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The best smartphone cameras in 2022

Update: As of November 2022!
Best Camera Phones
© Bro Crock / Shutterstock.com, Montage: NextPit

Which smartphone has the best camera in 2022? Now that all the important camera phones for this year have been released, ranging from the iPhone 14 Pro to the Google Pixel 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, it is time for a conclusion! NextPit has also reviewed them, allowing us to you which smartphones have the best cameras.

The best camera phones in 2022 compared

  Best camera phone in 2022 Best Android camera phone Best sub-$400 camera phone Best $400 alternative phone Best sub-$300 camera phone Best $300 alternative phone Best sub-$200 camera phone Best $200 alternative phone
Device
Image
Apple iPhone 14 Pro
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Google Pixel 6a
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro (5G)
Realme 9 Pro+
Xiaomi Poco M5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
Technical data Display
6.1", 120 Hz, OLED,
2532 x 1170 pixels

SoC
Apple A15 Bionic
128 / 256 / 512 GB memory

Camera
Main camera: 48 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 12 MP
Telephoto camera: 12 MP

Battery
3,200 mAh, 30 W fast charge













Display
6.7", 120 Hz, AMOLED, 1440 x 3120 pixels, QHD+

SoC
Google Tensor G2

Camera
Main camera: 50 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 12 MP
Telephoto camera: 48 MP

Battery
5,000 mAh, 30 W fast charging











Display
6.1", 90 Hz, AMOLED, 2,400 x 1,080 pixels, FHD+

SoC
Google Tensor
6 GB RAM and 128 storage

Camera
Main camera: 12.2 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 12.2 MP

Battery
4,410 mAh, 18 W fast charging











Display
4.7", 60 Hz, LCD, 1334 x 750

SoC
Apple A15 Bionic, 5G
64 / 128 / 256 GB memory

Camera
Main camera: 12 MP

Battery
2,018 mAh, 20 W fast charge










Display
6.67", 120 Hz, AMOLED, 2,400 x 1,080, FHD+

SoC
Snapdragon 695 5G
6/8 GB RAM and 64/128/GB storage

Camera
Main camera: 108 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 8 MP
Macro camera: 2 MP
Depth sensor: 2 MP

Battery
5,000 mAh, 67 W fast charging













Display
6.4'', AMOLED, 90 Hz, 2400 x 1080, FHD+

SoC
Dimensity 920 5G
6/8 GB RAM and 128/256 GB storage

Camera
Main camera: 50 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 8 MP
Macro camera: 2 MP

Battery
4,500 mAh, 60 W fast charge












Display
6.43'', 90 Hz, AMOLED, 2400 x 1080, FHD+

SoC
Snapdragon 680
4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage

Camera
Main camera: 50 MP
Macro camera: 2 MP
Depth sensor: 2 MP

Battery
5,000 mAh, 18 W fast charge












Display
6.43", 90 Hz, AMOLED, 2,400 x 1,080, FHD+

SoC
Snapdragon 680
4/6 GB RAM and 64/128/GB storage

Camera
Main camera: 50 MP ultra-wide: 8 MP,
Macro camera: 2 MP
Depth sensor: 2 MP

Battery
5,000 mAh, 33 W fast charge












Pros
  • Dynamic Island is much more than a gimmick
  • Excellent display
  • A16 Bionic SoC is incredibly fast and comparatively easy on the battery
  • 48-megapixels camera performance
  • Flawless display
  • Solid performance
  • Excellent and versatile camera
  • Great battery life
  • Excellent value for money
  • Premium smartphone performance
  • Balanced image post-processing
  • Optimum size
  • Clean software
  • Up to five years of updates
  • IP67 certification
  • Insane performance level
  • High-quality workmanship
  • Surprisingly good photo and video performance
  • Solid battery life that lasts up till late at night
  • Great AMOLED display with thin bezels
  • Solid performance of the MediaTek SoC
  • Main camera delivers high-quality images
  • Long battery life with fast quick-charging
  • Lightweight and more compact form factor (for a Realme)
  • The efficient Sony IMX766 main photo sensor
  • Good night photos
  • Stable performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Smooth and bright 90 Hz Amoled screen
  • Effective 60-watt fast charging
  • 256 GB storage minimum and not 128
  • 3.5 mm jack
  • Appealing design
  • Even more appealing price
  • Decent performance
  • Very good battery life
  • 3.5 mm jack
  • Decent main camera in good light
  • Modern, pretty design
  • Beautiful AMOLED display at 90 hertz
  • Solid battery life
  • Expandable memory card slot
Cons
  • The Always-on Display is a bit annoying (but can be turned off)
  • No fast-charging
  • No SIM card slot
  • Slippery chassis
  • Slow charging speed
  • Power adapter is not included in the box
  • Screen refresh rate of only 60 Hz
  • Only one internal storage option
  • No wireless charging support
  • Display is simply outdated
  • Too few camera functions
  • Low storage space in the base model without expandable memory
  • More expensive than predecessor at market launch
  • Insufficient updates in the long run
  • No 5G support
  • Ultra-wide angle camera is not very convincing
  • Only IP53 certification
  • No wireless charging
  • AI photo mode too artificial
  • Concessions to be made for a smooth gaming experience
  • The update policy is limited
  • No IP rating
  • No AMOLED display
  • A lot of bloatware
  • No 5G
  • Only 4 GB RAM
  • Rather basic camera system
  • Quite slow in launching apps
  • No 5G support
  • Slower performance compared to the competition
  • Quick Charging is too slow at 33 watts
  • Camera performance is average
Rating
Read the Apple iPhone 14 Pro review
Read the Google Pixel 7 Pro review
Read the Google Pixel 6a review
Read the Apple iPhone SE (2022) review
Read the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro (5G) review
Read the Realme 9 Pro+ review
Not yet reviewed
Read the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 review
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Of course, there's more to a smartphone than just a good camera. That's why you can read in more detail about our selection of the best camera phones below. If you'd like to know, even more, you'll also find the link to our in-depth review of each smartphone.

Jump to:

Buying guide: How to find the best camera phone?

Before we go into more detail about our selection of smartphones with the best cameras, we would first want to talk about a few basic smartphone camera features that you will come across time and again in our reviews.

How many cameras are useful?

Obviously, the more cameras your smartphone has, the more flexible you can be when taking pictures. The main sensors, for example, usually have a focal length of 24 to 26 millimeters, which is equivalent to 35 mm. This corresponds to a relatively large angle of view and is well suited for landscape and city shots, for example.

For portraits or distant subjects, however, you need a telephoto zoom lens, usually between about 70 and 240 millimeters. The higher the resolution of the main camera, the more room you have for a digital zoom without having to rely on a real telephoto lens. It is unfortunate that the law of physics simply sets limits in this aspect. On the other hand, many smartphones offer an ultra-wide angle camera that is suitable for particularly wide subjects.

All other sensors for bokeh, macro, black-and-white, and others fall under the category of "data sheet padding" and have virtually no use.

Blick auf ein weißes Galaxy A53 mit Fokus auf die Kameras
Typical for a mid-range smartphone: Out of the four cameras, at best two are useful: low-resolution macro and bokeh sensors only benefit the specs sheet. / © NextPit

What do focal length and optical zoom mean?

The focal length of a camera is always shown in millimeters. The higher the number, the more "powerful the zoom", which translates to a greater degree of magnification you get. The main cameras of smartphones usually range from 24 to 26 millimeters in 35 mm equivalent. Ultra-wide-angle cameras with "0.5x" have half the focal length and would be at 12 to 13 millimeters accordingly. A 3x telephoto zoom camera would then be 72 to 78 millimeters in 35 mm equivalent.

The optical zoom of a camera system is the ratio between the smallest and largest focal length. A camera system with 12 to 120 millimeters, therefore, has a 10x zoom. In the case of smartphones, however, the manufacturers usually calculate from the main camera—from 24 to 120 millimeters would therefore be a 5x zoom according to this calculation method, and an ultra-wide angle camera with 12 millimeters is 0.5x.

As if that wasn't weird enough, manufacturers replace the upper optical focal length with an arbitrary maximum value for a digital zoom to calculate the zoom factor—and then come up with a 50x, 100x, or 200x zoom that has long since lost any meaning.

What does the sensor size mean?

Another important point for estimating the image quality is the size of the image sensors in smartphones. The larger the sensor, the more light it captures and, in turn, the better the image quality. The sensor size is usually specified in 1/1.2-inch format—the smaller the number under the fraction, the larger the sensor and the better the expected image quality.

Sensor size is also directly related to pixel size via resolution. Roughly speaking, the pixel size in microns is calculated by dividing the edge length of the sensor by the horizontal or vertical resolution. The larger the pixels, the more light they capture and the better the image quality.

Zu sehen ist das Motorola Edge 30 Ultra mit der ersten 200-Megapixel-Kamera.
The Motorola Edge 30 Ultra has a large 200-megapixel sensor. / © NextPit

What is aperture?

The term "aperture" describes the focal length of the optical system in relation to the diameter of the entrance pupil of the lens. It sounds complicated, but you only need to remember one thing here: The smaller the number, the more light is allowed into the sensor, and the less image noise you will theoretically have at night. Therefore, F1.6 is better than F2.0. The f-number is often also written as aperture ratio, then in the format f/2.0.

Of all the technical key data of smartphone cameras, however, one great unknown quantity remains: image processing in the smartphone. The quality of the algorithms that convert the raw data from the sensor into JPEG or HEIC images is often more important than the technical data of the smartphone camera. Therefore, it is always worth taking a look at our sample photo galleries, which NextPit provides in their original size for all current smartphone reviews, apart from the spec sheet.

Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 7 Pro
Google relies on great algorithms for its smartphones and also gets a lot of image quality out of older sensors. / © NextPit

The best camera smartphones in 2022

Here is some bad news in advance: The presumably best camera smartphone of 2022 is neither the iPhone 14 Pro (Max) nor the Google Pixel 7 Pro, nor a Samsung smartphone. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra convinced us in the NextPit review as well as you in the big camera blind test. However, you cannot buy the smartphone in the US, at least not via the manufacturer itself—and the Xiaomi 12S Ultra also has a few clear drawbacks besides the great camera.

In the end, the NextPit editorial team chose the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Google Pixel 7 Pro. Both smartphones offer brilliant cameras and an excellent overall smartphone package at the same time.

The Apple phone with the best camera: iPhone 14 Pro (Max)

iPhone 14 Pro Kamera-Modul
For the first time in many generations, Apple has changed the resolution of the main camera: The iPhone 14 Pro sports 48 megapixels now. / © NextPit

iPhone 14 Pro review on NextPit

iPhone 14 Pro Max review on NextPit

The iPhone 14 Pro (Max) is the smartphone with probably the best camera in 2022 that you can buy in the US. There may be smartphones that offer more powerful telephoto lenses, like the Pixel 7 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for example. However, the iPhone 14 Pro (Max) has made it to the first place in this best list with its very strong night mode, fast and reliable autofocus, and excellent camera app.

Probably the biggest innovation in the iPhone 14 Pro is the main sensor, which now has a resolution of 48 megapixels. The additional pixels mainly help to close the gap between the main camera and the 3x telephoto lens—because, with the 2x zoom, the camera still has a 12-megapixel section in the center of the image sensor. Apart from that, however, Apple has tweaked the image quality on all fronts. The iPhone 14 Pro Max also performed very well in our camera blind test, especially when it comes to night photos.

Otherwise, the new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max impress with the strong A16 Bionic SoC and a great display including the Always-On feature and Dynamic Island. However, you will still have to live without fast charging in 2022, and apart from the display island, virtually nothing has changed in terms of design.

The best Android camera smartphone: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Google Pixel 7 Pro Kamera
The Google Pixel 7 Pro has a versatile camera module that just screams: Here I am! / © NextPit

Google Pixel 7 Pro review on NextPit

The best camera currently available in an Android smartphone can be found in the Google Pixel 7 Pro, which replaces the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in this comparison. Whether you take pictures during the day or at night, the smartphone simply delivers outstandingly good photos. In addition, the striking camera module offers a strong zoom and numerous smart features—for example, you can retouch disturbing people or objects from photos with a tap of your finger.

Like the iPhone 14 Pro (Max), the Google Pixel 7 Pro also offers a really great display. The AMOLED panel is simply fun with up to 120 Hz frame rate. Finally, the new Tensor SoC offers a convincing performance with above-average battery life at the same time. What more could you want?

You should definitely get a case because the smartphone can get quite slippery. And if you are one of the few people without a USB-C charger, you will also need one. Google ships the Pixel 7 Pro without a power adapter. You do not need a particularly expensive power adapter because the maximum charging speed of 30 watts is rather modest.

Buy the Google Pixel 7 Pro on Amazon

The best sub-$400 camera smartphone: Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6a Notch im Display.
Are you looking for a phone with a good camera for less than $400? Then you have hit the right spot with the Google Pixel 6a! / © NextPit

Google Pixel 6a review on NextPit

One thing about the Google Pixel 6a is how its camera configuration will not win the prize for the smartphone with the most cameras in the sub-$400 category. The smartphone only has a dual camera and does without the macro and bokeh sensors, which are both common and useless additions in this price range. In return, both cameras benefit from Google's sophisticated image processing algorithms and deliver really great photos—almost on the level of the big Pixels.

Google Pixel 6a Nachtfoto
With the Google Pixel 6a, you will succeed in taking spectacular night shots. / © NextPit

Apart from the camera, the Pixel 6a pleases with its tidy vanilla Android and long-term update supply—and strong performance. The Pixel 6a is equipped with the Tensor SoC of its bigger siblings, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and the IP67 certification against dust and water is not quite par for the course in this price range. The only thing you have to like is the form factor: The Pixel 6a is relatively compact.

What the competition from the likes of Xiaomi and others does better in this price range are their displays, though. The screen in the Pixel 6a can run at a maximum of 60 Hz. You will also not find wireless charging in the smartphone, and charging via cable only works with 18 watts.

Buy the Google Pixel 6a on Amazon

If you are not committed to Android, then the iPhone SE 2022 (review) is also a hot recommendation for a smartphone with a good camera that retails for approximately $400. With a bit of luck, you can find an entry-level iPhone for just below that price point. Although there is neither a telephoto zoom nor an ultra-wide angle camera, it has a very strong main camera that is almost as good as the one in the iPhone 13, for example.

Buy the Apple iPhone SE 2022 on Amazon

The best sub-$300 camera smartphone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro

Ben, der das Note 11 Pro von Redmi hält.
Tadaaa: The Redmi Note 11 Pro is probably the best camera phone for under $300. / © NextPit

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro review on NextPit

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro is not only a smartphone with a really good camera for less than $300. It also deserves a place in our list of the best smartphones of up to $300. The 108-megapixel main camera convinced Ben in the review with its great image quality, although the ultra-wide angle camera saw noticeable drops in quality. You can safely forget the two additional sensors for macro and bokeh.

As is typical for Xiaomi, the Redmi Note 11 Pro has a great AMOLED display. The MediaTek Helio G96 SoC is also convincing in practical, everyday use. However, you will have to live without 5G, and as usual for Xiaomi, the update situation is not that great. The manufacturer promises just two major Android updates and three years of security patches. Samsung, for example, is already much further ahead with its smartphones.

Buy the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro on Amazon

You just can't get used to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro? Then take a look at the Realme 9 Pro+ (review), which also offers a great camera. The display "only" manages 90 Hz, but the MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC supports 5G.

Buy the Realme 9 Pro+ on Amazon

The best sub-$200 camera smartphone: Poco M5

Casi im IFA-Sommergarten mit dem Poco M5
The Poco M5 offers a comparatively good camera—the phone costs less than $200. / © NextPit

As your eagle eyes may have already spied on the photo, the Poco M5 offers a triple camera configuration. However, only the main camera with a resolution of 50 megapixels and an aperture of F1.8 is really useful. The macro and bokeh sensors with 2 megapixels each mainly serve to pimp the spec sheet a bit.

Apart from the usable main camera, the Poco M5 convinces with decent performance. The smartphone is equipped with a MediaTek Helio G99 SoC that offers good performance and also supports NFC. However, you will, unfortunately, have to make do without 5G—and the somewhat more powerful version of the Poco M5 with 6 GB of working memory is unfortunately not available in selected markets. Nevertheless, the 5,000 mAh battery ensures excellent battery runtime.

Buy the Poco M5 on Amazon

If you do not like the Poco M5, then you will find another exciting smartphone with a good camera within the $200 price range in the form of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11.

Buy the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 on Amazon

What do you think of our selection? Which models have we overlooked that you think should be included here? We would be very happy to hear your feedback in the comments.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
Antoine Engels

Antoine Engels

French tech journalist also fluent in English and German, I write and publish in French for a French audience, but I am based in Berlin, Germany. I'm the editor of NextPit France, the French-speaking department of NextPit GmbH, an online media specialized in tech (consumer electronics). Reviews, comparisons, buying guides, interviews and reports on the smartphone, wearables and AIoT industries.

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114 comments

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  • Kris R Nov 12, 2021 Link to comment

    Really good article, thanks!
    An acquaintance of mine takes pictures on a pixel (he is a professional photographer) and the pictures turn out unreal)


  • Robert Vadra Nov 12, 2021 Link to comment

    Wonderful post


  • Ant Kan Dec 1, 2020 Link to comment

    I think Xiaomi is the best one to capture very nice photos without spend a lot of money.


  • Adrian Palmer Edwards Nov 25, 2020 Link to comment

    How narrow minded can you be, every true photographer online says this new Sony Xperia 1 ll has the best camera by a mile, they all say it every single one. But, tech reviewers stick to what they are spoon fed, very narrow minded. People read these reviews before they spend $1k+ on a new smartphone, waste of time, by the way I have a Blackberry.


  • S K Oct 8, 2020 Link to comment

    this article is great with all the relevant information required for mobile photography.thanks


  • Dean L. May 23, 2020 Link to comment

    I have a Sony alpha 6000 and love using it for taking pictures. Bottom line is I always have my phone with me which I probably take >90% of my pictures with. So I have both sides covered. The other key feature I love with my phone is I can shoot video and take pictures at the same time. Just my two pfennig...


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    May 22, 2020 Link to comment

    If your interest is photography then you need a real camera


    • Franz Fifty May 22, 2020 Link to comment

      no, unless you can shoot with a "real" camera by taking it out of your pocket, point towards something and take great night pictures without a tripod... but since smartphone cameras have become more versatile and far superior in processing, that statement is not true anymore


      • Rusty H. May 26, 2020 Link to comment

        I take night photos without a tripod. If your d-slr/lens has great stability, it can be done. I've taken some fantastic moon photos without a tripod. Now, if you are talking more than 1/2 second exposure, yeah, you'll need a tripod.


  •   46
    Deactivated Account May 22, 2020 Link to comment

    If you want the best pictures buy a DSLR camera. No smart phone with a tiny lens can ever compete with a real quality camera. They can replace the old point and shoot camera but that is about it


    • Franz Fifty May 22, 2020 Link to comment

      didn't know a DSLR can make phone calls or browse the internet..or did i miss something in an article talking about "camera PHONES"?


  • storm May 22, 2020 Link to comment

    You've managed to pick no phone of interest to me. A camera isn't everything.


  • MirandaStown Aug 25, 2019 Link to comment

    Samsung phone models take truly superb photos and videos. The quality is excellent!


  •   4
    Deactivated Account May 31, 2018 Link to comment

    S9+'s Variable apeture is fire tho


  • harshatecordeon May 25, 2018 Link to comment

    i think Huawei is the best one to capture


  • Rusty H. May 25, 2018 Link to comment

    Another vote for the Mate9, VERY good camera. Using Camera FV-5 or Open camera, it does very well.


  • CJ Brown Mar 21, 2017 Link to comment

    ZTE Axon 7
    20 Megapixel Back

    #nuffsaid


  • Marius Viney Mar 21, 2017 Link to comment

    What about the LG G5 camera?

    Dean L.Deactivated Account


  •   54
    Deactivated Account Mar 20, 2017 Link to comment

    The Mate 9 is doing very well, and also the nubia Z11, both have excellent cameras, but I can not say how good they are in comparison with the Pixel or Galaxy S7. But anyway they are better then my old S6 edge plus and the honor 5x :)


  •   46
    Deactivated Account Mar 20, 2017 Link to comment

    Really no LG phones. This is a very biased incomplete article.

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