinder for shooting selfie videos with the high-quality main sensors. There’s even a video editor built directly into the gallery app, letting you make quick cuts of your footage with ease.

$2,000 at Amazon
$2,000 at Best Buy

Best for less

OnePlus 8

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The OnePlus 8 does an admirable job in the video department, especially considering its competitive pricing. The 48MP primary camera offers excellent video quality, and you have a handy ultra-wide lens to fall back on. You can shoot at up to 4K resolution at 60FPS, or shoot 480FPS slow-mo in reduced resolutions. There’s no microSD support, but the internal 128GB should be plenty for most people.

$699 at Amazon
$699 at B&H

Shoot for the best

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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 highest-quality, most versatile shooter around, go for the Xperia 1 II, a followup to last year’s excellent Xperia 1 that 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.

The good news is that most phones these days are getting great at video. Every phone 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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