Phones with the best cameras: 2023 List

The best camera phones are designed with professionals and serious photo enthusiasts on the go in mind, not just casual photographers on the go.
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Phones with the best cameras: 2023 List - W3Tekno

The best camera phones combine the latest image technology with unmatched portability for photographers who love taking pictures but don't want to lug around a heavy DSLR all day. So which one should you choose? We're here to discuss the pros and cons of the best camera phones currently available.

We have selected our top 10 best smartphones based on our tests, reviews and extensive feature comparisons. Note: most of the phones we've highlighted are flagships of the series, which means they are very expensive. While we've tried to include more affordable options, if the phones below are out of your price range - which is usually around $1,000 for phones without sim cards - please check out our guide to the best affordable camera phones.

Want to take pictures in more ways? For a more specialized piece of equipment, visit our guides to the best cameras in general and the best point-and-shoot cameras.

OnePlus 10Pro - One of the best camera phones for looks.

OnePlus 10Pro

One of the best camera phones for looks.
  • RAM: 8GB, 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Rear camera: 48MP (wide, f/1.8) + 8MP (telephoto, 3.3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 50MP (ultra-wide, 150-degree, f/2.2)
  • Front camera: 32MP (wide, f/2.2)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Stylish design
  • Impressive cameras
  • More affordable than other flagships
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Can get hot
  • No official water resistance
  • The collaboration between OnePlus and professional camera maker Hasselblad pays off once again, with OnePlus' 2022 high-end phone sporting an outstanding triple rear camera. In a few shots, we found the primary, ultra-wide and telephoto cameras to offer a nice shallow depth, though some might think the AI optimizations oversaturate the images a bit.

    There are a few unusual modes on offer. The 150-degree mode uses the ultra-wide camera to produce a fisheye-like effect, while XPan, inspired by the special Hasselblad camera of the same name, creates wide panoramas.

    Beyond the camera, we discovered that the OnePlus 10 Pro is a well-rounded Android phone with a beautiful display, fast charging and lots of processing power. Like other phones, it has a few rough edges, and we discovered that it heats up when subjected to heavy use. OnePlus has since introduced an update called the OnePlus 11 (there won't be a Pro version anytime soon), which is slightly cheaper and has some camera improvements but lacks the 150-degree ultra-wide module seen on the 10 Pro.

    Sony Xperia 1 IV - The top camera phone for fans of

    Sony Xperia 1 IV

    The top camera phone for fans of "real cameras."
  • Storage: 256GB, 512GB
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Rear camera: 12MP (wide, f/1.7) + 12MP (telephoto, 3.5x-5.2x optical zoom, f/2.3) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 124-degree, f/2.2) + 0.3MP (3D Time-of-Flight)
  • Front camera: 12MP (wide, f/2.0)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Useful shutter button
  • Loads of creative apps
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • High price
  • Angular design
  • Sony makes excellent cameras, so you'd expect its camera phones to be equally impressive, and the fourth-generation Xperia 1 doesn't disappoint. A few key features aimed more at professional photographers than general consumers make it deserving of a place on this list.

    The Xperia 1 IV's zoom camera includes a movable lens that provides continuous optical zoom from 3.5x to 5.2x, giving the phone a competitive edge for zoom photography enthusiasts. The phone also has a physical shutter button, simulating a camera by allowing you to take photos while half-pressing the button to focus.

    For the first time on a Sony phone, any of the three rear cameras and the front camera can shoot 4K video at 120 frames per second, which is useful for bloggers and videographers. Sony creativity apps like Photography Pro and Cinema Pro (there's also Audio Pro for music) are also pretty good. The photography app isn't the simplest to use, as it's designed for cameras rather than smartphones, but if you're comfortable with a DSLR, you won't have any problems.

    Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra - The new gold standard for Android camera phones.

    Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

    The new gold standard for Android camera phones.
  • RAM: 8GB, 12GB
  • Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Rear camera: 200MP (wide, f/1.7) + 10MP (periscope, 10x optical zoom, f/4.9) + 10MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 120-degree, f/2.2)
  • Front camera: 12MP (wide, f/2.2)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Gorgeous display
  • Stunning shots in all conditions
  • Very good low-light performance
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Inevitably expensive
  • 100x zoom is mostly a gimmick
  • With the beautiful Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and its 200MP flagship camera, Samsung has stood up to debunk the idea that smartphone photos can't get any better. The big trick is in features like 16-in-1 pixel binning, which dramatically improves light and detail and produces photos of exceptional quality even in low light. Now, let's face it, you're unlikely to shoot 200MP images very often. The S23 Ultra's quad camera array gives you plenty of shooting options, including an ultra-wide module, a dedicated focusing array and a 10x optical zoom that lets you get up close to distant subjects.

    You can ignore the 100x zoom mode making headlines, primarily because it's an innovation that is practically difficult to use in everyday life. Also, Samsung has recently come under fire for allegedly using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its 'Space Zoom' images. However, this does not negate the key features of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Simply put, it has the best smartphone camera array available today. For ultimate shooting performance and versatility, switch to Pro mode and record in .DNG raw format.

    Oppo Find X5 Pro - A sleek camera phone with Hasselblad filters.

    Oppo Find X5 Pro

    A sleek camera phone with Hasselblad filters.
  • RAM: 8GB / 12GB
  • Storage: 256GB / 512GB
  • Rear camera: 50MP (f/1.7) + 50MP (ultra wide, f 2.2) + 13MP (telephoto, 2x optical zoom, f/2.4)
  • Front camera: 32MP (wide, f/2.4)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Elegant design
  • Hasselblad colour enhancements
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Poor zoom
  • One of the most talked about high-end smartphones of 2022 is the Oppo Find X5 Pro, largely due to its camera, made possible with the help of Swedish camera company Hasselblad. There's a 32MB selfie camera on the front and three cameras neatly arranged in a plateau on the back: a 50MP main camera with an incredibly fast f/1.7 aperture, a 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 13MP telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture. The special microscopic macro lens for the Find X3 Pro is no more.

    The two main lenses are excellent, producing beautiful, vibrant colors, and the small apertures allow for fast shots. Less notable is the telephoto lens with 2X zoom, less than most competitors. The new Marisilicon X neural processing unit applies AI imaging algorithms directly to RAW data, improving low-light noise reduction for stills and 4K video. Hasselblad produces filters that can give even the most uninteresting photos a movie-like feel.

    Cameras aside, the Oppo Find X5 Pro has a distinctive, elegant look. The camera bump has a gentle slope instead of being an awkward protrusion. Also, the display is excellent and highly adaptable.

    Google Pixel 7 Pro - The best camera phone for chances of a great deal.

    Google Pixel 7 Pro

    The best camera phone for chances of a great deal.
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Rear camera: 50MP (wide, f/1.9) + 12MP (ultrawide, 114-degree, f/2.2) + 48MP (telephoto, 4x optical zoom, f/3.5)
  • Front camera: 11.1MP (wide, f/2.2)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Good deals available
  • Top camera hardware
  • Useful camera software tools
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Battery life isn't impressive
  • The ultrawide lens is fixed focus
  • Given that Google recently announced the arrival of the Pixel 7 Pro, the 2021 Pixel 6 Pro is currently available at some great discounts. The previous model is still widely accessible, and since its cost has dropped since the launch of the new one, we believe it's one of the best camera phones for the money.

    In fact, the Creative Bloq Awards 2022 named the Google Pixel 6 Pro the best camera phone of the year. In addition to a powerful telephoto and ultra-wide camera, its main camera includes a large 50MP sensor that captures a lot of light.

    Google's software is better than all of them. The AI scene optimization is really good at adjusting images in our opinion. While Photoshop doesn't need to worry too much right now, Night Sight is pretty good for low-light photography and Magic Eraser is good at removing unwanted objects and even people if the photo is clean enough. While it doesn't perform any worse than the iPhone 14 Pro, it can get hot and has a lower battery life compared to the S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

    Realme GT 2 Pro - The best camera phone for microscopic photography.

    Realme GT 2 Pro

    The best camera phone for microscopic photography.
  • RAM: 8GB, 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Rear camera: 50MP (wide, f/1.8) + 50MP (ultrawide, 150-degree, f/2.2) + 3MP (microscope, 40x magnification, f/3.3)
  • Front camera: 32MP (wide, f/2.4)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Pretty affordable
  • Fantastic microscope camera
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Bloated software
  • No telephoto camera
  • Realme is not a brand that often appears on "best camera phone" lists, as it doesn't usually make high-end smartphones. But the GT 2 Pro is Realme's first high-end device, and it has earned Realme a spot on this list. While the phone's 50MP primary and ultra-wide cameras are excellent, the 40x microscope camera is the real reason it belongs on this list.

    We thought Realme's smartphone is magical because it has excellent camera features at a much cheaper cost than you'd expect. The primary camera is exceptional for low-light photography and can compete with an iPhone in this regard. It captures tons of color and light in brightly lit or natural lighting conditions as well.

    We had a great time trying out the microscope camera and this phone is great for a few other reasons too. It has a great screen, it charges fast and it has a lot of power. It's also among the most reasonably priced cell phones on this list, making it a great alternative to the big, flashy phones from more well-known companies.

    Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max - The best iPhone camera available.

    Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max

    The best iPhone camera available.
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Rear camera: 48MP (wide, f/1.8) + 12MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.8) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 120-degree, f/2.2)
  • Front camera: 12MP (wide, f/1.9)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Fantastic processing
  • Great macro photography mode
  • Resolution upgrade on main camera
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Underwhelming selfie mode
  • No major design changes from the 13
  • One of the most expensive camera phones
  • If you're a loyal Apple supporter, the latest flagship iPhones are among the best camera phones available. While they don't look much different stylistically, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max provide enough of an upgrade over the 13 series to make our rankings.

    With a third lens (a telephoto with 3X optical zoom), macro capabilities on the ultra-wide camera and increased resolution on the main camera, the Pro and Pro Max have cameras that are markedly superior to ordinary iPhones. The cameras on the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are identical, with 48MP primary sensors that are 65% larger than those on the 13 Pro and Pro Max. This means they let in more light, which improves performance in low-light conditions. The redesigned sensor and additional focus pixels help the 12MP ultra-wide screen work better in low light. With the f/2.2 aperture, we discovered that it is now sharper.

    Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 - The best foldable camera phone.

    Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

    The best foldable camera phone.
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Rear camera: 50MP wide (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 10MP telephoto (f/2.4) with 3x optical zoom
  • Front camera: 10MP cover (f/2.2), 4MP under-display (f/1.8)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • S Pen support
  • Better multitasking with taskbar
  • Foldability can be handy as a tripod
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Lacklustre selfie camera
  • More expensive than phones with better cameras
  • The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available if you miss the era when flip phones were the norm. Samsung has continued to make the necessary adjustments to create the smallest and lightest Fold phone to date.

    The Z Fold 4 has a total of five cameras, three on the back, one on the front screen for selfies and a fifth on the inner screen. With a 50MP main camera with F/1.8 lens, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 10MP, 3x zoom telephoto, these cameras aren't Samsung's best, but they're a noticeable improvement over the previous foldable device. The in-screen selfie camera is only 4MP compared to the 10MP selfie camera of the cover screen. The phone's capacity to fold and act as a tripod in its own right is a fun feature. Also, if you unfold it while taking a photo, you can duplicate your viewfinder on the front screen to show a preview of objects.

    Given how expensive this phone is, some consumers may want to consider the company's only available folding option, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. Just keep in mind that unlike the Fold 4's triple configuration, it only has two cameras on the back.

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - For a discount on an older model

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

    For a discount on an older model
  • RAM: 12GB, 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Rear camera: 108MP (wide, f/1.8) + 10MP (periscope, 10x optical zoom, f/4.9) + 10MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 12MP (ultrawide, 120-degree, f/2.2)
  • Front camera: 40MP (wide, f/2.2)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Wacom pen tech
  • Excellent camera zoom
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Expensive
  • Big and bulky
  • If you can find a good deal, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is still a great option. Its camera setup is similar to that of its successor, the S22 Ultra, which ranks higher on our list. With a 108MP main camera and 100x digital zoom, it offers excellent flexibility.

    Everywhere else, the features are still relevant today. A superior processor, a water-resistant body and wireless charging are all features of the S21 Ultra. With the help of DeX, Samsung's big-screen interface, it can be connected to a monitor and used as a desktop environment. It also supports the S Pen for drawing and taking notes.

    Support for the S Pen stylus, which was later added to the S22 Plus, is not available on the S21 Ultra. Other than that, the setup is comparable. If you can find it for much cheaper than the S22, it's definitely worth buying, but keep in mind that prices fluctuate.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra - Still one of the best camera phones around

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

    Still one of the best camera phones around
  • RAM: 6GB, 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Rear camera: 108MP (wide, f/1.8) + 10MP (periscope, 10x optical zoom, f/4.9) + 10MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 120-degree, f/2.2)
  • Front camera: 40MP (wide, f/2.2)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • 8K video recording
  • Excellent zoom lens
  • Useful S Pen stylus
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Slippery case
  • Costs over $1,000 in the US
  • Battery life suffers with 8K recording
  • The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the best smartphones overall and one of the best phones for creatives, despite being a generation older. With its stunning 6.8-inch display and 2K resolution and S Pen stylus, you can easily draw or take notes. But it really shines when it comes to mobile photography.

    While testing the S22 Ultra, we discovered that we could rely on it whether we needed to zoom in for a portrait shot or zoom in very, very far for a wide-angle image. Compared to the S21 Ultra, photos produced with the 30x zoom are noticeably sharper and night photography results in richer tones and more even contrasts.

    If you enjoy shooting movies on your smartphone, the S22 Ultra has a Pro Videography mode that lets you choose the lens to use, the range at which the microphone records, and other adjustments like white balance and focus, just like in Pro Photography mode. You can record video at up to 8K, but be aware that doing so can drain the battery and heat up the phone.

    Are camera phones as good as digital cameras?

    This is a somewhat challenging question. Camera phones have several physical constraints that make them inferior to the best cameras in many respects. The most important of these is sensor size; cell phones have to use sensors that are physically smaller than those used by cameras. Larger sensors can use larger individual pixels, resulting in a sharper image with less noise and improved low-light performance.

    Camera phones are catching up, though, thanks to innovative computational techniques. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S23's 200MP camera isn't really intended to capture 200MP photos, though it is capable of doing so. Instead, it is meant to employ a method called pixel binning, which merges many pixels into one to create a digital replica of the bigger pixels on a camera's sensor. This enhances image clarity and greatly increases the effectiveness of shooting modes like night photography.

    Of course, some individuals will always prefer the physical design of a traditional digital camera, and we haven't even discussed the benefit (and cost) of interchangeable lenses. It is sufficient to remark that both cameras and camera phones have their uses and that neither one is actually 'better' than the other in the modern day.

    How we test our camera phones?

    You can spend all your time looking at a spec sheet (and believe me, we do), but nothing beats actually holding and playing with a camera phone. And doing so long enough to get a solid understanding of the device and learn what the photography experience is like.

    With most of the camera phones mentioned above, we did just that. When we didn't get a chance to evaluate the model ourselves, we spoke to our industry peers and sister tech websites that have spent time with the device. Our reasoning is that since you may choose to buy one of the aforementioned models after hearing from us, we had to be absolutely sure that we included the best camera phones available.

    Being professional photographers and ardent enthusiasts, our writers are knowledgeable about all prospective consumers and what they value most in a camera phone.


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