The best camera phone 2023on January 9, 2023 at 10:21 Tech Advisor

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One of the main things to consider when buying a smartphone – especially one that costs 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.

Best camera phone 2023

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

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
Review Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

2. Google Pixel 7 Pro – Best for still images

Pros

Incredible versatile cameras

Excellent 5x zoom

Clever software tricks

RAW option

Cons

Huge phone

Sometimes photos are not true to life

The Pixel 7 Pro sees Google refining the design and features of 2021’s Pixel 6 Pro, resulting in the best Pixel phone ever made. That happily means the 7 Pro’s cameras are among the best ever on a phone.

We still think the Pixel, shot for shot, takes the best looking still images in most lighting conditions. Photos are well balanced with good colour reproduction and detail without oversharpening. The experience in the camera app is great, with great flexibility to shoot with the amazing 50Mp main sensor, the ultrawide, or a very capable 5x optical zoom lens.

The core sensors are great, but it’s the software that improves even further. Zooming up to 10x with Google’s Super Res Zoom smarts means hardly any loss in quality, and the clever Magic Eraser tool lets you (sometimes) successfully erase people and objects from photos to create a better scene.

Video is very good too, but really the Pixel is all about that 50Mp main lens and just how good images look, consistently. We take more pictures with a Pixel in our pocket, which is the biggest compliment you can give a phone camera.

Read our full
Review Google Pixel 7 Pro

3. iPhone 14 Pro – Best all-rounder

Pros

Stunning 48Mp camera

3x telephoto

Superlative video

Cons

No real battery life improvement

No fast charging

Much more expensive in the UK

It might not have our favourite still image lens – we reckon that’s a toss up between the Pixel 7 Pro and the Vivo X80 Pro – but the iPhone 14 Pro has the most versatile cameras of any phone on the market.

It’s the first time an iPhone has had more than a 12Mp main sensor, with a huge bump up to 48Mp. You can shoot at this resolution in RAW format, or rely on Apple’s pixel-binning software technique that combines four pixels into one larger pixel to improve low-light performance and detail in a final 12Mp image.

Video is still head and shoulders above any Android phone with unparalleled processing and stabilisation that sometimes borders on the scarily good. Even four years ago we couldn’t have dreamt of video this good being shot on a phone.

As well as the main sensor there are also ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, the latter with a 3x optical zoom that captures good detail and is great to punch in on scenes that need to be that little bit closer.

The 14 Pro is rounded off with a capable selfie camera nestled in the new Dynamic Island. It’s an incredibly good camera set up that will serve you well for years to come.

Read our full
Review iPhone 14 Pro

4. Vivo X80 Pro – Best low-light photos

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
Review Vivo X80 Pro

5. iPhone 14 – Best for selfies

Pros

Superb dual cameras

Excellent processing

Top drawer selfie camera

Cons

No telephoto

No RAW photo capture

RRP:



£849 (128GB) | £959 (256GB) | £1,179 (512GB)

The iPhone 14’s cameras have very minimal gains over the still-excellent iPhone 13, but there’s a couple of new things. For the first time on an iPhone, the selfie camera has autofocus, which is great for selfies but also for video calls to keep you looking sharp.

Action Mode in the video settings is also amazing, creating a stabilisation never before seen on smartphones. It’s spookily good (and also included on the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro models).

The main camera sensor here is 12Mp, not the updated 48Mp sensor on the iPhone 14 Pro, but unless you are really pixel peeping it’s quite hard to tell the difference. The iPhone 14 still produces excellent day and night shots with good detail and colour, though it’s annoying Apple keeps the ability to shoot in RAW confined to the Pro line.

There’s no telephoto lens here either, so if you want to zoom in on things it’s not the best choice. Thankfully the ultrawide lens is solid and lets you capture more of a scene when needed and adds some welcome flexibility to shoot video over two lenses.

Read our full
Review iPhone 14

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
Review Oppo Find X5 Pro

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

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
Review Google Pixel 6a

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
Review Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

9. OnePlus 10 Pro – Most improved

Pros

Strong triple rear lenses

Has improved with updates

Good colour reproduction

Cons

Selfie camera not the best

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
Review OnePlus 10 Pro

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
Review Honor Magic 4 Pro

Cameras, Smartphones

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