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Best camera phones

By Ryan Shaw

We round up the top-scoring camera phones to help you find a mobile phone that takes the highest-quality photos.

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How good is your camera phone for photos? If you’re looking to buy a new digital camera, you’ll want to be sure it’s a step up in picture quality. 

That’s why we’ve run the latest flagship smartphone, from the iPhone XS to the Samsung Galaxy S10, through our imaging lab to see how they compare to traditional point-and-shoot cameras and whether it's still worth buying one. We've looked at various aspects of photography, including general picture quality, low light performance, speed and ease of use, to help you choose the best camera phone for you. 

We haven't sent anything later than the iPhone XS to the Samsung Galaxy S10 to our imaging lab but you can visit our smartphone reviews to find out how well the cameras on more recent phones performed in our mobile phones test.

The best camera phone for you

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

 

 

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Phone Click for full review Overall picture quality Low light picture quality Ease of use Shutter delay
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One of the best camera phones on the market, this model wowed us with super-sharp photos, even in low light, as well as impressive face detection and speed.

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This model is super fast, so you won't miss a moment. It performed well across lighting scenarios, especially in trickier lighting, and was one of the easier models to use.

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This camera phone did well across the board, better than most compact cameras we've tested. It's super fast as well and offers three different lenses. 

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Although this model did well overall, it struggles slightly in low lighting. It's also got one of the trickier cameras to use.

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Disappointing on the whole, this smartphone was one of the worst we tested and had a long shutter delay compared to others we've seen.

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Overall, a well performing camera. Low light picture quality is impressive, as is picture quality in general, although distortion with its wide angle lens lets it down.

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Overall image quality with this smartphone is on par with some really great compacts, but low light picture quality and shutter delay isn't up to scratch.

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Key

Member Content
Phone Click for full review Overall picture quality Low light picture quality Ease of use Shutter delay
 Apple iPhone XS WH13512-0527-01 front TABLE Apple iPhone XS
The Apple iPhone XS is one of the best camera phones on the market, this model wowed us with super-sharp photos, even in low light, as well as impressive face detection and speed.
 Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus WH13512-0499-01 front TABLE Samsung Galaxy S9+
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is super fast, so you won't miss a moment. It performed well across lighting scenarios, especially in trickier lighting, and was one of the easier models to use.
 Huawei Mate 20 Pro WH13512-0536-01 front TABLE Huawei Mate20 Pro
This Huawei Mate20 Pro did well across the board, better than most compact cameras we've tested. It's super fast as well and offers three different lenses.
 Google-Pixel-3-XL TABLE Google Pixel 3 XL
Although the Google Pixel 3 XL did well overall, it struggles slightly in low lighting. It's also got one of the trickier cameras to use.
 Sony Xperia XZ3 WH13512-0531-01 front TABLE Sony Xperia XZ3
Disappointing on the whole, the Sony Xperia XZ3 was one of the worst we tested and had a long shutter delay compared to others we've seen.
 Samsung Galaxy S10 WH13512-0562-01 front TABLE Samsung Galaxy S10
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S10 has a great camera. Low light picture quality is impressive, as is picture quality in general, although distortion with its wide angle lens lets it down.
 Huawei P30 Pro WH13512-0565-01 front TABLE Huawei P30 Pro
Overall image quality with the Huawei P30 Pro is on par with some really great compacts, but low light picture quality and shutter delay isn't up to scratch.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our mobile phone reviews.

Smartphone photography tips

Not all phone camera features are widely known, so we’ve collected some photography tips to help you make the most of your smartphone's camera.

Volume button shutter – If you’re trying to take a photo or a selfie and the screen is out of reach to take the shot, the end result is typically pretty blurry. One solution is to use the volume buttons to control the shutter. It works on most Androids and iPhones, so give it a try when you’re struggling to take a blur-free shot.

Burst mode – Activate infinite burst mode by keeping your finger on the shutter button, after which the photos will appear in your album gallery as a photo stack or a list of photos that look very similar. This is a very helpful feature — you’ll never miss a shot, and you can pick the best one from a range of photos.

Take stills while recording video – When shooting video, if you find yourself in a particularly photo-worthy moment it’s likely you will miss the chance to snap the photo. However, when recording video, just press the shutter button on screen to take a photo. The video will continue to record, with the snapshot saved, too.

Use the wide-angle lens - Some of the newest smartphones have multiple lenses, including 'ultra-wide angle' lenses, suhc as the Huawei Mate20 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10. These lenses, although we found can distort the picture slightly, are great for taking pitures of landscapes and landmarks as they'll get more of the scene into one image than most cameras. 

Try out 'professional' modes - Bokeh is the effect you'll see if you use a wide aperture on a professional camera. This is when the foreground is in focus and the background is blurred. Often this creates an artistic effect with out-of-focus points of light, known as bokeh. Most new smartphones have a mode which simulates a wide aperture. On the iPhone it'll be called portrait mode, on Android it's known as live focus and with Huawei you can use both portrait mode and aperture mode to take these professional-looking shots. 

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