Best Camera Phones You Can Buy Right Now

Everyone wants their smartphone to take great photos. Camera quality, however, can vary from model to model. Many times it depends more on the camera software than technical specifications, making it especially challenging to identify which camera will let you capture the best quality photos. To help you make that decision, we put together this list of the best camera phones you can purchase right now.

Good to know: feeling nostalgic about flip phones? Check out these modern options you can get.

1. Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Price: starting at $1,199

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra comfortably holds the "best smartphone camera" crown. Although other flagships from Apple and Google may come out marginally better in various scenarios, the S23 Ultra's camera setup is so versatile and specced out, that it produces flawless results in nearly every situation.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra overview.
Image source: Unsplash

Samsung upgraded the main sensor to 200MP from the previous 108MP sensor on the S22 Ultra, increasing the phone's ability to capture much more detail than arguably any other phone. The 12MP ultra-wide and dual 10MP telephoto lenses with 10x and 3x zoom round up the most versatile camera setup on any smartphone today. With upgraded "nightography" and video stabilization, the S23 Ultra easily produces the best low-light and video performance on the market.


  • Expert RAW mode for professional photography
  • Dual telephoto lenses for excellent zoom photos
  • Stunning display enhances the overall experience


  • Prohibitively expensive
  • Curved display is not for everyone

2. Best Video: iPhone 14 Pro/ iPhone 14 Pro Max

Price: starting at $999 / $1,099

Apple's latest iPhones present a powerful camera setup for the iOS crowd. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max feature identical cameras, with the only major differences being the display and battery sizes. Improvements over the iPhone 13 Pro include the new 48MP main sensor and Photonic Engine that bring a clear jump in quality. Apple's long-time lead in video is still going strong, thanks to the impressive dynamic range and industry-leading computational photography.

iPhone 14 Pro overview.
Image source: Unsplash

Low-light photos have also improved over the last generation. You get 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto lenses, but they're limited to only a 3X zoom max. Yet, the latest iPhones offer one of the most premium smartphone cameras with life-like video and top-tier, if not the best, photos.


  • Similar camera performance to the S23 Ultra
  • First-ever 48MP sensor on an iPhone for improved detail
  • Easily the best option for shooting smartphone videos
  • Class-leading display for viewing photos


  • Charging still limited to 20W

Tip: learn how to activate Action Mode on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.

3. Best Mid-Range: Google Pixel 7

Price: starting at $599

Google refined its already great Pixel 6 lineup to produce its most impressive series yet with the Pixel 7 phones. While the Google Pixel 7 is the more affordable sibling of the Pixel 7 Pro, it rarely feels that way. What you don't get with the Pixel 7 is a telephoto lens and autofocus – that's it. Those are the only differences when it comes to the cameras.

Pixel 7 overview.
Image source: Unsplash

What you do get is the same Tensor G2–powered AI photography capabilities at a lower price point. The Pixel 7 snaps amazing photos and videos with its 50MP main and 12MP ultra-wide sensors. It also supports 4K 60FPS and 10-bit HDR video recording, and both its low-light photos and videos are mighty impressive. It features all the Pixel-exclusive features, such as Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur seen in the Pixel 7 Pro. Plus, you get the same 10.8 MP front camera as the Pixel flagship phone.


  • Excellent cameras rivaling flagship models
  • Includes Night Sight, Magic Eraser, and Photo Unblur
  • Clean and intuitive camera experience


  • Sub-par battery performance

4. Best Portrait and Landscape: OnePlus 11 5G

Price: starting at $699

OnePlus has seemingly gone off the rails in recent years, but with the launch of the OnePlus 11 5G, one thing it does right is the camera. It seems the Hasselblad partnership is starting to pay off, as the OnePlus 11 5G performs impressively in many scenarios. The hues are vibrant, and the overall look of the photos is distinct from the competition.

Oneplus 11 5G overview.

While its 50MP main and 48MP ultra-wide sensors are surprisingly effective, the 32MP 2X telephoto lens doesn't bring much to the table. Although its low-light shots could be better, the OnePlus 11 5G is a definite winner when it comes to the cameras, especially at its price.


  • Surprisingly good portraits and landscape photos
  • Super smooth display
  • Solid battery life


  • Telephoto lens is disappointing
  • No wireless charging

5. Best Daytime: Xiaomi 13 Pro

Price: starting at $1299

Xiaomi is a brand that always stays on the cutting edge of smartphone hardware. With the Xiaomi 13 Pro, the company remains true to this philosophy by introducing the 1-inch Sony IMX989 sensor. Xiaomi co-developed the 50MP sensor with Sony, and the results are impressive. The 50MP ultra-wide and 50MP telephoto lenses underscore the phone's high-end hardware.

Xiaomi 13 Pro overview.
Image source: Amazon

The Xiaomi 13 Pro's daytime photos are even better than those of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, thanks to the larger sensor that allows more details and prevents noise, even in low-light conditions. Xiaomi's partnership with high-end camera maker Leica further adds a unique, realistic tone to the photos. Leica's approach to AI post-processing not only complements the phone's flagship hardware but also produces natural-looking results rivaling those of Apple and Samsung. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is pricey, though – much more than the other flagships on this list.


  • 1-inch Sony sensor produces results similar to Sony's point-and-shoot cameras
  • More than impressive telephoto lens
  • Natural bokeh gives more depth to photos


  • Ultra-wide lens should be better
  • Post-processing still behind the competition
  • Not officially available yet in the U.S.

Good to know: the preinstalled Samsung Keyboard on Galaxy phones comes with many tricks.

6. Best Professional: Sony Xperia 1 IV

Price: starting at $1,399

Sony has been doing its own thing without much fanfare when it comes to smartphones. Focusing only on high-end professional-grade camera phones, its latest entrant, the Sony Xperia 1 IV, is a photography powerhouse. Due to its eye-watering price and professional shooting experience, it's certainly not for everyone. The highlight of this phone is its continuous 3.5x to 5.2x zoom telephoto lens. It achieves variable zoom without having to pack in multiple telephoto lenses.

Best Camera Phones Sony Xperia 1 Iv
Image source: Best Buy

This 12MP telephoto lens is accompanied by 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide sensors, along with a 12MP selfie shooter as well. Another highlight of the pro-grade camera system is the ZEISS-calibrated lenses, each of which offers 4K 120FPS HDR video recording. Sony has targeted the Xperia 1 IV for videographers and other professional camera enthusiasts. At the same time, the regular user may not be impressed with the phone's camera results if they don't invest the time to master the pro-grade tools provided in the camera app.


  • Continuous telephoto zoom offering DSLR-like experience
  • ZEISS lenses specially calibrated for the Xperia 1 IV
  • Incredible 4K 120FPS HDR recording from all three cameras
  • Object tracking that always keeps the subject in focus
  • High-resolution, 120 Hz OLED display complementing the camera experience


  • Incredibly expensive, even a year after its launch
  • Overheating issues
  • Professional features may be too much for casual users

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a phone camera be better than DSLR?

Phone cameras have evolved by leaps and bounds over the years and have begun to rival results produced by some DSLR cameras. But that's just the surface. If you dig deeper, you'll find that DSLRs are still capable of snapping photos that have significantly more detail due to their larger sensors and have better lenses that produce sharper images. DSLRs also give, in general, much more control over photography that's useful for professionals.

Is 40MP really better than 12MP?

More megapixels give you the ability to capture more detail, which makes it possible to enlarge and crop pictures without them appearing blurry or pixelated. But, on an overall photo quality level, more megapixels do not necessarily mean better photos. A 40MP sensor on a mid-range Android phone may produce a technically sharper image, but a 12MP sensor on an iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 will still produce better-looking photos in general. Hence, 40MP is not better than 12MP, as many other factors like software processing, dynamic range, and color science are responsible for producing pleasing images.

Image credit: Unsplash

Tanveer Singh
Tanveer Singh - Staff Writer

Tanveer hunts far and wide for PC Hardware, Windows, and Gaming ideas to write about. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he has written extensively on Technology, Gaming, and Marketing. When not scouring the web, he can be found binging on The Office, running for his life in GTFO, or wrecking karts in Smash Karts.

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