The battle for the best camera phone is typically between Apple and Google, but that is currently on hold. While all four of Apple’s new iPhones have been released and thoroughly tested, Google is presently reorganizing its smartphone lineup. With a new Tensor G2 chipset, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are expected to offer various new camera features, which we are eager to evaluate.
Until then, however, the iPhone 14 models stand independently, with larger sensors and images paying dividends for Apple and maintaining its camera phone dominance.
You’re not limited to the iPhone or the Pixel if you’re looking for a phone with a great camera. Samsung also upgraded the Galaxy S22’s cameras, creating an intriguing tie for first place on our list of the best camera phones.
Our extensive camera testing on mobile devices enables us to identify handsets that capture unforgettable images and once-in-a-lifetime shots that you would otherwise miss. We seek camera phones that combine complex optics and sensors with software algorithms that rely on mathematics and science to extract the best possible light, color, and detail from every scene. It’s not just about the number of lenses on the back, either; some phone manufacturers utilize artificial intelligence to enhance the post-processing of your photographs.
After hundreds of hours of testing and numerous head-to-head photo comparisons, these are currently the best camera phones.
Our Top Picks
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What are the best camera phones?
iPhone 14 Pro Max is currently the king of smartphone cameras. This beast is equipped with a 48MP quad-pixel sensor with 2x telephoto zoom, a 12MP 3x telephoto sensor, and a 12MP ultrawide sensor. There is little room for error, regardless of the lighting conditions. And if you desire the same camera prowess in a smaller device, the iPhone 14 Pro is available. Although not as impressive as the Pro models, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus can still produce quality photographs.
If you want to look beyond Apple’s phones, several of the top Android phones have impressive cameras. The Pixel 7 Pro, a smartphone with a monstrous camera, is the best. With a 50MP primary sensor, you can capture breathtaking images. In addition, there is a 5x optical zoom, surpassing the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The Pixel 6a is the best option if you’re looking for a phone with a lower price tag. The iPhone SE (2022) lacks Night mode functionality. Both cameras take excellent photos during the day, but the Pixel is superior when the light begins to fade.
Our rankings of the best camera phones include a gallery of images taken with each phone. Click on the arrows in the pictures below to view a sample of the capabilities of these camera phones.
The Best Camera Phone 2022 Top Mobiles For Photography
Whether you’re looking for a high-end camera phone that will help you capture great social media content or an everyday handset that will capture beautiful family photos, we’ve compiled a list of the best camera phones available today…
1. Samsung’s best camera phone: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
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Samsung did not make significant changes to the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s camera setup, but the improvements over the S21 Ultra are welcome. Initially, the 108MP primary camera has a larger sensor, which lets in more light. The Super Clear Glass covering this lens eliminates flare when photographing at dusk and night. Photos taken in low-light conditions are improved and sharper when using the Night mode on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Other camera enhancements to the Galaxy S22 Ultra camera are software-based. You now have access to adaptive pixel technology that combines 9 pixels into one (another improvement for low-light photos), enhanced AI high-resolution processing, and four times faster multi-frame processing. Portrait mode uses AI Stereo Depth Maps to better isolate the subject from the background of a photograph. And a video Auto Framing feature recognizes up to ten people and maintains focus on them while you’re shooting. Samsung began rolling out a camera update in June 2022, bolstering these software capabilities. Key enhancements include a performance boost for portrait mode and a bug fix for Single Take.
In the end, the best camera phones from Apple and Google remain slightly ahead of Samsung’s best efforts. This is the camera phone Samsung fans should purchase.
- 8K Video
- Super-steady Video
- Embedded SPen
- Night Mode
- Quad Camera with 108MP Main Lens
- 100x Space Zoom
- Single Take
- Director’s View
- Bright Display with Vision Booster
- Adaptive Color Contrast
- Fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- Long Lasting 5000 mAh Battery
- 5G Capable
- Super-Fast Charging (Power Adapter sold separately)
- Premium Design
- Live Sharing with Google Duo (Co-Watching)
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Excellent dual telephoto lenses
- Improved low-light photography
- Big, bright display
- Battery life takes a step back
2. Going head-to-head with Apple: Google Pixel 7 Pro
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Google’s latest flagship device, the Pixel 7 Pro, follows closely behind the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This phone offers a 5x optical zoom on its telephoto lens, significantly improving over its predecessor (except for battery life). The Pixel 7 Pro retains the same 50MP primary and 12MP ultrawide sensors as the Pixel 6 Pro, which is satisfactory.
The images captured by the primary and ultrawide cameras are stunning, matching or surpassing the iPhone 14 Pro (which shares the same camera system as the iPhone 14 Pro Max) in various scenarios. Even though it has a maximum of 3x optical zoom, Apple is still superior in terms of color reproduction in telephoto images.
The Pixel 7 Pro’s 10.8MP front-facing camera lags behind Apple in low-light conditions. We observed more face smoothing during testing, whereas the iPhone reproduced more facial details. Nevertheless, the Pixel 7 Pro is an exceptional camera phone, undoubtedly the best in the Android camp.
- Display: 6.7-inch (3,120 x 1,440), 120Hz, LPTO OLED
- Battery: 5,000 mAh
- RAM: 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
- Processor: Google Tensor G2
- Colors: Snow, Obsidian, Hazel
- Incredible cameras
- Awesome Tensor features
- More powerful chipset
- Colors are a bit dull in telephoto
- Subpar battery life
3. Best camera phone on a budget: Google Pixel 6a
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Even though it costs hundreds of dollars less than the Pixel 6 Pro, the Pixel 6a is still a formidable alternative, especially if you’re looking for a great camera phone cheaply. The Pixel 6a lacks a telephoto lens, but computational photography allows it to produce superior images to most similarly priced smartphones.
The Pixel 6a shares the same Tensor processor as the premium Pixel 6 models, allowing it to access the same machine learning-powered features as the more expensive Google smartphones. This includes Magic Eraser, a photo-editing tool that allows you to remove unwanted people and objects from images easily. A redesign of the Pixel 6a enables you to minimize distracting objects.
This phone’s battery life could certainly be improved, but for a low-cost camera phone, the Pixel 6a is unrivaled.
- Powered by Google Tensor processor
- Adaptive Battery can last over 24 hours ¹
- Up to 72-hour battery life with Extreme Battery Saver ²
- Magic Eraser- easily remove distractions
- Real Tone- represent the nuances of different skin tones
- Live Translate- translate languages in real time
- Titan M2™ security, Fingerprint Unlock
- IP67 Water and Dust Protection
- Excellent cameras for the price
- Enhanced Magic Erase tool
- Bright display
- Poor battery life
- Noticeably cheap materials
4. Older iPhones are still worthy: Apple iPhone 13 Pro
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The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max continue to be our favorite older cameras on a smartphone. The only difference between the two is the size of the phone’s display, so we have grouped them.
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are each equipped with a 12MP f/1.5 sensor with large 1.9m pixels, a 12MP f/1.8 ultra-wide sensor, and a 12MP f/2.8 telephoto sensor with 3x optical zoom.
Although they lack the lens count and optical zoom length of other phones on this list, their performance is exceptional. Even though they lack a macro lens, they can still take close-up photographs.
The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max should be able to do justice to any shot you intend to take. Low-light performance was awe-inspiring in our tests, and that’s something that iPhones are renowned for. Apple’s Deep Fusion enhances your photographs to make them as beautiful as possible, utilizing the company’s intelligent AI optimization.
The new Photographic Styles feature and Cinematic mode are impressive, though we suspect most purchasers will not utilize them. However, with an enhanced Portrait mode, the return of ProRAW, and an excellent point-and-shoot experience, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are photography beasts. Time will tell if the next generation of Apple iPhone can tame them.
- 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion for a faster, more responsive feel
- Cinematic mode adds shallow depth of field and shifts focus automatically in your videos
- Pro camera system with new 12MP Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras; LiDAR Scanner; 6x optical zoom range; macro photography; Photographic Styles, ProRes video, Smart HDR 4, Night mode, Apple ProRAW, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
- 12MP TrueDepth front camera with Night mode, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
- A15 Bionic chip for lightning-fast performance
- Up to 22 hours of video playback
- Durable design with Ceramic Shield
- Industry-leading IP68 water resistance
- 5G capable
- iOS 15 packs new features to do more with iPhone than ever before
- Great overall performance
- Strong battery life
- Limited design changes
- Notch still too large
5. Tensor-powered photo features for less: Google Pixel 7-5G Android Phone
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The Pixel 7 does not include a telephoto lens, but it provides everything else the Pixel 7 Pro offers at a lower price. The Pixel 7 has a starting price of $599, $300 less than its Pro sibling and $200 less than flagship phones with comparable specifications.
The Pixel 7 is all about the Tensor processor. The new Tensor G2 enables many photo-friendly features, such as an improved Super Res Zoom for getting close to objects without introducing a great deal of blur or fuzziness into your photo. Regarding blur, the Photo Unblur feature can improve the focus of images, even if they were taken with different devices.
Long shooting sessions will necessitate recharging because the battery life is inadequate. However, the Pixel 7 continues to benefit from Google’s computational photography expertise.
- Google Pixel 7 is powered by Google Tensor G2
- Unlocked Android 5G phone
- Pixel’s Adaptive Battery can last over 24 hours
- 6.3-inch Pixel 7 display
- wide and ultrawide lenses with up to 8x Super Res Zoom
- Get hands-free help with Google Assistant
- With its durable design and IP68 protection
- Refined design and hardware across the board
- Face unlock is back, and the in-display fingerprint scanner is much better
- Iterative software improvements for last year’s cameras
- Considering inflation, $600 is an even better deal than last year’s Pixel 6
- Still no telephoto camera
- Phone gets rather hot in heavy use and while charging
- The fingerprint sensor and face unlock still aren’t as reliable as they should be
- Battery life is okay, but not great
6. Best cameras on a foldable phone: SAMSUNG Galaxy Z Fold 4 Cell Phone
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Even with the best foldable smartphones, you typically do not purchase them for their cameras. However, Samsung upgraded the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s primary camera to address a weakness in its otherwise stellar foldable lineup.
Due to its 50MP wide-angle camera, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 can compete with other devices on our list of the best camera phones. It even outperformed the iPhone 13 Pro Max in some individual tests. Awe-inspiring were the colors captured by the Galaxy Z Fold 4 camera.
Contrary to the superior 10MP camera on the phone’s cover display, we do not recommend using the 4MP under-display camera, which continues to produce fuzzier photos. We also appreciate the multitasking capabilities of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which allow you to drag images directly from the camera roll into Google Drive.
- 7.6″ Dynamic AMOLED
- 6.2″ Dynamic AMOLED
- 50MP Wide | 12MP Ultra Wide
- 10MP Tele + 3x Optical Zoom
- 30x Digital Zoom
- 4MP Under Display Camera
- Flex Mode
- Hands Free Video
- Multi-view Window
- S Pen Ready
- Big Screen, Big Sound
- App Optimization
- Much improved main camera
- Longer battery life
- Improved multitasking with taskbar
- Under-display selfie cam is still lackluster
- The priciest phone you can buy
7. Apple's best low-cost camera phone: 2022 Apple iPhone SE
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Apple may have maintained a single-camera design for the iPhone SE (2022), but the lowest-priced iPhone can still accomplish much with a single lens. A portion of the credit goes to the A15 Bionic chip within the SE, the same chip used by the iPhone 13 series. Due to the A15, the iPhone SE 2022 supports the Smart HDR 4 (which can handle challenging lighting conditions) and Deep Fusion features (for calling it details and textures in photos). Even though the iPhone SE 2022 only costs $429, the images you take will appear to be from a much more expensive device.
The camera capabilities of the iPhone SE 2022 are noticeably lacking. In contrast to the other best camera phones, there is no Night mode. And as far as we can tell, Apple would only omit this feature to differentiate its cheapest phone from its more expensive flagships. The result is that the iPhone SE cannot compete with the other phones on this list in low- and no-light photography.
This should not prevent you from considering the iPhone SE 2022, especially if you prefer Apple phones but dislike high prices. Even though its nighttime performance leaves something to be desired, this iPhone still takes excellent photos overall.
- 4.7-inch Retina HD display
- Advanced single-camera system with 12MP Wide camera; Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Portrait mode, and 4K video up to 60 fps
- 7MP FaceTime HD camera with Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Portrait mode, and 1080p video recording
- A15 Bionic chip for lightning-fast performance
- Up to 15 hours of video playback
- 5G capable
- Durable design and IP67 water resistance
- Home button with Touch ID for secure authentication
- iOS 15 packs new features to do more with iPhone than ever before
- Very good photo quality
- Compact and easy to use with one hand
- Powerful performance
- No Night mode for camera
- Dated design with big bezels
8. A camera powerhouse with a weak link: Oppo Find X5 Pro 5G Dual
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The Oppo Find X5 Pro is a refinement of what made its previous flagship devices great, and it can compete with some of the best Android smartphones. Notably, the hardware is superior, demonstrating that this company can compete with Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Google Pixel 6 Pro.
The Oppo Find X5 Pro is the company’s sleekest smartphone, and I would expect nothing less. The Find X3 Pro significantly improved in terms of build quality and materials, and the company has refined the design of this next-generation product accordingly. It does not stand out compared to other 2022 flagships, but it is easy to hold and feels premium to the touch.
The Find X5 Pro from Oppo features a beautiful display. It is a 6.7-inch LTPO2 OLED capable of 120Hz. The default refresh rate is 120Hz, but there is also a 60Hz mode if you want to slow it down or conserve battery life. I found the smooth refresh rate excellent and would prefer to keep it enabled.
- 4K Ultra Night Video Powered by MariSilicon X Imaging NPU
- Hasselblad Camera for Mobile
- 6.7″ QHD+ 120Hz 1 Billion Color Bionic Display
- 5000mAh Battery + 80W SUPERVOOC + 50W AirVOOC
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- Big and beautiful display
- Premium build and feels great
- A full day of battery life and great fast charging
- Middling camera zoom
- Software isn’t to everyone’s taste
- Very expensive
9. A mixed bag that can be great: OnePlus 10 Pro 5G Android Smartphone
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Regarding the camera, OnePlus’s phones are a mixed bag: the devices can have rough edges when it comes to the photography experience, but when they work, they work exceptionally well.
The 48MP primary camera is excellent, especially in well-lit environments, but it also performs admirably in the dark. We discovered that images appeared perfect, whether close-ups or cinematic vistas.
The ultrawide camera is also helpful, although you don’t get the full 50MP – the lens is a super-wide one used for fisheye shots, but if you want normal ultrawide photos, it’s cropped significantly.
With its 3.3x optical zoom, the OnePlus surpasses other smartphones from Oppo and Xiaomi on this list, although its 8MP sensor leaves something to be desired.
When given a chance, we discovered that the OnePlus 10 Pro could produce Portrait images that would rival those of a Samsung smartphone, albeit with occasional bokeh errors.
The maximum resolution for video recording is 8K, but 1080p is required for AI and stabilization functions. In addition, numerous modes exist, such as fisheye, tilt-shift, XPan (mentioned in the Oppo section), and more.
The OnePlus 10 Pro cameras were good but not great; however, this list is for the best camera phones, and we’ve included this entry because it’s a great phone with a good camera. This is an excellent option if you’re looking for a device with a good camera that also excels in other areas.
- Unleash the power of 5G
- Powerful triple camera System, co-developed with Hasselblad
- Capture the bigger picture with a 150º Ultra-Wide Camera
- OnePlus Billion Color Solution for Photography
- Smart 120Hz Display with LTPO 2.0
- The best performance for mobile gaming enthusiasts
- Charge forward with 65W fast charging/50W Wireless Charging
- Fantastic screen
- Super-fast charging
- Some camera modes have issues
- Very big
10. An older camera phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Smartphone
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The camera hardware of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is identical to that of the S22 Ultra, which ranks near the top of this list of the best camera phones. Then why isn’t it also in the first place? Due to other changes.
For a detailed description of the S21 Ultra’s photographic capabilities, the S22 Ultra’s entry still stands. However, software adjustments have been made to address minor issues, such as autofocus and battery drain.
Additionally, this phone is compatible with the S Pen stylus, but it does not come with one, making its use less likely. This means you may be unable to utilize its functional image annotation, drawing, and remote shutter tools.
Given that the phone is a year older, it will likely no longer receive Android updates.
Still, this is a great camera phone, with full Samsung modes such as Single Take enhancing its versatility and impressiveness.
- 6.8″ Infinity-O display with adaptive 120Hz refresh
- Quad rear camera with advanced Night Mode and 8K video
- New dual zoom lens system with 10x optical zoom
- S Pen compatible
- Seriously fast 5G
- Super-Fast Processor
- All-day fast charging battery
- Intelligent Infinity-O Display
- Excellent camera zoom
- Mesmerizing design
- Expensive at any level
- No microSD card slot
How to choose the best camera phone
If camera quality is a significant factor in your smartphone purchase decision, there are many factors to consider. Knowing the types of photographs, you envision taking is an excellent start. Some multi-lens cameras have ultrawide lenses for breathtaking landscapes, others have telephotos for zoomed-in portraits with shallow depth of field, and others have both. The most recent flagships from Samsung and Huawei feature periscope-style lenses with up to 10x lossless zoom, rivaling the power of DSLRs.
A further consideration is that megapixels are less critical than aperture. Cameras with a wider aperture (lower -stop numbers correspond to wider lenses) let in more light, significantly improving low-light photography. The high-megapixel sensors found in the newest devices are impressive, but it is a common misconception that the higher the pixel count, the better the image quality.
Do you require a portrait mode with bokeh backgrounds? The photograph’s subject is in sharp focus, while the rest of the scene is artistically blurred. The single-lens iPhone SE can capture bokeh-effect portraits, a feature that was initially exclusive to phones with multiple lenses. Some devices even allow you to adjust the blur’s intensity before and after you take the picture.
Front camera specifications are also essential. In a world where selfies are more popular than ever, a smartphone’s front camera should not be overlooked. Many front-facing cameras, such as those on the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6, can produce the same portrait mode effects as rear-facing cameras. Some smartphones have two front-facing cameras, with the second lens capturing more background details; however, this feature has recently fallen out of favor.
Finally, the video should not be overlooked. Your cameras can capture more than still images. Consider the resolution and frame rate of the camera’s video recording capabilities. A word of caution, however: increasing the resolution will result in videos that take up significantly more space on your smartphone’s internal storage.
How do we test camera phones?
When evaluating the best camera phones, we compare phones with comparable prices and capabilities in various head-to-head tests. We choose common shooting scenarios, including landscapes, indoor and outdoor shots, portraits, and selfies during the day and night. Additionally, we evaluate each camera lens, including ultrawide-angle and telephoto lenses, if available.
In addition to testing the rear lenses of each smartphone, we also test the front camera by taking standard and portrait mode selfies. The results are then compared to similar camera phones.
Each camera’s default settings were used to capture the images used for comparison. Even if a phone has manual controls, we do not test them because we want to simulate how a typical smartphone user would interact with the camera app.
Before concluding each of our smartphone reviews, we consider special features, such as dual lenses and what they enable, Portrait Modes, and other unique modes.
The most relevant evaluation for selecting the best camera phones is camera testing, but our smartphone reviews also include performance testing, battery testing, and display testing. You can view the results of these tests in their entirety when we rank the best smartphones overall.
A good phone camera will not only have a sizeable sensor, but it will also have fairly large pixels. This is especially important in camera phone sensors because of how small everything is. If the pixels are too small, the images will be plagued with apparent digital noise.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best camera phone available
Top 3 Best Selfie Mobiles are as follows: OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G: 120 Hz Display with Punch Hole, 64 MP + 2 MP + 2 MP Triple Rear & 16 MP Front Camera, 4G, Memory Card (Hybrid), 6.59 inches. Vivo V26 Pro: 3.2 GHz Processor, 4800 mAh Battery with 100W Fast Charging, Dual Sim, Octa Core, VoLTE.
A decent 6-megapixel camera is good enough for most normal camera usage. Go for higher megapixels only if you wish to use your images for canvas-sized prints or large hoardings. If your interest is in night sky photography, then too a higher megapixel camera can be important.
For context, that’s the same sensor found in Sony’s $1,200 point-and-shoot camera, the RX100 VII, and it means the Xiaomi 12S Ultra houses the largest image sensor found on any phone.
As for which one is better, the answer is somewhat subjective and may come down to whether you prefer the way Apple or Samsung processes photos. But in my experience, Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro generally does a better job of producing well-balanced images, while Samsung has a much closer zoom that can’t be matched.
It’s no longer true that the higher a camera’s megapixel count the better. The only thing more megapixels will give you is the ability to enlarge and crop pictures without individual pixels becoming visible. Other factors are much more important in determining overall picture quality.
Which MP works best for the front camera? For most everyday camera use, a quality 6-megapixel camera is sufficient.
A famous saying is that “the best camera is the one you have with you.” For nearly all of us, that would be the camera on our smartphones, and we are fortunate to live in an era in which smartphone cameras have become so capable. Professional photographers will always scoff at the notion that a smartphone could ever replace the need for a traditional camera. However, for the majority of people, this is already the case. Do you see more smartphone cameras or DSLRs when visiting a tourist destination?
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best option if you desire the most flexible and comprehensive system. If you want the best photos in all conditions, the Vivo X80 Pro is superior to the Galaxy S22 Ultra in low-light and ultra-wide shots. Similarly, if you’re an iOS user and have no plans to switch, the iPhone 13 series is a highly polished camera with some of the most advanced HDR technology.
Check back every few months to see if newcomers have dethroned the current leaders!