September 10th, 2020
With incredible camera smartphones that span multiple focal lengths, 108MP smartphone sensors that arrive on the scene and computational AI photography that gives superpower phones such as night vision and video capture up to 8K, it has never been a more exciting time or confusing to users to choose your next camera phone.
Though the best smartphones cannot challenge DSLRs or mirrorless cameras from a pure quality point of view, even but they offer some fancy party tricks. That said, they are easily compatible with cheaper point-and-shoot cameras and are turning photography enthusiasts into the masses.
There is no shame in adopting your camera phone as part of your arsenal of photo-taking tools, and knowing what's out there will ensure you have the right camera for the job at all times.
The multi-lens matrices on all flagships launched in 2020 offer multiple focal distances, up to four on the Xiaomi Mi Note 10. This is the equivalent of four main lenses in your pocket!
In addition, computer photography from companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung, and Huawei is exceeding the limits when it comes to low light shooting and dynamic range.
In addition, Huawei and Oppo even have a 5x optical zoom, using a prism to create a kind of 'periscope' lens system, which lifts the lid of a versatility never seen before in smartphones. Even the next Huawei P40 Pro is expected to reach a 10x optical zoom, which, combined with a high-resolution sensor, could provide incredible power in your pocket.
Our best choice for the best camera phone right now is the iPhone 11 Pro thanks to its versatile triple camera array and class-leading image quality that recovers image processing to preserve better realism.
The iPhone 11 Pro relegates the powerful Huawei P30 Pro to second place. While the Chinese phone is still technically superior to Apple's latest offer, it can't match the natural look of iPhone images, and some of the P30 Pro's shots seem too HDR and too sharp in comparison.
Google's Pixel 4 XL has an incredible main camera, it ranks third on our list thanks to limited focal lengths and device deficiencies: its battery and storage are not enough for a phone of its price.
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is another interesting entry in our table, thanks to its impressive range of focal lengths that allow you to get much closer to the subject, and Sony has taken the videography of your smartphone out of the water with your Xperia 1.
Things are moving very fast right now in the camera phone market, so what is true this week could change again very quickly. 5G networks are beginning to expand, of course, and if you are looking for the best 5G phone for photography, we have a separate guide for that.
It is a brilliant time to buy a phone for its best camera features and capabilities, and it is very likely that there is one on this list that suits you and the needs of your best camera phone.
It's not just the triple-camera module and setup, it's the image quality and brilliant performance.
The triple camera array of the iPhone 11 Pro is barely at the forefront of current standards, but it works brilliantly. The colors, tones and exposures are consistent across the three cameras, but it is Apple's restricted approach to image processing that really distinguishes the iPhone 11 Pro from the competition. Where Huawei and Samsung's flagship phones tend to produce shots with aggressive HDR, sharpness and noise reduction, iPhone images look more realistic and never show signs of overprocessing. The new ultra-wide camera is simply brilliant for travel photographs, monuments, and spectacular interiors, and although it cannot match the image quality from edge to edge of the other lenses, it still produces crisp, distortion-free ultra-wide images that extend its horizons in All possible ways.
Start with a trio of 12-megapixel sensors, each connected to a different type of lens to offer a unique perspective of your environment. As with the previous iPhone XS and iPhone X, there is a secondary telephoto lens that offers a 2x optical zoom, although Apple has expanded the aperture to ƒ / 2.0, compared to ƒ / 2.4 on last year's flagship to Let in more light. Meanwhile, the new ultra-wide camera offers a field of view of 120 degrees, similar to a 0.5x zoom.
We like the normal iPhone 11 Pro more: the iPhone 11 Pro Max has the same cameras but is a bit large, while the iPhone 11 is cheaper but does not have the 52mm telephoto lens.
Launch date: Sept 2019 | Rear camera: 12MP 13mm f/2.4, 12MP 26mm f/1.8, 12MP 52mm f/2 | Front camera: 12MP, f/2.2 TrueDepth camera | Dimensions: 144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm |OIS: Yes | Storage: 64/256/512GB|Weight: 188 g |
Pros: Triple-camera setup, brilliant image quality , Brilliant 'slofies' ,Portrait effects.
Cons: No 5G yet, Unambitious specs.
The camera of the Galaxy S20 Ultra is very fun to use. It is the only S20 phone with an incredible 108-megapixel f / 1.8 camera, a piece of Samsung technology that has only been seen on the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 so far.
It is joined by an ultra-wide-angle lens of 12 megapixels f / 2.2 and a telephoto lens of 48 megapixels, it also has a flight time sensor that the other models do not have. The 40-megapixel selfie camera, well above the 10 megapixels on the other two S20 phones, in addition to the camera, records video with 8K resolution, has a 10x hybrid optical zoom and a crazy 100x zoom function. These figures separate the S20 Ultra from any other flagship phone available now.
The software and hardware needed to make a 100x zoom possible on a smartphone are impressive. The optics are placed laterally inside the body, complete with a special prism that only fits in the larger body of the S20 Ultra. But like the 108-megapixel shooting mode, the full zoom will not be something you use frequently. The effect was mediocre in my brief test. Maximizing the zoom to 100x left me with blurry and unusable photos.
The results were better when it was sensitive to the zoom. It uses an intelligent combination of hybrid optical zoom and artificial intelligence to generate photos. With 10x, and even 30x, the image stabilizes well, with a practical "picture in picture" to show you the whole scene.
The photos I took revealed obvious digital artifacts at high zoom levels. Realistically, I think that any zoom up to 10x can be used on a regular basis and with the phone in standard 12-megapixel mode. The 10x zoom photos looked good, with image tuning and saturation similar to the Note 10 Plus.
Launch date: 11-Feb 2019 | Rear camera: 108MP wide 1/1.33" 8um f/1.8, 48MP telephoto 10x Hybrid Optic Zoom ,100x Super Resolution Zoom ,1/2.0" 0.8um f/3.5; 12MP ultra-wide 1/2.55" 1.4um f/2.2 | Front camera: 40MP 0.7um f/2.2| Dimensions: 76.0 x 166.9 x 8.8mm |OIS: Yes | Storage: 64/256/512GB|Weight: 208 g |Android 10 One UI 2.0
Pros: 5G, 8K resolution in pro mode, high zoom levels and realistic, flight time sensor
Cons: High Price
It has cutting-edge camera technology, but images can look over-optimised.
The P30 Pro has a lot to love: it is a camera phone that has it all: excellent low light photography, incredible zoom capabilities (5x optical) and powerful specifications. He has been given four lenses at the back, one of which is a flight time sensor. This means that its depth detection is also fantastic. It all adds up to an extraordinarily versatile camera phone that works well in virtually any shooting scenario. However, when judged by the central image quality, the P30 Pro has just been defeated by the iPhone 11 Pro. Huawei has doubled in image processing, and it shows, but not always in a good way.
While HDR that retains each pixel of prominent details is technically impressive, you can let some high-contrast shots look somewhat flat, while aggressive sharpness and noise reduction can make some shots look slightly pictorial. Make no mistake, these are relatively minor problems that are generally only apparent when viewing 100% size images, but it is these details that separate the best camera phones from the rest.
The P30 Pro replaces Huawei's flagship 2018, the P20 Pro. However, this is still an excellent camera phone, and it can still be found new or under contract for much less than the P30 Pro if you buy.
Launched date: April 2019 | Rear camera: 40MP (Wide Angle Lens, f/1.6, OIS), 20MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens, f/2.2), 8MP (Telephoto, f/3.4, OIS) | Front camera: 32MP | OIS: Yes | Weight: 192 g | Storage: 128/256/512 GB| Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4 mm.Pros: Best in the class zoom, Superb low-light photography, Great manual control Cons: Screen is on;y 1080p, Pro mode could have been better. 4.Samsung Galaxy S10 5G:
A great camera option and decent image quality, packed with 5G
Galaxy S series phones have traditionally lived up to camera quality, and the S10 5G is no exception. Its quadruple rear features the combo wide / ultra-wide / telephoto/flight time combo, and all four cameras work excellently. Do not be discouraged because the main camera sensor is 'only' 12MP: 40MP and 48MP sensors on rival phones almost always record at 10MP and 12MP respectively in their default shooting modes.
Although Samsung can follow Huawei as an innovation in pure camera hardware, the Galaxy S10 is the basics with excellent image quality and impeccable performance in automatic mode. We also like Samsung's commitment to 4K video quality, adding a new digital video stabilization, along with the HDR10 + support for the ultra-high-contrast video that looks great on a compatible TV.
Launched date: April 2019 | Rear cameras: 12MP (Wide Angle Lens, f/1.5, OIS), 16MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens, f/2.2), 12MP (Telephoto, f/2.4, OIS), ToF depth-sensing camera | Front camera: 10MP, ToF depth-sensing camera | OIS: Yes| Dimensions: 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9mm | Storage: 256/512 GB| Weight: 198 gm.
Pros: Excellent camera, Futureproofed with 5G, Great display, 4K video
Cons: The phone can get hot (Exynos version), Mediocre battery life (Exynos version),