Your phone is the camera you’ll always have with you. And phone cameras have come a long way from those VGA Nokia shooters of yesteryear. The technology continues to advance year after year, with sensor upgrades, lens array improvements, and, of course, AI-powered breakthroughs now enabling a massive amount of versatility for both photographs and videos.
However, not all smartphone cameras are created equal. In 2023, there are dozens of options available, ranging in price from cheap to quite expensive, all claiming to provide an outstanding camera experience. While they are not entirely incorrect, because all modern phones shoot good photos, not all of them can be the best. And so, if you’re in the market for a phone that’s not going to let you down in the camera department, this is the list for you you. Here are the best smartphone cameras available in 2023 for all budgets.
Best Smartphone Cameras Overall
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung launched its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, in February of this year. The South Korean multinational consumer tech giant unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S22, Samsung Galaxy S22+, and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra at its Galaxy Unpacked event
The high-end Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with an unmatched, pro-grade quad rear camera setup with a 108-megapixel f/1.8 wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and two 10-megapixel telephoto sensors with 3X and 10X optical zoom, respectively. Furthermore, for low-light photography, Samsung claims to have reworked the hardware and software of its “pro-grade camera” to create “Nightography,” which is said to perform better in some cases than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. For video chats and selfies, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a 40-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.2 lens. For videos, the device offers Ultra HD 8K (7680 x 4320) recording resolution at 24 fps (frames per second). The S22 Ultra’s auto framerate detects lighting and automatically shifts to an optimal fps speed. The device’s camera corrects shake at a 58% wider angle and records fast motion quickly, precisely, and clearly in each frame. Further, by downloading Expert RAW, you can even save the RAW files directly into the gallery and later edit them on your PC or share them. Auto framing, director’s view, single take, and AI editing are some other interesting features that add professionalism to shooting.
In India, the handset is only available in two configurations: 12GB RAM + 256GB storage and 12GB RAM + 512GB storage. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra features a 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with up to a 120 Hz refresh rate. It is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC and runs on Android 12 with One UI 4.1 on top, claimed to be its fastest ever. It is the first Galaxy S with an embedded S Pen that helps to write comfortably, turn quick notes into legible text, and can aid in controlling the phone remotely. Speaking of battery, the phone packs a 5,000 mAh battery, the same as its predecessor, the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which did not have the attached pen. The Galaxy S22 Ultra supports 45W wired and 15W wireless charging. Both the phone and the S Pen are IP68-rated for dust and water resistance.
|+Excellent low-light photography
|+S Pen built-in
Apple iPhone 14 Pro
Apple unveiled its iPhone 14 series lineup at the Far Out event in September. The iPhone always has some of the best features available in the market, and the iPhone 14 Pro is no exception
The Dynamic Island, a faster A16 Bionic chip, and a 48-megapixel camera are among the new features announced by Apple for the iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max sport 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays, respectively, with brightness levels that can go up to 2000 nits. Apple says that no other smartphone offers these brightness levels. The A16 Bionic processor is said to take performance to another level.
For the first time ever, the iPhone has a 48-megapixel main camera with a quad-pixel sensor. The setup is said to improve low-light photography. It also has AppleProRaw features for pro photographers to get the best shot by adjusting the camera settings with the 48 MP camera. It comes with a 12 MP telephoto sensor and a 12 MP ultra-wide sensor, which claims to offer better macro photography. The Pro models also have the new Photonic Engine, which claims to deliver better images in low light, and Action Mode and Cinematic Mode for videos. The front camera is also 12 MP.
Both the back and front cameras offer natural-looking shots, regardless of the lighting conditions. However, there is slight scope for improvement when it comes to flare. The video is stellar with the addition of the new action mode, which delivers smoothing and eliminates shakes from video footage.
The iPhone 14 Pro is available on Amazon and Flipkart for a starting price of Rs 1,39,000.
-Apple iOS restrictions may be off-putting to newcomers
Google Pixel Pro 7
Google unveiled the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphones at the ‘Made by Google’ event last month. After the Pixel 3, this is the first time a flagship Pixel phone has been launched for the Indian market. The tech giant also announced a series of other hardware offerings, like the Pixel Watch and Google’s very first Pixel tablet, at the same event.
To capture all the drama and details in your photos and videos, the Google Pixel 7 Pro features a triple rear camera system: a primary 50-megapixel sensor, a secondary 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens that enables 30x Super Resolution Zoom (Pro exclusive) and 5x optical zoom. Another Pro exclusive feature is the ‘Macro Focus’ which extraordinarily captures even the tiniest subjects like raindrops, rose petals, or a blade of grass. The ‘Photo Unblur’ feature lets you use Google’s advanced AI to remove blur and noise from old photos. Some other interesting camera features of the Pixel flagship phone are Magic Eraser, Motion Mode, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Locked Folder, Top Shot, Motion Autofocus, Frequent Faces, and Dual Exposure Controls, to name a few. The main camera has optical image stabilisation (OIS) as well as electronic stabilization, which allows for recording 4K videos at 30 fps and 60 fps. The ‘Cinematic Blur’ feature keeps the subjects in the video in focus and blurs the background. Google has partnered with the makers of apps like Snapchat and TikTok to enable higher-quality videos for them, and it can record 10-bit HDR videos. Both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have the same 10.8-megapixel selfie camera.
The phone comes with 12GB of RAM and an option to choose between 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of storage. Its 6.7-inch AMOLED display comes with a QHD+ LTPO OLED panel and up to 120 Hz screen refresh rate. The Pixel 7 Pro is powered by Google’s next-generation Tensor G2 processor and Android 13. Google claims that the Pixel Pro’s 5,000 mAh battery could last up to 72 hours with “Extreme Battery Saver.” The Pixel 7 Pro has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. The phone’s metal chassis is made of 100% recycled aluminum. It also has an in-display fingerprint reader and face unlock features.
|Excellent camera at a lower cost than major competitors
Can get warm under load
Best Smartphone Cameras Under Rs. 30,000
Realme 9 Pro+
Realme 9 Pro+ was launched in India in June along with Realme 9 Pro. At its price, this offers stiff competition to the OnePlus Nord 2 and Xiaomi 11i.
First, talking about the physical features, the Realme 9 Pro+ comes in two different versions: a flashy photochromic one (the Sunrise Blue version) and a milder version with a glittery back panel (the Aurora Green version). It has a 6.43-inch screen and an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. The smartphone is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 920 5G.
Now, let’s talk about the cameras. On the back, Realme 9 Pro+ has a triple camera setup comprising a flagship 50MP Sony IMX766 main sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP macro companion. On the front, it has a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. The main surprise here is excellent quality and reliable performance, however, the 2 MP macro sensor leaves a lot to be desired. With this smartphone, RealMe has added OIS support, which makes the videos much more stable by removing the shakiness.
The Realme 9 Pro+ has a 4,500 mAh battery that can last almost a day with moderate usage. Along with this, you get a 60-watt charger that takes 44 minutes to charge your smartphone from 0 to 100%. As this is a budget smartphone, Realme has added a 3.5mm audio jack.
Samsung Galaxy M53
Samsung launched the overall package, or what it calls the Samsung Galaxy M53 smartphone, in April this year.
With a quad camera setup on the rear side, the Samsung Galaxy M53 produces excellent daylight stills in the given price segment. The rear camera features a 108-megapixel (f/1.8) primary camera and an 8-megapixel (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, along with a 2-megapixel (f/2.4) depth sensor and another 2-megapixel (f/2.4) macro shooter. However, despite the four-camera setup, low-light or night photography would not be able to convince some. Furthermore, with low-resolution sensors, the captured image would look good on the phone but not on a bigger screen. The front camera is 32 megapixels, which delivers decent images and does a passable job in portrait mode. Further, the smartphone can record up to 4K videos at 30 fps, again caving in to the other competing products in the segment. Other interesting features include single-take mode, object Eraser, and Photo Remaster.
The Galaxy M53 comes in two variants, offering 6GB and 8GB of RAM along with 128GB of internal storage that is expandable up to 1TB via microSD card. The 6.7-inch smartphone offers a Super AMOLED panel with full HD+ resolution and up to 120 Hz refresh rate. The handset runs its proprietary One UI 4.1 operating system, based on Android 12, and is powered by a 6nm octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor. The smartphone is powered by a 5000mAh battery and supports fast charging, but a turn-off is that you will have to buy the charger separately. The device comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, supports auto data switching, and features voice focus to eliminate loud background noise.
The handset comes in Blue, Green, and Emerald Brown colors. It is available on both Amazon and Flipkart, with prices starting around Rs 26,000.
|Excellent daylight photos
Average low-light camera performance
Lacks stereo speakers
No bundled charger
OnePlus Nord CE2
Over the years, OnePlus has entered the affordable price segment in India, and its OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is the one for the lower midrange segment, which provides good specs in the price segment.
The OnePlus Nord CE2 comes in a chic and minimalistic design. The smartphone sports a 6.43-inch FHD display of the AMOLED variety, with a 90 Hz refresh rate. It also has Gorilla Glass 5 for protection and HDR10+ certification. It is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC that offers decent performance for normal usage.
Talking about the camera setup, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 has a triple camera setup on the back comprising a 64MP main sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, and a 2MP macro camera. The primary camera performs well in natural light by clicking crisp and clear pictures. In low light, both primary and ultrawide deliver above-average performance. However, the macro camera is disappointing. The 16-megapixel selfie camera also performs decently in daylight. The phone doesn’t have OIS support and relies on EIS, so if you want smooth videos, you can record 1080p at 30 fps.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 has a 4500mAh battery that comes along with a 65W fast charger, which takes around 50 minutes to charge the device from 0 to 100%. Other than this, the smartphone comes with a USB Type-C port for charging, 5G connectivity, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC.
Low-light camera performance
Google Pixel 6a
At the Google I/O 2022 event in May, the American multinational tech giant unveiled the Pixel 6a smartphone and Google Pixel Buds Pro.
Apart from being small and fast, the Google Pixel 6a perhaps offers the best camera in the mid-range smartphone category. At first glance, the smartphone appears to lack high-end sensors, with a dual 12-megapixel rear camera (rather than a 48-megapixel one) and an 8-megapixel selfie camera. But its camera software helps bring out the best of the Sony chips used in both the main and selfie cameras. With the ‘Night Sight’ feature, the smartphone can be used to capture incredible images even in low light. Users can remove unwanted objects with the ‘Magic Eraser’ on Google Photos, while the ‘Real Tone’ filter helps for optimal reproduction of skin tones. Some other interesting camera features include Motion Mode, Portrait Mode, Dual-LED flash, Pixel Shift, Auto-HDR, and panorama. Furthermore, the device’s back camera takes decent videos, which can be recorded in up to 4K at 60FPS and include features like slow motion and time-lapse, thanks to optical and electronic image stabilization.
The Google Pixel 6a comes in a 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage variant. It features a 6.14-inch OLED display that has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and runs Android 12 out-of-the-box. The handset is powered by a Tensor SoC, which is the company’s made-to-order processor intended just for the Pixel series for seamless juggling and multitasking. Further, the smartphone is mated with a physical chip called Titan M2 that keeps all the passwords and codes of the users encrypted and secure.
It has a 4,410 mAh battery, supports 18W fast charging, and has an in-display fingerprint sensor for authentication. It is water- and dust-resistant and available in Chalk, Charcoal, and Sage colors.
|fantastic mid-range camera
Non-expandable internal storage
|Powerful tensor chipset
Plastic back cover
Best Smartphone Camera on a Budget
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi offers some of the best budget smartphones in India. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is the company’s hottest competition to its rivals with premium looks and powerful features.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is one of the finest-looking smartphones you can get in this price range, thanks to Xiaomi’s EVOL Design. The smartphone sports a 6.67-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display. It offers a 120Hz refresh rate and 1200 nits of display brightness, which is fairly decent in this price range. Apart from this, the display is HDR10 compliant and has Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon 732G chipset.
Talking about the cameras, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max comes with a quad rear camera setup. It has a 108 MP primary sensor, an 8 MP ultra-wide camera with a 5 MP macro, and a 2 MP depth sensor. The primary camera delivers good-quality images with some extra effort to boost the colors. The 8 MP ultra-wide lens also produces good images, but only in good lighting conditions, as it loses detail in low light.You can record videos in 4K at 30 fps, while in super-steady mode the quality is locked at 1080p at 30 fps. On the front, you get a 16-megapixel selfie camera that won’t disappoint you if you love clicking selfies and recording videos.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max comes with a 5,000mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging, which charges that smartphone over 50 percent in around 30 minutes. You also get a 3.5mm headphone jack on top.
|No 5G support
|Ads in the UI
What is the best camera phone under 20000 available in the market right now?
The Oneplus Nord 2 CE lite is the best camera phone under 20000, with wonderful features like a 5000 mAh battery, a brilliant camera, and a quick processor
Is Samsung or Apple better?
If you’re not involved in Apple’s ecosystem, Samsung is a fantastic alternative because you can switch to other Android devices, and Samsung’s technology is superb. Apple’s OS is excellent, but Android is now just as good.
What are the main features to look for in a smartphone?
The three key components of a smartphone that one should look for are good RAM and ROM, a great camera, and a long-lasting battery. These characteristics will guarantee that your phone is reliable and provides a satisfying user experience.
What is the highest megapixel camera phone in 2022?
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 108-megapixel sensor.
What’s better, EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) or OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)?
Stabilizing the video is the main function of both EIS and OIS. EIS accomplishes this using software magic. OIS performs the same function as EIS, however, OIS is connected to the smartphone’s hardware. EIS doesn’t require any additional hardware, therefore the camera module can stay light and cheap. Typically, low-end or mid-range smartphones use this system. High-end smartphones usually include OIS. The majority of mid-range or high-end smartphones have OIS on both the primary and telephoto lenses. OIS costs extra and increases the camera’s weight and thickness. Despite all of this, it is still the superior option.