The best camera phones in 2021

The combat for best camera phones comes down to an Apple vs. Google showdown. And while we now have our favorite, the high quality of images produced by the latest phones from the ones firms simply goes to turn that this is a great time to be in the market for a camera telephone.

Not handiest do the best camera phones characteristic progressed hardware — Apple upgraded the sensors on the iPhone 13, while the Pixel 6 Pro will get an extended awaited telephoto lens — the tool assists in keeping improving too. Both Apple and Google depend heavily on computational photography to further support the images their camera phones produce.

Of direction, you've got alternatives past those two telephone makers if you end up trying to hunt down the best camera telephone. Our trying out has helped us in finding gadgets that seize memorable photographs and once-in-a-lifetime shots you'd leave out with less-capable handsets. We're looking for camera phones that meld intricate optics and sensors with instrument algorithms that depend on math and science to extract the best conceivable light, colour and detail out of each and every scenario. It's not near to the number of lenses on the back, both — some phone makers make the maximum of synthetic intelligence to make stronger publish processing on your photos.

After masses of hours of trying out and many head-to-head photo comparisons, these are the best camera phones you'll be able to purchase right now.

What are the best camera phones?

The new king of camera phones is the iPhone 13 Pro Max, adopted very carefully by the smaller iPhone 13 Pro. Featuring a triple 12MP setup with larger sensors on the vast and ultrawide cameras, plus 3x optical zoom on the telephoto lens, the new Pro fashions earn their names with impressive footage and movies.

If you need to look past Apple's phones, numerous the best Android phones characteristic spectacular cameras of their own. The Google Pixel 6 Pro, and the Pixel 6 next to it, are the new cream of the crop. The OnePlus 9 Pro, Galaxy S21 Ultra and even the lower-cost Pixel 5a all depend on multiple rear lenses and high-end picture processing options to deliver the best photographs.

In truth, the Pixel 5a is our select for many who truly want to maximize their pictures on-the-go however spend as little as possible; Apple lovers can flip to the iPhone SE, which is one in all the best cheap phones out there, because it promises exceptional symbol high quality in spite of costing less than half the price of a top rate device.

The best camera phones you can buy today

Image 1 of four
Image 2 of four
Image Three of four
Image 4 of four

1. iPhone 13 Pro Max

The best camera telephone you'll be able to buy

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch OLED (2778 x 1284)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 6GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / No

Rear cameras: 12MP primary (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/1.8), 12MP telephoto (f/2.5) with 3x

Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 8.5 ounces

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 12:16

Reasons to buy

+Best-in-class cameras+Excellent battery life+Immersive 6.7-inch display

Reasons to keep away from

-Charger sold separately-Just a little heavy and hulking

The largest iPhone 13 is also the best camera phone you'll be able to purchase. Apple went all out with the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s hardware, expanding the sensor size for the primary and ultrawide cameras and adding autofocus to the latter. That ultrawide can act as a macro camera, photographing subjects up to 2 cm away. The sensor-shift OIS presented final 12 months on the iPhone 12 Pro Max returns this year and the telephoto received a boost to 3x.

Apple also advanced its computational photography, especially in terms of low-light. Also new this year are Photographic Styles — basically real-time filters — and Cinematic mode. The latter is portrait video on steroids, boasting dynamically shifting focus to create a actually skilled video enjoy.

This is the telephone to get if you need the best camera revel in.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review.

Image 1 of four
Image 2 of 4
Image 3 of four
Image 4 of 4

2. iPhone 13 Pro

Powerful camera hardware packed right into a smaller body

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 6GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / No

Rear cameras: 12MP primary (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/1.8), 12MP telephoto (f/2.8) with 3x

Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 7.2 oz.

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:42

Reasons to shop for

+Gorgeous and vivid 120Hz show+Incredible performance+Spectacular cameras+Vastly progressed battery life

Reasons to keep away from

-No charger included

Nipping at the heels of its larger brother, the iPhone 13 Pro is an excessively close 2d in this list of the best camera phones. It sports the same hardware as the iPhone 13 Pro Max with the greater sensors, autofocus on the ultrawide camera and macro mode.

However, the iPhone 13 Pro is correct in line with the Pro Max, getting sensor-shift OIS and the identical 3x optical zoom. Photographic Styles and Cinematic mode additionally come standard. Basically, this is the phone to get if you need the best camera experience but in a smaller package. The 6.1-inch show is still gorgeous and contours 120Hz ProMovement for ultra clean animations and transitions.

The battery life is even awesome, going for almost 12 hours in our battery life take a look at, which means you'll take quite a few pictures and videos.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro review.

Image 1 of 4
Image 2 of four
Image Three of four
Image 4 of 4

3. Pixel 6 Pro

The best Android camera phone you can purchase

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch OLED (3120 x 1440; 10-120Hz)

CPU: Tensor

RAM: 12GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear cameras: 50MP main (ƒ/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2), 48MP telephoto (ƒ/3.5) with 4x optical zoom

Front camera: 11.1MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 7.Four oz

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 7:49

Reasons to shop for

+Incredible cameras+Tensor performs smartly+Beautiful new design+More affordable than other flagships

Reasons to steer clear of

-Shorter battery lifestyles than competition

Google has as soon as once more claimed its Android pictures crown. The Pixel 6 Pro has implausible cameras, because of upgraded hardware and robust instrument chops. The finish result is one thing that may cross toe-to-toe with Apple and even calmly trade blows (especially with the evening mode, Night Sight). 

The 50MP primary camera sensor lets in 150% extra light, whilst the 48MP telephoto lens sports activities 4x optical zoom and 20x digital zoom. And the 11MP front-facing camera has a 94-degree field of view for ultrawide selfies.

Not simplest do you get the best cameras on an Android telephone, however the Pixel 6 Pro sports the new Tensor chip, which lends itself well to such things as computational images and new Google Assistant features. If you’re in the Android camp, that is the phone to get if you wish to have the best mobile images experience.

Read our complete Google Pixel 6 Pro review.

Image 1 of five
Image 2 of 5
Image 3 of 5
Image 4 of five
Image Five of five

4. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The best camera telephone choice to the iPhone

Specifications

Display: 6.8-inch OLED (3200x1400; 10-120Hz)

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 12GB, 16GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear camera: 108MP large (f/1.8), 12MP extremely wide (ƒ/2.2), 10MP telephoto (3x zoom, f/2.4), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom, f/4.9), laser AF sensor

Front camera: 40MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 8.08 oz.

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:25

Reasons to buy

+Dual telephoto lenses+S Pen enhance+Dynamic 6.8-inch show

Reasons to steer clear of

-No charger in field-Lacks microSD card slot

While Apple and Google duke it out, the newest Galaxy S21 Ultra does the whole thing it will probably to cement Samsung’s place as the camera telephone to get when you wish to have to zoom in for finer main points. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S21 Ultra with a pair of telephoto lenses — one with a 3x optical zoom, the other with a 10x — and the results impressed us in our checking out. Support for a 100x digital zoom returns, too, and now there’s a Zoom Lock characteristic that will help you keep those pictures in focal point. A laser focal point sensor also complements the major 108MP lens.

The story with Samsung’s new telephone isn’t with reference to hardware, though. The Galaxy S21 Ultra features numerous new software tricks that permit you to get extra inventive together with your footage. The Simple Take function from final year has been progressed to now generate slow-motion movies while you press the shutter button. Director’s View allows you to capture video from both the front and rear cameras concurrently, and you'll be able to additionally switch between the S21’s other lenses on the fly.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s talent to report 8K video makes it a super device to have in the event you capture a lot of video and those zoom lenses put the iPhone on understand. This is a great camera phone to have when you’re an Android fan.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 review.

Image 1 of four
Image 2 of 4
Image Three of four
Image 4 of 4

5. Google Pixel 6

A super camera experience for less

Specifications

Display: 6.4-inch OLED (2400 x 1080; 90Hz)

CPU: Google Tensor

RAM: 8GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear cameras: 50MP primary (ƒ/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2)

Front camera: 8MP (ƒ/2.0)

Weight: 7.Three ounces

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 8:13

Reasons to buy

+Tensor chip adds smarts to the telephone+Excellent photo-editing options+Android 12 is a welcome replace

Reasons to avoid

-Battery life can be brief over 5G-Some shade problems with pictures

While it will lack the telephoto lens, the Google Pixel 6 is still an impressive camera telephone. You get the same 50MP main and 12MP ultrawide sensors in a somewhat smaller body. Photos come out clear and crisp, despite the fact that we noticed some shade inconsistencies in some footage.

Still, the Pixel 6 is the best camera telephone for many Android customers. You’ll get stunning panorama shots, portraits, and selfies. And with all of the new AI-based images features like Magic Eraser, you will have so much at your disposal.

Read our full Google Pixel 6 review.

Image 1 of 5
Image 2 of 5
Image 3 of five
Image Four of 5
Image 5 of five

6. Google Pixel 5a

The best camera phone underneath $500

Specifications

Display: 6.43-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)

CPU: Snapdragon 765G

RAM: 6GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB / No

Rear cameras: 12.2MP (f/1.7), 16MP (f/2.2) ultrawide

Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)

Weight: 6.5 oz.

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 9:45

Reasons to shop for

+Spectacular cameras+Big, shiny display+IP67 water resistance

Reasons to avoid

-Older chipset-Limited to US and Japan

The Pixel 5a from Google is, through some distance, the best camera enjoy underneath $500 as our Google Pixel 5a vs. iPhone SE shoot-out proves. New to Google's telephone this 12 months is the addition of a 16MP ultrawide camera. The Pixel 4a from closing 12 months best had a 12.2MP camera, regardless that it by myself was extraordinarily excellent. 

But the Pixel 5a additionally has a major hardware upgrade to help it procedure pictures faster and higher. The Snapdragon 765G in the 5a is the same processor you’ll find in the Pixel 5 or Pixel 4a 5G. While it’s now not the best or newest Snapdragon round (and it’s simply crushed by the A13 Bionic in the iPhone SE), it’s nonetheless powerful enough to perform some critical images magic.

The $one hundred price hike from the Pixel 4a stings slightly, however the hardware upgrades, larger battery, and larger display screen all make up for it. 

Read our complete Google Pixel 5a review.

Image 1 of 5
Image 2 of five
Image Three of five
Image Four of five
Image 5 of 5

7. OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus' best camera phone ever

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3168x1440)

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 8GB, 12GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear camera: 48MP main (ƒ/1.8), 50MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2), 8MP telephoto with 3x optical (ƒ/2.4), 2MP monochrome

Front camera: 16MP (ƒ/2.4)

Weight: 6.9 ounces

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:40

Reasons to buy

+Excellent cameras total+Beautiful 120Hz show+Fast wi-fi and stressed charging

Reasons to avoid

-Nightscape footage are inconsistent-Morning Mist fashion is slippery

Past OnePlus phones have normally been a step or two in the back of the rest of the best camera phones. But that’s changed with the OnePlus 9 Pro, thanks to a partnership with camera specialist Hasselblad. OnePlus and Hasselblad are locked up in a multi-year deal to improve OnePlus’ cameras, with the Nine sequence reaping the benefits first. 

That translates to raised colours in photos enthusiastic about the OnePlus 9 Pro, as the post-processing has advanced dramatically with this phone. Some options can behave unpredictably — we had combined effects shooting in low-light — but general, we had been happy with the pictures we took with the OnePlus 9 Pro, which now has both the hardware and instrument to stay alongside of the iPhone and the Pixel.

You can see for your self through trying out our OnePlus 9 Pro camera face-off, in which we take a look at how the new OnePlus phone compares to the best camera phones from Apple and Google.

A less expensive telephone, the OnePlus 9, additionally benefits from the Hasselblad partnership, regardless that that phone lacks the Pro’s 8MP telephoto lens.

Read our complete OnePlus 9 Pro review.

Image 1 of four
Image 2 of 4
Image Three of four
Image 4 of 4

8. iPhone 13

The iPhone's best cameras for much less

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 4GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear cameras: 12MP major (f/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.4)

Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 6.1 oz.

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:33

Reasons to buy

+Impressive twin cameras+Incredible efficiency+Comprehensive 5G coverage+Cinematic mode

Reasons to steer clear of

-Slow charging

The best iPhone for the reasonable person, the iPhone Thirteen options notable improvements over its predecessor. Not handiest is the battery lifestyles a lot better, but the cameras were given some upgrades, too. First and principal, the sensors are higher now, letting in more light to assist with indoor and night photos. 

Besides simply the excellent cameras, you get the Photographic Styles and Cinematic mode that the Pro fashions have. Though you lose out on the telephoto lens and wider apertures, you however get an unbelievable photography revel in for a particularly reasonable value. Apple even upped the base storage to 128GB whilst maintaining the charge to you the similar.

Read our complete iPhone 13 review.

Image 1 of 5
Image 2 of 5
Image 3 of 5
Image 4 of 5
Image 5 of five

9. Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

An selection to the Galaxy S21 Ultra

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (2400x1080)

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 8GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear camera: 12MP broad (f/1.8), 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 64MP telephoto (f/2.0) with 3x hybrid zoom/30x virtual

Front camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 7.05 oz.

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 9:53

Reasons to buy

+Gorgeous 120Hz display+Excellent efficiency+Crazy zoom function+Beautiful design

Reasons to keep away from

-No microSD card slot or charger

You may just easily make a selection the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra as your go-to camera telephone, and it might be an excellent selection. The S21 Ultra produced the best footage of any of the Galaxy S21 models launched this 12 months. However, at $1,199, it isn't cheap. But Samsung released 3 S21 models and in case you are nonetheless on the lookout for a large phone, then you definitely must take a look at the $999 Galaxy S21 Plus.

While it lacks the insane zoom features of the S21 Ultra, the Galaxy S21 Plus nonetheless outdoes the different phones in this list for sheer zoom quality. And it takes great common photos to boot, although Samsung likes to over-expose slightly in publish and follow an excessive amount of face smoothing in portraits and selfies.

If you would desire a smaller, extra pocketable tool, the Galaxy S21 has the identical camera setup as the S21 Plus, simply in a smaller frame. It additionally prices much less at an appealing $799.

Read our complete Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review.

Image 1 of 4
Image 2 of 4
Image Three of 4
Image Four of four

10. iPhone SE (2020)

The best midrange camera telephone for iPhone customers

Specifications

Display: 4.7-inch LCD (1334x750)

CPU: A13 Bionic

RAM: 3GB

Storage/Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear camera: 12MP large (ƒ/1.8)

Front camera: 7MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 5.22 oz

Battery existence (Hrs: Mins): 9:18

Reasons to shop for

+Very reasonably priced+Fast A13 Bionic efficiency+Excellent camera for the value+Supports wi-fi charging

Reasons to avoid

-Big bezels

The $Four hundred iPhone SE packs the iPhone 8's 12-megapixel, ƒ/1.Eight single-lens camera, but additionally benefits from Cupertino's A13 Bionic processor to kick its computational photography powers into excessive tools.

The effects merely discuss for themselves. The Pixel 4a has an advantage in terms of nighttime pictures, in addition to shallow depth-of-field portraits and digital zoom. That mentioned, the iPhone SE is just about as capable in many scenarios, because it benefits from lots of Apple's subtle imaging tactics, like Smart HDR and Semantic Rendering.

Because the iPhone SE lacks ultrawide or telephoto lenses, it's not very best — regardless that, alongside the Pixel 4a, its camera is a long way and away higher than those inside of the vast majority of different, similarly-priced models you'll be able to purchase as of late. Overall, if you need a new handset and should not have a lot to spend — and particularly if it needs to be an iPhone — there may be merely no better deal out there presently.

Read our full iPhone SE 2020 review.

How to pick out the best camera phone for you

There are many elements to believe if camera high quality components heavily into your smartphone buying determination. A good way to begin is by means of asking of yourself what types of pictures you see yourself taking. Not all multi-lens cameras are created equivalent — some have ultrawide lenses for shocking landscapes, others have telephotos for zoomed-in shallow-depth-of-field portraits, and others still have both. The latest flagships from the likes of Samsung and Huawei also have periscope-style lenses that can succeed in as much as 10x lossless zoom, rivaling the energy of DSLRs.

Something else to imagine: Megapixels don’t subject up to aperture. Cameras with a much broader aperture (lower ƒ-stop numbers translate to wider lenses) let in more mild, which a great deal is helping produce better photographs in the dark. The high-megapixel sensors discovered in the newest devices are nice, but it is a common false impression that pixel depend directly interprets to better-looking footage. 

Do you want a portrait mode that permits for bokeh backgrounds? That’s the place the matter of the photograph is in sharp center of attention, whilst an artistic blur blankets the remainder of the scene. Although it began as a function unique to multi-camera phones, the single-lens iPhone SE is able to capturing bokeh-effect portraits. Some units even help you modify the power of the blur ahead of and after you take a shot.

Front camera specifications are necessary, too. In a world where we’re taking extra selfies than ever, you shouldn’t put out of your mind a phone’s entrance camera. Some entrance cameras, like the ones on the iPhone 12 and Pixel 5, can actually carry out the similar portrait mode results that rear cameras pull off. Some phones, like the older Galaxy S10 Plus, function two entrance cameras, with the 2d lens pulling in more background main points.

Finally, don’t disregard about video. Your cameras shoot more than just nonetheless pictures. Consider what solution the camera captures video at along with the body fee. A phrase to the smart, despite the fact that: Be wary that ratcheting up the solution will consequence in clips that take up much more area in your smartphone's internal garage.

How we test camera phones

We put the market's leading handsets through various common capturing situations, equivalent to landscapes, portraits and selfies in sunlight and at night time. Then, we analyze every set of pictures on a color-calibrated track to peer which smartphone had the best aggregate of coloration accuracy, readability and contrast. We also perform in-depth camera comparisons between the top phones, the usage of each and every handset in their auto mode to take a variety of photos in other prerequisites. After stating a winner in each and every spherical, we title an total winner of that face-off.

In every of our smartphone opinions, we additionally issue in any particular features, comparable to dual lenses and what they allow, Portrait Modes, and different particular modes, before we come to a conclusion.

You May Like Also

  • Best digital photo frames
  • See all prices (92 found)
  • See all prices (90 found)
  • See all prices (18 found)
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro review
  • See all prices (21 found)
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 review
  • See all prices (16 found)
  • Google Pixel 5a vs. iPhone SE shoot-out
  • View at OnePlus US & Canada
  • OnePlus 9 Pro camera face-off,
  • See all prices (45 found)
  • See all prices (62 found)
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G 128GB
  • People quickly grow tired of Alexa, report claims — and I'm not surprised
  • Best last-minute Christmas gifts 2021 — what you can get in time
  • The best Steam games in 2021
  • How to get a refund on Steam
  • People quickly grow tired of Alexa, report claims — and I'm not surprised
  • Best last-minute Christmas gifts 2021 — what you can get in time
  • The best Steam games in 2021
  • How to get a refund on Steam