Last updated: September 10, 2020

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Over four million cell phones are sold in the world every day and, for the first time in history, the total number of devices exceeded the number of humans on the planet in 2018. In other words, there is more than one phone per person on average. So why do we get the feeling that we are making fewer and fewer phone calls?

This is because cell phones have become multi-functional technological tools. One of their most attractive features is their cameras, which offer high-quality photos and videos without the need for a professional device and its expensive lenses and accessories. This is why they have become such a key criterion for us when choosing a cell phone.

Key Facts

  • Nowadays, the market offers us a wide variety of cell phones with top-quality cameras. The technical specs of the model, however, will influence the final result of your photos and videos.
  • Today’s phone cameras can easily quadruple the number of megapixels that the best cameras had just a few years ago. In addition, the integration of systems such as image stabilization or optical zoom has significantly increased performance.
  • How you use your camera will ultimately dictate your choice of cell phone. In that regard, you will want to factor in how often you use it, as well as the type of photography and video you want to do.

Our Selection: The Phones With the Best Cameras on the U.S. Market

In the following section, you will discover our very own selection of cell phones with the best cameras currently available on the market. We explain their main strengths and why they are recommended if you’re on the hunt for one of these products. That way, you can filter through the incredible number of options and choose the most suitable model for your needs.

Best Cell Phone Overall

Many experts consider that this model from Chinese company Xiaomi offers the best camera on the market. The integrated ultra-resolution triple camera features an outstanding 48 megapixels and a 2x optical and wide-angle zoom. The latter allows you to take pictures with up to 16 megapixels. The camera also offers quality stabilization, so that you never have to compromise on image sharpness. This cell phone has incredible value for money.

Best Nokia Cell Phone

This manufacturer has been a big name in the game for years now, and the Nokia 7.2 is a versatile phone with high-quality cameras for all your photographic needs. The three rear cameras offer 48, 8, and 5 megapixels respectively, and combine to deliver incredible quality in any light conditions. The 20-megapixel front-facing camera will snap perfect selfies to show off to your friends and family on your social media.

Best Samsung Cell Phone

Samsung is always a guarantee of quality and performance, and this model’s camera is no exception. It also features three rear-facing cameras, each of them offering 16 or 12 megapixels with a dual aperture that allows you to take excellent photos by or by night. One of the most interesting features of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ camera is its ultra-wide-angle lens (16 megapixels), in addition to the wide-angle one (12 megapixels).

Best Apple iPhone

Last but not least, Apple’s iPhone XS Max is an incredible camera cell phone. While it isn’t one of the most affordable devices on the market, it certainly delivers with its 12-megapixel dual rear camera and its 7-megapixel front camera. The dual optical image stabilization system prevents blurring and ensures sharpness in the most challenging conditions. The portrait mode is excellent, and the HDR (High Dynamic Range) Smart is a valuable feature too.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Phones With High-End Cameras

Now that you are familiar with the most interesting models on the market, let’s focus on the specific characteristics of cell phones with the best cameras. You should know which aspects to pay particular attention to before making the purchase. In the following section, we answer the most frequently asked questions regarding these devices.

Persona con móvil en la mano

These cell phones offer the best performance when taking pictures and videos.
(Source: Nigel Tadyanehondo: 07BHcP8eRB8/ Unsplash.com)

What are these devices exactly?

These cell phones generally offer the very best performance out there when it comes to taking pictures and videos. You naturally have to compare various devices in order to determine which models are most suitable. In that regard, what you should look for is a cell phone with a camera taking bright, vivid, and detailed photos – the more realistic, the better.

In order to do so, your mobile phone’s camera must incorporate various technologies that help process and improve the original result. Just as in standard cameras, the lenses are also essential. Once combined, all these factors can tell you how good the camera of your cell phone really is.

Why are these cell phones so useful?

Cell phones in general have become an extension of our own bodies. Their use is totally widespread, and some individuals even suffer from a dependence on these devices. Since they are constantly with us in our day-to-day life, they are an essential tool to record and immortalize every moment and memory that we want to cherish.

Just as with analog or digital cameras, the higher the quality, the better the result. These devices allow you to combine two expensive products – cell phone and camera – in one, travel lighter, and instantly share the photos and videos you take with them.

girl taking a photo from a phone

Nowadays, the market offers a wide variety of cell phones with top-quality cameras.
(Source: Patrick Tomasso: kVawprN_MPc/ Unsplash.com)

Why are megapixels so important?

Equivalent to one million pixels, megapixels are a unit of measurement used in photography and imaging in general to define the number of minimum units that make up the image. They become visible in a grid form when the photo is enlarged. They ultimately determine how much you can enlarge the image without losing sharpness.

This is why they are so important. However, and contrary to popular belief, megapixels are not the only main factor that determines the overall quality of a camera. You should also pay attention to the size of the pixel (in microns) because an eight-megapixel camera can be better than a twelve-megapixel camera. So don’t let high values trick you.

What does High Dynamic Range (HDR) mean?

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a set of image processing techniques that allows obtaining a better dynamic range of light between the brightest and the darkest zones. That way, the photographic results are much more realistic and in accordance with the greater degree of detail and appreciation of light of the human eye.

Cameras with HDR systems – or the more advanced HDR Plus – can take much more realistic photos. The main logic behind this system is to reduce contrasts between light and dark areas within the same image. This was previously impossible, and the quality was mediocre at best under certain light conditions.

a person taking picture of his food

Cell phones have become highly multifunctional technological tools.
(Source: Eaters Collective: i_xVfNtQjwI/ Unsplash.com)

What other functions do these cell phones offer?

When it comes to functionalities and overall performance, these devices have much more to offer. They feature an optical zoom, for example. In the past, cameras would lose quality when you tried to take a photo with a lot of detail by bringing the lens as close to the subject as possible. Nowadays, this zoom offers us optimal quality without blurring or pixelation.

Besides, the vast majority of cell phones with the best cameras share another common factor: the wide-angle lens. It will allow you to widen the angle of vision and broaden the spectrum of the image. It is with this functionality that you can take panoramic or 360-degree photos.

Can I share the photos on my cell phone?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat… Social networks have become an integral part of our lives, and our lives are exposed on them. From holidays to weddings, honeymoons to dinners with friends, just about every memorable moment we live end up on social media, where we share them with our friends, family, and other followers.

That is why taking beautiful photos isn’t enough anymore; we want to be able to show them off. Certain models incorporate shortcuts and options to send pictures to your friends by email or private message from the camera or photo gallery applications. You can even upload them directly to your social networks, so you always keep your followers up to date.

Let’s now compare the different cell phones that are found in our selection:

Model Xiaomi Mi 9 Nokia 7.2 Samsung Galaxy S10+ iPhone XS Max
Camera 4 4 5 3
Megapixels 48/16/12 48/8/5 12/16/12 12
HDR Yes Yes Yes Yes
Optical zoom Yes No Yes Yes

What are the advantages of phones with high-end cameras?

When you purchase a new cell phone, there are many features that you need to analyze. We have already looked at some of these key elements that will make the difference between a good and an excellent choice. That being said, keep in mind that you will have to invest more if you want a model with a high-end camera. In the table below, we have summarized the pros and cons of cell phones with the best cameras:

Advantages
  • Higher photo quality
  • Cell phone and camera in one device
  • Performance in extreme conditions
  • Integration with social networks
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than other models
  • They require some technical learning

Shopping Criteria

You have now discovered our selection of the very best models currently available on the market, and you should be more familiar with which features and functionalities to should look for when choosing your own. Before we come to a conclusion, we want to delve deeper into the main purchasing criteria to take into account when browsing the wide array of options out there. In the following section, we will look at:

Type of Photos

Do you want a camera for a family album or a professional portfolio? For your family and yourself, or to share on the Internet with thousands – nay, millions – of followers? The technical specifications of the camera built into your cell phone will depend on your personal needs, how you plan on using it, and what you want to do with these photos.

People typically use the camera as an addition to their cell phone, as opposed to the main component. As we discussed earlier, the megapixels, the quality of the HDR, or the type of zoom will all influence the end result of your photos. In that regard, knowing your needs will help you tailor your purchase to them.

iphone

Ultimately, your personal use of the camera should dictate your purchase.
(Source: Dungtrnvit: 4ZtrbKfJQHs/ Unsplash.com)

Location & External Conditions

This is partly linked to the previous criterion we looked at. If your main goal is to take photos at night or indoors, you will want to focus on cell phones with high-end cameras and a more advanced HDR. In fact, models with a specifically designed night mode will ensure the best quality in low light conditions.

If you simply want to snap shots of your holiday trips and daily life, on the other hand, investing in a highly technical product that you won’t make the most of doesn’t necessarily make sense. Just like with any purchase, it is essential that you be practical and consistent to avoid spending too much money on an item you won’t take advantage of.

Resolution & Other Features

As you have learned throughout our article, several factors will come into play to determine the overall quality of your photos. When the time comes to make your purchase, you will have to take into consideration the megapixels, the microns, and other technical specs. Keep in mind that the microns are almost more important than the number of megapixels your camera has.

Among other characteristics that you should pay attention to, the optical zoom is particularly important. Luckily for you, virtually every model with a high-end camera features it. Nowadays, few cell phones use a digital zoom, and you should opt for an optical one to get optimal results when taking long-distance photos. In addition, a wide-angle lens will allow you to snap beautiful panoramic shots in open spaces.

Robert FrankSwiss Photographer & Documentary Filmmaker

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”

Degree of Complexity & Adaptability

The more features and functionalities your cell phone has, the more expertise and mastery of techniques you will need to get the most out of it. While it is true that your user manual will help, and that we can all learn anything with time, ask yourself one question: will you have the patience to learn how to use your camera correctly?

People often brag about their cell phones and the number of megapixels their camera offers, but they rarely know what they are talking about. No one is born educated on photography, and it’s virtually impossible to know it all. However, we do recommend that you pay attention to the technical difficulty involved in handling the camera and that you choose according to your own capabilities.

Versatility & Balance

Now, you probably want to buy a complete and balanced cell phone, with a good operating system, adequate size, and quality camera, among other characteristics. This is why you should always weigh in all factors, as opposed to focusing on a single one. If you’re only after a professional camera, we strongly advise buying one rather than relying on a cell phone.

While today’s cell phones with high-end cameras truly offer exceptional results, they will never replace the best professional cameras. If you’re after a good photographic complement to your mobile phone, on the other hand, you can look for a model that offers the right balance between quality photography and other technical characteristics.

Summary

Throughout this article, we have analyzed the main aspects and features of cell phones with high-end cameras and introduced you to some of the best models currently available on the market. In the last section, you have learned everything you need to know about their purchasing criteria. We hope that we have cleared up any remaining doubts you had.

We always recommend our readers to pay attention to every detail that determines the purchase of a product. This is the best and easiest way to avoid making a mistake that you will come to regret after having invested a significant amount of money. Affordability is an important factor to weigh in, but value for money is always vital.

If this shopping guide has helped you find the cell phone with the best camera you needed, feel free to share it with your friends and family on your social media. That way, you can help others snap the shots they’ve always wanted with their mobile phones. You can also leave us your opinion or any questions you have in the comments section below!

(Source of featured image: Prateekverma: qoMRNOfZD5s/ Unsplash.com)

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