Many of the smartphones that top our Best Android Phones list have excellent camera performance, but our priority with that list is the all-around experience with the device of which the camera is just one component.
Now we aren’t going to recommend a terrible phone with a good camera here, but we are valuing the camera above all else. If your smartphone is your only camera or if you depend on your smartphone to capture the best image every time then take a look at these standout options.
01. Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL
As with its predecessors, the Pixel 4 falls short of the competition as far as hardware goes, but yet again the software prowess allows this phone to stand out as the best smartphone camera to reliably capture a fantastic photo. One downside is that Google has dropped the unlimited original quality photo and video storage in Google Photos, so you’ll either need to pay for original quality or deal with the lesser quality offered by the free tier. Much has been made of the lack of an ultrawide lens, if you find that to be a crucial part of your smartphone photography then, by all means, take a look at some of the other options on our list as most of this year’s top options do have one. With that said, it was only this year that many decided that ultrawide became a must-have feature and most users are going to find that they are still just fine without one and will just appreciate the results they get with the Pixel 4.
- Rear Cameras: 12.2MP (28mm) w/ OIS + EIS, f/1.7 aperture dual pixel PDAF
16MP (45mm) w/OIS + EIS, f/2.4, PDAF
- Selfie Camera: 8.0MP f/2.0 22mm
TOF 3D camera
- Video: Up to 4K at 30FPS
02. Pixel 3 / Pixel 3 XL
The release of the Pixel 4 doesn’t make the Pixel 3 any less capable of a smartphone camera and of course the price point on it continues to drop. On top of that you do still get the benefit of unlimited full-resolution storage of your photos and videos from your Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL through January 31st, 2022. Selfie fans will appreciate the ultrawide front camera option that allows you to get everyone in that impromptu shot. If you are happy to let the smartphone do the work the Pixel 3 remains an excellent choice for those not sold on the Pixel 4.
- Rear Camera: 12.2MP w/ OIS + EIS, f/1.8 aperture
- Selfie Camera: 8.0MP f/1.8 28mm, 8.0MP f/2.2 19mm
- Video: Up to 4K at 30FPS
03. Huawei P30 Pro
If you really want to dig into the camera settings on your phone then it is hard to match the Huawei P30 Pro. The triple camera array gives you an optical zoom range from 16mm all the way to 125mm, this is more than double the range offered by most other high-end smartphones today. While it doesn’t quite stand up to the Pixel 3, the P30 Pro captures an amazing level of detail and has its own AI that will attempt to optimize your photos for the subject. The low-light feature on the P30 Pro really is astounding, given just about any light it will produce a solid usable photo that would have gone straight in the trash on most other phones. Manual camera controls are extensive as well for those that want granular control over the look of their photos as they capture them.
- Rear Camera: 40.0MP (27mm) with f/1.6 aperture and optical image stabilization
8.0MP (125mm) with f/3.4 aperture and optical image stabilization
20.0MP (16mm) with f/2.2 aperture
Time-of-Flight 3D camera
- Selfie Camera: 32.0MP (27mm) with f/2.0 aperture
- Video: Up to 4K at 30FPS
04. Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ may not be able to match the Huawei P30 Pro in the lens department, but it’s three rear cameras cover the most popular focal ranges for most people from 12mm to 52mm. It also offers dual front-facing cameras allowing for awesome bokeh on your selfies. Video is definitely a strong point for the Galaxy S10+ with support for HDR10+, stereo sound, and 60fps 4K. Samsung throws an endless number of options at you if you want manual control over your photos, but most will be happy to just use the default settings. If you like the rest of the package with the Galaxy S10+ the camera is not going to disappoint you, it’s a step below the top options, but it will deliver solid images in most situations.
- Rear Cameras: 12.0MP (26mm) Dual-Pixel with f/1.5-2.4 aperture and optical image stabilization
12.0MP (52mm) with f/2.4 aperture and optical image stabilization
16.0MP (12mm) with f/2.2 aperture
- Selfie Cameras: 10.0MP (26mm) Dual-Pixel with f/1.9 aperture
8.0MP (22mm) with f/2.2 aperture and depth sensor
- Video: 4K at up to 60fps, 4K at 30fps with optical and electronic image stabilization
05. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, much like the Huawei P30 Pro, represents a big leap in smartphone camera hardware. It offers a similar camera array with a focal range from 16mm up to 130mm. It’s scene detection does a solid job in most situations and delivers crisp and true to life shots on default settings. If you feel like cranking up the dial on reality a bit, the color pop options will give you a more saturated look. Seasons photographers will find all the manual controls down to an excellent focus ring mode that I find particularly useful for macro photography. The selfie camera on the Reno 10x Zoom is a clever bit of engineering with a “shark fin” pop up at the top of the device when you need it keeping the screen notch and hole punch free.
- Rear Camera: 48.0MP (26mm) with f/1.7 aperture, laser autofocus, and optical image stabilization
13.0MP (130mm) with f/3.0 aperture
8.0MP (16mm) with f/2.2 aperture
- Selfie Camera: 16.0MP (26mm) with f/2.0 aperture
- Video Capabilities: Up to 4K at 30FPS
06. Pixel 3a / 3a XL
Everything positive that we said above about the Pixel 3 basically applies to the Pixel 3a as well. The fact that a phone at this price point gets as close as it does to arguably the best smartphone camera on the market is amazing. The main trade-offs are that the post-processing takes a bit longer thanks to the slower internals in the Pixel 3a and you give up the ultrawide front-facing camera.
- Rear Camera: 12.2MP (28mm) Dual-Pixel with f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization
- Selfie Camera: 8.0MP (24mm) with f/2.0 aperture
- Video Capabilities: Up to 4K at 30fps
07. ASUS Zenfone 6
The Asus ZenFone 6 excels in one specific area with its camera, the flip-up mechanism it uses brings the rear cameras around to the front of your smartphone giving you the full power of your best lenses on both sides of the device. You can read our full review to see samples, but as we suspected this is a selfie-camera that is virtually impossible to beat.
- Rear Camera: 48.0MP (26mm) with f/1.8 aperture and laser autofocus
13.0MP (11mm) with f/2.4 aperture
- Selfie Camera: Same as above
- Video Capabilities: Up to 4K at 60FPS