The battle for all-time camera phone usually boils down to an Apple tree vs. Google showdown, though that’s on hold for a moment. While all iv of Apple’south new iPhones are out and fully tested, Google is in the process of revamping its smartphone lineup.
The extensive camera testing we comport on phones helps united states find devices that capture memorable images and once-in-a-lifetime shots you’d miss with less-capable handsets. Nosotros’re looking for camera phones that meld intricate optics and sensors with software algorithms that rely upon math and science to extract the best possible calorie-free, color and detail out of every scenario. It’s not just nigh the number of lenses on the dorsum, either — some phone makers make the almost of bogus intelligence to improve post processing on your photos.
Afterward hundreds of hours of testing and many head-to-head photo comparisons, these are the best photographic camera phones you can buy right at present.
The best camera phones yous can buy today
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The iPhone 14 Pro Max is everything y’all could ever want in a smartphone, including the best-in-form performance and cameras. The new 48MP principal sensor is extremely powerful, offering crystal articulate images with beautiful colors and lighting. The ultrawide lens also saw a bump in size, and then it lets in more than light. The telephoto sticks to 3x, which we think is a bit low given the competition.
The primary sensor as well sports 2x optical zoom on its ain, letting y’all go that quad-pixel quality on a zoomed paradigm. There’southward Apple’s new Photonic Engine, which improves on the telephone maker’due south computational photography for mid- and depression-light scenes. All told, you won’t observe improve all around cameras on a smartphone.
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iPhone 14 Pro Max review
Coming in hot right backside the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the Pixel 7 Pro, Google’s latest flagship. This phone improves upon its predecessor in many fundamental ways (except for battery life), including offering a 5x optical zoom on its telephoto lens. The Pixel 7 Pro keeps the same 50MP principal and 12MP ultrawide sensors as the Pixel half-dozen Pro, but that’south simply fine.
From the main and ultrawide cameras, pictures look stunning, matching and/or besting the iPhone 14 Pro (which shares the same camera system as the iPhone 14 Pro Max) in a lot of scenarios. Apple tree withal had the upper manus on color reproduction in telephoto images, fifty-fifty if it tops out at 3x optical zoom.
The Pixel vii Pro’s 10.8MP front camera also lags backside Apple, especially in dimmer settings. Nosotros noticed some extra face up smoothing in our testing, while the iPhone reproduced more than facial details. Fifty-fifty and so, the Pixel vii Pro is an incredible camera phone, certainly the best in the Android camp.
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Pixel 7 Pro review
Even though the Pixel 6a costs hundreds of dollars less than the Pixel 6 Pro, information technology’s still a formidable culling, particularly if yous’re looking to get a corking camera phone on the inexpensive. The Pixel 6a doesn’t accept a telephoto lens, just it does benefit from computational photography, producing very good images that accident away near of what you see from comparably priced phones.
The Pixel 6a has something in common with the flagship Pixel 6 models — they all run on the same Tensor processor, so this budget device is capable of the same machine learning-powered features found on pricier Google phones. That includes Magic Eraser, the photo-editing tool that lets you erase extraneous people and objects from images with a tap. A revamp of the Pixel 6a lets you tone down distracting objects as well.
Battery life could certainly be amend on this phone, but for a low-cost camera phone, there’s no better option than the Pixel 6a.
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Google Pixel 6a review
If you’re put off by the iPhone 14 Pro, but want the same camera prowess, then look no further than the iPhone 14 Pro. With its more meaty 6.1-inch brandish, this phone is ane powerful beast. And with the new 48MP main sensor, the iPhone fourteen Pro can take some cute photos.
The ultrawide camera also got an upgrade to allow in more calorie-free for better-lit pictures. The telephoto lens sticks to 3x — and nosotros wish it was at least 4x to match the contest — but the main camera has its own 2x optical zoom, too. All told, the iPhone 14 Pro is the best compact camera phone.
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iPhone 14 Pro review
Samsung didn’t make major changes to the photographic camera setup on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, merely the enhancements over the S21 Ultra are very welcome. For starters, the 108MP master camera has a larger sensor, letting in more light. A Super Clear Drinking glass over that lens eliminates flare when you’re shooting in twilight and at night. The end upshot is better depression-calorie-free photos and some sharp images when using the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s Night way.
Other camera improvements to the Milky way S22 Ultra focus on the software side of things. You now become adaptive pixel technology for combining 9 pixels into i (another depression-low-cal photo comeback), enhanced AI high-res processing and 4x faster multi-frame processing. Portrait mode benefits from AI Stereo Depth Maps to better dissever your subject from the groundwork of the shot. And a video Auto Framing feature recognizes up to 10 people and keeps them in focus when you’re shooting. These software features are already getting a boost from Samsung, which began a camera update rollout in June 2022. Amid the fundamental improvements are a functioning upgrade to portrait mode and a bug ready for Single Take.
Ultimately, the top Apple and Google camera phones remain ahead of Samsung’south best efforts, merely only barely. This is the photographic camera phone to get for Samsung fans.
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
While it might lack the new 48MP sensor nowadays on the Pro models, the iPhone 14 is still a dandy photographic camera telephone. It packs a faster aperture for improve lighting, plus an upgraded ultrawide sensor. In curt, the photos that the iPhone 14 puts out are a step above concluding year.
Details and dynamic range give the iPhone fourteen a leg upward over many of its similarly-priced competitors, such as the Galaxy S22. (Samsung’s phone has the advantage in zoom, still.) But for $799, the iPhone 14 offers a cracking photographic camera experience.
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iPhone 14 review
You may not get a telephoto lens with the Pixel vii, only you get everything else the Pixel 7 Pro offers while paying less for the privilege. The Pixel vii starts at $599 — $300 less than its Pro sibling and $200 less than flagship phones with comparable specs.
The Pixel 7 is all about the Tensor processor, and the new Tensor G2 enables a lot of photo-friendly features like an improved Super Res Zoom for getting up close to objects without introducing a lot of blur or fuzziness to your photograph. Speaking of mistiness, the Photograph Unblur characteristic can touch up photos — fifty-fifty ones shot on unlike devices — so that they’re ameliorate focused.
Underwhelming bombardment life means yous’ll demand to charge up during marathon shooting sessions. But the Pixel 7 continues to reap the benefits of Google’s skill with computational photography.
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Google Pixel 7 review
Anything the iPhone xiv can do with its dual camera, the iPhone fourteen Plus can handle besides, just with a bigger display for showing off your photos. Otherwise, the Plus uses the same camera system every bit its smaller sibling, including the bigger sensor on the main camera to allow in more light. Every bit a result, big phone fans should feel confident they’re getting a corking camera telephone with the iPhone xiv Plus.
The larger size means more only a bigger screen. Apple also equips the iPhone 14 Plus with a larger battery that lasted just shy of 12 hours on our custom test. That’south an outstanding fourth dimension that outperforms the boilerplate smartphone past 2 hours, and so you tin can exist assured of a lot of extra fourth dimension out in the field taking some stellar photos.
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iPhone fourteen Plus review
You don’t typically buy foldable phones expecting great cameras, even the all-time foldable phones. But Samsung took great pains to set a weak spot in its otherwise stellar foldable lineup past upgrading the chief photographic camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Thank you to the 50MP wide shooter, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 can hold its own confronting other devices on our best photographic camera phones list. It even exceeded the iPhone 13 Pro Max on some individual shots in our testing. We were particularly impressed with the colors in photos captured by the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Nosotros’d propose against taking photos with the 4MP nether-display camera, which still produces fuzzier shots compared to the superior 10MP photographic camera on the telephone’s embrace display. Nosotros also similar the multitasking features on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which let you do things like drag photos from the camera roll straight into Google Drive.
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Apple may accept stuck with a single-camera design for the iPhone SE (2022), but the lowest-cost iPhone withal does plenty with that lone lens. Part of the credit goes to the A15 Bionic within the SE — the aforementioned chipset that the iPhone 13 lineup uses. Because of the A15, the iPhone SE 2022 supports features such equally Smart HDR four (which can handle tricky lighting situations) and Deep Fusion (for calling it details and textures in photos). The iPhone SE 2022 may simply toll $429, merely the pictures you’ve captured will look like they’re coming from a much more expensive device.
At that place’due south a noticeable shortcoming with the iPhone SE 2022’s camera capabilities. Unlike the other best photographic camera phones, at that place’due south no Dark mode support. And as far as we can tell, at that place’s no reason for leaving out that feature, other than Apple tree want to distinguish its cheapest phone from its pricier flagships. The result is that the iPhone SE can’t lucifer the other phones on this listing for taking photos in low- and no-low-cal settings.
That shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from turning to the iPhone SE 2022, especially if you lot like Apple phones only don’t care for loftier cost tags. This iPhone still takes excellent all-around photos, fifty-fifty if its dark performance leaves a little to be desired.
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iPhone SE (2022) review
How to pick the best photographic camera telephone for you
In that location are many factors to consider if camera quality factors heavily into your smartphone purchasing determination. A good style to start is by asking yourself what kinds of photos you see yourself taking. Non all multi-lens cameras are created equal — some have ultrawide lenses for stunning landscapes, others accept telephotos for zoomed-in shallow-depth-of-field portraits, and others still have both. The newest flagships from the likes of Samsung and Huawei even take periscope-style lenses that tin attain up to 10x lossless zoom, rivaling the power of DSLRs.
Something else to consider: Megapixels don’t matter as much equally discontinuity. Cameras with a wider aperture (lower ƒ-finish numbers translate to wider lenses) let in more than light, which greatly helps produce better shots in the dark. The high-megapixel sensors establish in the latest devices are nice, but it’s a common misconception that pixel count straight translates to better-looking photos.
Practice you lot need a portrait mode that allows for bokeh backgrounds? That’s where the subject of the photo is in precipitous focus, while an artistic mistiness blankets the rest of the scene. Although information technology started every bit a feature exclusive to multi-camera phones, the single-lens iPhone SE is capable of capturing bokeh-issue portraits. Some devices even permit you adjust the strength of the blur before and afterward you take a shot.
Front camera specs are of import, likewise. In a earth where nosotros’re taking more selfies than e’er, you shouldn’t overlook a telephone’south front camera. Many front cameras, like the ones on the iPhone 13 and Pixel six, tin can really perform the same portrait mode furnishings that rear cameras pull off. Some phones feature two front cameras, with the 2d lens pulling in more than groundwork details, though that characteristic has gone out of manner recently.
Finally, don’t forget almost video. Your cameras shoot more than just still images. Consider what resolution the photographic camera captures video at along with the frame rate. A give-and-take to the wise, though: Be wary that ratcheting upwardly the resolution will result in clips that accept upward much more infinite on your smartphone’s internal storage.
How we test camera phones
When nosotros evaluate the best camera phones, we choice phones of comparable prices and capabilities and put them through a range of caput-to-head comparisons. We pick common shooting situations — landscapes, indoor and outdoor shots, portraits and selfies in daylight and at night. We also examination out each camera lens, including ultrawide angle and telephoto lenses if the phone features those.
In addition to testing the rear lenses of each phone, we also test the front camera, snapping selfies in both standard and portrait mode. We so compare the results to similar camera phones.
Photos used in our comparisons are taken with the default settings on each camera. Even if a phone offers manual controls, nosotros don’t examination those, as we want to replicate the experience the typical smartphone user would have using the camera app on a device.
In each of our smartphone reviews, nosotros likewise factor in any special features, such as dual lenses and what they enable, Portrait Modes, and other special modes, before we come up to a conclusion.
Camera testing is the most relevant evaluation for picking the all-time camera phones, but our smartphone reviews include other testing, such as functioning testing, battery testing and display testing. You tin run across the full results of those tests when nosotros rate the best phones overall.