What’s the best camera phone to buy in 2020?
When choosing a new phone, what features are most important to you? If your answer is having the best camera, you are not alone. While technological advancements happen quickly in the world of smartphones, cameras continue to be the most competitive area among phone manufacturers.
In 2020, we are seeing smartphones with multiple lenses, huge sensors, fabulous night photography capabilities, and beautifully crisp and detailed 4K video. The market continues to evolve, testing the limits of smartphone cameras and rivaling more powerful DSLRs and mirrorless cameras as the best and easiest way to take awesome images.
The top 10 camera phones at the moment
There are so many amazing camera phones available that it can be difficult to choose among them. We’ve rounded up a list of the best phone cameras available right now.
- iPhone 11 Pro
- Google Pixel 4 XL
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
- Huawei P30 Pro
- iPhone XS Max
- Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium
- Oppo Reno 10x Zoom
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
- Honor V30 Pro
- iPhone 11
1. iPhone 11 Pro: The best camera phone right now
With its versatile triple-lens array and beautiful image quality, the iPhone 11 Pro produces natural, realistic photos right out of the box. This is the phone camera of choice for lazy photographers, street photographers, and landscape photographers alike, as it’s easy to use and takes reliably sharp images without a fuss.
In addition to its traditional camera lens, the iPhone Pro and Pro Max have an ultra-wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens, as well as an upgraded selfie camera.
2. Google Pixel 4 XL: The best camera phone for night photography
The Google Pixel 4 XL is currently our top pick for an Android camera. It features 2 cameras: a 12-megapixel primary lens and a 16-megapixel zoom lens. The shooting modes are simple, consisting of Night Sight, Portrait, Camera, Video, Panorama, PhotoSphere, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, Playground, and Google Lens.
The new Astro mode is one of the Pixel 4 XL’s biggest achievements, allowing the camera to hold the shutter open for up to 4 minutes to capture star trails and other details from the night sky.
3. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: Best camera for bright photos and portraits
Like several of the newest phone cameras in our list, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes with a triple-lens setup for maximum versatility. The primary 12-megapixel camera lens is supported by a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens.
The phone produces great images all around, but it really shines with its bright exposure, nice tonal range, and snappy color rendering. Fine image details are sometimes lost in low light, but the noise reduction is on point. All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus can hold its own with the best phone cameras on the market today.
4. Huawei P30 Pro 5G: Best phone camera for image quality in a variety of settings
The Huawei P30 Pro 5G has received top scores from numerous independent reviewers. It comes with a quad-camera setup — the first of its kind — a dual LED-flash system, and the capability to shoot 4K video with ease.
The lenses include a 40-megapixel primary camera, a 40-megapixel ultra-wide, an 8-megapixel telephoto, and a 3D depth-sensing camera. The ultra-wide lens isn’t as wide as some of the other cameras in this list, but it makes up for it with reduced distortion for more realistic photos. Overall, the P30 Pro 5G includes great detail, reduced noise, and a quick and accurate autofocus, perfect even for non-experts.
5. iPhone XS Max: Stellar quality at an affordable price
Yes, the iPhone 11 Pro has usurped the XS Max as the best camera phone available on the market, but the iPhone XS Max can still hold its own, especially as newer iPhone models are introduced and the cost drops even lower.
The XS Max includes 2 cameras, a 12-megapixel wide-angle and a 2x telephoto for close-ups. Outstanding 4K video makes this a great phone for shooting action, and the autofocus is quick and accurate in most shooting environments.
6. Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium: Highest-megapixel camera phone
The Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium includes 5 separate cameras for a great variety of shooting options. The main camera captures images at a whopping 108 megapixels for incredible detail. There are also 2 telephoto lenses, an ultra-wide lens, and a dedicated macro lens.
Because of the 2 telephoto lenses, the Xiaomi excels at shooting crisp, detailed close-ups while accurately estimating depth. Low-light images come out properly exposed with reduced noise, but outdoor shots in natural lighting are where the Xiaomi excels.
7. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom: Best camera phone for zoom photography
Like most new camera phones, the Oppo comes with a triple-camera setup, but what sets it apart is the 10x zoom for an impressive focal length. The primary camera lens uses a 48-megapixel sensor for decent resolution. The ultra-wide lens is 8-megapixel, and the telephoto is 13-megapixel.
Still image performance is stellar in most situations, the exception being low-light photography and areas of high contrast where the lack of detail will be noticeable. The video performance is great, with outstanding color and white balance in natural lighting.
8. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: Best phone camera for high-contrast conditions
The rear camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with 4 sensors: a standard 12-megapixel primary camera, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, and a dedicated Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor for Portrait mode. Like its cousin, the Galaxy S10 Plus, the Note 10 Plus excels at night photography and shots in low-light conditions.
The Note 10+ 5G also boasts a very wide dynamic range when capturing images in bright or in high-contrast conditions, where highlights and shadow details are well-preserved and exposure on faces is generally spot-on.
9. Honor V30 Pro: Best cheap camera phone
Let’s start by clarifying that, in the case of the Honor V30 Pro, “cheap” certainly doesn’t imply poorly made. Instead, let’s call it “affordable.” Honor is a budget-friendly sub-brand of Huawei and includes some great camera features at a much lower price point.
The triple camera setup includes a 40-megapixel primary lens, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide, and an 8-megapixel telephoto. If it weren’t for the fact that this camera phone has limited availability in the United States, it would be higher on the list. While the Honor camera offers exceptional image quality in all aspects, it excels at preserving detail, low-light situations, and portraits with bokeh. Video is not its strong point, but it still manages to shoot decent 4K videos that will satisfy all but the most advanced videographers.
10. iPhone 11: Best mid-range camera phone
The iPhone 11 has a capable camera for still shots and videos, but it lacks some of the best features available on the iPhone 11 Pro. Most notably, the iPhone 11 includes dual cameras, a standard 12-megapixel and an ultra-wide lens, but not the telephoto lens that is available in the Pro model.
Still, the iPhone 11 produces accurate exposures, sharp detail, and nice color tones in almost all lighting conditions, including indoor scenes and night shots. The zoom quality at mid-range and long-range can’t compete with the Pro, but if that isn’t a feature you think you’ll utilize, you could save hundreds of dollars by investing in the iPhone 11 instead of the Pro.
The amazing technological advances in the world of smartphone cameras make now the perfect time to upgrade. These smartphones are a great alternative to heavy cameras, and only professional photographers will be able to notice the difference in photo quality.