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The best camera phones in 2022

An image of a hand holding one of the Best camera phones in front of a group of skyscrapers
(Image credit: Redd on Unsplash)

So, you're looking to buy the best camera phone for you - we've ranked all the top mobiles that we've tested, and you can find our order below, but you're going to have to put in some work too.

To pick the best photography mobile for you, you need to ask yourself what your budget is, what kind of experience you have with cameras, and what types of shot you want to take - the answers to all these will influence which phone you pick.

The best camera phone captures high-res, great-looking videos, or amazing-looking photos with great colour and contrast (or information for subsequent editing). We've judged all this when making our picks. Price wasn't a consideration, because top specs require top prices, but we have got a guide to the budget camera phones if those below are too pricey. And, however expensive your device is, you'll still want these smartphone photography tips to get the most out of it.

The list below covers the best camera phones including both Apple and Android devices, but if you’re set on an Apple smartphones, see our guide on the best iPhones for photography. Also check out our guides to the best cameras and best point-and-shoot cameras if you want a more specialised piece of kit. If you're after a bargain, take a look at out guide to how to buy refurbished tech as most good camera phones can be picked up for much less.

How we test

The below ranking, and our full reviews, will detail everything you need to know before making your purchase. We've taken all these phones through a full barrage of photography tests, taking pictures on all their rear cameras at night and during the day, and on all the modes they offer (and we've got a guide on how we test if you want to know more).

The best camera phones available now

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultracb badge

(Image credit: Future)

01. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung's latest flagship

RAM: 6GB, 12GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Rear camera: 108MP (wide, f/1.8) + 10MP (periscope, 10x optical zoom, f/4.9) + 10MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 120-degree, f/2.2) | Front camera: 40MP (wide, f/2.2)

Useful S Pen stylus
Good-looking screen
Extremely expensive
Slippery design

Samsung's latest top-end phone is a super-powerful mobile, both in the camera department and in most aspects of its feature set.

On paper, it has the same camera collection as the S21 Ultra (which previously held top spot), but a selection of new modes, as well as the upgraded specs in other areas, make it a preferable choice for photographers.

We found the Galaxy great for mobile photography for one easily-definable reason: its versatility. Whether we wanted to take a wide shot of a big view, needed to jump in close for an amazing-looking portrait shot, or wanted to travel far into the distance for a zoom shot, we could rely on the Galaxy to provide.

While Samsung doesn't offer as many camera modes as some other phone brands, what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Samsung's Portrait mode is second to none, and Single Take is incredibly useful for taking a great snap as it lets the AI decide on the top shots.

The big new addition to this phone is the S Pen stylus - this has a range of uses, but when it comes to photography, it can be used as a remote shutter which is particularly useful for taking snaps of yourself without having to set a timer.

But all around this is a great camera phone that won't let you down, no matter what you're snapping. If you need more convincing, read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review.

iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

02. iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max

Apple's newest powerhouses

RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Rear camera: 12MP (wide, f/1.5) + 12MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.8) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 120-degree, f/1.8) | Front camera: 12MP (wide, f/2.2)

Fantastic processing software
New macro photography mode
Very expensive
Limited upgrades over iPhone 12 series

Apple's iPhone 13 family was launched in late 2021, and the Pro and Pro Max handsets are the top siblings in the line. Sure, they're not huge upgrades over the iPhone 12 devices, but some of the biggest upgrades are in the camera software department.

The iPhone 13 and 13 Pro beat out their predecessors with a new macro mode which lets you take detailed pictures of close-up objects like food, bugs or plants. There are also improvements to videography with Cinematic Video, and you can now focus pull while capturing film, which will be really useful for people trying to shoot movies on their phone.

We found the iPhone 13 Pro great for photography because of its ease of use - we could easily just point the phone at a subject and rely on the AI to know what we needed. We didn't have to spend ages fiddling with the settings or jumping between modes to take a great shot.

Apple's Night Mode is also fantastic, lapping rivals when it comes to low-light photography or snaps at night. Android phones are getting closer and closer to Apple for night photography but still haven't beaten it out.

One other change to the iPhone 13 Pro devices might appeal to the artist in you: now you can finally buy iPhones with 1TB internal storage, so you can now capture many more pictures or hours of film without running out of space.

That's all on top of the iOS mobile you know and love (or don't love, if you're an Android fan) with a powerful processor, good-looking screen and okayish battery life.

Read more in our in-depth Apple iPhone 13 review and Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

(Image credit: Future)

03. Sony Xperia 1 IV

Apple's newest powerhouses

Storage: 256GB, 512GB | RAM: 12GB | Rear camera: 12MP (wide, f/1.7) + 12MP (telephoto, 3.5x-5.2x optical zoom, f/2.3) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 124-degree, f/2.2) + 0.3MP (3D Time-of-Flight)) | Front camera: 12MP (wide, f/2.0)

Useful shutter button
Loads of creative apps
Angular design
High price

Sony's fourth-generation Xperia 1 smartphone justifies its place on this list with a few key camera features that you won't get anywhere else - it's certainly a unique camera phone, designed more for professional photographers than average consumers.

The zoom camera on the Xperia 1 IV has a moving lens, which facilitates continuous optical zoom between 3.5x and 5.2x, which really gives the phone a competitive edge for people who like zoom photography. 

A physical shutter button, which can be partially depressed to find focus or fully pressed down to take a picture, gives you a camera-esque experience that can be really useful in certain situations.

For the first time on a Sony phone, you can record 4K and 120fps footage on any of the three rear and one front cameras, which is useful for videographers.

A useful tool on Sony's phones are the creativity apps like Photography Pro, Cinema Pro or Audio Pro, for taking pictures, recording video or recording music respectively. The camera-related ones of these are quite complicated, with the user interface modeled on DSLR cameras rather than smartphones, but the target audience is likely familiar with this anyway.

Beyond the cameras, the Sony Xperia 1 IV is your typical premium and expensive Android phone, though its big battery, 4K display and clean Android experience may endear it to some. But its cameras are its real selling point.

Read more in our in-depth Sony Xperia 1 IV review.

Photo of the OnePlus 10 Pro

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Creative Bloq)

04. OnePlus 10 Pro

Apple's newest powerhouses

RAM: 8GB, 12GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Rear camera: 48MP (wide, f/1.8) + 8MP (telephoto, 3.3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 50MP (ultra-wide, 150-degree, f/2.2) | Front camera: 32MP (wide, f/2.2)

Good-looking screen
Impressive cameras
Can get hot
No official water resistance

OnePlus' most top-end phone for 2022, the 10 Pro brings an impressive trio of rear cameras, with the company's partnership with Hasselblad paying off once again.

The main, ultra-wide and telephoto cameras all work well, with pictures enjoying a shallow depth of field lots of the time, though some users might find the pictures look a little oversaturated at times thanks to some AI optimizations.

There are some unique modes here too - XPan, inspired by the niche Hasselblad camera, takes really wide pictures, while 150-degree mode uses the ultra-wide camera to create a fisheye-looking effect.

Beyond that this is a well-rounded Android phone with a good-looking screen, fast charging and lots of processing power - though, as with all phones, it has a few rough edges, and it overheats readily when you put it through its paces.

Read more in our in-depth OnePlus 10 Pro review.

Best camera phone 6: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra product shotCB endorsed

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

05. Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

The most over-the-top camera phone

Rear camera: 50MP (wide + OIS) + 48MP (ultra-wide) + 48MP (telephoto) | Front camera: 20MP (wide) | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB | RAM: 12GB

Fast charging
Excellent camera
Expensive
Bulky design

If we’re talking about hardware alone, then the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has everything it takes to be the best camera phone on our list. It’s got the largest camera sensor ever seen on a smartphone, creeping up to the 1-inch sensor size seen on pro-grade compact cameras. The result of such a large sensor is photos with a beautifully shallow depth of field. Of the three cameras around the back, each is around 50MP in resolution, so whether you’re zooming or going ultra-wide, you won’t need to compromise on photo quality. 

It isn’t just the camera sensors that are exceptional on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. On the phone’s hefty rear camera bump around the back, there’s a second screen so you can take selfies and group shots with the best camera on the handset. 

What’s the price you pay for such fantastic photography capabilities you might be wondering? Well, the phone isn’t exactly affordable, costing £1,199 (around $1,670). In addition to its imposing price is an imposing physique; the Mi 11 Ultra weighs 234g, making it one of the heaviest smartphones currently on the market. 

We have got to compliment the Ultra on one key thing though: reliability. We found it incredibly reliable when you're playing on its terms, and between ultra-wide and 5x zoom, you're getting great pictures with loads of detail.  After we finished the testing process with the Mi 11 Ultra, we actually stuck to using it as our go-to photography phone, because once we learnt its strengths and weaknesses, we could really play into it. 

While you get plenty of power for the price (and weight) of the phone, not to mention stacks of storage and one of the best screens to ever grace a smartphone, the Mi 11 Ultra does have a few niggles. It gets very warm when gaming on it – bordering on too hot to handle if graphics settings are ramped all the way up. In turn, this pricey camera champ is really a phone for someone happy to invest a bit of time (and money) getting to grips with its nuances. Once you do, you’ll get some class-leading photos, but if you’re after an easy life, or just really like wearing skinny jeans, you’d be better off with another camera phone.  

Samsung galaxy S21 ultra review

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli )

06. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The do-it-all smartphone

RAM: 12GB, 16GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Rear camera: 108MP (wide, f/1.8) + 10MP (periscope, 10x optical zoom, f/4.9) + 10MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 12MP (ultrawide, 120-degree, f/2.2) | Front camera: 40MP (wide, f/2.2)

 Wacom pen tech 
 Excellent camera zoom 
Big and bulky 
Expensive

Remember when phones had one camera? Well, now they have five. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was for a time the best Android camera phone, and even now it's a great choice.

The phenomenal power of the four-camera array on the rear has to be seen to be believed. The main sensor is a 108MP model that gives you immense digital zooming and cropping ability, with a new autofocus system that fixes the sharpness issues with the S20 Ultra. It is ably backed up by two 10MP telephoto sensors and a 12MP ultra-wide. This gives you amazing shooting flexibility for a smartphone, and a frankly scary ability to capture shots at a distance. The 40MP selfie camera, completing the quintet, also acquits itself well.

Features elsewhere across the board are predictably great. The S21 Ultra boasts a top-notch processor, a water-resistant body and wireless charging. It can connect to a monitor and double up as a desktop experience using Samsung’s big-screen interface DeX, and supports Samsung’s S Pen for drawing and note-taking. 

There’s not much to criticise. It’s expensive, of course, but if you’re going to go after the biggest Android manufacturer’s brand-new flagship phone, you’d hardly expect anything else. If you want the best camera phone, this is it. 

We'd recommend the Galaxy S21 Ultra most for people who don't need the top-end bells and whistles of the S22 Ultra which feels, for most purposes, pretty similar. the S21 Ultra is cheaper now since it's older, and the new model only really offers the S Pen as a serious photography tool.

Read more in our detailed Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review.

Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Google)

07. Google Pixel 6 Pro

Hardware and software, hand in hand

RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Rear camera: 50MP (wide, f/1.9) + 12MP (ultrawide, 114-degree, f/2.2) + 48MP (telephoto, 4x optical zoom, f/3.5) | Front camera: 11.1MP (wide, f/2.2)

Useful camera software tools
Top camera hardware
No expandable storage
Battery life isn't impressive

After a few years of uninspiring smartphones, the Google Pixel 6 Pro marked the tech giant's return to the camera powerhouse club.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro has a huge sensor on its main camera, which takes in light better than sensors on most other devices, as well as a powerful telephoto and ultra-wide camera - this trio is somewhat of a dream team.

Joining the party is Google's software, which is what made Pixel phones great camera devices in the first place. Not only is AI scene optimization fantastic at tweaking your picture to look great, but there are some extra software tools - the biggest one is Magic Eraser, which can edit out background people in otherwise-clean shots.

This is a fun feature to play around with, but from our testing, the results weren't always natural-looking. We found the Google Pixel 6 Pro great as a point-and-shoot wonder, like the iPhone above - it was easy just to press the shutter button and rely on Google's smart AI to take a great-looking shot.

While the lack of expandable storage and a limited battery life might limit the Google Pixel 6 Pro's functionality as a versatile camera phone a tiny bit, the actual photo-taking power is wonderful. 

Oppo Find X5 Pro

(Image credit: Ben Brady)

08. Oppo Find X5 Pro

Sleek design and Hasselblad filters

RAM: 8GB / 12GB | Storage: 256GB / 512GB | Rear camera: 50MP (f/1.7) + 50MP (ultra wide, f 2.2) + 13MP (telephoto, 2x optical zoom, f/2.4) | Front camera: 32MP (wide, f/2.4)

Elegant design
Hasselblad colour enhancements
Poor zoom

The Oppo Find X5 Pro has been one of the most talked about top-end smartphones this year, and mostly because of its camera, thanks to help from Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad. There's a 32MB selfie on the front and three lenses on the back neatly grouped into a kind of plateau: a main 50MP with a super fast f/1.7 aperture, an ultra-wide-angle 50MP camera with f/2.2 and a 13MP telephoto lens with f/2.4. Gone is the Find X3 Pro's dedicated microscopic macro lens.

The two main lenses are fantastic with great, vivid colours and the low apertures allow fast shots. The telephoto lens is less impressive, with only a 2X zoom, which lags behind much of the competition. The new Marisilicon X neural processing unit applies AI imaging algorithms right on RAW data to improve noise reduction in low light for photos and 4K video. Meanwhile, Hasselblad's filters that can add a film-like quality to the most mundane of images.

Cameras aside, the Oppo Find X5 Pro has a unique, sleek design – its camera bump is a smooth slope rather tan a clumsy protrusion. The display is also very good and highly adjustable. See our full Oppo Find X5 review for more details.

Photo of the Realme GT 2 Pro, one of the best camera phones

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

09. Realme GT 2 Pro

A microscope wonder

RAM: 8GB, 12GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Rear camera: 50MP (wide, f/1.8) + 50MP (ultrawide, 150-degree, f/2.2) + 3MP (microscope, 40x magnification, f/3.3) | Front camera: 32MP (wide, f/2.4)

Fantastic microscope camera
Pretty affordable
No telephoto camera
Bloated software

Realme isn't a company that often gets onto 'best camera phone' lists, generally due to its lack of top-end smartphones, but the GT 2 Pro is its first top-end phone and it wins Realme a low place on this list.

The phone's 50MP main and ultra-wide cameras are great, but the real reason the phone is on this list is its 40x magnification microscope camera.

We found Realme's mobile miraculous for how it offers impressive camera features at a much lower price than you'd expect. The main camera is incredible for low-light photography, and would definitely give an iPhone a run for its money. It also captures loads of color and light in daylight or well-lit settings.

Plus, you've probably already read our praise for the Oppo's microscope camera, and our enthusiasm rings true here too. We had loads of fun playing about with this zoomed-in wonder.

This is a great phone for a few other reasons too - it charges quickly, its screen looks great, and it's very powerful. Plus, it's one of the most affordable mobiles on this list, making it a great alternative to the big flashy phones from the bigger brands.

See our full Realme GT Pro 2 review for more details.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

10. Huawei Mate 40 Pro

An insanely good photography experience

RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB | Rear camera: 50MP (wide, f/1.9) + 12MP (periscope, 5x optical zoom, f/3.4) + 20MP (ultrawide, f/1.8) | Front camera: 13MP (ultrawide, f/2.4) + TOF

Stunning design
 Superb all-round camera skills
Lack of apps due to removal of Play Store
Expensive

First things first - the Mate 40 Pro has one tragic flaw, and it’s a deal breaker for most people. Thanks to the Google trade ban in the US, you can’t access Google’s own app store. Huawei’s store is still playing catch up, and you’re likely to be frustrated with certain apps not working, even if you can easily download them online.

Having said that, the Mate 40 Pro is still one of the best camera phones in the world, offering the complete package. Both regular and ultra-wide angle shots look superb in both well-lit and dark conditions, while the 5x optical zoom performs remarkably well even in lower light too. Focusing is fast and snappy, and the front-facing selfie camera also cram in larger groups, thanks to its wide angle lens. 

Throw in super-stabilized video with impressive HDR for good measure, and you have a smartphone with a camera that’s capable of excelling at any task you care to throw at it. 

We loved the way the Mate 40 Pro picked up colors, with dramatic sunsets and vibrant food dishes standing out when captured on the phone. Low-light shooting is great too, whether you're snapping people or objects.

We've also got to commend the range of camera modes Huawei offers - options like Moon Photography, Spotlight Portrait, 50x Hyperzoom, incredibly slow-motion video recording and light painting all give the phone a real edge for playful or experimental photographers. We had lots of fun trying these out to take great snaps.

How do I choose the best camera phone for me?

Different smartphone makers focus on different aspects of the camera - to decide on the best camera phone for you, you need to look at the camera strengths, available modes and the shooting experience itself.

The camera strengths involve what the device focuses on (pun intended) - some have long-ranging zoom cameras while others have high-res sensors or dedicated macro lenses. You need to ask yourself what kind of pictures you want to take, and find a phone that caters for that, or opt for an all-rounder if you're not sure.

The available modes might help, as most brands create their own camera modes to give you an edge. Samsung has Single Take and Food, both of which help you take great-looking pictures with little work, while OnePlus and Oppo have some Hasselblad-created ones, and Xiaomi often throws weird curveballs like Sky which lets you change the weather in your photos (really!).

Finally, the shooting experience could influence your buying choice. Some phones offer and easy point-and-shoot experience, so that at the tap of a button you can take social-media-ready posts, while others have a more involved process that makes it easy to fiddle with different settings. Your choice here will depend on your comfort level with cameras, and we'll definitely note anything pertinent in our reviews.

Of course, you need to consider the rest of the phone experience in your choice too - a phone is for life, not just for photoshoots. So bear in mind your budget, the size of phone you want, and whether it's a good device or not.

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Basil is a trained graphic designer and photography expert who geeks out over anything to do with digital imaging and sketching. Now a tech journalist and content director at a creative comms agency, he covers tech through a real-world lens, contributing to titles including Creative Bloq, Digital Camera World, Metro, T3, TechRadar and WIRED.