Top 17 Best Camera Phones For Photography 2018

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Cameras in smartphones have come a long way over the last few years, with a number of features that have greatly improved the quality of images produced by smartphones, including optical image stabilisation (OIS), larger sensors, bright lenses, and even optical zoom making them even better for photography. The photographic capabilities of smartphones has become such a massive selling feature, that many premium smartphones now support shooting “raw” images, so you can take complete control over image processing.

Here we highlight some of the best camera phones we’ve reviewed, up until now, and what makes them unique so you can make a more informed purchase next time you upgrade/buy a new smartphone. You’ll also find more in-depth comments on each of the smartphones featured in our top ten over in reviews, plus take a look at our technique and feature sections where you’ll find a range of articles, including our 8 DIY smartphone photography tricks you must try feature and our food photography basics, that’ll have you snapping top smartphones shots in no-time.

If you want to, you can purchase/find more information about each smartphone listed by clicking the green Amazon buttons featured below each product. It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you press our Amazon buttons but by using our Amazon Affiliate links when ordering anything online, you are supporting the site – thank you.

1. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S9plus (7)

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus features an ultra bright f/1.5 – f/2.4 aperture lens, and the S9 Plus has a second telephoto camera. Both feature a 12-megapixel sensor and optical image stabilisation (OIS), and the front selfie camera is an 8mp f/1.7 camera with Auto Focus (AF), which is still quite rare. The screen is an impressive 6.2inch Quad HD+ screen that dominates the front of the phone, whilst maintaining a similar size to other phones with 5.5 or 6inch screens. The phone can capture high-speed video at 960fps, 4K video at 60fps as well as 9-megapixel stills when in video mode. It’s dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 mins. With the ability to expand the memory with a microSD card and tough Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the screen and back on the phone, it’s ideal for those who love to get out and about and take lots of images, no matter the weather. It operates at a very impressive speed and you can use the volume control as a shutter button. ISO speeds from ISO50 to ISO1250 can be used, and using the manual mode you can shoot raw images.

Camera features at a glance: 12mp, f/1.5-2.4 lens, 26mm equivalent, telephoto f/2.4 lens, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K 60fps video, MicroSD slot, raw.

2. Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8 In Hand

The Samsung Galaxy S8 uses the same, already excellent, camera as the S7, with a 12-megapixel rear camera with dual pixel technology and a bright f/1.7 aperture, and improves the phone with an upgraded 8mp selfie camera with Auto Focus (AF). The screen is an impressive 5.8inch Quad HD+ screen that dominates the front of the phone, whilst maintaining the same compact size as the previous phone! The phone can capture 4K video as well as 9-megapixel stills when in video mode. It’s dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 mins. With the ability to expand the memory with a microSD card and tough Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the screen and back on the phone, it’s ideal for those who love to get out and about and take lots of images, no matter the weather. It operates at a very impressive speed and you can use the volume control as a shutter button. ISO speeds from ISO50 to ISO800 are selectable in manual mode.

Camera features at a glance: 12mp, f/1.7 lens, 26mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, MicroSD slot, raw.

3. Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Huawei Mate10 Pro With Leica (7)

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is Huawei’s top of the range flagship smartphone, not only does it feature dual Leica f/1.6 cameras with colour and black and white sensors, but also features a top of the range processor, that includes a “Neural Processing Unit” designed to speed up “Artificial Intelligence” (AI), for both smartphone and camera features. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a large smartphone, thanks to a 6inch screen, and it’s set up with a 12mp f/1.6 colour camera, and a 20mp f/1.6 black and white camera, both lenses equivalent to 27mm in 35mm terms. The main 12mp colour camera features optical image stabilisation, and there is prominent Leica branding next to the cameras on the back, as well as a Dual LED flash. The camera can record 4K (UHD) video, as well as high-speed video at 120fps at FullHD resolution.

If you’re looking for a large smartphone, with an emphasis on the camera(s) included, then the Mate 10 Pro certainly offers a complete package.

Camera features at a glance: Dual cameras 12mp colour, 20mp black and white, f/1.6 lenses, 27mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, MicroSD slot, raw.

4. Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XL In Hand (3)

The Google Pixel 2 XL ticks all the boxes for a flagship smartphone, with a large 18:9 screen, waterproof body and optical image stabilisation. It also makes up for the lack of a second camera by producing some excellent images. It’s a shame there’s no headphone socket, and we’d like to see more manual control in the default camera app, as settings for the ISO speed and raw shooting would be useful, without having to download other apps. Saying that, for most people, the Google Pixel 2 XL will be a great camera as it’s easy to use and produces great results.

Overall, the Google Pixel 2 XL delivers impressive portrait shots and images with high levels of detail, thanks to clever technology.

Camera features at a glance: 12mp f/1.8 camera, 1.4um pixels, OIS, Dual pixel autofocus, dual LED flash, HDR+ shooting, 4K/FullHD Video, water and dust resistant.

5. OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6 Red

The OnePlus 6 smartphone can be described as an affordable flagship that has premium features at a not so eye-watering price. Image quality is excellent, the camera app gets the ‘thumbs-up’ and the red version is particularly stylish. We think the OnePlus 6 smartphone is an excellent buy!

The OnePlus6 is a reasonably priced smartphone with specs that make it fit right at home alongside the likes of premium Samsung, Apple and Sony devices. Yes, it doesn’t have the kerb appeal an iPhone does but a sensible person can push this to one side and be impressed by what the OnePlus 6 has to offer them.

The main camera performs really well and we really like the camera app which is really intuitive and easy to use. It’s a shame the second rear camera doesn’t give a longer focal length or something a bit different like a black and white camera (as Huawei do) but with how well the lenses that are built in perform, it’s not really a complaint, more of an ‘it would be nice’.

The screen size is excellent and viewing isn’t a problem and the phone looks smart, particularly the red version which is definitely eye-catching.

There’s no microSD slot which is surprising for an Android phone, there’s no official IP rating (so don’t get it too wet) and there’s a lack of stereo speakers but apart from that, we think the OnePlus 6 smartphone is an excellent buy.

Camera features at a glance: Dual 16mp and 20mp f/1.7 lenses, 27.22mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) & Electronic Image Stabalisation (EIS), 4K video recording.

6. Apple iPhone X

The Apple iPhone X marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and the iPhone X’s camera which builds on the dual camera of the iPhone 7 Plus, but features updated cameras, with both the wide-angle (28mm equivalent) and telephoto (56mm equivalent) lenses now featuring Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), a brighter aperture for the telephoto lens (f/2.4 instead of f/2.8), and a larger sensor. Both dual cameras feature 12-megapixels, same as the iPhone 8 Plus, and the wide-angle lens features an f/1.8 aperture.

The front ‘selfie’ camera has 7-megapixels as well as an aperture of f/2.2 and you can use Portrait Mode to create ‘bokeh’ in the background of your self-portraits.

Some other features worth mentioning include the 5.8″ super retina HD screen which is surrounded by a smaller bezel so the smartphone remains a reasonable size, a water and dust resistant design and those who capture video can now do so in 4K up to 60fps. As with previous iPhone models, there’s no headphone socket.

The iPhone X is unmistakably a premium smartphone that’s built well, feels solid and looks really great.

Camera features at a glance: Dual 12mp wide-angle and telephoto lenses, f/1.8 & f/2.4, 28mm and 56mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording.

7. Huawei P20

Huawei P20

The Huawei P20 is a powerhouse of a phone with excellent camera cability and plenty of camera options including RAW ability and manual controls, all in a stunningly sleek body.

The Huawei P20 is a well-built smartphone offering an outstanding set of cameras, which are sure to please even the most discerning of smartphone photographers. With lightning-fast reaction times and plenty of shooting options including a Pro mode that lets you shoot RAW images and offers full manual control, the phone is a great choice for those that want a phone that’s designed with the photographer in mind.

The secondary monochrome camera offers sharp detailed photos and a bright f/1.6 aperture. The phone comes with plenty of RAM and storage, and at this price, it’s one of the more affordable premium smartphones

Camera features at a glance: 12 megapixel RGB f/1.8 and 20 megapixel BW f/1.6 dual Leica rear cameras, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording.

8. HTC U11

HTC U11 Blue (1)
The HTC U11 offers an excellent rear camera, with a 12mp sensor, f/1.7 aperture lens and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). There’s also the option to squeeze the sides of the smartphone to activate the camera, as well as take photos. There’s a 16mp selfie camera, but it is fixed focus. 4K video recording is possible, and the smartphone has a number of microphones in order to record 3D sound. The HTC U11 is also waterproof, meaning you can get a number of underwater shots, without having to buy another case for it. However, it’s important to protect the phone, as it has a glass front and back. ISO speeds of ISO100 and ISO800 can be manually selected, but the camera will use higher ISO speeds when needed in auto or scene modes.

Camera features at a glance: 12mp, f/1.7 lens, 26mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, MicroSD slot, raw.

9. Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 Underwater

Samsung Galaxy S7 Underwater

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 12-megapixel rear camera with dual pixel technology and a bright f/1.7 aperture. It has a quad HD screen, for crystal clear viewing and can capture 4K video as well as 9-megapixel stills when in video mode. It’s also dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 mins. With the ability to expand the memory with a microSD card and tough Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the screen and back on the phone, it’s ideal for those who love to get out and about and take lots of images, no matter the weather. It operates at a very impressive speed and you can use the volume control as a shutter button. ISO speeds from ISO50 to ISO800 are selectable in manual mode.

Camera features at a glance: 12mp, f/1.7 lens, 26mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, MicroSD slot, raw.

10. Honor 9 Dual Camera

Huawei Honor9 (1)

The Honor 9 from Huawei offers a dual camera smartphone, plenty of ram and storage, a stylish and good looking design, and offers all of this for a much lower price than you would expect. The dual camera offers a “Hybrid Zoom” giving a 2x zoom, with only a slight loss in image quality. The black and white camera takes impressively sharp and detailed 20mp images, and noise is well controlled whether shooting colour or black and white.

Whilst the smartphone doesn’t feature a waterproof body, there are few smartphones at this price point that do. The camera also records 4K video, and results are good. The biggest shortcoming is the lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS) which not only affects photos, but also video, and at this price point, you should be able to find an alternative with OIS, although most likely without a dual-camera.

If you want to try true black and white photography, and don’t quite have the money for a Leica M Monochrom, then the Honor 9 smartphone with a black and white camera, would make an excellent choice.

Camera features at a glance: 20mp mono camera, f/2.2 max aperture, CMOS sensor, 27mm equivalent, 4K video.

11. Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 Plus’ rear camera is the same 12MP camera you find on the iPhone X and it also features the same two lenses: wide-angle (28mm equivalent) and telephoto (56mm equivalent). Optical image stabilisation is built in but it’s not Dual, as you find on the iPhone X, and the telephoto lens isn’t quite as bright, offering a maximum aperture of f/2.8 when it’s f/2.4 on the iPhone X. Even though it’s not quite as bright, low light performance should still be better than past iPhones could offer.

As well as the large sensor which Apple says has been re-engineered, there’s a new image signal processor built in to improve the quality of colours and textures in images. There’s also a new A11 processor, a glass back design which allows for wireless charging and the same portrait lighting modes found on the iPhone X (currently in BETA). WIth Portrait Mode, you can create ‘bokeh’ in the background of your portraits, adjust the lighting of the scene or ‘cut’ your subjects out so they appear on a black background.

The front ‘selfie’ camera on the iPhone 8 Plus as 7-megapixels as well as an aperture of f/2.2, retina flash and it can be used to capture video in 1080p HD.

The native camera app is still annoyingly basic and for some photographers, it just won’t offer enough in the way of manual control to keep them happy. Yes, low light performance has been improved slightly but not enough to make it groundbreaking and the built-in portrait modes do give portraits a more pro feel, when used under the right conditions, but these two things alone aren’t enough to compete with the likes of the Mate 10 Pro with all of its manual bells and whistles.

Other great features include the iPhone 8 Plus’ water and dust resistant design, 4K video and the range of apps which are available for iOS.

Camera features at a glance: 12MP camera, f/2.8 max aperture, CMOS sensor, 28-56mm equivalent, 4K video.

12. Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

The Huawei P20 Pro is a stylish high-end smartphone and the first to feature three cameras on the back, however, the results don’t necessarily live up to the hype.

On first impressions, and as long as you don’t look at the photos in too much detail, the P20 Pro produces reasonable results. The ability to shoot photos with a 7-second exposure handheld when taking night photos, is quite breathtaking, as long as you don’t mind the soft image that you get. If you’re more serious about photography and do want to spend time editing photos or use them for something more important, then you get better images from the alternative smartphones mentioned, albeit without the same number of cameras.

Read our full verdict for a more in-depth explanation.

Camera features at a glance: Leica Triple camera: Leica f/1.6 lens for 20mp monochrome sensor, Main f/1.8 lens for 40mp (Quad Bayer) 1/1.78inch sensor (middle),  Telephoto f/2.4 lens with 8mp sensor (produces 10mp images), Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording.

13. Honor 10

Honor 10 Dual Camera Smartphone

The Honor 10 is a reasonably priced smartphone with cameras and performance capability to rival today’s premium smartphones. If lack of waterproofing and the ability to insert a MicroSD card don’t put you off, it’s an excellent phone at an excellent price point.

Overall, the Honor 10 offers good specifications, a good camera with AI capability to recognise scenes, fast processing power and plenty of storage space. This makes the phone very desirable, especially for those that love to take photos on the go. There are a good amount of filters and editing capability within the phone for your images. However, the lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS) is a shame and will put this phone at a disadvantage for video recording. Noise would also be lower if the camera used a 12mp main camera, rather than 16mp.

However, the excellent pricing can’t be overlooked. Yes, the camera doesn’t carry the hallowed Leica branding, but it does offer similar features, with 2 rear cameras, one of these being a 24mp monochrome camera, and there’s also a 24mp selfie camera.

The Honor 10 is a stunning looking phone, with the iridescent back being a real eye-catcher. Slim, well made and offering high-performance capability, the only things it’s missing are waterproof / dustproofing and the ability to insert a MicroSD card if you wanted to. Other than this, it’s definitely a more budget-friendly rival to many premium offerings.

Camera features at a glance: Dual rear camera – 24mp f/1.8 black and white, 16-megapixel f/1.8 colour, 24-megapixel front camera, 4K video recording.

14. Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 White (2)

The Samsung Galaxy S6 features a 16.0Mp camera with true optical image stabilisation and a maximum aperture of f/1.9. There’s a front-facing 5Mp camera and the S6 can record Ultra HD video at 3840 x 2160. In good light, the Galaxy S6’s image quality is nothing short of miraculous. Colour reproduction and exposure metering are also first class and the camera produces beautifully vibrant and accurately exposed results. Low light performance is less convincing, with an ISO range of ISO100 to ISO800, but there is an excellent auto HDR feature built-in. The Galaxy S6 is not waterproof, like the S5, and it doesn’t feature a MicroSD card slot, so storage can’t be expanded.

Camera features at a glance: 16mp, f/1.9 lens, 28mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, raw (with update).

15. Nokia 7 Plus

Nokia 7 Plus

The Nokia 7 Plus is a reasonably priced smartphone that is capable of capturing pleasing images in good light. Plus, the live bokeh feature adds a lovely layer of bokeh to portraits. However, in low light, quality does start to waver and niggles such as the smartphone struggling to lock focus can get annoying. Is it a standout phone that will make you go ‘o,wow’? Probably not, but if you’re looking for a reasonably priced smartphone without too many frills that still performs well, the Nokia 7 Plus is well worth considering.

Camera features at a glance: 12MP f/1.75 & 13MP f/2.6 2x telephoto lenses (ZEISS optics), Electronic Image Stabilisation, 4K video recording, Pro mode

16. HTC 10

10

Sporting a 12Mp camera and 4K video, the HTC 10 sits at the top of the range in the HTC smartphone lineup. On the front, you’ll find a 5.2-inch screen with a QuadHD resolution. Designed to have better than usual low-light performance, the camera has a 12Mp sensor for better low-light performance, as well as a bright f/1.8 lens with optical image stabilisation, and an ISO range of ISO100 to ISO3200. Even the front selfie camera has optical image stabilisation! The app itself is as clear, responsive and easy to use. Plenty of manual control is provided in Pro mode which is accessed via the mode icon located alongside the shutter release icon. Detail and colour reproduction in shots are good and overall, it’s capable of producing natural-looking images. HDR capture does a decent job of boosting dynamic range and even its low-light performance is commendable. A MicroSD card slot gives expansion options to store more photos and video.

Camera features at a glance: 12mp, f/1.8 lens, 26mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, MicroSD slot, raw.

17. Huawei P9 – Co-engineered with Leica

Huawei P9 Front

The standout feature on the Huawei P9 is most definitely its cameras as it features 2x camera with f/2.2 Leica lenses, one camera is colour and the other black and white. The phone also has a 5.2inch screen and is capable of recording FullHD video. The P9 looks great and for the most part, performs really well. The camera produces great results and it’s actually bursting with features (once you find them). Those who use their smartphones for taking photos regularly, particularly selfies, will find the auto mode really easy to use and will be more than happy with the shots it produces. Plus, if you do want to dabble with a bit of manual photography, there are the options to do so, including an ISO range from ISO100 to ISO3200. You can expand the storage with a MicroSD card.

Camera features at a glance: 2x 12mp (Colour, Black and White), f/2.2 Leica lens, 28mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), FullHD video, MicroSD slot, raw.

(ephotozine.com, http://bit.ly/2LzPPlC)

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