The best camera phones offer a tantalizing combination of the pinnacle of imaging technology with pin-sharp displays and lightning-fast internet connectivity. In fact, some handsets can deliver better photographs than the 'proper' camera you might otherwise be tempted to pick up.
As camera phone technology progresses, you might find it tricky to keep up to date on the latest handsets available. Our phone rumors (opens in new tab) hub will keep you up to date with the latest leaks and smartphone news. But to help you find the best camera phone for you right now, we've rounded up a selection of the latest models with a range of budgets in mind.
Camera phone technology can really boil down to one simple concept – pure and simple convenience. Not only will the best camera phones feature powerful imaging sensors (for example, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (opens in new tab) has an incredible 108MP sensor – higher than most of the best professional cameras), but they'll also have incredible computational photography features that take a matter of milliseconds to process the images you capture and improve aspects such as sharpness, white balance and more.
While the best camera phones might not yet be able to beat the best DSLRs (opens in new tab) or mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) for sheer image quality, the one area that camera phones beat out traditional cameras in is their size. Even the best compact cameras (opens in new tab) can still take up most of your pocket (if they even fit in!), but the best fold phones (opens in new tab) such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 are incredibly compact.
No matter whether you're looking for a high-end camera phone that will help you capture great social media content, or you're simply looking for an everyday handset that will capture beautiful family snaps, we've rounded up the best camera phones currently available below…
The best camera phone in 2022
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We really like the look of the Pixel 7 Pro after a couple of hours. It's styling, screen, and camera mix all check our boxes, and even its price seems fair given everything you get for it.
So can Google's fun, fine-looking flagship smartphone flourish despite its modest gaming grunt, and will the new camera mix stack up well in the real world – is this the best camera phone of 2022 (opens in new tab)? It's too soon to say but check back for the full review in the coming days.
Read our hands on: Google Pixel 7 Pro review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The latest Galaxy flagship's four-camera system is top-notch, featuring wide, ultra-wide, telephoto and super-zoom sensors. The first of these boasts a 108MP sensor, with an f/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel AF, and an 85-degree field of view. The 12MP ultra-wide camera features an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view. There's also one 10MP telephoto with an equivalent three times zoom (f/2.4) and another 10MP telephoto with a 10 times zoom (f/4.9). And that's not to mention the selfie camera, with its 40MP resolution, f/2.2 aperture and 8K video capture at 24fps.
More broadly, this is a large, stylish and powerful smartphone. Its 6.8-inch AMOLED screen is to die for, with smooth motion, vivid colors, impressive brightness, and 500 pixels per inch resolution.
The S Pen stylus is brilliant, and gives you the kind of productivity you previously only got with a Galaxy Note. There's a powerful 5,000 mAh battery to keep it going for hours, and the design and look of the phone is simple but, to our eyes, very stylish.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The iPhone 14 Pro is a serious, pocketable powerhouse. Yes, it's thick, but its relatively compact footprint and ample camera and power mix make it an enticing option, especially for photographers.
While it's a shame there's no pro mode for manual photography, the 14 Pro's 48MP RAW photos capture excellent results. The automatic mode's photo processing is also one of the best, if not the best, we've seen on a phone. Additionally, while the lack of a periscope zoom is a bugbear when using the Pro, on smaller phones, there's less of an expectation for a far-reaching zoom.
So while the new iPhone 14 Pro is expensive, it's a mighty phone with a brilliant camera, that's powerful and lasts a full day. Is it the best smartphone of 2022? If you're an Apple fan who likes more compact phones, absolutely. If you consider yourself a power user who needs a superior battery and the very best watching experience, then you should think about picking up the 14 Pro Max.
Read our full iPhone 14 Pro review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The Google Pixel 7 is a very safe bet for photographers who want a balanced phone. Yes, you have to sacrifice a little manual control – no pro mode or access to 50MP RAW photos isn't ideal. But for a point-and-shoot mobile, nothing in the Pixel's price range can best it.
Google's photo processing is tasteful and still ekes out loads of shadow detail, the large sensor does great things with close-up photos, blurring out the background naturally, and lowlight scenes, brightening things up reliably. The phone won't be for photography purists, but it will likely check everyone else's boxes from a camera point of view.
As for the rest of the phone – sure, more consistent battery performance would have been ideal in our week with the phone. The inclusion of wireless charging and IP68 water resistance is both a boon at the price, though, and after our third day with the phone, it always kept us alive from morning to night.
Read our full Google Pixel 7 review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Starting with the cameras, they're improved over the Z Fold 3, and Samsung's camera software has also gotten better too. So while we aren't blown away by the Z Fold 4's automatic mode – it's good, but nothing special, especially given the phone's price, its manual modes and Expert RAW features are excellent. This is especially true when matched with Flex Mode, for some super-steady shooting.
The rest of the phone is premium across the board. The design seems robust and durable – not as slimline as the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, but definitely hardier-feeling. IPX8 water resistance is also a great boon for Samsung's folding phones, and the Z Fold 4's hinge, which locks at almost any point across the 180º rotation, is also very impressive. The competition's foldables (available in China) spring open or closed, by contrast, preventing them from working with a Flex Mode style interface.
Add S Pen support and decent battery life to the mix, and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a mighty smartphone and foldable. Of course, we would have loved better camera hardware, but given how much better the photography experience is year-on-year, and how useful the Z Fold 4's big screen is for third-party photography apps, it's still a great choice.
In fact, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 makes an interesting argument – the best phone for photographers might not be the one with the best camera hardware. Instead, it might be the best companion to your existing camera, the one that can slot into your workflow and run those apps you rely on – potentially, the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The Sony Xperia 1 III is the only choice for video pros and cinema buffs who want to get manual with their smartphone videography. It’s able to shoot footage at up to 21:9 for cinema style capture, offers full manual control and features a beautifully flat color profile, perfect for post-processing in Premiere Pro or Da Vinci Resolve (opens in new tab). Thankfully, almost everything else about this phone is excellent too, with a striking 21:9, 4K HDR screen, a clean UI and a snappy chipset ensuring plenty of power under the hood. Sony photography fans will also appreciate all the Alpha elements that have made their way into the Xperia camera UI. If want the ultimate cinema experience, both from a content creation and consumption point of view, the Xperia 1 III is it.
Read our full Sony Xperia 1 III review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The OnePlus 10 Pro boasts a good-looking body, a stunning screen, and stacks of power - it’s a great gaming phone that also gives you impressive value for money. While the 48MP primary camera is impressive in areas – photos are processed with pizazz and look rich, detail is fair and the ultra-wide field of view is stellar - there are a handful of quirks that hold the 10 Pro, like colour inconsistency between the rear facing cameras, and the ultrawide snapper's lack of autofocus. What also holds back the OnePlus 10 Pro’s appeal is the fact Google’s Pixel 6 Pro (above) can be had for similar money, but is an all-round better camera phone. That’s why while we can wholeheartedly recommend the OnePlus 10 Pro – it’s a great phone, after all - it can't make it further up this list.
Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
From a photography point of view, the iPhone 14 is a great piece of kit, especially if you just want to point, shoot and share great-looking shots via social media without doing much post-processing. However, the more serious photographer will miss the ability to shoot in RAW (.dng) format so that they can enjoy fine-tuning the look of their images in a digital darkroom such as Adobe Camera Raw.
Images on the iPhone 14’s Super Retina XDR display look great, but you may need to view them on a larger display if you want to discover and remove noise artefacts or retouch a portrait more effectively. In this instance, you might consider paying an extra £100 for the iPhone 14 Plus, which has the same camera specs but boasts a larger 6.7” display (and it provides an extra 6 hours of video playback). The iPhone 14 should be more attractive to those who want to upgrade from an iPhone 12 or older as they will notice a bigger difference in performance and features than those upgrading from an iPhone13.
The iPhone 14’s new Action mode produces amazingly smooth handheld footage which alleviates the need to stabilize it in a non-linear editing app, but serious filmmakers may also want the option to shoot in HDR Dolby Vision, which will lead them in the direction of the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max. The iPhone 14’s lack of a Telephoto camera and Macro mode will also cause many photographers to cough up the extra cash for a Pro model iPhone.
Read our full iPhone 14 review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Google’s first flagship in years has a lot to prove. The Pixel 5 was great, but definitely wasn’t a top-end smartphone, and the Pixel 4 missed the mark for us, with rehashed camera hardware and overheating internals. With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google hits the target.
Its triple rear-facing camera system has had a full hardware refresh: the main (26mm wide-angle) camera features a 50MP 1/1.31 sensor with 1.2-micron pixels, omnidirectional phase-detection autofocus, laser autofocus, and OIS. For a wider perspective, there's also a 12MP 17mm ultrawide camera module.
But arguably the most impressive camera in the Pixel 6 Pro is its new periscope zoom camera. Utilising a 48MP sensor with an f/3.5 aperture, 104mm lens, the telephoto module gives you roughly 4x zoom. The sensor itself is tiny at 1/2 an inch, but thanks to Google’s software know-how matched with OIS, it’s still a cracking addition to the handset, and really makes the 6 Pro worth choosing over the regular Pixel 6.
While Google’s Tensor chipset gets hot on first setup and with intense gaming, day to day, we found everything from performance to photography to be impressive on Google’s top-tier flagship – a hands down win for Google.
Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Until the launch of the latest Samsung Galaxy S22 ultra, the S21 Ultra was one of our top camera phones, and it remains a stunningly sophisticated device with a lot to offer. This phone features four rear cameras, including a 108MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera and two 10MP telephoto cameras – one with an f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom and one with an f/4.9 aperture and a huge 10x optical zoom. You also get a fantastic 6.8-inch screen. The Dynamic AMOLED 2X display features a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and gaming experiences, HDR10+ support, 1500-nit peak brightness and a 1440 x 3200 resolution.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Though it's camera improvements may be fairly modest when compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 13 Pro still sports some worthwhile upgrades. There's a useful new macro mode, along with an improvement to low light shooting with the ultra-wide camera. New picture styles are worth experimenting with, while the Cinematic video mode is a clever feature and nice to have if you're a budding movie-maker.
As for camera hardware, Apple has gone for a triple lens set up on the iPhone 13 Pro, giving us a standard, ultra wide and telephoto lens. We have the same focal lengths for the 26mm (equivalent) standard lens, and 13mm (0.5x) ultra-wide optic, but the telephoto lens has been extended to a 3x (78mm) offering, compared with the iPhone 12 Pro’s 2x lens.
Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro is without question the best iPhone for photographers to date (exactly what we’d expect) and it produces fantastic image and video quality, but it’s not for those who are particularly budget conscious, especially if you’re already in possession of a 12 Pro which is very nearly as good.
Read our full iPhone 13 Pro review(opens in new tab)
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the biggest and best of Apple’s new-generation iPhones, with the same cameras and tech as the iPhone 13 Pro, but with a bigger screen (6.7 inches versus 6.1 inches). The Pro Max also boasts a slightly longer battery life of up to 28hrs video playback versus up to 22 hours on the smaller '13 Pro. It might be tempting to pick the Pro Max over the regular Pro model just to get ‘the best of everything’. The regular Pro costs enough, so why not take that last step and get the bigger screen? Well, some may simply find it too big to be comfortable to use every day. There's no doubt the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a truly stunning camera phone, whether you shoot stills or video. However, the regular iPhone 13 Pro boasts the same photographic performance in a more ergonomic (and cheaper!) package, hence why it's higher up this list.
Read our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The iPhone 12 Pro is one of the best camera phones currently available, featuring an impressive triple camera unit, including an ultra wide f/2.4 camera, a wide f/1.6 camera and a telephoto f/2 camera. Meanwhile, the front-facing TrueDepth camera features a 12MP sensor as well. There are plenty of new features on the iPhone 12 Pro, such as a LiDAR scanner – which will mean faster focusing in low light situations. The iPhone 12 Pro will also be able to use the new Apple ProRAW file format, which means users will be able to combine the great computational photography effects Apple is known for with the power of RAW files. Combined with the addition of 5G and the new Ceramic Shield display that has a 4x better drop performance, you just can't go wrong with the new iPhone 12 Pro!
Read our full iPhone 12 Pro review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you're looking for one of the best camera phones for telephoto capabilities, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra might be right up your alley. Featuring a triple rear camera, the Note 20 Ultra has a 108MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera and – the pièce de résistance – a 12MP f/3 camera with 5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes in three colors, including Mystic Bronze, Mystic White or Mystic Black. While the Note 20 Ultra is a little pricey, we've definitely seen the handset begin to fall since it first appeared on the market back in April 2020.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Want the photography smarts of a modern iPhone, but on a tight budget? Then the 2022 iPhone SE is ideal. At a surprisingly affordable price, you get an impressive camera setup, with a 12MP f/1.8 aperture wide camera on the rear. The new, fast A15 Bionic chip makes everything works smoothly and beautifully, with AI enhanced software such as Portrait mode and the same Smart HDR 4 tech as the iPhone 13 giving you lots of great shooting options. The rear camera (7 MP, f/2.2) is pretty decent too. Elsewhere, the iPhone SE (2022) offers 5G, longer battery life, and improved durability. It's rated IP67 for water and dust resistance, features the Home button, and supports Touch ID and Apple Pay. On the downside, the screen is pretty small, at 4.7 inches, you're not getting zoom or ultra-wide enses, and in general it's not as powerful as the iPhone 13 series. But overall you're getting a very nice camera phone indeed, for not a lot of money.
HOW WE TEST CAMERA PHONES
As a photography website, we pay special attention to the photo and video quality of camera phones. We rate resolution, noise and color rendition (opens in new tab)in the context of what rival cameras can do, and where there are any special features, such as ‘night modes’ or ‘portrait modes’, we check that these perform as the makers describe. Camera phones are all-round digital assistants too, of course, so we will also check general handling, usability and practicality – such as battery life.
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