The best camera phones in 2021

Capture the perfect shot with the best camera phones around.In case you’re hoping to purchase the best camera phone available, you will struggle discovering only one portable for you, in light of the fact that there are such countless incredible alternatives accessible to you from various organizations.

The best camera phones available now:

01. iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max

Release date: September 2021 | Weight: 204g / 240g | Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7mm / 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7mm | OS: iOS 15 | Screen size: 6.1-inch / 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1170×2532 / 1284×2778 | CPU: A15 Bionic | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Battery: 3,095mAh / 4,373mAh | Rear camera: 12MP (wide, f/1.5) + 12MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.8) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 120-degree, f/1.8) | Front camera: 12MP (wide, f/2.2).

Pros:

  • Fantastic processing software
  • New macro photography mode

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Limited upgrades over iPhone 12 series

Apple’s iPhone 13 family was launched in late 2021, and the Pro and Pro Max handsets are the top siblings in the line. Sure, they’re not huge upgrades over the iPhone 12 devices, but some of the biggest upgrades are in the camera software department.

The iPhone 13 and 13 Pro beat out their predecessors with a new macro mode which lets you take detailed pictures of close-up objects like food, bugs or plants. There are also improvements to videography with  Cinematic Video, and you can now focus pull while capturing film, which will be really useful for people trying to shoot movies on their phone.

One other change to the iPhone 13 Pro devices might appeal to the artist in you: now you can finally buy iPhones with 1TB internal storage, so you can now capture many more pictures or hours of film without running out of space.

That’s all on top of the iOS mobile you know and love (or don’t love, in the case of Android fans) with a powerful processor, good-looking screen and okayish battery life.

02. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Release date: January 2021 | Weight: 227 g (Sub6), 229 g (mmWave) | Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 1440×3200 | CPU: Exynos 2100 (International), Snapdragon 888 (US & China) | RAM: 12GB, 16GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Battery: 5,000Ah | Rear camera: 108MP (wide, f/1.8) + 10MP (periscope, 10x optical zoom, f/4.9) + 10MP (telephoto, 3x optical zoom, f/2.4) + 12MP (ultrawide, 120-degree, f/2.2) | Front camera: 40MP (wide, f/2.2)

Pros:

  • Wacom pen tech
  • Excellent camera zoom

Cons:

  • Big and bulky
  • Expensive

Remember when phones had one camera? Well, now they have five. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best Android camera phone you can get right now, and certainly has the best zoom capability of any phone we’ve ever seen.

The phenomenal power of the four-camera array on the rear has to be seen to be believed. The main sensor is a 108MP model that gives you immense digital zooming and cropping ability, with a new autofocus system that fixes the sharpness issues with the S20 Ultra. It is ably backed up by two 10MP telephoto sensors and a 12MP ultra-wide. This gives you amazing shooting flexibility for a smartphone, and a frankly scary ability to capture shots at a distance. The 40MP selfie camera, completing the quintet, also acquits itself well.

Features elsewhere across the board are predictably great. The S21 Ultra boasts a top-notch processor, a water-resistant body and wireless charging. It can connect to a monitor and double up as a desktop experience using Samsung’s big-screen interface DeX, and supports Samsung’s S Pen for drawing and note-taking.

There’s not much to criticise. It’s expensive, of course, but if you’re going to go after the biggest Android manufacturer’s brand-new flagship phone, you’d hardly expect anything else. If you want the best camera phone, this is it.

03. iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max

Relaese date: October 2020 | Weight: 189g / 228g | Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm / 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4mm | OS: iOS 14 | Screen size: 6.1-inch / 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1170×2532 / 1284×2778 | CPU: A14 Bionic | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB. 256GB, 512GB | Battery: 2,815mAh / 3,687mAh | Rear camera: 12MP (wide, f/1.6) + 12MP (telephoto, 2x optical zoom, f/2.0) + 12MP (ultra-wide, 120-degree, f/2.4) | Front camera: 12MP (wide, f/2.2).

Pros:

  • Powerful camera
  • Good-looking color options

Cons:

  • Still very expensive
  • Battery life isn’t amazing

No one could argue with you for saying that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is one of the best camera phones ever made, With a 12MP f1.6 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 telephoto camera that can achieve a 2.5x optical zoom and a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide camera, it’s absolutely bristling with imaging technology. The iPhone 12 Pro is the same, but with a smaller body.

Sure, the newer iPhone 13 Pro models beat out their older relatives, but only by a small amount – sure, the improved optical zoom, new macro mode and bigger sensors of the new phones are nice, but the older phones aren’t far behind.

Low-light shooting has always been a problem for smartphones, as their size and shape prohibits the use of really large sensors that you’d find in cameras, which hurts the dynamic range of images. The iPhone 12 Pro has a larger sensor than most, meaning it’s streets ahead of the majority of smartphones in terms of low-light capability. What’s more, it has a LiDAR scanner that improves its Night Mode portraits by improving the depth sensing in low light. Apple has also added HDR3, which combines multiple exposures for the best possible image. This can be used in any lighting conditions, again potentially giving you a little extra oomph in low light.

Editing images on an iPhone is easy as anything, and the video has been improved with Dolby Vision too. The iPhone 12 Pro phones are a stunning achievement.

04. Huawei Mate 40 Pro

An insanely good photography experience

Release date: November 2020 | Weight: 212g | Dimensions: 162.9 x 75.5 x 9.1mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.76-inch | Resolution: 1344×2772 | CPU: Kirin 9000 5G | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128, 256GB | Battery: 4,400mAh | Rear camera: 50MP (wide, f/1.9) + 12MP (periscope, 5x optical zoom, f/3.4) + 20MP (ultrawide, f/1.8) | Front camera: 13MP (ultrawide, f/2.4) + TOF.

Pros:

  • Stunning design
  •  Superb all-round camera skills

Cons:

  • Lack of apps due to removal of Play Store
  • Expensive

First things first – the Mate 40 Pro has one tragic flaw, and it’s a deal breaker for most people. Thanks to the Google trade ban in the US, you can’t access Google’s own app store. Huawei’s store is still playing catch up, and you’re likely to be frustrated with certain apps not working, even if you can easily download them online.

Having said that, the Mate 40 Pro is still the best cameraphone in the world, offering the best overall complete package. Both regular and ultra-wide angle shots look superb in both well-lit and dark conditions, while the 5x optical zoom performs remarkably well even in lower light too. Focusing is fast and snappy, and the front-facing selfie camera also cram in larger groups, thanks to its wide angle lens.

Throw in super-stabilised video with impressive HDR for good measure, and you have a smartphone with a camera that’s capable of excelling at any task you care to throw at it. If you care about photography more than anything else, this is the current smartphone to beat.

05. Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Release: March 2021 | Screen size: 6.81″ | Resolution: 1440×3200 pixels | Dimensions: 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.4 mm | Weight: 234g | Rear camera: 50MP (wide + OIS) + 48MP (ultra-wide) + 48MP (telephoto) | Front camera: 20MP (wide) | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 5000mAh | Release date: March 2021 | Weight: 234g | Dimensions: 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.4mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.81-inch | Resolution: 1440×3200 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 12GB, | Storage: 256GB, 512GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 50MP (wide, f/2.0) + 48MP (periscope, 5x optical zoom, f/4.1) + 48MP (ultrawide, 128-degree, f/2.2) **Front camera:** 20MP (wide, f/2.2).

Pros:

  • Fast charging
  • Excellent camera

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Bulky design

If we’re talking about hardware alone, then the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has everything it takes to be the best camera phone on our list. It’s got the largest camera sensor ever seen on a smartphone, creeping up to the 1-inch sensor size seen on pro-grade compact cameras. The result of such a large sensor is photos with beautifully shallow depth of field. Of the three cameras around the back, each is around 50MP in resolution, so whether you’re zooming or going ultra-wide, you won’t need to compromise on photo quality.

It isn’t just the camera sensors that are exceptional on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. On the phone’s hefty rear camera bump around the back, there’s a second screen so you can take selfies and group shots with the best camera on the handset.

What’s the price you pay for such fantastic photography capabilities you might be wondering? Well, the phone isn’t exactly affordable, costing £1,199 (around $1,670). In addition to its imposing price is an imposing physique; the Mi 11 Ultra weighs 234g, making it one of the heaviest smartphones currently on the market.

While you get plenty of power for the price (and weight) of the phone, not to mention stacks of storage and one of the best screens to ever grace a smartphone, the Mi 11 Ultra does have a few niggles. It gets very warm when on it – bordering on too hot to handle if graphics settings are ramped all the way up. In turn, this pricey camera champ is really a phone for someone happy to invest a bit of time (and money) getting to grips with its nuances. Once you do, you’ll get some class-leading photos, but if you’re after an easy life, or just really like wearing skinny jeans, you’d be better off with another camera phone. 

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