Best Camera Smartphone – Top 5 Reviews In 2024

Camera Smartphone

Selecting a smartphone with the superior camera used to be a straightforward task. Initially, the iPhone’s camera outshone Android’s offerings by a significant margin. However, prominent Android brands caught up, and during the mid-2010s, Samsung held the crown. Towards the latter part of the decade, Google and Huawei respectively excelled in software and hardware aspects of mobile photography. Nevertheless, around 2020, other brands began investing more resources to enhance their digital imaging capabilities. Apple focused on computational photography, while Samsung drew inspiration from Huawei’s camera hardware.

Presently, mobile cameras have evolved to such an extent that it is impossible to declare one phone as the absolute best. The top smartphones all possess exceptional cameras, often with unique features or capabilities. Therefore, in my perspective, the most effective approach to evaluate these cameras is by categorizing them based on different shooting requirements. At XDA, we have extensively tested nearly every smartphone released, and we have compiled a breakdown of the best cameras for specific needs.

Top pick

SAMSUNG Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung stands out among phone brands by offering two zoom lenses.

Editor’s choice

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

One notable exception is the 5x telephoto lens included in the Pro Max.

Best value

Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Pixel cameras have consistently performed well in a competitive market.

Best Camera Smartphone Reviews

1. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

SAMSUNG Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra boasts the most versatile camera system currently available, featuring a 200MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens that also functions as a macro lens, and two zoom lenses covering the 3X and 10X focal lengths. With its 200MP main camera, Samsung’s computational photography is able to utilize a plethora of pixels. By default, the software applies 16-in-1 pixel binning, resulting in a 12MP image that contains 16 times the information of a regular 12MP shot. This technique greatly enhances low-light photography. Additionally, the S23 Ultra allows for capturing images at the main camera’s full 200MP resolution, enabling greater zoom capabilities compared to most smartphone cameras.

Samsung stands out among phone brands by offering two zoom lenses. The 3X lens, equivalent to approximately 70mm, is ideal for capturing portraits, while the 10X lens, utilizing Periscope camera technology, excels in long-range zooming. Although many phones can capture sharp 10X photos in 2023, Samsung’s camera truly shines when zooming in at 30X or beyond. Due to its superior foundation, Samsung’s 30X image surpasses that of most other phones in terms of sharpness.

However, let’s focus on the main camera for a moment. While it is capable of capturing breathtaking and stunning images, I am not entirely convinced that a 200MP camera was necessary. In digital imaging, having a larger physical sensor appears to be more crucial. Therefore, I cannot proclaim the S23 Ultra’s main camera as the best in the world. Nevertheless, when considering the entire array of lenses, it undeniably offers the most versatile and comprehensive camera system.

2. Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Upon reflecting on the predecessors of the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max, it becomes evident how groundbreaking the iPhone’s impact has been. Despite our familiarity with smartphones, it is easy to overlook the significant transformation they have brought about. In recent years, manufacturers have been challenged to enhance their products sufficiently to attract consumers.

However, the question arises: are additional megapixels or a slightly longer battery life truly persuasive? The 15th iteration of the iPhone demonstrates the challenge of improving an already exceptional product. Apart from the required USB-C port mandated by the EU, most changes are gradual.

One notable exception is the 5x telephoto lens included in the Pro Max. With a 120mm full-frame equivalent lens and a decent f/2.2 aperture, this marks a significant advancement from the previous 3x lens. Despite the advertised 48 MP, the telephoto camera is limited to 12 MP.

Nonetheless, the combination of a 24mm f/1.78 48 MP lens, a wide 13mm f/2.2 12 MP camera, and the new 5x telephoto lens is praiseworthy. For photography enthusiasts, the range from 13mm to 120mm focal lengths, along with reasonably fast maximum apertures, is attractive.

The Pro Max performs admirably overall, excelling more in video than still photography, although its photo capabilities are still impressive. It performs well in good lighting conditions but struggles in low light, as expected from most small sensor cameras. Users with phones older than a couple of years will notice a significant improvement.

With features like optical image stabilization and a portrait mode allowing post-shoot focus adjustment, the Pro Max offers a comprehensive package. In a highly competitive market, the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max manages to surpass its competitors and secure the top position.

3. Google Pixel 8 Pro

Pixel 8 Pro

The latest flagship release from the creators of the Android operating system is the Google Pixel 8 Pro. It has been eight years since Google started branding its own hardware for the operating system it developed to compete with Apple’s iOS.

What makes Google Pixel enthusiasts love the device are primarily two things: the streamlined operating system that works as intended and the exceptional camera quality. While many Android phone manufacturers add their own interface on top of the Android system, Pixel fans appreciate the absence of this added complexity, allowing the operating system to shine in its pure form.

Pixel cameras have consistently performed well in a competitive market. For many users, the Pixel 8 outperforms its iPhone counterparts, whether it’s because of the operating system or the image processing capabilities of the device. Ultimately, it often comes down to personal preference.

In a direct comparison between the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Google Pixel 8 Pro, the Pixel seems to have the advantage in terms of headline specifications. It offers a minimum of 48 MP compared to the iPhone’s 12 MP cameras, with the main 25mm camera reaching 50 MP.

Furthermore, the Pixel excels in lens speed. Its 25mm primary camera has a maximum aperture of f/1.68 (compared to the iPhone’s f/1.78), while the 11mm ultrawide lens is at f/1.95 (compared to Apple’s f/2.2). Only the 95mm at f/2.8 is slightly slower compared to the iPhone (f/2.2).

The Pixel 8 impresses with its overall photo quality, particularly excelling in zoom performance and bright outdoor conditions. Its video performance is also highly commendable.

However, it falls short in exposure accuracy when compared to the iPhone, showing more noise in HDR video footage. On the other hand, the Pixel excels in depth of field, and its ultrawide capabilities are among the best available. Notable AI-based features include simple blemish removal and the ability to select the best facial expressions for group photos, which is widely appreciated.

4. Google Pixel Fold

Google Pixel Fold

If you appreciate the aesthetic of photos taken with Google Pixel devices, such as the aforementioned Google Pixel 8 Pro, you will be pleased with the camera system on the Google Pixel Fold. While it may not have the exact same camera setup as Google’s traditional flagship, it offers many of the same features and specifications that contribute to its excellence. The Google Pixel Fold boasts a total of four cameras: a triple-camera system on the rear and a hole-punch selfie camera on the front.

The cover screen of the Google Pixel Fold showcases a 9.5MP f/2.2 dual PD camera, positioned within a hole-punch cutout at the center of the top of the screen. Unlike certain other foldable phones, this camera is not located beneath the display, resulting in improved quality. The triple camera setup consists of a 48MP f/1.7 PD primary camera with OIS and CLAF, a 10.8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, and a 10.8MP f/3.05 telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and 20x Super Res Zoom support. Additionally, since it is a foldable phone, you can utilize the cover screen to capture selfies using the triple-camera setup.

Our reviewer conducted a comparison between the Google Pixel Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and in most scenarios, Google’s foldable device captured superior photos. While the Pixel Fold often performed on par with the Pixel 7 Pro, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 frequently fell behind, as evidenced by the provided photo samples. It is worth noting that Samsung has now released a new flagship foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold 5. However, the camera hardware in the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is identical to that of its predecessor, the Z Fold 4, so the results should be similar between the two models. Overall, our reviewer discovered that despite the Galaxy Z Fold 5 possessing superior hardware to the Pixel Fold, Google’s post-processing and optimization techniques consistently produce better images in most situations.

5. Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro is an extraordinary piece of technology, designed to revolutionize user experiences in various aspects, especially in terms of its camera capabilities. Constructed with aerospace-grade titanium and reinforced with a textured matte-glass back and Ceramic Shield front, this device exudes strength and resilience, providing durability against water, dust, and splashes.

With its 6.1″ Super Retina XDR display, enhanced by ProMotion technology, the iPhone 15 Pro impresses with a remarkable 120Hz refresh rate, delivering exceptional graphics performance. The Dynamic Island feature intelligently brings up alerts and Live Activities, ensuring a more interactive user experience, while the Always-On display conveniently provides critical information without the need to unlock the device.

Powering this impressive performance is the A17 Pro chip, a game-changer in mobile gaming with its Pro-class GPU that creates immersive environments and lifelike characters. Notably efficient, this chip significantly contributes to the iPhone 15 Pro’s impressive all-day battery life, seamlessly catering to heavy usage.

The standout feature of this device undoubtedly lies in its Powerful Pro Camera System, which consists of 7 lenses, including a 48MP Main camera and a 3x Telephoto lens. This configuration allows for unparalleled flexibility in framing, capturing breathtaking high-resolution photos bursting with vibrant colors and intricate details, while also excelling in capturing sharp close-ups from a distance.

The Customizable Action Button adds a personal touch, allowing users to set preferred features such as Silent mode, Camera, Voice Memo, and more, streamlining functionality and accessibility.

Furthermore, the iPhone 15 Pro ensures seamless connectivity with unlimited talk, text, and data on America’s Smart Network.

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