The best camera phone 2022on September 14, 2022 at 11:00 Tech Advisor

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One of the main things to consider when buying a smartphone – especially one close to $1,000/£1,000/€1,000 – is the quality of its cameras.

In one short decade phones and social media have destroyed the cheap digital camera market, and we now take pictures at every event and post them on the internet, for better or worse. Thankfully phone cameras are exceptionally good these days.

If you want to find the best phone camera then you’ve come to the right place. We fully test and review all the latest high-end, mid-range, and budget phones on the market, and camera quality is one of the main factors in deciding their final scores.

The very best smartphone cameras are inevitably found on the more expensive devices, but you can also get solid quality for less if you know where to look.

We assess megapixel count, dynamic range, ultra-wide lenses, zooms, low-light quality, night modes, and everything else in between to see where phone cameras shine, and where they could do better.

Because no phone is the same, the one at the top of this list might not be the best fit for you wants and needs. It could be the phone at number ten. This is because it’s not just about the hardware of the camera lenses themselves that determines what photos and videos from a phone look like – different manufacturers apply different effects with software in their camera apps to improve images and give them a specific look.

You might prefer the look of Samsung photos to iPhone photos, or like the colours of Honor over Oppo.

Here’s our rundown of the best camera phones you can buy.

1. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Best overall camera phone

Pros

Great 108Mp lens

Incredible 10x zoom

Excellent low-light

Cons

Large phone

100x zoom is a gimmick

RRP:



From £1,149

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best all-round phone camera right now. It has the best combination of main, ultrawide, and telephoto lenses on any phone, making it the most versatile on the market.

Its 108Mp main lens captures a stunning amount of detail with superb low-light photos thanks to a sensor that can take in more light. Improvements over the already excellent S21 Ultra keep shots and video very sharp and the software processing is less aggressive than older Samsung phones, though images are more vibrant and saturated than you’ll find on Apple’s iPhone 13 range.

The ultrawide lens does a good job of capturing scenes without a fish-eye effect but the S22 Ultra’s secret weapon is its astonishing two (2!) optical zoom lens. Thanks to optical image stabilisation (OIS) on both, you can capture pin sharp 3x optical zoom images and even 10x optical, with results better than rivals thanks to Samsung’s software smarts keeping everything looking good, and a laser autofocus system rounding off the premium experience and a top of the line 40Mp selfie camera.

If you want the most capable camera phone with the best software support – five years from launch – the Galaxy S22 Ultra is it.

Read our full
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultrareview

2. Google Pixel 6 Pro – Best for still images

Pros

Superlative still images

Excellent dynamic range

4x zoom is great

Cons

Very big handset

RRP:



£849

Best Prices Today:


£687.00 at Amazon |
£849 at Google

Google’s Pixel phones have always taken excellent still images and the Pixel 6 Pro is no exception. It produces the best still images of any smartphone right now, bar none.

That’s mostly down to Google’s incredible software image processing, which gives Pixel photos a very attractive contrast that is true to life with a touch of film camera grain – shots are superbly rendered, and Google ensures skin tones are kept accurate. The new 50Mp sensor also helps, and is the first time a Pixel phone hasn’t used a 12Mp lens as its main camera.

The 4x telephoto lens is also one of the best in the business, and excellently creates true background blur effect without needing a software portrait mode (though the Pixel’s portrait mode is also superlative). An ultrawide camera completes the three very strong lenses on the 6 Pro.

Compared to the regular Pixel 6, which doesn’t have the telephoto lens, the Pro also has a selfie camera with a wider field of view so you can get more people into the shot. Add to that software genius like Magic Eraser that lets you erase photobombers and other object from the background of your best shots and you have one of the best phone cameras ever made.

Read our full
Google Pixel 6 Proreview

3. Apple iPhone 13 Pro – Best for video

Pros

The best for video

Wonderful still photos

Useful software tricks

Cons

Photos a tad washed out

If you don’t want an Android phone then the best camera phone you can buy is an iPhone 13 Pro, or the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which has identical cameras. Unlike 2020’s lineup, where the standard iPhone 12 won out against its Pro-branded sibling, 2021’s iPhone 13 Pro is undoubtedly the model to beat.

Beyond a familiar 6.1in Super Retina XDR display – now enhanced by 120Hz ProMotion visuals and a top-tier 5nm Apple A15 Bionic chipset – the iPhone 13 Pro boasts an astounding set of cameras.

Expect bigger sensors and faster apertures than its predecessor – meaning improved low light performance – far more comparable quality when switching to the phone’s ultrawide (which now offers macro shooting capabilities) and a 3x telephoto snapper (up from 2x), letting you zoom further than ever before on an iPhone with compromising on quality.

What’s more, the iPhone still leads when it comes to video capture, gaining some smart new features, like Cinematography Mode, alongside ProRes and Dolby Vision at up to 4K at 60fps; not to mention some of the best native mobile video editing capabilities out there.

Read our full
Apple iPhone 13 Proreview

4. Vivo X80 Pro – Hardware prowess

Pros

Phenomenal photos

Clever gimbal system

Best Android for video

Cons

Ugly camera design

Messy software

RRP:



£1,199

The X80 Pro proves Vivo has stepped it up another level in 2022. This is hands down one of the strongest camera phones in the world, and we only hesitate to recommend it further because Vivo’s software is not the easiest to get along with. Also, for a phone that costs £1,199/€1,099, it’s a big dive to take on a phone brand you might be less familiar with.

But – if you do take the plunge – you will be rewarded with what is arguably the best phone camera out there. The still shots are something to behold thanks to the main 50Mp sensor’s ability to take in tons of light and outperform most rivals in low light conditions. The way Vivo gets HDR to balance out bright lights in dark scenes is unrivalled, and it’ll push you to take more photos in more challenging conditions. Any phone camera that makes you want to take more photos is a winner in our book.

Video is also very good on the X80 Pro thanks to excellent stabilisation on three of the phone’s four rear lenses (main, 2x telephoto, and periscope telephoto). Add to that physical gimbal stabilisation on the 2x telephoto lens that means portrait photos are near flawless, and you have close to the perfect package. If you can hack some somewhat unpolished Android software, you’ll be richly rewarded.

Read our full
Vivo X80 Proreview

5. Apple iPhone 13 – Best for selfies

Pros

Cheaper than Pro model

Amazing video chops

Great for selfies

Cons

No telephoto

Only 60Hz screen

Similarly to the iPhone 12’s dual rear cameras, you get a set of two snappers on the 13, albeit now set at a jaunty angle and with improved optics and larger pixels.

The main and ultrawide deliver pleasing consistency, while the setup also embraces the sensor-shift OIS (optical image stabilisation) that was exclusive to last generation’s iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Outstanding dynamic range, colour and contrast between the rear sensors, and Cinematic Mode – as on the iPhone 13 Pro – are only really offset by the standard 13’s lack of a telephoto sensor or support for Apple’s ProRes and ProRAW capture standards.

Apple’s expertise in the selfie department persists on the iPhone 13 too, whose front-facing 12Mp TrueDepth camera gets most of the same image processing features as the rear snappers, not to mention Cinematic mode.

Beyond the camera, losing out on the 13 Pro’s high refresh rate display is one of the few other notable shortcomings on this otherwise stellar entry.

Read our full
Apple iPhone 13review

6. Oppo Find X5 Pro – Best design

Pros

Dual 50Mp lenses

13Mp telephoto

Image processing chip

Cons

Telephoto only 2x

Oppo continues its streak of doling out top-notch flagships with superb camera capabilities. It’s upped the ante on 2022’s Find X5 Pro by supporting its cameras with a new dedicated 6nm MariSilicon X NPU to help with image processing.

While the ‘microlens’ camera from its predecessor’s setup is no longer in the mix, the Find X5 Pro leads with a dual 50Mp sensor setup across its main and ultrawide snappers, as well as a 13Mp 2x optical zoom lens, and a 32Mp selfie camera.

The benefits of that NPU are most prominent with the phone’s low light shooting, which outpaces rivals like the iPhone 13 Pro series, however, dynamic range isn’t quite as broad as the likes of the Pixel 6 line, in the Android camp.

The Hasselblad partnership – pulled over from OnePlus – manifests in some UI tweaks and some unique shooting modes, but is more cosmetic than anything else, while the phone as a whole is an elegant blend of power and performance that makes for a nice refinement over last year’s Find X series.

Read our full
Oppo Find X5 Proreview

7. Google Pixel 6a – Best value

Pros

Mid-range price

Amazing still images

Same ultrawide as Pixel 6 Pro

Cons

No telephoto

Lacks the Pixel 6 Pro’s 50Mp lens

RRP:



£399

If you want the best smartphone camera for under $500/£500/€500, buy the Google Pixel 6a. It lacks a telephoto lens and a high refresh rate display, but aside from that outperforms every other phone anywhere near its price with the quality of its dual rear cameras.

A 12Mp main sensor is paired with the same 12Mp ultrawide found in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The main in particular takes exceptionally good photos with attractive contrast and the high dynamic range we’ve come to expect – and love – from Google’s Pixel phones.

Read our full
Google Pixel 6areview

8. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 – Best foldable

Pros

Much improved cameras over Z Fold 3

Same 50Mp main lens as S22

Impressive dynamic range

Cons

Under-display inner camera is bad

The expensive folding Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 gets a spot in this round up because, if you want a folding phone, Samsung is the brand to go for and this model has the best cameras. It’s a big improvement over 2021’s Z Fold 3.

The Fold 4 has a mish-mash of cameras, sporting the same 50Mp main and 10Mp telephoto sensors found on the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus as well as the 12Mp from the Fold 3. This means the folding phone/tablet has superb photo and video chops with excellently detailed results from the 50Mp sensor the main draw here. Low-light performance is very good – combining the great rear lenses with the Fold 4’s superior chipset and user experience make this the one to pick over the Galaxy Z Flip 4 if cameras on a foldable are your priority.

But the under-display 4Mp camera on the inner large display is really bad, and Samsung should not have sacrificed its quality in trying to hide it. Also if you want hands down the best cameras on any foldable, the one on the Huawei Mate X2 are better than the Fold 4 – but thanks to Huawei’s lack of Google apps and service support, the Fold 4 remains our folding photo pick.

Read our full
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4review

9. OnePlus 10 Pro – Most improved

Pros

Strong triple rear lenses

Has improved with updates

Good colour reproduction

Cons

Selfie camera not the best

RRP:



£799

Best Prices Today:


£799 at OnePlus

OnePlus phones have always been unfairly criticised for their camera performance but the OnePlus 10 Pro proves once and for all that the company knows what it is doing when it comes to photo and video. With a beefy combo of 48Mp main, 50Mp ultrawide, and 8Mp telephoto lens with 3.3x zoom – plus a Hasselblad partnership that claims to add that firm’s imaging expertise into the software processing – the 10 Pro is like a Swiss Army knife with the number of modes and options at its disposal.

At its launch the phone had some inconsistencies that have now been ironed out with software updates, leaving a mature phone that you can rely on to take good shots all of the time. It was one of the first phones with a 150 degree angle ultrawide lens, which really can capture an awful lot and capture it well, while the optical zoom here beats many more expensive Android phones for reach and quality.

Colours are accurately and naturally recreated and only the pickiest mobile photographer will take issue with what this phone can capture.

Read our full
OnePlus 10 Proreview

10. Honor Magic 4 Pro – Alternative Android choice

Pros

50Mp main lens excels

Great dynamic range

Solid 3.5x 64Mp telephoto

Cons

Low light not the best

Poor portrait photos

Honor has come positively back into the European market (US readers miss out here, sorry) with the confident Magic 4 Pro, a phone that leads with its flashy triple rear cameras. The confidence is justified, with the main 50Mp sensor capturing excellently detailed shots with great HDR and colour reproduction.

The 50Mp ultrawide and 64Mp 3.5x telephoto sensors make up the accomplished trio of lenses, though that circular camera island design might not be to your tastes. That telephoto has a shorter optical range than other phones in this list but we like how Honor has done this to preserve detail at that length rather than stretch the hardware and software too far (10x optical is impressive, but can be overkill).

Colour profiles between all three lenses are quite good too, but the main sensor is the start of the show here. If you miss Huawei phones then the Honor Magic 4 Pro feels like a successor to the great P30 Pro, and that can only be a good thing.

Read our full
Honor Magic 4 Proreview

Cameras, Smartphones

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