Best Camera Phones 2023: Our Top Picks

best camera phone

best camera phone

If you're looking for the best camera phones around, we're here to help with your search.

We've done the legwork and found a number of smartphones that we thought stood out from the crowd, based on specs, reviews, and any additional features they offer.

There's also a handy guide a little further down that can help you make a decision on what to look for when picking up your next camera phone, including the importance of sensor size and different types of zoom.

With the new iPhone 14 series and OnePlus 10 series, there are a lot of phones to look into and choose from.

Plus, don't forget, there are loads of new phones heading our way, like the upcoming Google Pixel 7 too, which should continue the trend of excellence when it comes to their cameras.

Best Camera Phone

Best Camera Phone iPhone - iPhone 13 Pro Max

Best Camera Phone Apple Iphone 13 Pro Max
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Image Credit: Apple
Rear camera: 12MP/ 12MP/ 12MP | Front camera: 12MP | OS: iOS 15 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1284 x 2778 | CPU: A15 Bionic | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB

When it comes to an iPhone with a cracking camera setup, look no further than Apple's latest flagship offering, the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

What you'll find here is a similar triple rear setup to last year's model, although with a revamped ultrawide snapper with an associated Macro Mode for close-ups. There's also a handy LiDAR sensor that can offer both the 'bokeh effect' and some sharp night-time photography.

Read More: iPhone 14: everything we know so far

In addition, the line-up brings with it a 'Cinematic Mode' to add some Hollywood flair to your videos. Alongside this, expect to find a slick 120Hz 6.7-inch display with an automatically adjusting refresh rate courtesy of Apple's ProMotion tech.

A new storage option of 1TB is also a sure-fire way of making sure there's plenty of space on your phone for all the photos and videos you'll be taking

The iPhone 13 Pro Max also comes with Apple's A15 Bionic chip which is also updated from last year's model alongside an extra GPU core for added power on the Pro models.

Best Camera Phone Google - Google Pixel 6 Pro

Best Camera Phone Google Pixel
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Credit: Google
Rear camera: 50 MP (wide)/ 48 MP (telephoto) / 12MP (ultrawide) | Front camera: 11.1 MP (ultrawide) | OS: Android 12 | Screen size: 6.71 inches | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | Battery: 5003 mAh | CPU: Google Tensor| RAM: 128GB/ 12GB RAM, 256GB/ 12GB RAM, 512GB/ 12GB RAM

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is highly regarded for its camera and draws some direct comparisons to the iPhone 13 Pro in terms of picture quality.

When it comes to filming, the Google Pixel 6 Pro looks to reign supreme with its 4K filming at either 30/60fps, plus up to 240fps at 1080p.

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Whether it's capturing cinematic shots or fast-paced action, this phone should be able to deliver the goods.

Worth checking out if you're on the hunt for a phone that can really do it all... that is until the Google Pixel 7 is released of course!

Best Camera Phone OnePlus - OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

Best camera Phone OnePlus
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Image Credit: OnePlus
Rear camera: 48MP/ 50MP/ 8MP/ 2MP | Front camera: 16MP | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3216 | Battery: 4,500 mAh | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128/256GB

Another feature-packed smartphone, this OnePlus 9 Pro boasts some serious power under the hood thanks to its Snapdragon 888 processor, but when it comes to the camera it really comes into its own.

This phone was made in collaboration with Hasselblad, a company renowned for its camera lenses, with a particular focus being on colour accuracy and consistency, of which this phone is supposed to excel.

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Of course one of the big draws is the immense 50MP camera that's available, which can aid in capturing highly detailed scenes with fantastic contrast.

Since the battery is 4,500 mAh, you may need to pack a portable charger if you plan on spending the day shooting, but overall, it looks like this OnePlus 9 Pro is a great camera phone for the price.

Best Camera Phone Huawei - Huawei Mate 40 Pro

best camera phone, product image of a black smartphone
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Image Credit: Huawei
Rear camera: 50MP/ 12MP/ 20MP | Front camera: 13MP / 13MP | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.76-inch | Resolution: 1344 x 2772 | Battery: 4,400 mAh | CPU: Kirin 9000 5G | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128/256GB/512GB

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro, with its triple rear camera setup, also looks to be quite the capable candidate, although do note it does lack access to any Google apps.

You'll find a 50MP main sensor with quite a wide aperture of f/1.9 as well as a 12MP periscope option and a 20MP ultrawide. What this should translate to is a clever all-rounder that can cope with any kind of shot taken.

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Those wider apertures on the 50MP main snapper and the 20MP ultrawide should also make this a good option for low-light photography.

Otherwise, you'll find plenty of dedicated modes including both a light painting feature and one specifically for moon photography.

The Mate 40 Pro also features upwards of 512GB of storage on the top model, which should give you plenty of space for those pictures and videos.

Best Camera Phone Samsung - Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

product image Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
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Credit: Samsung
Rear camera: 108MP/ 10MP/ 10MP/ 12MP | Front camera: 10MP | OS: Android 12 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3088 | Battery: 5,000 mAh | CPU: Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4 nm) | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128/256GB/512GB/1TB

One of the best Samsung phones to date, the recently released Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is another excellent phone for photography.

This device boasts a total of five cameras, with four rear lenses and one front-facing lens, including a whopping 108MP wide lens on the back.

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Where this device really shines is with its impressive zoom function, capable of capturing a total of 100x zoom.

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It also includes a variety of features to improve picture and video quality at night or in darker environments.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a fantastic phone for photography and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to choosing the best phone for photography, there are many things to look into before purchasing.

Do more megapixels mean better quality?

When it comes to cameras, although having more megapixels does tend to be better, it does not necessarily mean higher quality photos.

The quality of a photo is not only due to the number of pixels but also down to other factors, such as the size of the sensor and the size of the individual pixels.

For example, if a 12MP and 16MP camera share the same size sensor, the 16MP camera won't necessarily be better.

Also, image quality can be affected by the software that the phones use to process the image, and many photographers will have their preferences depending on the quality and user accessibility.

Which is better optical or digital zoom?

Optical zoom uses magnifying lenses to focus on something in the distance, whereas digital zoom crops into the centre of the photo.

Optical zoom will generally produce higher quality images as it uses the full range of the camera's megapixels, whereas digital zoom will stretch the image and artificially fill the gaps in.

However, as technology advances, digital is becoming increasingly better and can provide higher levels of zoom on phones that don't have much capacity for optical lenses.

What specs should I look for in my phone camera?

Larger screens can often be helpful to provide as big a viewfinder as possible which makes it easy to see the image you're capturing.

You may also want a phone that offers image stabilisation, as this will reduce the blurriness of images that can occur when taking photos without a steady tripod or stand.

Additional features such as slow-motion, ISO controls, video, and zoom may also be a factor to consider depending on your requirements.

Can a camera phone be better than a camera?

For the sake of convenience, having a smartphone with a great camera is more convenient than lugging a big DSLR around with a plethora of lenses.

Moreover, as controls for ISO and shutter speed can be found in high-end flagships these days, then there's a possible argument to suggest that the plucky phone may be catching up.

Read More: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Vs S21 Ultra: What's The Difference?

However, in the real world, very few photographers are likely to shy away from their mirrorless or DSLR cameras due to a few things - most notably, the sheer size of the sensors and control.

An actual camera offers great freedom and customisation with pictures and video. In addition, given that these are devices truly designed to take incredible shots, the end product is likely to be a lot better.

Does sensor size matter for camera phones?

The size of the sensor determines how much light is let into the camera which can lead to higher-quality photos as the camera has more light information from which it can process an ideal image.

It is a misconception that the higher the megapixel, the better the image. For example, a flagship smartphone with a 108 MP camera won't be able to compete on the same level as a 20 MP DSLR largely thanks to sensor size.

That's not to say megapixels aren't important. Traditionally, a higher megapixel rating can provide wider images which is arguably why phones are ideal for both panoramic shots and rather wide shots in general.

What is ISO in camera phones?

ISO is one of three main measures used by cameras to determine an image's exposure. It originally referred to the ability of film to gather light but is more associated with sensitivity.

Alongside both f-stop and shutter speed, fiddling with ISO can result in an image looking grainy if not balanced correctly. Luckily, a lot of phones and cameras have an Auto function that can help to balance things out properly.

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