Best camera phones 2020

Finding the best smartphone camera is no easy task these days. Most all flagships now come packing some serious camera tech and software, and while certain brands and models may excel in certain areas, it's pretty much a neck-and-neck race.

Some phones perform better in low light, others have dedicated Night Modes that are way ahead of the competition, and then there are those that are mediocre for stills, but are great for video. It's not easy picking the best of the best, especially if you don't get the chance to try out many, many phones for yourself. With so much choice, what do you have to look for, if you want the best smartphone camera?

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How we choose the best smartphone camera

These days, the bar for a top-performing camera on a phone is quite high. To be competitive, a device has to have a good sent of lenses and sensors backed up by software that can get the most of them. The end result must be a photo that has sharpness, good color balance, adequate exposure, realistic saturation and a great amount of detail. 

It's especially important how the camera handles scenarios that test its HDR — very bright spots shouldn't be just white spots and dark shadows must contain details. Speaking of darkness, low-light photography is where most sub-par cameras struggle and we can't have any of that when it comes to the best smartphone cameras in 2020. That goal with low-light photos is not which phone can take the brightest shot with little or no light sources around. A photo has to be, above all, nice to look at. 

We've thoroughly tested all smartphones featured on this list, and in our opinion, they boast the best-performing cameras on the market right now. 

Best camera phones, a summarized list:

Now, let's take a deeper look at these phones!

iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

The new triple camera is the most versatile yet in an iPhone. Ultra-wide camera captures a lot more in a single shot. The big improvements, however, are not mentioned in specs: the main camera captures much sharper images, it supports night mode and video is the best you can capture on any iPhone.

Over the past couple of years, the iPhone has had some serious competition when it comes to camera quality. From Google, to Samsung, to Huawei—the Android world has no shortage of great cameras to choose from. The iPhone 11 Pro is in many ways Apple’s response to a lot of what its competitors have had for years: it finally adds a third, ultra-wide camera to the mix; it finally introduces Night Mode that works wonders in low-light conditions, and it also improves the photo and video quality in ways that you will not see on the specs sheet.

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

Some might say that the Google Pixel 4 is not great; that it is the worst value phone of 2019, even. And, as much as I'd like to argue with that, I really can't. The Pixel 4 is weirdly anachronistic when it comes to design and battery life, and isn't exactly an easy recommendation at its starting price point of $799. But an area where the Pixel 4 excels—even though it has two cameras, whereas most high-end devices now feature three—is mobile photography.

Leveraging Google's AI platform and advanced computational photography algorithms, the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are capable of delivering some amazing results. From Night Sight, to Super Res Zoom, to Live HDR+ and Dual Exposure controls, the Pixel 4 has a lot of camera features on offer, all the while treading a delicate line between accessibility and fine control. But no matter the situation and lighting conditions, it rarely produces something that can even remotely be described as "bad".

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

This  year Samsung shook up its S-series lineup with a new model that's beefed up in every aspect, especially the cameras. The 108MP main sensor comes with Samsung's Nona-binning technology, which allows for nine pixels to be combined in one for improved low-light performance. Of course, you can take 108MP photos as well, using the camera app's dedicate mode, but the benefits of those are limited, as we've examined before

The other notable camera feature of the Galaxy S20 Ultra is its 48MP periscope camera that offers hybrid zoom up to 100X. It's safe to say that the 100X zoom is a marketing gimmick, but at 30X, the photos are impressive even though you probably won't use them for much.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is full to the brim with high-end features but all that goodness comes at a price. $1,400 for the base model is a lot to ask, but then again, the phone brings a lot to the table. 

OnePlus 8 Pro

Next on our best camera phones list, we have the OnePlus 8 Pro, one of the more affordable phones in this list, if a price around $900 dollars can qualify as affordable. It features a triple camera system with a 48 megapixel main shooter that combines four individual pixels into one so you end up with a great looking 12 megapixel final shot, and it’s also got a 3 times zoom telephoto camera and an ultra-wide shooter, and even a funky color filter that is a topic of a separate discussion. What you need to know about the 8 Pro is that OnePlus has finally entered the camera big league and it shoots good looking photos at both night and day. Video is severely cropped, but this crop allows for an industry-leading super smooth stabilization and crispy 4K quality is on board as well.

Oppo Find X2 Pro

Chinese company Huawei was put on the US entity list last year which has quickly led to its demise in Western markets as its new phones were prohibited from running Google apps. In 2020, Chinese company Oppo has quickly made use of the opportunity and its latest flagship the Find X2 Pro is now available all across Europe and many other countries. With a 5 times periscope zoom lens being the big highlight, the Find X2 Pro is one of the finest mobile zoom machines you can get and it captures good looking shots both during the day and at night.

Huawei P40 Pro Plus

We have just mentioned that with no Google apps, we cannot recommend Huawei phones at the moment, but we have to speak about this phone just because it is a little technological masterpiece. It is the first one in the world to feature a 10 times native zoom lens of the periscope kind that gives you unprecedented zoom quality. Not only that, it has a secondary 3 times telephoto zoom lens for those who still want great clarity at more reasonable zoom levels. Heck, you can probably use this phone instead of binoculars! Huawei's efforts to make the best phone camera are certainly giving results, too bad the software issues are mostly keeping it away from people's hands. The P40 Pro Plus is a little camera wonder that serves as a good example of what future phones will bring us.

Sony Xperia 1 II

Yes, a phone by Sony in 2020! The Japanese company has not been doing very well in the past few years, but the Xperia 1 II is an excellent camera phone that has some tricks up its sleeve that no other device on this list has. For example, Sony uses the impressive object tracking technology from its professional Alpha series of camera on this phone, so you can tap on an object in the viewfinder and focus will stay locked on that subject. Super awesome if you happen to record a lot of videos of skating or other sporty activities. The main camera here is a 12 megapixel one and we should also say that Sony is making the sensors for many of the phones on this list, so expect excellence and no less. Images look detailed, colors look balanced without being over the top, and overall, the Xperia 1 II is an excellent camera to consider.

Realme X3 SuperZoom

Last but definitely not least we have a phone from an up and coming brand Realme, an offshoot of Oppo. The Realme X3 SuperZoom has a name that speaks for itself with a 5 times telephoto camera of the periscope kind that gives you that sweet, crispy clean picture when you zoom in and overall it’s a very good performer. The best part? This phone costs half the price of most other phones on this list at just 500 dollar or euro in Europe. It’s a killer value in the camera game, with good performance from the main 64 megapixel camera, the ultra-wide camera and it’s even got a macro camera on board as well.


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