Choosing a good phone for detailed close-up plant photos in 2023! (Aotearoa, New Zealand)

My phone recently suffered its unfortunate death. So now I need to replace it. As I love taking photos of plants for iNaturalist, I want to make sure I am getting a phone with a great camera. Although being able to get good quality ‘landscape’ shots would be nice, it is much more important that I can capture lots of detail in close-up plant pictures.

So I thought maybe people here would have some advice on what has vs has not worked for them? I have usually gone with Samsung phones (my last was an A24 from 2021 I think). But I am open to other brands too.

The other requirements are:

  • $600 is my upper limit, and I would prefer to keep it below $400.
  • There must be good cases and screen protectors available for that model.
  • Ideally, it is purchasable from a shop in person - I am not keen on online ordering.
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This is a pretty popular topic and similar questions have been asked and extensively answered in the past:

And the rest of the search results for “phone” and “macro” (or pick your own search terms):

Of course, newer models have come out since some of these past posts, so there are unmentioned options as well.


Yes, this is fast-changing technology so the discussion needs to be refreshed from time to time.

I’m thinking about getting a new macro lens and case for my iPhone 12 mini. Right now I’m looking at Moment technology. Comments welcome.

I’d rather not have to go this route but if there’s a phone that does it all, I’m not aware of it. iPhone would be my first choice.

If you want to go a bit silly, the Oppo Reno 8T 5G has a built-in 40x microscope, as does the OPPO Reno7.

There are a few other cameras that include microscopes too.

@tiwane - Hi, can we maybe make a permanent sticky post, or maybe a pinned wiki for questions about phone and camera models to use for collecting observations?

Kind of like the Ideas for a revamped Explore/Observations Search Page permanent post.

Questions about best phone and camera models based on price, use, etc are pretty common and it might be a good idea to consolidate them into one place.


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