Ask any professional photographer and he or she will tell you that the best camera is the one in your hand or pocket. This is particularly true for smartphone photography where it’s important to stay in the moment, capture fleeting vignettes and moments whether you’re in a comfort zone or in a new destination. Smartphone photography keeps getting better device manufacturers keep updating newer launches with incremental changes. This is also true for the sub Rs 30,000 segment where we’re seeing quite a few flagship level features trickling down.
Lowlight was a traditional weak link for cheaper smartphones but devices like the Google Pixel 6a powered by Night Sight have changed that. OIS (Optical image stabilisation) is another feature that has begun to play out on mid-range smartphones like the Motorola Edge 40 and POCO F5 5G. We’ve also seen price drops on time-tested devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE that make them compelling buys for their versatile rear cams.
These are among the best smartphone cams under Rs 30,000:
Google Pixel 6a
Google’s 2022 ‘a’ series device is one of our favourites at this price point. We like the form factor – at 180 gm it doesn’t feel too clunky in your hand. It’s powered by Google’s Tensor chip that impacts camera performance. Aside from the 8MP selfie cam you get a dual rear cam with a 12.2MP Primary lens and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. Google’s Night Sight solution delivers terrific images in low-light. And then there’s are Google smarts like Magic Eraser that add to its overall experience as a ‘sharp shooter’.
Price: Rs 28,999
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
It’s been a while since this FE device debuted but it still has the hardware and camera to make it 2023-proof. FE stands for Fan Edition; this device delivers on all key features of fans’ wish lists. An affordable version of the brand’s flagship devices that doesn’t gloss over the features that really matter. There’s a triple rear cam that includes a 12MP ultra-wide and a 12MP primary lens (f/1.8 aperture). It’s still one of the best devices at this price for zoom photography. The 8MP telephoto lens allows you to hoot up to 30X zoom with good results till you stay within the 10X threshold.
Price: Rs 29,999
OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G
Speed is almost a given with OnePlus smartphones. At the heart of the Nord CE 3 is a zippy Qualcomm Snapdragon 782G processor. It keeps things snappy and also has an impact on camera performance. There’s a 16MP selfie cam and a triple rear cam that includes an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro lens. It’s the 50MP primary lens that is the headline feature. It’s the same Sony IMX890 lens used in the OnePlus 11 and comes with OIS.
Price: Rs 26,999 onwards
Motorola Edge 40
It is one of the first smartphones to be powered by the all-new MediaTek Dimensity 8020 chipset and feels remarkably light in your hand (it weighs under 170 gm). It’s not just the light weight form that has our attention, it’s also the rear cam. It features a 50MP primary lens with a wide f/1.4 aperture, OIS (Optical image stabilisation) and a massive 2.0μm ultra pixel that captures extra light for sharper photos. We also dig the versatility of the 13MP ultra-wide lens – you can zoom out in ultra-wide mode or get up close with Macro Vision that opens up a whole new host of possibilities.
Price: Rs 29,999
OPPO Reno 10 5G
This is one of our picks at this price point for portrait photography. It’s powered by a 32MP Telephoto Portrait camera that allows you to zoom in as you as you shoot portrait images. It creates a whole new portrait photography experience, allowing you to create blurred boked backgrounds like you would on a pro cam. The rear cam also includes a 64MP ultra-clear main camera and a ultra-wide lens with a 112-degree field of view.
Price: Rs 29,999 after a Rs 3,000 instant discount
POCO F5 5G
It became one of the first smartphones in India to be powered by the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset that delivers better CPU performance and power efficiency over its predecessor ( the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1). One of the highlights of this device is the triple camera – a 64MP primary lens, an 8MP ultra-wide cam and a 2MP macro lens. It comes with OIS that results in blur-free images and also boasts of AI computational capabilities and 4K recording.
Price: Rs 27,999 onwards