The Absolute Best Camera Phone – Ranked Ten to One

When you search for the best camera phone, you know the one with the best camera for professional photography, chances are you’re running into one of two problems.

One, whether in a Verizon store or online, the entity giving you your information is immediately recommending the new iPhone. Whomever you’re dealing with is just pitching you with Apple because it’s the easy answer – the safe answer.

Not because it’s the right tool for you and your smartphone photography or because it has the best camera for professional photography.

Or two, the information you’re getting is too dense. You’ve been reading technical camera specs and are utterly lost when it comes to knowing what the best camera phone is.

Don’t worry.

We at Photos with Phones are going to tell you what the best camera phone is without immediately recommending Apple and without regurgitating the camera’s specs. We’re in the business of making your smartphone photography better, and dammit that’s what we’re going to do.

Here are the best camera phones money can buy – ranked from ten to one.

The Absolute Best Camera Phone: Ten to Six

[amazon table=”942″]

If you’re on a budget or have done your research to conclude that one of these is for you, then, by all means, buy away.

On the other hand, what does it hurt to keep on reading and see which other phones rank higher on the list? You may find that cost has been considered while compiling the list(hint – it was!).

If there’s no convincing you to go in another direction, then may we recommend some mobile photography accessories or an app for editing photos to take your work to the next level.

You may as well get yourself the best, but if you’re unwilling at least make your choice the best it can be. Your smartphone photography will certainly appreciate you for it!

10. Samsung Galaxy S9

[amazon box = “B079SQ5VHX”]

According to Wired, “The best part of this phone? It’s the camera.”

And we couldn’t agree more.

After all, what better for a smartphone photographer, right?

Their dual aperture mode allows you to take photos in F1.5 and F2.5. In a non-photography talk, this means that pretty much no matter the lighting your shot will be amazing.

The slo-mo feature Samsung has developed also allows you to take stills from videos with ease without compromising the quality of the photo.

Need to have a photo of your favorite band mid-act but don’t want to give up the feeling of movement within the image?

That’s a problem of the past with the Galaxy S9!


  • Optical Image Stabilization for both lenses
  • 12-megapixel secondary camera with 1/3.6″ sensor, two times tele and f/2.4 aperture lens
  • 12-megapixel main camera with 1/2.55″ sensor and f/1.5  and / f/2.4 variable aperture lens
  • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus on the main camera
  • LED flash
  • 720-pixel super-slow-motion video at 960 frames per second
  • 4K video at 60 frames per second

9. iPhone XR

iphone camera lens
Gizmodo Australia

MSRP Price: $749.00

Buy It Now Price: $649.99 ($100 Savings)

According to Apple themselves, the new iPhones feature a “breakthrough camera system” including loads of newly developed tech. And we agree, the new iPhone camera lens and accompanying technology are pretty fantastic.

When you add in increased resistance to water and dust along with a supposedly stronger screen, you have to like Apple’s direction.

The wireless charger is also great for the smartphone photographer on the go.

A newly configured Portrait Mode brilliantly takes crisps portraits and selfies in the foreground while magnificently blurring the background. An enhanced bokeh effect only adds to the allure of the new and improved Portrait Mode.

Not that you need any other reason to consider Apple’s new Portrait Mode the real deal, but you can also now edit the depth of field post shot.

That’s a game changer.

The new iPhone camera lens is now better than ever too.

Apple has also upped its HDR game. The A12 bionic chip allows the camera to capture more highlights and shadows than ever before. And let’s be honest here, who doesn’t like more highlights and shadows?

For all those videographers out there, does the ability to shoot 4k video at 60 frames be second pique your interest at all?

We figured it might.


  • 12-megapixel 1/2.55″ sensor with 1.4µm pixels
  • 26-millimeter equivalent focal length
  • f/1.8-aperture lens
  • Quad-LED dual-tone flash
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Phase-detection autofocus
  • 4K video at 24, 30, and 60 frames per second and 1080 pixel video at 30 frames per second in the default setting

8. HTC U11


MSRP Price: $399.00

Buy It Now Price: $199.99 ($200 Savings)

According to the experts, the HTC U11 is one of the top performers in the industry when photographing in bright light.

HTC’s new multi-axis optical and electronic stabilization system is trying to get rid of the need for a tripod, gimbal, or handgrip. When your hand is moving naturally, you can’t even notice in the image.

So, this super-fast autofocus feature is pretty unbelievable too. It’s the same technology found in the top DSLR offerings!

Another impressive feature worth mentioning is the HDR Boost. It shoots multiple photos at a time and then seamlessly integrates them to give you the best image in regards to clarity and noise.

No wonder the HTC U11 achieved a seriously impressive score of 90 from DxOMark, huh?

It’s the best camera for professional photography under $200 bar none!


  • 1/2.55-inch 12-megapixel backside illuminated complementary metal oxide semiconductor sensor with a 1.4μm pixel size
  • f/1.7 aperture
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Dual LED flash
  • 4K video recording with Hi-Res audio and 3D audio recording
  • Pro mode with manual control, 32 sec. long exposure, and RAW format

7. Nokia 7.1

Nokia 7.1
Nokia Mobile

MSRP Price: $399.99

Buy It Now Price: $349.00 ($50 Savings)

For starters, any smartphone with ZEISS optics is already ahead of the pack. ZEISS has been at the forefront of lenses for years now, and their smartphone photo lenses don’t break from there typical product’s quality.

The 12-megapixel and 13-megapixel rear sensors feature two times optical zoom with the capacity to deliver vivid colors.

Primarily, your photos spring to life.

On the other side of the coin, the sixteen-megapixel front camera which features ZEISS optics delivers excellent low-light performance.

The Nokia 7 Plus takes stunning selfies, legendary landscapes, and poignant portraits no matter the time of day.

The phone also comes with a newly developed battery that delivers a whopping two-day battery life.

The Android 9 pie feature also learns how you use your smartphone to give an adaptive user experience.

The Nokia 7 Plus was the EISA Award winner for best smartphone 2018-2019

Nokia’s spatial audio is excellent for beginning videographers and musicians, and with ZEISS optics the photography is pretty great as well.


  • Dual camera setup
  • Primary 13-megapixel RGB main sensor with 1.12µm pixels and a secondary 13-megapixel monochrome sensor
  • f/2.0 aperture
  • Optical image stabilization
  • AF with on-sensor phase detection and laser assistance
  • Dual-tone LED flash
  • 4K video at 30 frames per second
  • 13-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture

6. Huawei Mate 20

best camera for professional photography

MSRP Price: $654.00

Buy It Now Price: $512.99 ($141 Savings)

Are you looking for the best camera for professional photography but don’t want the steep price tag? Well, the Mate 20 may be the best camera for professional photography at under $600.

For starters, the triple camera setup is an unbelievably useful thing to have for the smartphone photographer. It essentially gives you three different choices of lenses before you even clip on a lens. And, once you do add a lens, you can get three different effects out of each one.

It’s like literally everything you buy as far as smartphone camera accessories go is three times as useful.

Once you also consider the reviews that Huawei phones get when it comes to their cameras going in this direction seems like a no brainer.

Also, Leica lenses in a smartphone? Sign us up.

Oh, and it might interest you to check out the $140 disparity between MSRP price and Buy it Now price too…

If you’re interested in buying a slightly older model of phone to save a little cash – and there is no shame in that, my friend! – then the Mate 20 is a viable option.

Hell, it’s preferable to some of the newest phones on the market today!


  • Triple camera setup
  • 40-megapixel primary camera with 1/1.7″ sensor, f/1.8-aperture, and a 27-millimeter equivalent lens
  • 20-megapixel super-wide-angle with an f/2.2-aperture and a 16mm-equivalent lens
  • 8-megapixel tele lens with f/2.4 aperture
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 80-millimeter-equivalent lens
  • Phase-detection autofocus and laser autofocus
  • Dual-tone LED flash
  • 4K video at 30 frames per second and 1080 pixel video at 30 frames per second in the default settings

The Absolute Best Camera Phone: The Top Five

Logic would tell you that anything in the top five is a viable option, and we would tend to agree.

At the same time, wouldn’t you want to give yourself the top camera phone so that your smartphone photography has the best chance of finding success?

By all means, give these a read and do your research before purchasing, But be sure to consider carefully before hitting that buy button. After all, you’ll have this phone – and its camera – for a while!

[amazon table=”943″]

5. Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2

MSRP Price: $449.99

Buy It Now Price: $331.89 ($118.11 Savings)

Single camera means most features come from software, not hardware (meaning not a result of the camera)

A great performer in high and low lighting – though better in the latter than the former. The low light performance makes it ideal for those outdoor photographers.

The phone also does well in terms of flash, though as we’ve mentioned before, the flash should get used sparingly. The flash, it is worth mentioning, is more natural looking than most.

Limited zoom and bokeh – the effect look of the blurred background – capabilities. Both are more evident when the zoom is in effect. Seeing as how you know that you shouldn’t be zooming anyways, this isn’t a problem for you.

Color rendering is good but not great.

Good high dynamic range in all light conditions with minimal loss in detail (occurs predominantly in low light shots with bright backgrounds)

Better videography and the best when it comes to this generation of phone. Autofocus performs as close to flawlessly as possible.


  • 1/2.6-inch 12-megapixel sensor
  • f/1.8 aperture
  • Dual-Pixel Autofocus
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • HDR+ technology
  • New Portrait Mode software solution

4. Huawei P30

best camera for professional photography

MSRP Price: $1,117.54

Buy It Now Price:$939.00 ($178.54 Savings)

The Huawei P30 is hands down the best camera for smartphone photography on the list. Oh, and it’s the best camera for professional photography too.

The only reason it doesn’t occupy the spot as the absolute best camera phone is because of its steep price tag and its limited availability.

At the same time, if you can get your hands on one of these bad boys and don’t mind the gauging cost then absolutely buy it.

You will not regret it.

There are so many pros and so little time. Exposure, zoom, autofocus, and flash all perform with or better than the typical industry leaders.

Huawei’s new field-of-view fusion uses a self-adapting algorithm to auto adjust the magnification of your photo based on the moment’s specific need.

Mainly the P30 uses all of its cameras simultaneously to create a wholly focused image, every time.

Pretty awesome, huh?

So, also old wisdom told us that zoom in smartphones was limited to three times. The constraints of the phone’s size meant that adding any lens big enough to do more was impossible.

Huawei solved the problem and now offers a five-time optical zoom.

The P30’s bokeh is also top notch. They’ve developed laser technology that captures the distance from the camera to the subject. This laser technology is done to calculate the perfect depth map.

Oh, it’s also capable of macro even without a macro lens.

For those videographers still paying attention, the P30 does only shoot in 30 and 60 frames per second.


  • Triple-camera setup
  • Primary: 40-megapixel, 1/1.7-inch quad RYYB sensor (a special kind of sensors) and an f/1.6-aperture lens,
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 27mm-equivalent focal length
  • Tele: 8-megapixel sensor, folded optics with f/3.4 aperture lens 125mm-equivalent focal length
  • 20-megapixel super-wide-angle: f/2.2-aperture, 16mm-equivalent lens
  • Phase-detection autofocus/Time-of-flight (ToF) autofocus
  • LED flash

3. Samsung S10 Plus

best camera for professional photography

MSRP Price: $1,299.99

Buy It Now Price: $825.00 ($475 Savings)

Exposure on the S10 is unbelievable and is a major pro for possibly the best camera for professional photography.

It is a result of vast tonal and dynamic range – typical trademarks of great cameras. The pros in terms of exposure become slightly less impressive in low light situations, but only slightly.

In comparison to the competitors, the dynamic range is noticeably more full.

The S10 also has autofocus capabilities with next to no noise noticeable in its photos. While no noise is a great feature to have, it does come at the cost of the finer details in the picture.

As a result, the zoom capabilities of the S10 are comparatively pretty poor.

An impressive flash is both natural and useable. The S10’s flash doesn’t have a vignetting effect, and in the right light conditions is undoubtedly an excellent tool to have in your toolbelt.

A weak bokeh effect and the tendency for red-eye makes portrait photography a bit of a pain on the S10. At this price point, one would expect these issues – even as small as they may be – to not be as prevalent.

While the videography on the S10 is pretty impressive, there are specific issues to consider. The camera’s ability to track a subject in motion, for example, is lacking.

The autofocus however in video mode is worth checking out.

If you have or have tested the S9, then you’ll undoubtedly notice the improvements in the S10 — both in the photo and video modes.


  • Triple-camera setup
  • Primary: 12-megapixel sensor with 1.4µm pixels and 26mm-equivalent, f/1.5–2.4 aperture lens, dual-pixel autofocus, and optical image stabilization
  • Ultra-wide: 16-megapixel sensor 1.0µm pixels and 13mm-equivalent, f/2.4-aperture lens
  • Telephoto: 12-megapixel sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 52mm-equivalent, f/2.4 aperture lens, phase-detection autofocus, and optical image stabilization
  • 2160 pixel video at 60 frames per second and 1080 pixel video at 30 frames per second in the default setting

2. iPhone XS

iphone camera lens

MSRP Price: $999.00

Buy It Now Price: $949.99 ($50 Savings)

Apple has upped its image processing game, and the improvements are certainly noticeable.

The iPhone now takes multi photos at different exposures which – through high dynamic range processing – allows the perfect picture to come out. Essentially, the image you see on your screen when you tap is the photo you’ll see on the preview screen.

Big time props to the new iPhone camera lens too. The new iPhone camera lens helps to make the burst photo process work at peak efficiency.

Frequently, as a result, what you see in the preview screen is even better. It’s especially evident in the iPhone’s improved portrait mode. The bokeh effect is a thing of beauty.

One thing worth noting when it comes to all of Apple’s releases this year is the poor comparative performance with zoom. While you shouldn’t be zooming anyway, the lack of performance is worth considering before buying.

The videography potential with the iPhone XS is clear. Improved video stabilization and a reduced jello effect make the XS almost not need a tripod or gimbal (though, we recommend having one anyway…).

Colors, dynamic range, detail, and the new iPhone camera lens are all top class regardless of lighting condition when taking video. The phone did, however, do its best video in bright light.


  • Dual-camera setup
  • 12-megapixel primary iPhone camera lens with 1/2.55″ sensor (1.4µm pixels) and six-element f/1.8-aperture lens, 26mm equivalent focal length
  • 12-megapixel secondary 2x iPhone camera lens – tele – with 1/3.4″ sensor (1.0µm pixels) and six-element f/2.4-aperture lens, 52mm equivalent focal length
  • Optical image stabilization on both iPhone camera lenses
  • Phase-detection autofocus
  • Quad-LED dual tone flash
  • 4K video at 30/60 frames per second and 1080 pixel video at up to 240 frames per second

The Absolute Best Camera Phone: The Winner

As the absolute best camera phone winner the Google Pixel 3 has the full backing of Photos with Phones as far as the best camera for professional photography goes. We fully expect that you’ll love it too, and any photos you take with your new purchase hashtag them with #theabsolutebestcameraphone to show us what you can do!

Even if you don’t end up with the Pixel 3, you can still be a part of the fun – we’d love to see what we’ve helped you to create.

1. Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3

MSRP Price: $599.00

Buy It Now Price: $489.00 ($110 Savings)

Google Pixel 3 is a single camera phone. The Pixel 3 won’t outperform the other cameras just above it when it comes to pure photography. But, it will save you a pretty penny.

As the best camera phone on the market today, the Pixel 3 will undoubtedly perform up to par.

What you save in, you could invest in a few Google Pixel accessories like some Moment lenses or a tripod which would help get you and your smartphone photography to the next level.

The phone’s autofocus is lightning fast and performs adequately in pretty much any conditions. Apart from a slight issue with underexposure, Pixel 3 also performs pretty well in terms of dynamic range.

Compared with the Pixel 2, the new model performs much better in regards to portraits. This improvement is a result of modern image processing technology. The result is improved zoom and bokeh effects – both of which will enhance portrait capacity as a whole.

The new Night Sight feature added to the Pixel 3 does wonderfully in low light. It, like some of the other phone cameras on this list, uses a burst and stacking method to develop a photo with better lighting. It is worth noting that when there’s motion involved in the picture, the Night Sight does not perform as well.

Pixel 3 is an absolute stunner when it comes to video. Crisp, clear, and with incredible audio, the Pixel 3 will also adjust itself for changes in lighting as you go. The video capability is part of what makes it the best camera phone and the best camera for professional photography on this list.


  • 12.2-megapixel, 1/2.55″ dual-pixel sensor (1.4µm pixels)
  • f/1.8 lens, 28mm equivalent focal length
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Dual  LED flash
  • 2160 pixel video at 30 frames per second and 1080 pixel video at 30 and 60 frames per second in default mode
  • AutoFPS for switching between 30 frames per second and 60 frames per second when using 1080 pixels
  • H.265 encoding for Video

One thought on “The Absolute Best Camera Phone – Ranked Ten to One

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *