iPhone picture

Taking a photo with an iPhone (Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash)

Picture or it didn’t happen! Luckily, thanks to our smartphones, we always have a camera ready, so no Kodak moment goes by undocumented. And the quality of our phone’s cameras these days is truly incredible! Whether you are an Apple or Android fan, you have many options for camera phones that deliver professional results. If you’re wondering which are the best camera phones on the market, read on: StudyFinds has the top-five models listed below.

Photography is an art, and cameras are a wonderful way to preserve precious memories. According to a new study, taking pictures of our surroundings helps us to enhance our visual memory of experiences. But the authors further found that just having a camera with you — even if you don’t take any photos — also boosts a person’s memory of an event. “Even when people don’t take a photo of a particular object, like a sculpture, but have a camera with them and the intention to take photos, they remember that sculpture better than people who did not have a camera with them,” the study’s authors explained.

If you’re not taking pictures of sculptures, your favorite subject is probably your pet. A recent survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners revealed that a third of pet parents have more photos of their furry friends on their phones than of their kids or significant other. Only 27 percent of respondents said they have more photos of their kids than their pet — and that number dropped even lower (to just 16 percent) when it came to pictures of their partner!

What to look for in a quality camera phone:

In today’s digital age, smartphones have become our constant companions, documenting life’s precious moments through the lens of their built-in cameras. But with a plethora of options flooding the market, choosing the best camera phone can feel like navigating a labyrinth. Fear not, photography enthusiasts! This guide will equip you with the knowledge to decipher specs, understand features, and ultimately select the perfect camera phone to transform your mobile snaps into stunning masterpieces.

  • Megapixels (MP) and sensor size: While a high megapixel count can translate to sharper images, it’s not the sole determinant of quality. Look for features like larger sensors, dedicated night modes, and optical image stabilization (OIS) for blur-free nighttime shots.
  • Lenses: Gone are the days of single-lens phones. Modern camera phones boast multi-lens setups, often including wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, and telephoto lenses, offering flexibility for capturing everything from sweeping landscapes to close-up details.
  • Zoom: Telephoto lenses bring distant subjects closer, ideal for capturing wildlife, sporting events, or faraway landmarks. Look for phones with higher optical zoom capabilities for sharper, lossless zooming.
  • Software: Modern camera phones are packed with computational photography tricks like HDR, scene recognition, and AI-powered enhancements that elevate image quality and add artistic flair.
  • Battery life: Capturing the perfect shot can be battery-intensive. Choose a phone with a long-lasting battery to avoid the disappointment of a dead phone mid-photo session.

But whatever you like to put in front of your lens, we want you to have crystal-clear results. StudyFinds visited ten tech websites and compared expert reviews to create our list of the top-five best camera phones for 2023. Did we not mention your favorite model? Please let us know in the comments.

Person taking a photo of a friend at a restaurant
Person taking a photo of a friend at a restaurant (Photo by Josh Rose on Unsplash)

The List: Best Camera Phones, According to Tech Experts

 

1. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The experts have spoken! The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best camera phone in 2023. Nine out of ten experts recommend it and out of those, five list it first! “The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the reigning best camera phone because of its incredible versatility,” writes Tech Radar. “It boasts so many lenses and features that there is simply no photo it can’t shoot.”

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

“Our crown for the best camera phone belongs to the Galaxy S23 Ultra,” announces Tom’s Guide. “This beast can do it all with its 200MP main sensor, 30x optical zoom, excellent selfies, and the still-amazing 100x digital Space Zoom. This new Ultra does what the likes of Apple and Google cannot. New this year is the astrophotography mode, too, allowing for stunning shots of the night sky, including the moon. You can also shoot in 50MP RAW or use the full 200MP in the regular camera app. The upgraded stabilization also makes the Galaxy S23 Ultra a fantastic video phone with the ability to shoot at up to 8K 30 fps.”

And Creative Bloq claims: “If you thought smartphone cameras couldn’t get any better, Samsung stepped up to the plate to prove you wrong with the magnificent Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and its 200MP flagship camera. […] It’s simply the best-specced smartphone camera array on the market right now. Drop into Pro mode and record in .DNG raw format for the ultimate in shooting flexibility and performance.”

2. Google Pixel 7 Pro

The Google Pixel 7 Pro got an equal number of expert recommendations as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, but wasn’t listed as a top pick as often. Nonetheless, “the Pixel 7 Pro is the best that Google has to offer,” according to Android Authority.

Google Pixel 7 Pro
Google Pixel 7 Pro, via Amazon

For Digital Camera World, “the Pixel 7 Pro is simply the best camera phone you can buy at its price, it’s that simple. It wipes the floor with the similarly priced iPhone 14, and beats the much pricier iPhone 14 Pro in a few key areas too. […] With a sleek design, a mighty screen, and excellent future-proofing by way of continued software support, you do get a lot for your money here. So even though the phone had a couple of small hiccups in our time with it – specifically when it came to connectivity – as a package, you’ll be hard-pressed to get a better value flagship phone than the Pixel 7 Pro.”

“This year, the Google Pixel 7 Pro has proven, without a shadow of a doubt, it is the best camera phone you can buy,” writes Digital Trends. “The rear camera suite comprises a 50-megapixel main lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 48MP telephoto lens with a 5x optical zoom. It’s a powerful setup, but the real magic actually comes from Google’s software. The images it creates are simply incredible, and rarely (if ever) require further processing in an editing suite. Just tap the button, and you’ll get a great image that’s ripe for sharing.”

3. Apple iPhone 14 Pro

Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro almost tied with our number two pick! It comes with one less recommendation and at a slightly higher price point than the Google Pixel 7 Pro. But “while the new iPhone 14 Pro is expensive, it’s a mighty phone with a brilliant camera, that’s powerful and lasts a full day. If you’re an Apple fan who likes more compact phones, the iPhone 14 is a no-brainer,” writes Digital Camera World.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro
Apple iPhone 14 Pro

“We think the iPhone 14 Pro is the best all-round camera phone,” writes Trusted Reviews. “It’s reliable in all conditions, captures the best video out of any other phone on [our] list, and boasts three distinct cameras for versatility, with each capturing different focal lengths. However, it’s not actually the best camera phone across every specific area. We much prefer the zoom skills on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, for one thing, as it captures a much clearer overall image when you zoom in to a subject. But that said, when taken as a whole, the iPhone 14 Pro comes out top.”

“Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro might come with a steep asking price, but it ticks almost every box you could want from a camera setup on a phone. Its main 48-megapixel sensor takes superb images, with crisp details and beautiful, natural colors, its wide-angle lens is one of the best around and it excels at night photos, delivering bright and clear shots when there’s minimal light,” writes CNET.

4. Google Pixel 6a

While not as popular as newer versions, the Google Pixel 6a still was recommended by seven out of ten experts. Mostly because it’s a lot more wallet-friendly than its competitors — it’s a frequent “best affordable” expert choice: “If you’re on the hunt for a great photography experience on a relatively modest budget, look no further than Google Pixel 6a,” says TechRadar.

Google Pixel 6a
Google Pixel 6a

“Pro-level camera phone quality doesn’t have to cost over $600. Google’s Pixel 6a uses the same Tensor chip for processing photos as its more expensive brethren, which means the same super-fast autofocus, smart color judgment, and AI-enhanced editing features,” so PCMag.

“While Google’s latest Pixel 7 and 7 Pro might steal the headlines with their flashy new design and Tensor G2 processor, the Pixel 6A offers a lot of what Google’s latest Pixel phones have boasted, but in a smaller and more affordable package. It has just two rear cameras (a standard zoom and an ultrawide) with both taking great-looking images that look better than almost any other phone at this price,” adds CNET.

5. Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

A couple of experts mentioned the 14 Pro Max in the same breath as the 14 Pro, but overall, it received fewer recommendations and costs a little more. That said, “the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max have the same cameras, […] with 48MP main sensors that are 65 percent larger than those found on the 13 Pro / Pro Max,” per Creative Bloq.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

PCMag picked this iPhone model as “Best For Content Creators:” “The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the pinnacle of iPhones, including its camera. It has it all: optical zoom, stabilized lenses, a big screen for editing, and excellent battery life for extended shooting. The iPhone platform also tends to have the best third-party camera and social media apps, making this the prime choice for content creators.”

“The iPhone 14 Pro Max is everything you could ever want in a smartphone, including the best-in-class performance and cameras,” claims Tom’s Guide. “The new 48MP main sensor is extremely powerful, offering crystal clear images with beautiful colors and lighting. The ultrawide lens also saw a bump in size, so it lets in more light.” On the downside, “the telephoto sticks to 3x, which we think is a bit low given the competition,” but “all told, you won’t find better all around cameras on a smartphone.”

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Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Clio Rourke

I'm a freelance writer with experience in advertising and public relations.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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18 Comments

  1. Amélie says:

    The camera on the OnePlus 11 beats the iPhone hands down. Stop shilling for Samsung, Google, and Apple like they’re the only options out there.

    1. Billy says:

      It doesn’t beat it “HANDS DOWN” that’s definitely not a true statement. The iPhone has a consistently amazing camera, but there is not a single person in the world who is choosing between the Oneplus11 and an Iphone. Apple fans buy apple products… That’s how it goes. There are some superior camera phones out there that should be mentioned though, Honor Magic 5 Pro, Oppo Find X6 Pro, Huawei P60 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 13 Pro, Vivo X90 Pro Plus…. All of these phones could be mentioned, but they aren’t mentioned for the same reason the OnePlus 11 isn’t mentioned… They are Chinese Phones.

    2. Chris says:

      And huawei and honor… 😌

      1. Andy says:

        Xiaomi 13 Ultra will kill all

    3. Eirik Størkersen says:

      Aggre with you…what about Xiaomi 13 pro…this camera beats iphones camera to the basement

  2. Philip says:

    You’ve forgotten Xiaomi 12T Pro. It’s camera is great.

  3. Observer says:

    Huawei Mate 50 Pro

    1. Keith Mcmaugh says:

      Huawei p60 pro is number 1

  4. Marco Rosado says:

    In a list of 5 devices, you were able to repeat 2 brands and neither of these phones has the top score in dxomark. This is an ad, not a review.

    1. Eirik Størkersen says:

      Yes this is an ad…you forget the best android of the year Xiaomi 13 pro.
      You don’t mention oppos camera……..
      Asus gaming phone 6 with a 185 hz screen…altso Redmi from Xiaomi…has camera that is much better than iphones

    2. Keith Mcmaugh says:

      Dxo mark ranks Honor 5 pro and Huawei 50 pro as best 2022 and it looks like Huawei is much improved for 2023 for the p60 pro. I wonder if there were no sanctions on Huawei, how much better it would be?

  5. Chris says:

    Google/apple… And one Samsung to pretend it’s not biased.
    We all know the very best are huawei and honor. But shhh. USA went on crusade against China

  6. Opung Mboyan says:

    Hua Wei P20 mate have been the best before the likes of Samsung or iPhone 14 come to the picture…. They are behind time.

  7. Vali says:

    How about Vivo, Honor? Ofcourse Huawei is also there, but it’s not so popular now for the lack of G services. Cheers.

  8. Sam says:

    Bullshit article… How can u forget the beast Huawei p60 pro..

  9. Twumasi says:

    Ghana

  10. Zuchi says:

    Useless post. The 3 best smart phones in the world with good cameras are.
    1* iphone.
    2* Xiaomi Redmi.
    3* Samsung.

  11. Remi says:

    Talk about Tecno 19 pro, can beat down some of those phones mentioned