Choosing the best camera phone isn't as easy as you'd think - we can't easily point our finger at the latest Samsung Galaxy or iPhone and say 'that one'. That's because, while loads of phones are great for taking pictures, different models have different strengths.
If you look at our list of the best Samsung phones, you'll find models with fantastic hardware and some cool software modes, while our ranking of the best iPhones has handsets with incredibly AI optimization, and if you're looking for unique lenses and sensors that you won't find elsewhere, our guide to the best Huawei phone is best for you.
That is to say, different manufacturers prioritize different parts of the smartphone photography experience, but in this list of the best camera phones, you'll find the real top picks from loads of different companies.
Here at TechRadar, we test every single smartphone that's worth your time and money, and our testing process involves loads of photography. So we know what these devices are like for selfies, night photography and zoom shots, and we've played with all the unique modes they offer.
This list shows you the best camera phones we've used - ones that are easy to use, and produce great results. It's a ranking that's constantly changing, with new photography powerhouses being released all the time, so keep checking back when new models go up for sale to see where they rank.
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Best camera phones of 2022 in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Egypt.
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are stunning camera phones, each packing a 12MP f/1.5 main sensor with big 1.9µm pixels, a 12MP f/1.8 ultra-wide, and a 12MP f/2.8 telephoto, with 3x optical zoom.
While they don’t have the lens numbers or optical zoom length of some phones on this list, their performance is sublime, and while they lack a dedicated macro lens, they’re still arguably better for macro photography than any rival.
Low light performance particularly impressed us in our tests, but whatever type of shot you’re aiming for, the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max should be able to do it justice.
The new Photographic Styles feature and Cinematic mode both impress too, though we suspect they might not be massively used by most buyers. But with an improved Portrait mode, the return of ProRAW, and a great point-and-shoot experience, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are photography beasts.
Huawei is no stranger to producing excellent camera phones and thus it's no surprise to see the Huawei P50 Pro land on top of our list of best camera phones.
There's plenty of tech here- four AI-powered Leica cameras. The primary wide camera has a 50MP sensor, and this is teamed with a 64MP periscope telephoto lens capable of 3.5x optical zoom, a 13MP ultra-wide lens, and a 40MP monochrome sensor.
Given this hardware, it comes as no surprise that the P50 Pro can take stunning images. We were rarely left disappointed with the cameras, especially during the day. Pictures came out sharp, detailed and with a wide dynamic range.
When it comes to video capture, the P50 Pro can record up to 4K video at 60fps. Both the primary wide lens and the periscope telephoto lens have optical image stabilization.
Read our full Huawei P50 Pro review
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra builds on the success of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. It offers a vast array of lenses. These include two 10MP telephoto lenses: one is f/2.4 with a 36-degree field of view (FOV) and the other is f/4.9 with an 11-degree FOV. There’s also a 12MP ultrawide with a 120-degree FOV, and then there’s the 108MP main wide camera (f/1.8) with an 85-degree FOV.
With these four rear cameras, not to mention the super-high-res front one, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best handset on this list for versatility - you can jump between a wide field of view or a super-zoomed in one easily.
It's not just the lenses that help here though, with the software helping out massively. Samsung has improved on optical image stabilization, digital image stabilization, and image processing. You'll notice this particularly when zooming in.
3x and 10x optical zoom looks solid and offers clear images of distant objects that enable you to crop in on details with little pixelation. However, 30x and 100x Space Zoom images are truly special compared to before, and you won't find the iPhone above to get even close to 100x.
If you like to edit your snaps, you might also appreciate the S Pen stylus, which we found to be more precise than a finger so could be really useful in image editing apps.
The addition of Adaptive Pixel plus Auto-Focus Assist further help to ensure this is a remarkable camera phone.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
The Xiaomi 12 Pro has a camera setup that’s easy to remember, as the rear houses a trio of 50MP sensors. There’s an f/1.9 main one, an f/2.2 ultra-wide one, and an f/1.9 telephoto one (offering 2x optical zoom).
Of those, the first two impress, and especially the main snapper. This uses a 1/1.28-inch Sony IMX707 sensor which is larger than the sensors in even most top-end smartphones, and results in sumptuous shots full of depth, detail, impressive sharpness, and natural colors.
The ultra-wide snapper has a smaller sensor but is still capable of accurate color capture and a wide 115-degree field of view. Finally, the 2x optical zoom snapper is fine at that range, but 2x leaves it behind the optical reach of many rival phones. Still, optical zoom can make up for that.
Still, video capture is strong (as long as the lighting is good), with decent stabilization kicking in even at 8K resolution, so for most photo types and for shooting video, the Xiaomi 12 Pro impresses.
Xiaomi also offers loads of photo and video modes that will appeal to people looking for a great entry to a social media pipeline. Its Sky editing modes, Clone photo or video and Dolly Zoom video options will all let you take novel snaps or shots that you won't quite find from other rivals.
Read our full Xiaomi 12 Pro review
OnePlus' phones are a mixed bag in the camera department: the devices can often have rough edges when it comes to the photography experience, but it's hard to deny that when they work, they work really well.
The 48MP main camera here is great, especially in well-lit conditions, though it carries its weight in the dark too. We found pictures, whether they were close-ups or cinematic vistas, looked great.
The ultrawide camera is useful too, though you're not getting the full 50MP - the lens is actually a super-wide one used for fisheye shots, but if you want normal ultrawide snaps, it's cropped quite a bit.
With 3.3x optical zoom, the OnePlus beats other phones from Oppo and Xiaomi on this list with its range, though the 8MP sensor might leave a bit to be desired.
We found that the OnePlus 10 Pro could, when given the opportunity, beat Portrait snaps that would give a Samsung phone a run for its money - but sometimes they had small bokeh errors too.
Video recording goes up to 8K, though for the AI and stabilization features you'll have to stick to 1080p. There are loads of modes too like fisheye, tilt-shift, XPan (mentioned in the Oppo section above) and more.
We found the OnePlus 10 Pro cameras good but not great - this list is for the best camera phones though, and we've included this entry as a great phone with a decent camera. So if you're looking for a device with a good camera but that excels in other departments too, this is a good pick.
Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review
While the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera didn’t quite deliver on its promise, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s very much does.
As with everything in the S21 Ultra, the camera is top-end, with a 108MP f/1.8 main snapper, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, and – in a move that’s pretty much unheard of on phones – two telephoto cameras. These are both 10MP, but one has an f/2.4 aperture and allows for 3x optical zoom, while the other has an f/4.9 aperture and allows for a massive 10x optical zoom.
And the results are as impressive as the numbers – so much so that we labeled this the best camera zoom on a phone in our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review.
Non-zoomed shots look great too, though sometimes not as good as the best rivals. But coupled with a wealth of camera modes, including new additions like Director’s View (which lets you shoot video with both the front and rear cameras at the same time), along with a highly capable 40MP front-facing camera, this makes for a smartphone photographer’s dream.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review
If you want a Samsung camera phone but feel the Ultra is too top-end for you, then the Galaxy S22 (or Plus, with the same cameras) might be a better choice - but as the smaller and more affordable member of the line, the S22 is our favorite.
This phone has a powerful 50MP main camera which is great for taking colorful pictures, even in low-light conditions, and the software can jump in when necessary to add some vibrancy and saturation.
The ultrawide and telephoto cameras also help you capture a wider or closer subject if you need to, giving you an added edge of versatility to help you capture your subject in the best possible way.
Samsung's phones remain fantastic for Portrait mode shots, and that mode is back here - including other favorites like Color Point, Single Take and Dual Video.
Plus, there's also video recording at 8K, or 4K at 60fps, another top-end feature that not all handsets offer.
This phone doesn't stack against high-priced rivals found higher on this list, but with a lower price tag than most, it could be a preferable choice to many buyers.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 review
The iPhone 13 has just two rear cameras – a 12MP f/1.6 main one and a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide (with a 120-degree field of view), but both of them perform well, and they’re an upgrade on the iPhone 12’s snappers.
For one thing, you get bigger 1.7µm pixels on the main camera, which in our review we found made a noticeable difference to the picture quality. There’s also sensor shift OIS, which does an excellent job of stabilizing images so they come out sharp even when the phone isn’t held perfectly still.
In general we found images also had less noise than those taken with an iPhone 12, and when it comes to video we were quite fond of the new Cinematic mode, which adds a bokeh effect and smartly shifts the focus between subjects.
With a new Photographic Styles mode for stills too, plus a capable 12MP f/2.2 front-facing camera, there’s a lot to like here, it’s just a shame there’s no telephoto lens. For that you’ll have to opt for a Pro model – or a different company’s phones.
Read our full iPhone 13 review
You might be surprised to see the Huawei Mate 40 Pro here – after all, it’s a phone that we only gave 3.5 stars to, and it’s nowhere near our best smartphone list. But the reason we can’t rank it higher in general is everything to do with its limited app situation (due to not having access to the Google Play Store) and nothing to do with its cameras.
In fact, its cameras are exceptional. It has a 50MP f/1.9 main camera, a 12MP f/3.4 periscope one (with 5x optical zoom), and a 20MP f/1.8 ultra-wide one.
While that’s not quite as many lenses as some rivals, it’s got all the most important kinds accounted for, and they all perform very well.
From portrait shots to wide landscapes, zoomed photos, and close up subjects, we found in our review that the Huawei Mate 40 Pro could cope brilliantly with just about every kind of photo. It even does a great job in low-light conditions.
And while our focus is the rear snappers, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro also has a decent setup on the front, with a 13MP f/2.4 camera joined by a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor for sensing depth.
There are loads of photography modes and tools available on the Huawei Mate 40 Pro as well, from a light painting feature to a dedicated moon photography mode.
Read our full Huawei Mate 40 Pro review
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a high-spec camera, but it’s the telephoto camera that really stands out. This is a 12MP f/3.0 snapper with 5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom.
Both of those specs are impressive, and while the S20 Ultra offers 100x digital zoom, that was little more than a gimmick, with the Note 20 Ultra actually bettering that snapper thanks to a wider aperture and larger pixels.
And while the telephoto camera is the highlight, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s 108MP f/1.8 main camera and 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one also perform well.
The Note 20 Ultra’s camera is also incredibly easy and fun to use, and it benefits from extras like 8K video and Single Take mode, which takes a bunch of photos and videos at the same time using the various lenses and modes, to increase the chance of you capturing something good.
Low-light photos aren’t quite as detailed as some of the competition, such as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but otherwise this is an exceptional camera setup.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review
How we tested
We've fully reviewed every phone on this list and that includes extensively testing all of their cameras, so we know exactly how they perform. That allows us to look beyond specs and create a ranking based on how these camera phones are in practice. We've also considered price, value and features when deciding on a ranking.
What should I look for when buying a camera phone?
When choosing a camera phone you should consider the types of photo you want to take. If you want to photograph wildlife or other things you can't easily get close to then a telephoto lens is essential, while for landscapes a good ultra-wide is your friend. Check out our reviews to see how camera phones perform in practice too, as some sound better than they are.
Which phone has the best camera?
The best camera phone changes regularly, but our current top pick will be sitting in the number one spot of this guide. That doesn't mean it will be the best choice for everyone though - consider what you actually need from your camera phone before choosing one.
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