The best smartphone cameras in 2020

The best smartphone cameras in 2020

A picture is worth a thousand words, but how much in dollars? Choosing a phone is hard work. More often than not, the camera is one of the main deciding factors. After the presentation of several new smartphones with impressive cameras in 2020, we've created a new list to let you know which smartphone is taking the best snaps, no matter what you are looking for in a camera.

Camera-focused phones have almost become a category apart with the "P" range of Huawei or the Google Pixel phones, for example. But the flagships in general push more and more the limits of their photo module as did the latest Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus and Ultra. Between software prowess and hardware promises, the spec sheet does not always give you the full picture, though.

That's why we've put together a selection of the best smartphone camera - both Phone or Android - to choose from in 2020. This list is non-exhaustive and based on models that we have reviewed only. It will be regularly updated as new products are released.


Google Pixel 5: the best camera on the market in 2020

Pixels have always been known to be excellent photophones, at least since Pixel 3 and its excellent night mode. So in our comprehensive test of the Pixel 5, our expectations were high. And it didn't fail, we were impressed by the camera from Google's flagship despite its many other flaws.

Like its predecessors the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4, the photo spec sheet of the Pixel does not make you dream. Google finally takes the technological step by now embedding two photosensors in the back. In comparison, its competitors often have three or even four.

Like the Huawei P40 Pro, the Pixel 5 is very good in low light thanks to the revised night mode. The smartphone also scores points for its rather unique dual-exposure function, allowing you to adjust contrast and brightness before shooting even in very difficult situations. And if you really need it, there's also the astrophotography function.

NextPit Google Pixel 5 camera
Google's Pixel 5 is the best photophone on the market today. / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling

Google Pixel 4 camera pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Simply the best camera app Stability not good for video
Really good Night Sight mode No telephoto camera

iPhone 12 Pro: the best iPhone for photography

"The best smartphone camera on the market." If we took Apple's word for it just a few years ago, the brand's praise for its iPhone 11 Pro seemed much bolder when it was released. But, it must be said, Apple has seriously recovered its technological edge and more than made up for lost ground on its Android competitors with the last two iPhones.

Admittedly, the photo module with its trio of 12-megapixel sensors is not enough to compete with Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, on paper. But Apple has really made a breakthrough with its software processing. Following in the footsteps of Google and its Pixel 5 on the field of AI to sublimate its photos, the iPhone 12 Pro has managed to exceed the result predicted by its spec sheet.

The machine learning and the Deep Fusion technology provide overall good digital noise reduction while maintaining the natural, almost process-neutral tone that the iPhone has always offered. There's no need to opt for the much more expensive iPhone 12 Pro Max when it comes with exactly the same photo module.

With the Pro model, you get a telephoto lens compared to the basic iPhone 12, for more versatility. It's not the best camera phone on the market, but on iOS, there's no better and we can only applaud Apple's progress in this area.

NextPit iPhone 12 Pro camera
The iPhone 12 Pro is a technological leap forward for Apple, after years behind Android. / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling

iPhone 12 Pro camera pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Incredible Bokeh controls More for point and shoot types
Super Steady mode works well No huge megapixel sensors

Xiaomi Mi Note 10: Best value for money

On November 6, 2019, Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi launched its Mi Note 10 with its 108MP photosensor, the first of its kind, at a price of around €549 in Europe. A more-than-interesting price for a premium photophone compared to the prices charged by Apple or Samsung. The Mi Note 10 camera has nothing to be ashamed of compared to its more expensive competitors and stands out for its very natural color reproduction and high level of detail.

Our photo expert Stefan even tried to replace his good old DSLR with the Mi Note 10 during a trip to Indonesia, and while the Mi Note 10 is no substitute for a real camera, Stefan felt that "more than any other image sensor recently installed in a smartphone, this 108-megapixel sensor offers everything a normal user needs".

With this price, it's not the cheapest smartphone camera out there, but it's definitely the best value for a premium photophone in 2020.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Back 1
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and its 108-megapixel sensor are excellent value for money. / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 camera pros and cons:

Pros Cons
108-megapixel sensor Inconsistent HDR
Excellent night mode Telephoto zoom better on the competition

Redmi Note 9 Pro: the best for less than £200

Mid-range smartphones are improving in many ways by reducing the distance to the top end. Xiaomi's choice of four rear sensors makes the Redmi Note 9 Pro a versatile smartphone that leaves room for creativity.

Although the shots obviously can't compete with those offered by the industry's top names, the Redmi Note 9 Pro allows you to take good pictures in terms of detail, colour representation, and contrast.

To take pictures at 64 megapixels, you must select the dedicated function. The wide-angle also does a good job when the light is bright enough. The lack of a telephoto lens is compensated by the 2x zoom available at the touch of a button. This smartphone doesn't work miracles, but simply does what it was designed and engineered to do: to deliver the most out of it at the lowest possible cost. And the promise is kept.

AndroidPIT Redmi Note 9 Pro camera
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro is the best of the cheaper options. / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling

Redmi Note 9 Pro camera pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Four cameras for this much money No telephoto lens
Good shots in automatic mode Macro mode not amazing

Huawei P40 Pro: the best in low light

The Huawei P40 Pro continues to offer the best low-light photo performance. The 5x optical zoom range and excellent low-light photos make this flagship the dream of every smartphone photographer. In our review of the P40 Pro, we proved that the quad-camera is not just a gimmick or a selling point, but much more.

Four high-end rear photosensors work together to capture images, including a ToF camera for highly detailed depth information. Images are sharp and detailed, and you can choose from a variety of modes and play with light and focal length.

Overall, the camera and native application are extremely versatile. But the real highlight is the results obtained in low light conditions. Our blind test was completely destroyed by the older P30. Huawei worked particularly hard to improve the low-light potential. The sensors are quite large at 1/2.5 inches and Huawei replaced the green parts of the Bayer matrix with yellow.

They're supposed to let in 40 per cent more light. In fact, the P40 Pro takes excellent pictures even in low-light conditions, even in situations where almost all smartphone cameras would only display black. You don't really need the night mode, the automatic mode is quite sufficient.

AndroidPIT huawei p40 pro camera closeup np3
The P40 Pro is one of the best photophones of 2020. © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling

Huawei P40 Pro camera pros and cons:

Pros Cons
A total of five cameras Master AI can be aggressive
Ridiculously good night mode Not much else

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: the best smartphone for zooming

Whether it's a "60x" as in the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom or a "100x" as in the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: the current zoom race for photo smartphones is a bit ridiculous. For the zoom, Samsung has made a choice against most of its competitors.

Where the market trend is to integrate a telephoto lens with a longer focal length, the Korean giant has opted for a 64-megapixel sensor with a 27 mm equivalent focal length similar to that of the main sensor (26 mm). It is thus a traditional wide-angle lens that zooms by cropping the image to simulate a 3x zoom.

But to be more concrete, when you zoom in, the telephoto lens captures only a quarter of the 64-megapixel image to make a 3x zoom, so you end up with the equivalent of a 16 megapixel (64/4=16) photo taken with an optical zoom.

As long as you don't go beyond 3x magnification, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus's false zoom is effective and maintains a good level of detail, but since the smartphone crops the basic image to offer magnification levels, you obviously lose detail from 10x magnification onwards. The famous "100x" zoom announced is thus nothing but a superfluous selling point.

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy s20 ultra review 26
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has the most impressive photo spec sheet of this selection. / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling

Samsung Galaxy S20 Camera pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Ultra-wide-angle lens is great Poor in low light
Super Steady mode works well 100x zoom is not perfect

Asus ZenFone 7 Pro: Best for Selfies

With perhaps the most innovative camera setup up on our list here, the Asus ZenFone 7 Pro reinvents the way we think about front and rear cameras. The way we've operated in this industry up until now is this: you get a more powerful rear camera for most of your shots, and a weaker camera for selfies and facial recognition. The ZenFone 7 Pro throws that concept out of the window. With its rotating camera mechanism, the rear camera flips over and can be used for selfies. The only concern is the long-term life that flip mechanism, which we will only know in time, but this is an interest direction to take smartphone camera technology, that's for sure.

NextPit Asus Zenfrone 7 Pro front camera
The Asus ZenFone 7 Pro camera flips over! / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling

Asus ZenFone 7 Pro camera pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Flip rear cam design Low light could be better
Selfie cam no longer weaker than rear cam Long term life of mechanism unknown

What's the best smartphone camera you've ever owned? What will be your next device? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

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

  • 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 6 months ago Link to comment

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

  • Dean L. 11 months ago 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
    11 months ago Link to comment

    If your interest is photography then you need a real camera

    • 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. 11 months ago 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 11 months ago 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

    • 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 11 months ago Link to comment

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

  • 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

  • i think Huawei is the best one to capture

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

  • ZTE Axon 7
    20 Megapixel Back


  • 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.

    • The article has been updated and now has the LG v30 and iPhone X as well as other 2018 models. For what it's worth I still like the photos I'm getting with the Pixel 2.

  • LG V20

  • S7 Edge is a Super Camera phone

  • Z5 for me, best natural colours.

  • My samsung s7 camera is so fast to focus it's unreal! Plus the photos are stunning. The other day my friend had a promo on at his bar and i took some pics and they looked awesome the low light photos came out great...

  • Sony xz har det beste kamera 🎥 men man må lære å bruke det 😊 😊

  • LOL first site that doesnt claim that s7 is the best camera phone. i mean the fastest autofocus is found there not in z5 are you blind? the best low light performance, best camera app along with v10. best detail and sharpness. you must be paid from sony for this kind of shit

  • I found amazing resource with photos from mobile devices.

  • Ahem! No mention of the LGG5. Not sure why not. The camera's at least as good as the S7. Besides.. It's got that extra-wide second camera that should put it on the list for sure. You guys are so biased. I'm shocked, Scott. I don't know why I keep reading this stuff.

  • Fine review. I had almost bought Samsung 6 edge plus yesterday but thougth better wait and read more about it and see if 7 is a better choice and worth the diffrence in price. Upgrading from Samsung Galaxy 2 gt plus. Maybe older Galaxies could serve as well or another brand. I mostly use it for pictures, surfing, seeing news and videos, skype and orientering (maps). I not into games and talking to my phone or jerking it around. Which models should I check first?

  • Hans G Aug 11, 2016 Link to comment

    You can add one very soon. The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe.. Great camera 👍

  •   45
    Deactivated Account Aug 1, 2016 Link to comment

    DxOMark has given 88 to Xperia X Performance. Z5 has 87.

  • Sony phone's are shit and over heat some people say! Well I've just spent 3 hours none stop on the Internet and my Z5 isn't bearly warm never mind hot, think some people don't like Sony! thats OK stick with a phone that your happy with but don't rubbish a phone just because you don't like it or more likely you've never had one?As for the Sony Ericsson arc what you expecting from a low budget phone with low end specs? But then you jump up to the Z5 premium! problely just in your mind!

  • btyce Jul 30, 2016 Link to comment

    Sony phones are shit stacked they should stick to playstations. Was using experia arc which kept corrupting boot partion and z5 premium same thing and alwaus over heating esp when m using Internet

  • btyce Jul 30, 2016 Link to comment

    I choose to have a Samsung any tyme not the sony Z series. They all die the same way

  • Looks as if the Sony x has just gone to the top of Dxomark so looks like Sony has done it again.

  • Everyone is blabbering on how good the camera of Samsung.

    Sony be like: Aren't those phone's using my Sensor?
    d - .. - b

  • What about the Nexus 5x?

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Jul 26, 2016 Link to comment

    I find it hard to believe you put the P9 on the list. It is a marginal picture taker at best. The monochromatic lens does nothing unless you are taking black and white pictures. Leica had nothing to do with this camera except maybe making the lenses. It is all hype and BS.

  • peter Jul 25, 2016 Link to comment

    The best camera on my opinion Spny xperia zx 5

    Deactivated Account

  • Keep in mind the LG G4 Panorama setting is not as good as on the Samsung phones. Also the megapixel rating is only part of the equation. You need to consider aspect ratio. My 16MP S5 isn't any better than the S7 12MP due to the S7's aspect ratio.

  •   6
    Deactivated Account May 5, 2016 Link to comment

    Z5 camera over crapsung trash 13MP slow autofocus garbage.

    Deactivated Account

  • Mikio Apr 30, 2016 Link to comment


    The photos are need to be same to compare.

    ~I wish there are original downloadable photos taken from those phone. Especially from XPERIA Z5

  • Still impressed by the Nexus 6P, although every Android smartphone mentioned in this article has a top notch camera ... I guess it's only a matter of time before the HTC 10 is reviewed and added to the list

  • s7 is the best sodar forget all others but htc 10 could be as good or better we have to wait and find out

    xperia z is crap phone brake easy camera r blury i had xperia z3 dead sfter 2months will never byt sony mobile again previously i had sony experia same storry brake easy stay away from sony mobile

    •   6
      Deactivated Account May 5, 2016 Link to comment

      My S5 was a plastic piece of crap that got water leaking in and rusted all the internals, so much for IP58. I bought a Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and I will never buy Samsung phones again. This Xperia camera destroys Galaxy phones any day.

      Deactivated Account

    • You should treat your GIFTS with great care young man!

    • look after them they don't break?

  • Really? Z5 is good? I had a Z3 and hated it so bad. The camera with 20mp was dreadful. Felt so much worse than my 4ultra pixel M7 that I switched from. That plus horrible bluetooth connection issues made me ditch the phone quick and vow never to touch a Sony phone again.

    •   6
      Deactivated Account May 5, 2016 Link to comment

      I had a Z3 and I rooted it. Everything improved with the Marshmallow update but I bought a Z5 Premium now. All those problems are now gone and Sony listens to all our suggestions and their development community hosts votes and requests for features. Yes, the Z3 has issues but if you're vowing not to buy Sony phones again, you're at a big loss.

  • I think s7 have lesser resolution than 6P.But you mentioned 6p has the lowest resolution in this list

  • So the best camera award goes to Z5, but what about it's overheating issues and is the software ok? Cause I heard something about lags.

    Deactivated Account

    • tariq Apr 15, 2016 Link to comment

      I had Sony phones for past 3 years. They have some heating issues, but opening all of the ports helps it cool down or u can just put it under cold water for a few secs. And the camera; its great and all but only outside, the camera on Sony phones is awful in the dark and flash doesn't help since the camera can't auto focus quick enough... S7edge wins camera test for me, especially in the dark!

    •   6
      Deactivated Account May 5, 2016 Link to comment

      No overheating issues for me on my Z5 Premium. Software is running excellently. All problems were fixed after the marshmallow update.

  • Just love the camera of the Z5 so easy to use and pictures are very good in all situations

    Deactivated Account

  • All the cameras aren't as good as they should be. But if they were, how many people would upgrade ?

    I think there was a wasted opportunity here also because cameras perform differently in different lighting conditions. And comparisons were not made.

    People should also be aware that reviewers often get sent better models with better components than the ones that get delivered to people.

  • LG makes a good choice!

  • My Fruit Loops cereal box pin-hole-camera may be a bit older than the smart-cam competition of 2016, but megapixels and sensor size can't beat the tiny Gnome behind the lens that renders crayon sketches in 64 colors, all in less than 5 minutes!

  • This review is so dense, and biased toward SHAMESUNG it's sad. The v10 is the most innovative, and includes the most features people actually want, plus it's military drop test specced. Applesung offers nothing but cheated benchmarks, and touchpizz. This site is weak, Android central ftw.

  • Khalid Jan 24, 2016 Link to comment

    you should name this Samsung Pit/Huawei Pit instead Androidpit

  • Unfortunately most of those phones are very expensive ones. I wish I could buy one.

  • u cant make people fools s6 camera is better than v10 moto and nexus 6p.....i can bet

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Jan 21, 2016 Link to comment

    Best cameras of 2016? They are all 2015 phones. The 2016 phones have not even been released.

  • I got my LG V10 last week, and it really does have an awesome camera!

  • u didnt mention about lenovo vibeshot

  • chetan Jan 21, 2016 Link to comment

    my canvas knight has also the best camera to use for 4ever

  • How about Panasonic DMC-CM1? True this is 2014 phone, but it still beats any android camera out there for sensor size and stills picture quality

  • I have to go with Galaxy Note 5. It is the best phone you can have at this moment and it provides you with anything you ever wanted from a smartphone.
    The screen is really great and you can easily watch your favourite tv show on it without realising you are on a smartphone.
    The camera is awesome! It has a 16 MP Rear Camera and 5 MP Front Camera. However, the clarity of the phone is very clear and the additional features make the photos even more interesting.

    • Except it has a back made of very breakable glass (who thought that was a good idea?), and they removed the removable battery and SD Card, they took form over function, the Note 5 is basically a blown up S6 with an S Pen. It's sad to see Samsung go the Apple route.

    • Obviously you've never used a v10.

  • My M9 takes just fine pictures. I think all flagship phones have cameras basically on par with one another and the average person can't tell the difference. I don't understand the obsession with smartphone cameras.

  • Wow! With SoOooo many ideas n inventions in your head how do you you get it to Industry??? I would really love to help the plant be a better place for all life. Good for you, for putting this out there. It's still in it's Infancy..Give it time to grow. It's a Brilliant idea

  • all i can say is I've had a z5 now for a couple of months and i think it's probably the best out there at the moment

  • Bad author for mentioning Samsung name in Nexus/LG Pit.

  • rick Dec 10, 2015 Link to comment

    i have the the S5, i think the camera is as good as any. At least for a phone camera.

  • Interesting that the Note 5 missed the cut.

    • S6/S6 Edge/S6 Edge+/Note 5 all use the same camera sensor and image processing. In other words, they are all the same.

  • What I really like is Sony Xperia Z5's snap. It was just cool. I liked it a lot.

  • LG G3 does also great pictures even better than Samsung Galaxy Alpha

  • Is this a paid Samsung ad or have you never heard of the LG G4? The G4 beats the heck out of the S6 camera.

  • Where is Sony? Where is LG?

  • i compared s6 and xperia z3c side by side , only thing i liked about s6 was more details when zoomed in, other than that z3 wins

  • No Sony ? certainly they take good pictures

  • Anyone who has a HTC Desire 816 will tell you, this phone also takes incredible pictures, whether you use the front or back camera. 5mp, 13mp

    • Agree! I'm on prepaid with Virgin mobile and love the camera of the Desire 816, unfortunately I was running out of memory so I "upgraded" to the Galaxy J7, the camera is awful in the J7, a lot of noise and blurry pics and takes a long time to focus and on top of that I got a defective phone, LOL, so I have to return the galaxy, now I'm checking which phone I will get

  • I agree with everyone else. There are a lot of better cameras, and not necessarily Samsung, Apple and all of this big names.

  • The title should be: "Samsung advertisement"

  • how abt thinking of sony xperia z3+

  • It's all about Samsung! Bad joke you make in this article! -1!

  • Where is the LG G4? Most every Android site and it's reviewers say it's Camera is as good or even better than the S6.

  • Where is Huawei P8???

  • I can't believe you didn't mention the Galaxy S5 :/ It's the 2nd best camera after the S6.

  • Paolo Jul 4, 2015 Link to comment

    Did you just legitimately give an 'Honorable Mention' to 4 Megapixels, aggressive software processing, and a gimmicky dual lens setup that creates a poorly created Bokeh effect? My Note 3 camera is much better than, I dunno, every 2013-onwards HTC phone ever?

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