With the increasing quality of mobile phone cameras, it’s no surprise that most of us are pretty snap happy. There’s no longer any need to carry a digital camera around now that phones can take such great snaps. But not all phone cameras are created equal. Surprisingly, even some top end flagship phones don’t always take the best pics. If you’re looking for a phone that is going to double as a top end camera, then we’re here to help. We’re looking at the best camera phones for every budget.
What We’re Looking For
When it comes to mobile cameras we’re essentially looking at three factors. These three things affect the quality of pictures that you’re going to get:
- Megapixels: This is the easiest spec to check on a camera, though it’s not exactly the most important. However, higher MP means more detail and clarity, particularly when zoomed in.
- Aperture: This is measured in f-stops, and wider is better. A wider aperture gives you depth and also helps make pics sharp and focussed.
- Sensor Size: Finally, we looked at sensor size, which dictates how much light a camera takes in. Better sensors mean better light and colour reproduction, as well as better low light pics.
Obviously, we took all three of these factors into account. But a great camera doesn’t make a phone. So we also looked at general overall specs to ensure that you’re getting not just a cool cam, but a fantastic phone as well!
For Budget Shoppers
Let’s start with a couple of great choices for budget shoppers. There were two clear stand outs in this category: the Honor 6X from Chinese manufacturer Huawei, and the ZenFone 3 Zoom from Asus.
The Honor 6X gives you a solid 5.5 inch display with HD 1080 x 1920 resolution for great viewing. You also get octo core processing power (made up of a quad core 2.1 GHz and quad core 1.7 GHz model) and 3 GB of RAM on the 32 GB model, or 4 GB of RAM on the 64 GB storage model. All for around £225. But it’s the cameras that are the stand out here. The dual 12 MP and 2 MP rear camera with 1/2.9” sensor is amazing for this price point (dual cams are really a high end deal), and even the front 8 MP cam is pretty good for the money.
Moving on to the Asus, and the Zoom is designed to be the stand out camera phone of the ZenFone line up. It comes with dual 12 MP cameras (one 25mm f/1.7, the other 59mm f/2.8) which are astounding, plus there’s an amazing 2.3x optical zoom feature too. And the front cam is a massive 13 MP affair. You also get a 5.5 inch HD screen, octo core 2.0 GHz processing power, 4 GB of RAM, and your choice of 32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB of internal storage. And that’s going to cost you around £300.
For Mid Range Shoppers
Our top mid range choice for camera phones has to be the LG G6, particularly due to its recent price drop. In fact, this is our only mid range choice because it’s simple miles better when it comes to cameras then any other mid range device.
The basics first. The LG G6 gets a 5.7 inch super HD screen with 1440 x 2880 pixels (an astonishing 564 PPI), so all your pictures are going to look stunning. It gets quad core processing, with a dual core 2.35 GHz and a dual core 1.6 GHz processor on board, and 4 GB of RAM. You’ll get the choice between 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB of internal memory, starting from around £400.
On to those cameras. At the back you’re getting dual 13 MP cams (an f/1.8 and an f/2.4 model), with 1/3” sensor size and dual LED flash. This is hands down one of the best cameras around, regardless of budget. The front facing 5 MP camera isn’t that great, but who needs a front facing cam when you have that amazing rear cam?
For High End Shoppers
At the top end of the market there’s plenty of choice and we really had trouble narrowing this one down, but we finally got it down to three models.
First up is the Google Pixel, which is probably the best choice here. A 5 inch HD screen, quad core processing power, 4 GB of RAM and either 32 GB or 128 GB of internal storage. There’s a 12 MP f/2.0 rear camera with 1/2.3 sensor size that takes astounding pictures, some of the best we’ve seen, and the 8 MP front facing cam isn’t too shabby either. The Pixel will cost you around £700, but be aware that the new Pixel 2 model is slated for release soon.
Next up we have Samsung Galaxy S8, which shouldn’t surprise you since Samsung generally make awesome cameras. Here there’s a 5.8 inch, super HD infinity display which is fantastic, octo core processing power, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory. That rear camera is a 12 MP, f/1.7, 26 mm device, with a 1/2.5” sensor, phase detection autofocus and LED flash. At the front you get an 8 MP, f/1.7 cam, which is pretty great too. All for around £600 or so.
Finally, there’s the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. That 5.5 inch screen comes in Quad HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), there’s octo core processing, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of memory. At the back you’re looking at a 19 MP, f/2.0, 25 mm cam with 1/2.3” sensor, predictive phase detection and laser autofocus and LED flash. The front gets a 13 MP, f/2.0, 22 mm cam with 1/3” sensor size, one of the best front cams around. The Xperia will set you back about £600 to £650.
And there we have it. If you’re looking for the best camera phone for your budget then one of the above should more than tick all the boxes. Happy snapping!