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The Best Camera Phone: 10 Top Picks

These days, we rely on our phones for a lot more than just calling and texting. In fact, smartphones with built-in cameras have made digital cameras obsolete for many. That's why picking a phone with a great camera setup is so important.

We went through the top contenders and rounded up the best camera phones of 2024 — but what makes these phones stand out in a sea of options? 

Our Top 10 Best Camera Phone Picks

Every phone on this list was chosen with the following criteria in mind: 

  • Camera Quality: We’re talking about more than just megapixels. Think lens quality, aperture, software optimization, optical zoom, and number of lenses.
  • Storage Capacity: A great camera needs ample storage for all those high-resolution photos and videos.
  • Overall Performance: Because a phone needs to be more than just a good camera.

Let’s dive into finding the perfect camera phone for you. 

1. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

The newest Samsung flagship is the S24 Ultra, which offers the latest and greatest when it comes to camera features. While the Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus share the same camera specs as previous models, the Ultra bumps it up with its 50MP Telephoto Lens for 5x optical zoom and 200MP Wide resolution camera. With this, you have full control over the framing and focus of your pictures, delivering sharp, high-quality images for any occasion worth capturing. 

The S24 Ultra runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Paired with the Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen for a bright and clear display, this device delivers some of the best performance you can expect from a phone in 2024. 

Why We Chose This Phone

The S24 Ultra is capable of taking professional-level photographs. Some key features include the upgraded Pro Mode, which lets you adjust camera settings to your liking (including ISO, shutter speed, exposure, and white balance), as well as the AI-powered Nightography tool, allowing you to take stunning photos even in low light. 

Astrophotography is specifically noted to be enhanced in the S24 Ultra, making it possible to take truly breathtaking shots of the night sky. Another impressive upgrade is the phone’s advanced Optical Image Stabilization, which automatically tunes the camera lens or sensor to compensate for unintentional movement. 

Pros

  • Builds off of previous models to deliver one of the highest-quality cameras on the market
  • Plenty of editing tools such as Photo AI, Spot Color, Object Eraser, and Portrait Mode
  • Includes stylus

Cons 

  • Hefty price tag

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2. iPhone 15 Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro Max stands out with its revolutionary triple-lens camera system, making it a top contender amongst the best iPhone cameras. It features a 48MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide, and front-facing lenses, plus a 12MP telephoto lens with optical zoom.

Why We Chose This Phone

Its camera system is lauded for its low-light display and advanced HDR capabilities, making it an excellent choice for various photography scenarios. The iPhone 15 Pro Max also offers up to 1TB of storage, ideal for storing numerous high-resolution photos and 4K videos. 

Powered by the A17 Bionic chip, it excels in multitasking and processing, so you can easily switch between your camera and editing tools while simultaneously enjoying your favorite podcast.

Pros

  • Advanced triple-lens camera system
  • Excellent low-light performance and HDR
  • Substantial storage options up to 1TB
  • High-performance A17 Bionic chip for efficient processing

Cons

  • High price point compared to other models

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3. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

This Samsung phone features one of the best overall camera setups in terms of pure image quality, plus a variety of other excellent features.

Why We Chose This Phone

The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s cameras create powerful, crisp images. The cameras include a 200-megapixelmain camera, a 12-megapixelultra-wide camera, and 10-megapixeltelephoto cameras with 3x and 10x zoom, respectively. The front camera is a 12-megapixel variety. These combine to produce excellent photos, primarily when used with the 50MP RAW capture app integrated into the phone out of the box, which can make a difference for those who like to edit their photos by offering ultimate control over the process. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a powerful device in other ways as well. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor ensures smooth, fast functionality no matter what you do, and the S pen complements the large screen. This phone’s clean, minimal style will make it popular among tech heads for years. With this phone, it might take longer to process certain images — but that’s because this phone is capable of taking high-resolution photos (up to 200 million pixels). Changing the image resolution will change the amount of time it takes for the phone to process the image.

Pros

  • Among the best smartphone cameras in the industry
  • 50MP RAW photos are available
  • Low-light performance specialized for nighttime and astrophotography
  • Excellent streamlined design
  • Powerful processor

Cons

  • The UI, or the graphical display, doesn’t stand out amongst competitors
  • Less storage capacity (512 GB) than other contenders

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4. iPhone 15 Pro

The iPhone 15 Pro shares the advanced camera system of the Pro Max, featuring a 48MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide and front lenses, and a 12MP telephoto camera with optical zoom – though only a 3x zoom, compared to the Pro Max’s 5x zoom.

Why We Chose This Phone

This phone offers exceptional dynamic range and low-light performance like the iPhone 15 Pro Max but remains more compact. The iPhone 15 Pro provides up to 1TB of storage and is powered by the A17 Bionic chip, supporting advanced camera features like RAW format capturing and cinematic video recording.

Pros

  • Compact design with a powerful camera system
  • Excellent dynamic range and low-light capabilities
  • Large storage options up to 1TB
  • Efficient and powerful A17 Bionic chip for enhanced processing

Cons

  • Premium pricing
  • Some users may prefer a larger screen size of Pro Max
  • No optical zoom, unlike the Pro Max

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5. Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 Pro distinguishes itself with a 50MP main camera system enhanced by Google’s advanced AI technology, including features like Magic Eraser, Night Sight, and Portrait Mode. The main camera features a 48MP ultrawide lens and a 10.5MP front lens. This phone also boasts an impressive 120Hz refresh rate.

Why We Chose This Phone

Google’s AI-driven approach ensures top-notch photo quality with minimal effort – you can point, shoot, and expect to get a great photo even if you’re not a pro. The Google Pixel 8 Pro offers up to 256GB of storage and is powered by Google’s Tensor chip, known for its fast and intelligent processing capabilities, particularly in complex image algorithms.

Pros

  • AI-enhanced 50MP main camera for exceptional image quality
  • Versatile camera setup with front and wide-angle lenses
  • Up to 256GB of storage for ample photo and video space
  • Google’s Tensor chip for smart and speedy performance

Cons

  • Limited storage compared to some competitors (256GB)
  • Some users, especially more experienced photographers, may prefer a more manual camera experience

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6. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Galaxy S22 Ultra could be a better choice if you want to save money. It includes many of the design features of its counterpart, but since it’s an older model, you can typically find better deals on it.

Why We Chose This Phone

The Galaxy S22 Ultra may not have cameras as powerful as the S23 Ultra does, but photography fans will still find many features to enjoy. The rear cameras include a 108-megapixel rear main camera, two 10-megapixel front cameras, and a 12MP ultrawide camera. The front camera is 40 megapixels.

With a sophisticated digital zoom system and stylus control, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers the fine precision and control you need to take sharp, detailed images. This goes for the front camera too, with an incredibly high 40-megapixel lens to take crisp and clear selfies. 

With up to 1 TB of storage and with camera features like night mode and automatic stabilization algorithms, it’s easy to see why this is a top choice for photographers on a budget. 

Pros

  • Comes with a stylus
  • Good rear cameras
  • Very sophisticated digital zoom
  • Good selfie camera

Cons

  • No slot for microSD cards
  • Not as powerful cameras as the S23 Ultra

Find Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Deals

7. Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone 14 Pro Max has plenty of excellent features that attract camera fans and phone fanatics equally, even though it’s last year’s iPhone model.

Why We Chose This Phone

This pro-mode phone has a 48-megapixel rear camera with 2x optical zoom. It’s also bolstered by 12-megapixel ultra-wide and telephoto cameras, respectively. The front camera is also 12 megapixels. Altogether, this camera setup is versatile and powerful.

However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is noteworthy thanks to its extensive battery life and immersive Always-On display. The cameras also benefit from an “Action Mode” for videos, resulting in high-quality video recordings at any time of day. The larger sensor in the camera and its autofocus capabilities enable cinematic and close-up shots.

In short, the computational photography and dynamic range software make this camera set stand out.

Pros

  • Great for recording videos
  • One of the best pro cameras you can find
  • Stellar battery life
  • Good display size and quality
  • Up to 1 TB of storage space

Cons

  • Later models have more advanced zoom features
  • Battery life has been improved in more recent models

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8. iPhone 13 Pro

Even though it’s now two generations behind the latest iPhone release, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro holds up as a camera phone. It has great cameras and other excellent features, making it an ideal choice for fans looking to get a modern mobile phone without splurging for the most recent Apple offering.

Why We Chose This Phone

The iPhone 13 Pro comes with quality, if limited, cameras, including a 12-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. The front camera is also 12 megapixels. The video cameras can record up to 4K 60 FPS footage, making it a great choice for video recording fans.

In addition to the cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro is bolstered by a gorgeous, bright display and very good battery life compared to its predecessor.

Pros

  • Excellent 120hz display
  • Good processor performance
  • Top-tier cameras all around
  • Much better camera and battery life than previous models

Cons

  • Fewer megapixels and smaller field of view than the iPhone 14
  • Worse battery life when compared to newer models
  • Fewer megapixels, no telephoto

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9. Galaxy Z Fold5

You may not think of a flip phone as a top camera phone choice, but if so, you’ve been missing out. The Galaxy Z Fold5 stands out with a nifty foldable design, offering unique photography experiences. It’s equipped with a 50MP wide camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens, a 10MP telephoto camera, and a 6.2-inch OLED display.

Why We Chose This Phone

The foldable form factor of the Z Fold5 makes for a portable and easy-to-use device to snap professional-quality photos. Its camera setup is versatile for various shooting scenarios, whether it be capturing beautiful landscapes or taking action shots, while the high-quality front camera is excellent for selfies. 

You can choose from storage options ranging from 256GB to 1TB. The performance is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, ensuring smooth operation, particularly beneficial in quick camera response and overall device functionality.

Pros

  • Unique foldable design for creative photography
  • High-resolution cameras offering versatility
  • Large storage capacity suitable for extensive media
  • Strong performance thanks to the advanced chipset

Cons

  • Higher price point due to its foldable technology
  • Bulkier design compared to traditional smartphones

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10. Galaxy S23+

The Galaxy S23+ is equipped with a triple-camera setup featuring a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 10MP telephoto lens, making it a solid choice for photography enthusiasts.

Why We Chose This Phone

This model stands out for its balance of camera capabilities and overall performance. The camera setup offers impressive autofocus, HDR, and low-light performance, suitable for various photography styles. 

Storage options up to 256GB provide ample space for high-quality photos and videos. The powerful chipset ensures smooth and reliable performance, making the Galaxy S23+ a great choice for users who prioritize a well-performing and versatile camera experience in their Android phones.

Pros

  • Excellent triple-camera setup for versatile photography
  • Advanced features like autofocus and HDR
  • Sufficient storage options for photo enthusiasts
  • Strong performance for a seamless user experience

Cons

  • Limited storage compared to some flagship models
  • Not a huge upgrade on the S22 Plus camera setup 

Find Galaxy S23+ Deals

How to Choose the Best Camera Phone for Your Needs

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If you want to do a little more research on which phone cameras are best, you’ll need to take more than megapixels into consideration. Here are some additional factors to consider:

Camera Specifications

Consider the type and quality of lenses (wide, ultrawide, telephoto), aperture sizes, and special features like an optical zoom lens and night mode. These aspects determine the versatility and performance of the camera in various shooting conditions.

We recommend taking a look at some example photos in multiple modes taken with each model you’re considering, so you can get an idea of the kind of photos you’ll be able to capture. For example, if you love taking portraits of your pets, you probably care more about the focus or zoom features of a camera. If you’re a big selfie fan, then the front camera matters most. 

Image Processing Capabilities

Nowadays, a lot of photo quality comes down to how the phone’s processor renders the images. A good processor can turn a blurry shot of the moon into a stunning snap to share with friends. Advanced processors improve the speed and enhance features like image stabilization, HDR, and low-light performance.

Storage Options

High-resolution images and videos can take up significant space. Consider phones with ample internal storage. Of course, this one isn't so important now that it's possible to make use of cloud storage tools such as Google Cloud or Dropbox. 

User Experience

The ease of using the camera app and the availability of manual controls can greatly affect your photography experience. If you prefer more control over your shots, look for user-friendly interfaces with advanced settings.

Additional Features

Don’t forget to think about quality-of-life features like fast charging, long battery life, display quality, and durability, as they’ll contribute to your overall experience of using the phone.

Budget

Last but not least, determine your budget and compare it against the features and performance of various models. Sometimes, previous-generation models can offer excellent camera capabilities at a more affordable price.

By considering these factors, you can choose a camera phone that not only takes great photos but also makes your life a little better. Remember, the best camera phone is the one that helps you take the photos you want to take.

The Bottom Line

Nowadays, anyone can become an amateur photographer – with the right camera phone is important. From the advanced iPhone 15 Pro Max to the versatile Galaxy Z Fold5, our top ten camera phone picks showcase the best of what the smartphone market has to offer in camera technology. 

Whether you’re an aspiring photographer, a social media enthusiast, or simply someone who loves to capture life’s everyday moments, one of our top picks is sure to be the perfect fit for you.

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